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Letter To The Editor: Why I’m Voting No On Measure L

To the Editor:

13 Reasons why I’m voting “No” on Measure L, the Safety Tax

1. The County continues to pursue an OHV park for a special interest group that wants to drive fast on dirt. Estimated cost to taxpayers for getting the park operational: $1.2 Million. Approximate additional cost to tax payers if park does not meet the operating standards of the grant conditions: $2.2 Million. Why can’t this tax money be used for fire protection?

2. The Board of Supervisors passed a resolution that would require tax payers to pay the entire PERs contribution for the pensions of Madera County elected officials and department heads (Madera County Resolution 2016-257, dated August 20, 2016). Why can’t this potential hundreds of thousands of tax money be used for fire protection instead?

3. Taxpayer funds of $34.5 Million, plus cost of new furnishings for a government center, why couldn’t these funds be used for fire protection?

4. Starbucks kiosk for the government center, initial estimated cost to taxpayers $256,000, estimated yearly taxpayers cost for kiosk employee benefits, allotment for insurance, tax exemption, IT allowance, shortfall, etc: $97,000. Why couldn’t these funds be used for fire protection?

5. Between 2015-2017, approximately $7 Million in salary increases and benefits for County employees and the Board of Supervisors. Why couldn’t this taxpayer money be used for fire protection instead?

6. Matching grant services for homeless shelter in Oakhurst and for a proposed additional homeless shelter; Why can’t cost of matching services be used for fire protection instead?

7. Estimates for the proposed County monument… $1 Million – $1.4 Million. Why can’t these taxpayer funds be used for fire protection?

8. Changing the veterans administration position from part time to full-time. Was this new full time position given to an outgoing Supervisor ? Since the Grand Jury report indicated that the department had adequate staffing, why doesn’t the position remain in it’s part time status? Why isn’t the cost of the increase in salary used for fire protection instead?

9. The Oversight Committee which Measure L provides will be selected by the Board of Supervisors, this is the very governing body that has brought fire protection to it’s knees in Madera County…. a classic case of the foxes, selecting foxes to guard the hen house.

10 . Measure L provides for a yearly audit. This audit will be reviewed by the Oversight Committee and the Board of Supervisors. Taxpayers will have to rely on the very governing body, the Board of Supervisors who failed to take action on prior audit issues. Ref: 2012-2013 Madera County Grand Jury; Final Report Complaint

Regarding County Administration and Finance (Excerpts)


4. The Madera County Board of Supervisors:

b. failed to direct corrective action be taken to solve cash account issues after being provided detailed recommendations from previous outside audits;

c. allowed the delay for more than one year of the filing of the outside audit (Single Audit) without determining the actual cause of this failure;

d. failed to request findings of the 2009 and 2010 audits;

e. failed to take effective action to eliminate the friction which exists between the Treasurer, the CAO and the Auditor-Controller.

11. Isn’t it true that $3.2 Million in taxpayer funds allocated for improving Rd 415 were diverted to the City of Madera through an illegal Board vote. (Madera County Case No.MCV0362110), by the time the violation was tried in court, the money was gone and the judge dismissed the case?

12. The promise that Measure L will improve ISO ratings, which will cause fire insurance premiums to drop is misleading. Many insurance companies do not use ISO ratings. Out of the 100 points in ISO rating, only 50 are allotted to response time, equipment and personnel. Availability of water and access to water accounts for 40 points and 10 points on communication.

13. Taxpayers funds of approximately $235,000 paid to a private consultant to campaign for Measure L that is linked to Cal Fire Union Local 2881 that provides campaign funding for Measure L – linked to State employees (paid by your tax dollars) – linked to Madera County Board of Supervisors.

Measure L doesn’t make sense. Adequate fire protection can be provided by putting an end to irresponsible frivolous spending and poor decisions; and not by burdening struggling families and senior with increased taxes.

For more information go to:

Terre Sparkman

Oakhurst, California

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