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City of West Covina Public Employee Cost, Big League Dreams (BLD) and

the Redevelopment Agency debt means bankrupt [causing the residents to

be over taxed and grossly under-served]! fs

https://www.sgvtribune.com/2019/11/12/west-covina-voters-will-have-final-say-on-sales-tax-increase/

OPINION


Written To Deceive!

Vote No on WC Tax Initiative! This Tax Measure is written to deceive and diminish

the control that the voters now have of how the Taxpayer’s money is spent in the

City of West Covina. Former WCCC Toma was attacked by the Public Safety Unions for supporting a

tax increase initiative and in March 2020 the Public Safety Unions are in support of a tax increase

initiative. Now the residents need to verify why the Public Safety Unions have sponsored this tax

increase initiative and is it in the best interest of the Taxpayers. Is this initiative the best way to

protect the residents of West Covina and keep us safe in our homes and in public, keep our streets,

parks, sewers and City buildings clean and in proper appearance and good working condition?


Force the City Council to offer a tax measure that solves the budget problem without creating an

Audit Committee made up of people who do not live in the City of West Covina. Not many if any

City of West Covina Sworn Public Safety live in the The City of West Covina! These City Employee

Unions already dominate our City elections and this measure will allow them to take control of our

City’s budget! Do not vote to increase taxes without a solution to the City’s earnings inability to

keep up with what it cost to operate the City of West Covina. Our City will quickly need another tax

increase; because, we continue to fail to solve the problem of overspending our tax money! FS

5,200 signatures would let West Covina


residents decide on 10.25% sales tax

By CHRISTOPHER YEE | cyee@scng.com | San Gabriel Valley Tribune

PUBLISHED: August 5, 2019 at 5:34 pm | UPDATED: August 6, 2019 at 2:52 pm

West Covina residents could choose to place a local sales tax increase on the March 2020 ballot.

Resident and Planning Commissioner Glenn Kennedy filed in July to circulate a petition to place a

0.75% sales tax increase on the March 2020 ballot in West Covina. If passed, the city’s sales tax

would reach 10.25%, the state maximum level.

The tax increase would generate an additional $9 million in revenue for the city’s general fund

annually, Kennedy said. The general fund covers most city services. That money could then be

used to sustain and expand the city’s police and fire departments.

“We need more cops and firefighters on the street,” Kennedy said. “That’s why I’m pushing this.”

The petition effort is being supported by the West Covina Police Officers Association and the West

Covina Firefighters’ Association.

The petition requires about 5,200 signatures from registered voters in the city to get the tax

increase added to the ballot, Kennedy said.

In addition, without passing a local tax increase, other agencies could propose tax measures

which would take West Covina’s sales tax to the state maximum and prevent the city from using

that money locally, Kennedy said. The South Coast Air Quality Management District has been

considering proposing a one-half-cent sales tax increase.


Mayor Lloyd Johnson, who supported an ultimately failed effort by the previous City Council —

which included James Toma, Corey Warshaw and the since-deceased Mike Spence — in 2018 to

place a tax measure on the ballot, said he would support the petition and the increase if it makes it

to the ballot.

“It isn’t a spending problem we have now. It’s a revenue problem,” Johnson said. “We’ve cut every

department to the bone. Without more revenue, we can’t maintain what the residents want us to

maintain.”

Johnson said he would not ask his fellow City Council members to place the tax increase on the

ballot even though such a move would eliminate the need to collect signatures. That’s because he

believes the rest of the council opposes all tax increases on principle.

Nearby cities, including Covina and Glendora, have already passed similar tax increases, with

others, such as Monrovia, are set to vote on similar increases in November.

Mayor Pro Tem Tony Wu, who sided with Spence in opposing a tax increase in 2018, said he

remains opposed to using tax increases to balance the city’s budget but understands the argument

that increased sales tax revenue should go to the city instead of outside agencies.


“I don’t think a sales tax increase will work, but I’m not going to interfere,” Wu said.

Residents took to social media Sunday to lambaste the sales tax increase. One particular portion of

the proposal they took issue with was that it would replace the city’s existing Finance and Audit

Committee with a new Oversight Committee to be comprised of four residents, one employee each

from the police and fire departments and three City Council members.

 “It appears that removal of the existing Audit Committee is intended to stop any review of police

and fire budget overdrafts and excessive overtime,” resident Jerri Potras wrote.

