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» Bond issue: The facts are enough

HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Bond issue: The facts are enough

Written March 31st, 2015 by Hasso Hering
The site of the planned police station. (See those little flags in the grass? What are they for?)

The site of the planned police station. (See those little flags in the grass? What are they for?)

Poetic license is helpful sometimes, but we should avoid it when we can easily rely on facts alone. And no, don’t call the election police to warn them that ineligible voters plan to cast ballots for the Albany bond issue in the election that will end May 19.

The campaign committee for the $18 million bond issue, which would raise most of the money to build a new police headquarters and downtown fire station, provided copy for the Benton County Voters’ Pamphlet. One entry reads: “Join us in voting yes for our community’s public safety facilities.” That invitation is followed by a list of people including several who can’t vote on this issue at all because they don’t reside inside the Albany city limits.

Among others, the list names state Sen. Sara Gelser, who lives in Corvallis; Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley, who lived in Tangent at last report; and former Sen Frank Morse and, alas, me, who both live outside the Albany limits in North Albany. (Citizens who pay taxes in a jurisdiction because they own property in it should be able to vote on tax issues, but that’s an issue for another day.)

All the people and organizations on the list do in fact support the bond issue, but the introductory sentence implies something that is legally impossible.

Also in the pamphlet, Citizens for a Safer Albany, the campaign commitee for the bond issue, declares that “a ‘YES’ vote WILL DECREASE your current TAX RATE.” Sorry, but not really, despite the capital letters, as pointed out to me by Tom Cordier.

Some existing city debt will be paid off this summer, and the 37-cent tax rate to pay it off will then disappear, whether the police-fire bonds are approved or  not. And if they are approved, the rate will go up again by an estimated 29 cents. That’s a nice trade, but to say that approval of the bonds will lower the rate is similar to claiming you “save” $11,000 when you pay $36,000 for a truck whose price tag started at $47,000. You get a nice truck, but you’re still out $36,000, more if you buy it on time.

The police-fire bonds are a good deal because they make possible two construction projects that are crucial to the work the police and fire departments do for the people they serve. That’s why I support them, and why I won’t mind paying an extra 29 cents a thousand in city taxes even though I can’t say so with a ballot. (hh)



17 responses to “Bond issue: The facts are enough”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Given what is happening with the PAC, it is clear that they think facts aren’t enough to convince voters.

    As you question, why resort to outright mistruths and manipulations to sway voters?

    And according to ORESTAR a Bruce Wheeler gave the PAC $18,500. Seems odd that an unprecedented contribution is needed for an election with no organized opposition.

    • Gary Richards says:

      Gordon,

      Weren’t there TV ads for Cordier’s measures that stated “the city spends a million dollars on a sidewalk to nowhere, while the county shuts down a wing of the jail”. And weren’t you a co-Director of the PAC that controlled the content of those ads?

      The majority of the costs associated to the “sidewalk to nowhere” were needed street, water, and sewer infrastructure improvements where the actual cost to widen the sidewalk as was done was but a small portion of that cost – and you know this. And can you tell me once again why the jail could not fund its wing? You know all of this but aired those misleading” mistruth” ads anyway, and you did so in your deliberate attempt to sway voters didn’t you.

  2. Ray Kopczynski says:

    “Sorry, but not really, despite the capital letters, as pointed out to me by Tom Cordier.”

    I disagree with his/your analysis. Voting yes will not increase your *current* tax rate. Your tax rate will, in fact, actually decrease from its current amount because the current General Obligation Bonds for two existing fire stations will be paid off this year. The new proposed bond of 29 cents per $1000 of property value is lower than the expiring bond of 37 cents per $1000. No additional parsing of the language is necessary. It is accurate as stated.

    • This, Ray, is the sentence in the lead argument in favor: “A ‘YES’ vote WILL DECREASE your current TAX RATE.” It is nonsensical on its face, but it implies that by voting yes, voters can cause their tax rate to drop. The sentence is equivalent to and just as false as: “Sneezing will decrease your current tax rate.” Or it is as nonsensical as: “Vote yes and the sun will come up on May 20.” (hh)

      • Gary Richards says:

        There is nothing deceptive in the statement “A “YES” vote WILL DECREASE your current TAX RATE.” Where the Benton Co Voters Pamphlet addresses 22-135 it starts out by clearly stating in the ballot title language that if 22-135 is passed it will be paid for by a property tax increase.

