press release 2017 08 28
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press release 2017 08 28

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Richard Michael
Phone: 909-378-5401
E-mail: walnutwatchdogs+press[at]gmail.com
Web: http://www.bigbadbonds.com/

August 28, 2017

Monterey County Plans Illegal Elections

New Monterey County Registrar of Voters offices. Did they forget to move the law?

An informal coalition of taxpayer watchdogs has sent a notice and demand to Monterey County officials to stop two illegal Proposition 39 bond elections ordered by the North Monterey County Unified School District on August 3, 2017.

Instead of rejecting the orders for the November 7, 2017 election, Claudio Valenzuela, Monterey County Registrar of Voters, proceeded to plan for the elections.

At its August 29 meeting, the County of Monterey Board of Supervisors is scheduled to authorize Valenzuela to proceed.

The only other election on the November ballot in all of Monterey County is for North Monterey County Unified Trustee Area #2.

According to the California Education Code, which governs Proposition 39 bond measure elections, a governing board may only order an election for Proposition 39 bonds at a state-wide election or when there is already a regularly scheduled local election where all the district's voters are participating.

The law exists to protect district taxpayers. Low-voter-threshold (55%) bond measures are prohibited in an election where the bond measures are the only item on the ballot.

"This is just another illustration highlighting how the people of California have misplaced their trust in public officials," said Richard Michael, who runs the California School Bonds Clearinghouse web site.

The election orders, written by the district's bound counsel, Quint & Thimmig LLP, went through several steps before being placed on the school board's agenda just a week before the filing deadline. Bond counsel, district staff, and the school board, in the rush to get the measures on the ballot, ignored the law cited in the resolutions. The registrar of voters qualifies candidates and measures for the ballot. It's not clear whether or not Valenzuela knew the law.

Charles McKee, County Counsel, is required by the Election Code to write an Impartial Analysis for each of these bond measures. The Impartial Analyses addressed the law, but missed the prohibition.

The school district has already posted campaign information on its web site and qualified a campaign committee with the Secretary of State.

If the illegal election were to actually be held, voters wouldn't even find out about it until they received their sample ballot pamphlet in the mail.

"One has to wonder whether the public-union-controlled legislature will attempt to change the law to salvage the district's grab for more property taxes," said Michael.

About North Monterey County Unified School District Bonds

Two bond measure elections were ordered to get around the statutory tax limitation of $60 per $100,000 of assessed value "at a single election." (A further, separate violation of Education Code 15270(a), if anyone's counting.) The measures would cost taxpayers $154,621,300 in new taxes. This is in addition to estimated taxes of $47,600,000 from Measure H (2013) and $41,500,000 from Measure E (2002) for which taxpayers are currently obligated to pay.

The district has nearly exceeded the 2.5% of assessed valuation statutory limitation on the issuance of bonds. The district expects to request waivers from the California Department of Education to exceed the limit in order to issue new bonds.

The district has yet to comply with the oversight law in connection with its spending of Measure H funds. It also plans to reimburse itself at least $661,124 from Measure H funds for administrator salaries despite the explicit prohibition in the California Constitution.

About California School Bonds Clearinghouse

The California School Bonds Clearinghouse exists to provide tools and strategies to aid taxpayers fight the rampant lawlessness that has fostered an industry and a culture of corruption around Proposition 39 bonds, from the unlawful use of public resources to win elections, to the co-opting of the allegedly independent citizens' bond oversight committees, to the misuse of bond proceeds for purposes prohibited by the California Constitution.

###

References

Notice and Demand Letter

Monterey County Elections

Education Code 15266(a)

NMCUSD Bond Campaign

County of Monterey Board of Supervisors Agenda

File #: 17-0867 Name: November 7, 2017 Election
Type: General Agenda Item Status: Consent Agenda
File created: 8/16/2017 In control: Board of Supervisors
On agenda: 8/29/2017 9:00 AM Final action:
Title: Authorize the Registrar of Voters to render specified election services to North Monterey County Unified School District for the November 7, 2017 School District Election.
Attachments: 1. Board Report, 2. Exhibit A - NMCUSD Resolution Bond Measure 2016-1734, 3. Exhibit B - NMCUSD Resolution Bond Measure 2017-1802, 4. Exhibit C - NMCUSD Resolution Bond Measure 2017-1803

 


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