Kennedy said the language in the public notice was misleading and that the existing Finance and

Audit Committee would simply be getting new members if the tax increase makes it to the ballot

and passes.

https://www.sgvtribune.com/2019/08/05/west-covina-residents-could-decide-to-raise-the-sales-tax-on-locally-purchased-goods/

https://www.sgvtribune.com/2019/07/13/current-public-sector-practices-are-unsustainable/

A petition for the residents to tax themselves more and have less control of their government and

their tax dollars! FS

Debt-ridden West Covina issuing bonds for

complex

By THE SUN | thesun@dfmdev.com |

July 4, 2006 at 12:00 am

WEST COVINA – While the city boasts a balanced budget and one of the healthiest reserves in the

San Gabriel Valley, it also is $683 million in debt.

In a report for the 2004-05 fiscal year to the state controller’s office, West Covina reported its

redevelopment agency had a total indebtedness of $683 million, including $111 million in bonds.

The city has reserves of about $50 million.

Now the City Council, acting as the Community Development Commission, has voted 4-1 to issue

more bonds to pay for Big League Dreams, a sports complex that will include six Major League

Baseball replica ball-fields, two restaurants and a tented multi-purpose athletic field.

Over the 30-year life of the bonds, they will cost $57.1 million, according to city records.

“Much of this debt is related to future obligations due to pass-throughs to various taxing agencies,”

West Covina Finance Director Thomas Bachman said.

Such agencies include school districts, the county and flood control districts. These agencies get a

percentage of the city’s future tax increments, or increases in property tax revenues, Bachman said.

About $333 million of the debt is related to those obligations, Bachman said.

Officials at the state controller’s office said West Covina’s “real debt” is closer to $133 million, which

does not include the future tax increments.

“It hurts because this debt diverts money away from public services,” said Chris Norby, an Orange

County supervisor and director of Municipal Officials for Redevelopment Reform. “Tax dollars

should be going all over the city.”

Cities of roughly the same size as West Covina – such as El Monte, Pasadena and Norwalk – have

not acquired as much debt.

El Monte, for instance, has a real debt of about $11 million; Pasadena about $9.5 million; and

Norwalk about $73 million, according to the state controller’s office.

However, Pomona, with a population of about 150,000, has a debt of $205 million.

Councilman Mike Touhey said West Covina’s debt seems high because the city is accounting for

all interest and principle amounts.

When a resident buys a $500,000 home, he said, that resident doesn’t say he or she accrued a

$1.5 million debt, even though that’s how much interest could be paid over the life of a 30-year

mortgage.

“None of the 115,000 residents in West Covina count all the interest payments they pay on their

home,” Touhey said. “They tell you the principal amount.”

Former West Covina mayor Dr. Forest Tennant said no matter where the debt came from, it has to

be paid eventually.

“When you have the state controller listing all the cities and shows you have an indebtedness,

sooner or later somebody pays the money back,” Tennant said. The figures should be more

transparent with a line-by-line assessment of where the debt is coming from, he said.

The city should make the figures plain enough for the average citizen to understand, he said.

Ten years ago, the state controller’s office figures showed West Covina in $803 million in debt,

making it the sixth most-indebted city in the state, ahead of San Francisco and Anaheim.

Along with the $333 million of pass-through obligations, Bachman said, West Covina’s other

sources of debt include:

$111 million in bonds;

$127 million for low-to-moderate income housing;

$73 million for bonds floated to improve Westfield West Covina;

$39 million in sales tax reimbursements approved last year.

Touhey argued the indebtedness doesn’t factor in assets, and projects such as the Civic Center are

listed on the books as “liabilities” even though they serve a public purpose.

christina.esparza@sgvn.com

(626) 962-8811, Ext. 2472

https://www.sbsun.com/2006/07/04/debt-ridden-west-covina-issuing-bonds-for-complex/



The City of West Covina is owned by Athens Services (Rubbish Hauling Company has 25 year contract with evergreen clause!)
and politically controlled by the West Covina Police and Fire Labor Unions!
https://www.sgvtribune.com/2019/04/24/west-covina-fires-its-police-fire-chiefs/




Letter to the Editor


What Happened to Toma in 2018 and Sykes (in 2015 and 2018) was a defining of two career law enforcement Officers as
Councilmembers who could not be trusted to work for the people in the City of West Covina! FS  


The voting residents have not been involved; therefore, they are not able to discern misleading information and vote
against themselves by believing that the Public Safety (Fire and Police) Unions are recommending political decisions
that are in the best interest for the City of West Covina. This is not correct and that is why the City is virtually bankrupt
and quickly moving closer to filing bankruptcy. The public safety PAC(s) are only focused on taking tax dollars that pay for
the salaries, pensions and other post-employment benefits, not the quality of City services paid for by the general fund! 



 


Letters to the editor
Defeated by the union
Sunday, November 12, 2018


As I write this letter I believe many will see me as a sore loser, a supporter of a
candidate who didn't win in our city of West Covina. 