        The ONLY thing the “decrease” statement found in the “in favor of” arguments does is spell out that although property taxes will be used to pay for this measure the eventual rate of taxes assessed will be lower than the current rate. There is nothing either stated or implied that magic, wishful thinking, or sneezing will change anything.

        And, by the way, why were there no arguments against this measure offered for publication in this pamphlet?

  3. Ray Kopczynski says:

    We definitely do disagree on the meaning of the wording. Life goes on…

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      Let’s review –

      Hasso, a supporter of the bond measure and person named in the offending voter’s guide, provides a fact-based, objective interpretation of the PAC’s assertion.

      Ray provides a Clinton-esque response similar to…it depends on what the definition of “is” is.”

      We’re about 8 weeks away from the election and I already have bond-measure fatigue.

  4. tom cordier says:

    Two facts:
    My tax will go down 37cents/$1000AV automatically because the old bonds will be retired this June.
    Voting yes will then increase my tax by 29cents/$1000AV for the next 20years.
    Voting no will stop that increase

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      OK- I give up. When my rate goes from .37/$1000 to ~. 29/$1000, feel free to call that an increase. You win…

      • He isn’t calling from 37 to 29 cents an increase. He’s insisting, properly, that the decline of 37 cents per thou (other things being equal) will happen regardless of anything the voters do. An affirmative bond vote will then nullify a portion of the decrease. If it were possible to lower tax rates by voting for bond issues, we should always vote for bigger bond issues, the bigger the better. (hh)

        • Gary Richards says:

          Yes, a reduction of .37/$1,000 will be realized if 22-135 is NOT approved by the voters – nobody is saying otherwise. The ONLY thing that is being said is that a yes vote on 22-135 will result in a lower than current level of property tax assessment which equates to a savings over current assessment levels.

    • Gary Richards says:

      Ah, Tom –

      But voting “no” will also mean that our police and main fire departments will be forced to work in confines deemed to be of substandard and even dangerous conditions.

      And why would you vote no anyway Tom, or for that matter not so subtly imply that others should do the same (which is what you are doing)? After all, you were a member of the committee that unanimously agreed that both the police and fire stations needed to be immediately replaced and then took that informed decision based agreement and made a recommendation to Albany’s City Council to move forward with the recommendation of creating a bond measure to pay for these desperately needed new stations.

      Why is it that there has only barely been a peep out of you in support of these stations when in fact you fully agree that they BOTH need to be immediately replaced?

  5. Bill Kapaun says:

    Why do they compare it to our current tax rate when it only affects our FUTURE tax rate?
    How STUPID do they think we are?
    I would have supported a fire station, but feel compelled to “punish” such dishonesty and support NOTHING this current “regime” proposes.

    • Gary Richards says:

      Because the two, when one picks up where the other leaves off, are intertwined is why.

      Nobody is saying the two are one in the same. The ballot title language clearly indicates passing 22-135 means a tax increase of .29/$1,000 and the ballot title language is presented in the pamphlet BEFORE the arguments for. Therefore the sequence is as follows. The cost to voters is clearly spelled out up front, the reduction of taxes due to the retirement of existing bond measures is spelled out further into the pamphlet, this equates to a reduction in taxes IF the measure is approved!

  6. Bob Woods says:

    This dialog reminds me of the question “How many angles can dance on the head of a pin?” It’s basically meaningless and irrelevant.

    Do police need adequate working space so their people aren’t treated like trash, and they can meet current and projected needs to catch criminals and keep people safe? The answer is a clear YES.

    Does the fire department need a new building so firefighters and their equipment won’t be crushed by a building that is old, leaking and not earthquake safe? Another resounding YES.

    So quit playing with semantics, and deal with the real issues.

  7. James Carrick says:

    Mr. Richards, tell me how Tom’s advocacy is any more wrong than yours concerning this, or any other issue? Each of us is entitled to our view, and our vote, regardless of what you think. There is NOTHING wrong with advocating one’s view on a forum such as this.

    We’ve been reading your “city can do no wrong” diatribes for a long time now.

  8. Gary Richards says:

    Mr. Carrick,

    Sure, Tom is entitled to voice his opinion, as I am entitled to voice my opposition to his opinion. But when facts and truth are interjected, and when everything comes out in the wash, whose positions remain standing? Would it be the position of the one who had been proven to continually apply (as Gordon Shadle puts it above) “resorting to outright mistruths and manipulations to sway voters” or the one who demonstrates those mistruths and manipulations are exactly that?

    And why are my “city can do no wrong” diatribes any different from Tom and Gordon’s diatribes of “the city can do no right?” You seem offended by the one, why not the other?

 

 
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