The Taxman Cometh. Again.

I’m here to help. Again.

A few years ago during the depths of the COVID pandemic, the Fullerton City Council voted to put a sales tax measure on the ballot. Since things were looking grim and with revenue falling off, the best course of action in City Hall seemed to be to lay it on to taxpayers. It was necessary to protect Fullerton’s quality of life, you see; or, to be more precise, to protect the pay and pensions of City employees, particularly the cops and “fire fighters” who suck up the majority of the municipal budget.

Well, the names have mostly changed, except for Ahmad Zahra, but the playbook remains the same.

At their November 7th meeting the City Council heard a report from a company called FM3 that had been tasked with producing a survey of resident concerns, and, significantly, to poll them about how to raise revenue. And lots of it.

Who actually hired FM3 in the first place is a mystery, but it must have been our illustrious City Manager, Eric Levitt, since no record of the Council approving a contract is found in the City Clerk’s database. So far they have been paid $49,000 – most likely sneaking under their City Manager’s spending authorization.

Before delving into the presentation, it’s important to note that FM3 is a consulting operation deeply involved in promoting government tax and bond efforts, and has been supporting liberal Democrat politicians for decades. One of the clients listed on their website is Carter/Mondale! On their splash page we find the slogan: Synthesizing Public Opinion To Help Achieve Your Goals, which is code for push polling that promotes your client’s goal of raising taxes.

The company conducted its polling of likely voters last spring, The “results” were presented to the Council on the 7th.

The concerns of the citizenry polled emphasized Fullerton’s rotten roads and included a bunch of stuff that the City has no control over and is merely being used as data filler. The options were presented by the pollsters.

Notice the inclusion of budget shortfalls on the list. According to FM3, 45% of those surveyed believe budget shortfalls are a extremely/very serious problem. Really? Then the other shoe begins to drop.

First, it’s curious that somehow data relating to 2019 and 2020 are shared. Where did that data come from? And what happened to 2021 and 2022? This presentation is just nonsense.

The bland term “additional funding” to the initiated means more taxes, but probably not to those polled. Not yet anyway, for the respondents are being artfully massaged by people whose job it is to push and pass tax proposals for their governmental “clients.” The bit about providing “the level of services Fullerton residents need and want” is telling, and so is the language. How does one’s “personal opinion” qualify one to opine on all Fullerton residents? The purpose is to loosen the respondents mind into the miasma of the common good, as defined by the principle beneficiaries – City employees. Then the other shoe hit the ground.

It didn’t take very long for FM3 to roll out a couple of “hypothetical” sales tax raising ballot measures, one a general purpose tax and the other more narrowly directed to infrastructure, although including the ambiguous phrase “to maintain rapid police, fire and 911 response.” The general purpose tax only requires 50%+1 ballot majority; the special purpose tax requires a 67% majority. The latter is an almost impossible threshold to get over.

Then FM3 rolls out some interesting language in their push for a general sales tax. Notice how these alleged concerns of the surveyed mimic the language of the typical “push poll.” FM3 is using language that will elicit super-high positive responses and suggest that others are already on board. The tiny text at the bottom of the slide tells all. But is all this dire language persuasive when it actually comes to voting?

Finally, FM3 sums it up by saying that a general sales tax is winnable. But is it? Somebody said the same thing about the City’s Measure S back in 2020 and it failed.

In the end the Council (Jung, Zahra and Charles) voted to keep the “education” process going, a process that we know is nothing other than political propaganda aimed at persuading a majority of voters and coordinating with a special political action committee set up to scare, cajole, and bamboozle the voters.

As Bruce Whitaker pointed out on the 7th, there is supposed to be a “bright line” that separates government information from government propaganda. But this line only in the abstract law. In practice the line dissolves almost completely.

36 Replies to “The Taxman Cometh. Again.”

  1. All that language in the questions is just verbiage that will be used later by the PAC to fool the voters.

    A general sales tax will be immediately hijacked by the “public safety” robbers with some crumbs going to the people who mess up the parks.

  2. FFFF/Bushala Anti tax ideology = tax policy to nowhere.

    You demand your quality of life which is laughingly summed up as fix the roads, hide the homeless, and don’t make anything new.

    Meanwhile you insist on not paying for it.

    Keep beating your head against the wall. You’re in an ideological doom spiral.

    1. Tax policy? Good to see the boohoos settle on another regressive tax, just proving that they care more about their pals in City Hall than they do the “underserved” communities they say they care so much about.

      How’s that for tax policy?

      1. Another regressive tax…

        As opposed to what? Do we have some other kind?

        What’s the alternative at the local level?

          1. I do. I know what a progressive and regressive tax is.

            But you used the word. Go ahead and prove you do. Because what you said makes no sense given the taxes we pay in Fullerton.

            1. “As opposed to what? Do we have some other kind?”

              If I were as dumb as you I’d shave my dog’s butt, teach him to walk backwards and bark “I am Hoogerhoot.”

        1. Man, you really ignorant.

          There are assessment districts
          There are utility taxes
          There are ad valorum property taxes, etc.

          Now go lay down and give your little head a break.

          1. So you’re giving utility taxes and property taxes as examples of progressive taxation as an to establish my ignorance? Moving on…

    2. People like Hogerhuis get an erection when they think about raising tax rates and squandering other people’s money on fat salaries and benefits for public employees and serial project failure.

  3. They never give up.

    Jung seems to be in on this. He repeated all the nonsense about finding out what the people want.

        1. I did a district by district analysis of S after the election. By far the most pro-S district was the D3, where it came pretty close to passing (52% no, 48% yes). My theory is that it was probably most popular with the student population.

  4. Everyone named John R. Hogerhuis should be taxed 110% of their gross income. That’s a Tax Policy to Somewhere we can all support!

  5. If the dishonest consultant and dishonest City Council and staff ask the single honest question, “Do you want to raise taxes so employees can contribute less and have higher salaries and pension benefits than you?” the response would be a resounding “NO!”. That is why they lie and use questions that obfuscate, conflate, and misdirect the respondent then misinterpret and skew the results to support their desired conclusion. It has worked in other cities like Stanton, La Palma, Santa Ana and Fountain Valley because their voters are at least as stupid as Fullerton’s.

  6. The city missed an opportunity to get its financial house in order when it was considering what to do with its fire department last year. Instead of restructuring those services by contracting out EMS to the private sector and letting the fire guys extinguish the occasional fire thereby saving millions of dollars every year, the city instead opted to give their “heroes” a 25% pay increase it can’t pay for. No need for a tax measure when you can simply work smarter and free up cash you already have.

    1. Correct. They hardly ever fight fires anymore and the “fighting” is mostly about spraying water on a building until it burns down.

      And sometimes the fire starts up again!

      1. True! My place caught fire (mystery!) 300 “fire fighters” sprayed water on me for a few hours and left.

        Next day the same fire got the rest of me. Fortunately none of the Heroes got hurt. But I’m a mess.

  7. Register reports today that Yorba Linda will use $3.1 million to “go toward acquiring 7 additional condominium units that will become affordable”. That’s just $442,857 per unit to “go toward” the unit costs. Fortunately, it’s only seven more “seniors” added to the public dole.

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