That is not why I am writing. I am writing in disgust of our local firefighters
union (3226), which entered into our city politics spending big money like any other
super PAC to defeat an incumbent in our city who we should be so fortunate to have.
In the past, they had a City Council that proudly displayed their campaign sign
saying "we support our fire & police." Indeed, they did by obtaining royal
concessions such as higher wages, eligibility to retire at age 50 with 3 percent of
final pay of their salary multiplied by the number of years of service (which
represents 90 percent of their highest salary for life) and medical insurance for
life plus spouse. This is contrast to the vast majority of private-sector workers
who cannot receive Social Security payments before they are at least 62.

Twenty years later the current council has to deal with a general fund with 82
percent going to fire and police, which includes their pensions.

The local union is not willing to make any concessions to resolve labor disputes.
The local union wants the voters to pass a local tax to subsidize continued salary
increases, maintain their pension perks and higher more fire fighters at the expense
of the community without modifications to their compensation and pension.

Adding three fire trucks and seven policemen in the last five years was not enough.
All while cutting many services and laying off city workers to keep solvent is not a
concern for the union, as most of them don't live in our city.

The negative flyers blaming Councilman James Toma for everything from homelessness,
violent crimes - only excluding the drought - worked for the residents who fall for
fear tactics. The new council will have to deal with a city near bankruptcy, and the
promises made to this union in exchange for their support. Driving the city into
functional insolvency will only hurt the community.

- Angie Gillingham, West Covina













City of West Covina (City of the Future?) 

Sykes in the City and what was 
accomplished:

  • Led the Replacement of underperforming West Covina City Councilmembers, City Attorney and City Manager!
  • Why is the City of West Covina virtually bankrupt? The unfunded debt and employee pension obligations are trending uncontrollably upward. When I was on the City Council the Public Safety contracts included, for the first time, that the Public Safety Members were required to contribute 8% of their salary towards their retirement when they were giving zero before with 3% at 50 retirement plan. The City must have a salary freeze, a sales tax and research to find how to control the current accelerating pension cost and or a new Public Employee and Public Safety Retirement system. 
  • Cost benefit analyses before we spend! No more debt making ideas such as $57 Million, without Tax Payer approval, for six Baseball Fields that do not pay for themselves; the residents are paying that bill!
  • Disaster Event Fund Policy (Establish Savings & Emergency Fund Policy). See State Controller’s Office Audit which was asked for by the Shadow Oak Community in 2007 and not achieved until July 2015.
  • Citywide Business Outreach Program (to help businesses stay, thrive and bring new businesses to West Covina).
  • Worked to preserve and protect the Civic Center for the Tax Payers. - Implemented Voter Protected Park and Green Space Law.
  • Citywide Park Improvements.
  • Implementation of yearly WCCC Strategic Planning!
  • City Contracts done with search for what is best for residents/rate payers.
  • All City contracts are now posted on the City Website for the public to examine. 
  • Started the General Plan Update (stopped 30 years of non-compliance with a State Law).
  • Working to Control tax dollars lost to Litigation Cost!
  • Introduced a new Public Records Request Policy.
  • Implemented a Formal West Covina Resident Centenarian Recognition Program (as recommended by Ms. Norma Ingram - resident of West Covina).
  • Got Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District to agree to bring recycled water to the Shadow Oak Community's Green Infrastructure along the Azusa Avenue corridor instead of just the Big League Dreams Sports Park and the South Hills Country Club. 
  • Fought to keep Bus Route 178 on Shadow Oak Dr when Foothill Transit had planned to terminate this route.
  • Fought to keep the City grandfathered law prohibiting the sale of alcohol at gas stations in the City of West Covina.
  • Fought for the return of cable and streaming of council meetings and events, on the internet and cable TV.
  • Fought to Keep cell towers out of our parks and future towers should have subterranean cabinets.
  • Fought against the legalization of marijuana use.
  • Fought against smoking any substances in parks.
  • Commissioned the development of the City's Mobil Application to facilitate request for City services and information pertaining to the City of West Covina.
  • A pledge to always protect and serve everyone equally in the City of West Covina.    
  • Our City needs to create laws and policy that better protect the community from vagrants, homelessness and government officials with a history of criminal and other wrong doing. 

The money for our City Services is mostly accrued from the taxes collected from the residents and the businesses in our City and the residents continue to pay more and get less.

The underrepresented residents in the City West Covina will remain that way until they are more involved, become aware of who/what controls City Hall and read the fine print on all political ads and mailers!

https://www.sgvtribune.com/2019/07/03/west-covina-makes-acting-police-chief-its-permanent-police-chief/

https://www.sgvtribune.com/2019/04/24/west-covina-fires-its-police-fire-chiefs/

https://www.sgvtribune.com/2019/03/06/west-covina-city-manager-resigns-two-other-top-officials-leave-too/