The anti-rollback Political Action Committee, disguising itself as “Citizens for McLendon-Chisholm,” got “creative” again in making their latest case against the rollback. A litany of half-truths and outright lies “propagate their propaganda,” which has become their bred & butter!
Most notable is their repeated focus on a VISION for the city, which is NOT “OF, BY, and FOR THE PEOPLE,” but the current political establishment that they represent.
Outright Lie #1
“A few months ago our committee came together after realizing that the issues were critically important and there needed to be balance in the discussion.”
- Until I helped start Citizens for Representative Government of MC last year, there WAS NO BALANCE because those who were making decisions were also promoting their own actions. That’s not balance.
- Mike Donegan, the leader of this PAC, is the former mayor who set our city on a course that few, had they known about it, would have gotten on board with. Mayor Moody & Councilman Hatfield are simply continuing what Donegan started.
- The treasurer and secretary of this PAC are two long-time former city council members who were both booted out of office and they want back in!!!
- Mayor Moody has helped to ensure that there is only one opinion, that of the political establishment, that will be heard at open meetings. Learn more.
- Read more about why there is nothing balanced or objective about this PAC.
“There are no candidates on our committee.”
- Every donor of this PAC is a full-throated supporter of the re-election of Mayor Moody and Councilman Hatfield, and the election of their hand-picked candidate, Mark Kipphut. It’s no coincidence that the candidates and the PAC share some of the same donors!
“Our primary purpose is to present information to the voters so that you have critical information to decide the Future of MC”
- Their primary purpose is to stop the tax rollback! Their PAC filings prove this! View filing documents.
- Their actions prove the unscrupulous nature of their propaganda, bent on terrorizing citizens into believing that the safety of their families are in jeopardy. Learn more about the published actions of this PAC.
Half Truth #2
“A new city hall was a necessary addition to the city.”
- Only the voters should decide IF we “NEED” a new city hall!
- The new city hall was built to accommodate more city bureaucrats, not meetings, as town hall meeting-type of events will still require the use of separate facilities because the meeting space simply isn’t big enough!
- The order of priorities that should have come before building a new city hall are as follows:
- Survey the people of MC to learn about what kind of city they want MC to become.
- Develop a strategic plan for the city, with input and collaboration of citizens.
- Prioritize current and future “needs” of the city, including public safety, based on the strategic plan.
- Move forward, with consent of voters in an election, to tackle those priorities.
- INSTEAD, Here’s how our city leaders have gone about what they call “smart planning.”
- Form a committee of seven hand-picked people, including a major land owner/developer (who is not a citizen of MC), to make recommendations to the City Council to build a new city hall, based on a vision for the population to grow from 2,000 to 22,000. Read minutes of committee workshop and recommendations.
- Accept gift of two acres of land from Triple Creek Developer and, following a compromise by those who wanted another thirteen acres, purchase three more for $60,000 (despite the fact that the development agreement guaranteed that the city would be gifted 10 acres).
- When the two council members are out on vacation, vote to approve the purchase of ten more acres for $200,000 from the developer.
- Don’t send any information to taxpayers about the details of the proposed city hall, instead invite them to come to a meeting…since most won’t show up (less than 60 citizens attended). View meeting postcard invitation.
- Tell attendees that the cost is $1.5 million. Read Mayor’s letter to citizens where (6 months later) he admits this.
- Make it clear that the cost of city hall will not exceed $1.5 million!
- Don’t put this measure before voters. Read minutes of committee workshop and recommendations.
- On the day of the vote to approve the bond:
- Discover that the cost estimates were more than $600,000 too low, but go ahead and approve the bond anyway with the added $600,000+ and mail nothing to taxpayers about this for six months.
- Decide that the city needs a strategic plan, & hire a city planner. Shouldn’t this have come BEFORE building a city hall???
- Conclude that the city needs more money, in addition to the tax hike to cover the bond for the new city hall (even though the city plan won’t be completed for more than seven months) to fulfill the vision of the mayor & city council majority!
- Bring the fire department under the governance and control of the city, even though more than half of all calls fall outside the city limits and just one of the two stations is inside the city limits.
- Start a police department…after all, it will increase revenue and the people will think that it’s a way to make them safer.
- Replenish the capital reserve account that was depleted when the city council decided to purchase a total of thirteen acres for $260,000.
- Hand-pick a committee to help develop the city plan.
- Can you guess who is on the committee…? Many of the same people who are leading the rollback opposition PAC, who were also on the City Hall Committee, including the major landowner/developer who is not a citizen of MC!
- Keep drafts and iterations of the plan from the people (open records requests for this information were denied until last month).
- The week before early voting begins, publish the new city plan (almost a year and a half later)!
