I was surprised to see so many people at City Hall last night for the candidate forums as the Giants were in the process of winning the play in game in the NL playoffs.
Much of the night was spent talking about Measure Q the sales tax hike placed on the ballot by my opponent in the Mayor's race.
The Press Democrat which endorsed my candidacy for re election recommends a No Vote on Q asserting the tax is too high...it is a full one percent increase to 9.25 percent...too long...it couldn't be longer as it is forever...and too loose in how the money can be spent...it couldn't be looser as there are absolutely no restrictions on how the money can be spent.
One way some, and perhaps much, of the money will be spent is on salary increases for the fire department. They are demanding a raise of their pay scale. There is nothing wrong with paying someone a fair day's pay for a fair day's work.
The problem however, becomes the pension issue. The higher the pay the greater the pension liability for the city. The highest pay ever achieved becomes the number that is multiplied by 3 percent for every year of service credit, and that becomes the starting figure for a dual lifetime pension that doesn't end until both the employee and spouse (regardless of age differential) die.
Therefore you can see that for instance a 15 percent pay increase in the pay scale (as an illustration) would result in an increase of 13.5 percent in the pension of a 30 year retiree. If the top salary were 100 thousand dollars per year before the pay raise (which is not uncommon for a 30 year worker) and the scale were raised by 15 percent that would result in a salary of 115,000 and a pension increase from 90,000 dollars per year to a pension of 103,500 per year. And these pensions will grow over time due to a COLA...(cost of living adjustment)
There was talk of trust in what a city council will do with your money. Trust is a good thing to have in elected leaders. I appreciate that the voters have entrusted in me the responsibility of working on your behalf as your Mayor for two terms and an additional two years as a city council member. I want the people of Petaluma to know they can continue to trust me. When I worked as a municipal securities principal I fulfilled the requirements of full disclosure to clients as a matter of routine. It was how I conducted my business.
Full disclosure of Measure Q would reveal the money going into the general fund would be no different than any other money in the general fund. It is a general tax. Therefore all the promises in the world will not segregate this money and protect the tax payer as to how it will be spent. The pension obligation is contractual. That is a bill that the city does not control the cost of in any way once the entitlements have been earned by the employees. And that bill will get first call on our general fund money.
A special tax which council member Barrett and I recommended as part of a balanced approach to the city's need for revenue would have protected the proceeds generated from such a special tax. The infrastructure needs would have been guaranteed to have been met. The blank check issue would not exist. That would have been by definition a tax plan you could have trusted because like the pension obligations tied to the general fund the obligation to spend your extra tax dollars in a specified manner would have been protected.
Polling indicated 84 percent of those surveyed supported additional money being spent on street repair and traffic relief programs. When one is being asked to pay the highest taxes in the county forever I do not think it is too much to ask that a significant portion of that increase be guaranteed as to how today and forever that money is spent.
This may prove to be the pivotal question in the election. Perhaps it should be. The by product of this debate is who do you trust to present you with your options. Those that want to offer maximum protections to the tax payer or those that want maximum flexibility in how to spend your extra tax dollars.
Thank you for taking time to read this. Please share with your friends. The election starts next week and ends on November 4th.
David Glass...Mayor City of Petaluma
FIX OUR STREETS
This is a 20 year problem that has finally come home to roost. It is the direct result of neglect caused by decades of pro-developer decisions of past city councils.
Rainier Crosstown Connector and Interchange
As a retired Municipal Securities Principal, I don’t just talk about fiscal responsibility. I know what it is and how to achieve it.
As your two term Mayor, I have proven my ability to lead and create coalitions. As the top City leader, I will continue to work with the council and community to make the best decisions and take action to solve our current and future challenges.
Created Economic Stimulus
Together, we created economic development by implementing the vision to revitalize Downtown Petaluma with our Theater District. We also weathered tough times during the great recession and adopting a balanced budget while maintaining vital services. Many worthy projects were completed and businesses located in Petaluma including Friedman’s Home Improvement, ………..
Fixed our Streets
During my two terms as Mayor, we rehabilitated, repaired and replaced more streets in the City’s history. We have a long way to go and with your vote, I will continue to provide the leadership to fix this problem.
Protected the Ratepayer and Taxpayer
On January ____ my opponent voted to more than double your garbage rates – I helped stop his attempt to cost you hundreds of dollars. Now, my opponent wants you to approve a forever 1% sales tax with no strings attached. I believe you want to know what you are buying with your money and a tax ends to insure accountability. I continue to provide you with the responsible leadership you deserve.
ReElect David Glass Mayor of Petaluma
Effective Proven Leadership
An Articulate and Effective Mayor