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The Art of Spin in a Local Election

How the art of spin can shade an election.

Wildomar is currently being entertained by a new group of spin-masters. We have a city council person who is jumping up and down for joy because the council person has located a letter from a community activist sent to the city council that claims that person would support a simple parcel tax to return to the city what they had lost. What this council person is leaving out of this "amazing discovery" is that this letter was sent to the city council on September 24, 2010 -- four days after the city learned that the California Supreme Court would not be hearing an appeal on a lower court ruling invalidating the parks tax that, at the time, was bringing in $191,848. This community activist is now being berated for changing their mind on a simple parcel tax that brings back to the city not only the $191,848 but an additional 82 percent or $158,152. We all know that inflation has reared its ugly head in our daily lives, but ...

This city council person has a matter of public record made the comment on October 22, 2010 they then wished all the candidates the best of luck in the council election and hoped that campaigning would be in a fair, honest, non-smearing way. How quickly we forget.

Then we have the community activist who is upset when opponents of this onerous tax compare the cost per acre to places like New York City, Georgia, and Oakland that have cost per acre more than 50 percent less than Wildomar’s proposed cost but these cities are just fine when this person is trying to show what parks will mean to the increased property values in Wildomar.

The city in its haste to replace this tax money has so far proposed a Mello-Roos Tax (Community Facilities District), in one of the few growing towns that has so far avoided this end run on property taxes, but did not garner enough votes and now a parcel tax that brings in almost double that of the old tax when a simple parcel tax to replace the old one would have cost the taxpayer less than $16 per parcel given the increased number of parcels taxed, from 6,858 parcels to 12,500 an may have had a snowballs chance of passing.

This tax measure is no exception when it comes to spin, but the fact remains $350,000 is a lot of money no matter how you spin it to spend on 14 acres of parks, that’s 14 acres that will never increase in size no matter how many years the city collects this money because in order to increase the acreage would require another tax to develop those acres. With current development cost, using the county as an example, of about $435,000 per acre that’s not likely to happen in the near future.

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