Half Truth #3
“Population Growth: The city is going to grow.”
- No kidding, especially because the establishment and this PAC are trying to accelerate both the city’s growth and density by pushing for continued violations of city standards that were enacted to protect our wide-open spaces and more rural lifestyle!
- This includes granting an exception to the Triple Creek developer to allow 1,867 homes on just 409 of its over 1,500 acres, which is projected to almost double the population of the Sonoma Verde development! Read more
“Forecast by the city planner indicate a city population of 7,891 by 2030, far below the 22,000 that has been described.”
The mayor and city council majority gave the City Hall Committee (read above in “half truth #2”) the charge to plan for a population growth from 2,000 to 22,000 (Read minutes from committee workshop). That’s not our number that we’re describing, it’s the establishments!
ANOTHER FACT MISSING: The city planner also projects that the added population growth of Sonoma Verde and Triple Creek will exceed 11,000!
Outright Lie #3
“The city acted to take funds out of reserves to fund the MC Fire Department.”
The funding for the fire department was paid based on the approved budget based on revenue, and was not approved to take money from any reserve account! If funds were taken from a reserve account, then it was either a temporary accounting decision, which will be replenished or the city staff has some explaining to do!
Smoke & Mirrors
The last two items on the first page that relate to the number of calls and the salaries of Volunteer Fire Fighters is more than confusing, it’s an attempt to distract away from the FACT that the budget that was approved for the fire department was based on the mutual understanding between the fire department and the city that the budget that they approved would not negatively impact public safety or compromise the level of service they provide.
Half Truth #4/Outright Lie#4
“MCVFD Negotiated a “One Time” deal with the city and eliminated $54k for equipment.”
The level of deception in this statement is beyond the scope of despicable and completely devoid of integrity.
I randomly asked ten different customers in the Starbucks on Ridge Road, which is where I’m writing this post, none of whom are citizens of MC nor do they live in the ETJ, how they interpreted this statement (I actually had them read the full paragraph from the letter).
One hundred percent interpret this to mean that the fire department decided to cut $54 thousand in equipment this year as a compromise with the city.
However, that’s not what happened here! The $54 thousand represents depreciation.
According to the fire department treasurer, they just recently (the last two years) began to incorporate the full depreciation costs into budgeting and accounting, though the fire department does not publish or disclose their audited financial statements. However, what’s important here is in knowing that all of the fire equipment is up-to-date, not to mention the fact that the department has a brand new fire truck, which was funded by a grant to the department.
If in the future the fire department includes depreciation costs and the city council can verify that the accounting standards are in line with equivalent fire stations (PLEASE NOTE that I am in no way insinuating that this is not the case) then the first priority that I will make as a member of the city council will be to fund the fire department. When cuts become necessary, the city council should look in places OTHER THAN the fire department. Finally, if there is ever good cause to increase the tax rate, it’s the city council’s responsibility to make the case to the people and get approval first!
Note too that the PAC doesn’t seem to want to tackle the FACT that over the last six months the city spent $61,559.74 on office furniture in a city that has just two employees! If your safety is in any way compromised by a rollback or on past approved budgeting then it’s not because the city doesn’t have the funds, it’s because those leading this charge have distorted values and priorities!
Half Truth #5
“Planned economic development (commercial/retail) is needed to provide financial support to the city.”
This is only true for those who embrace the establishment’s plan to turn MC into the Highland Park of MC! I’m not one of them! Isn’t it time that the people of MC get the chance to weigh in on what our city’s future should be?!?
Outright Lie #5
“RCH is raising water rates” and “local roads become more critical,” issues that “require experience, working knowledge of the County, and most importantly, the ability to be positive.”
- The chairman of the RCH water board is a 30-year incumbent city councilman in MC. How has his experienced helped our city? It hasn’t!
- MC has just three roads to maintain. Let’s keep it that way!!!
- Positive thinking??? How about fairy dust too? Can anyone read this in the letter and explain what on earth their talking about?
Half Truth #6
The rollback equates to about $13/month for a $400,000 home.
- This is how liberals (this includes Republicans) continually justify tax increases, by marginalizing the personal impact on taxpayers without focusing on their irresponsible spending habits.
- The current MC establishment believes that they know how best to spend your money, but FACTS PROVE that they DO NOT!!!
This election and rollback isn’t about a few pennies, it is about restoring the voice of the people and making city hall a government that truly is OF, By and FOR the people!
This is just another reason why I ask for you to vote the first choice on each of the items on the May 7 ballot! With Nathan Hodges, Wayne Orchard, and me in office, your voice will finally be heard!
Blessings, Robert Steinhagen
Candidate for McLendon-Chisholm City Council, Place 4, Co-Founcder of Citizens for Representative Government