I’ve seen some pretty serious accusations against me, against my fellow supervisors, and against the County in general regarding Measure K. These accusations tend to be published in a political opinion column in the Territorial Dispatch and/or posted on various Yuba-Sutter social media groups and pages. Unfortunately, some people read these accusations and assume they are truthful. Given our general mistrust of “government”, I can understand why this occurs. However, I urge you to research both sides of the issue, try and ascertain the facts, and then make up your mind. I’m happy to meet with anyone and talk through this issue. Don’t simply assume that because you read something in a political opinion column or on Facebook, that it is reality.
Accusation: The County promised Measure K was for public safety and now they are saying it can be spent on anything! Gary Bradford and the County lied to you. This is False!
No matter what you may have read to the contrary, I’ve always stated the Board of Supervisors has discretion over the revenue, while at the same time sharing the proposed spending plan (http://bit.ly/measurekspendingproposal), which includes a significant investment in public safety. The need for more funding to enhance public safety services was an important component of Measure K and the ballot language for Measure K reinforces that by using the terms public safety and essential services to indicate how the money will be spent. Two things can equally be true; the board of supervisors controls how the revenue is spent and the proposed spending plan, in addition to our current budget, prioritizes public safety spending.
Accusation: The County said they were going to spend Measure K revenue on hiring new deputies and haven’t done so. As expected, they lied to you! This is False!
In order for this accusation to be true, the County would need to be receiving revenue from Measure K and spending it on something other than the proposal communicated to the public. The fact that the County hasn’t received any revenue from Measure K, and doesn’t know when we will because of the pending lawsuit, makes this accusation baseless. Don’t fall for it. Even if the State begins collecting the new tax on April 1st, there is no known timeline for when the County will receive the money.
Accusation: The County violated the law by spending your tax dollars campaigning for Measure K and must be held accountable. This is False!
Without knowing the law or all of the facts, I can see why this “rumor” is easy to believe. It may appear this is the case, but I can assure you both myself and the County were well aware of the law prohibiting the use of tax dollars and/or public resources to campaign for a measure and ensured we were in compliance. We take our duty to operate within the law seriously. What about all those surveys, town-hall meetings, and hiring a consultant? All those activities are legal under the law. What about the “Yes on K” signs and mailers? Those were not designed, distributed, or paid for by the County or using your tax dollars. In compliance with the law, residents in support of Measure K formed a committee and solicited donations from individuals, organizations, and businesses who also supported the measure. Those resources were used to produce and distribute signs and mailers, as well as perform other campaign related activities. Those who accuse the County of violating the law in this area submitted “proof” to the FPPC, but after looking at everything provided, the FPPC found “Insufficient evidence of a violation of the Political Reform Act”. Just because someone accuses you of something does not make it true.
Accusation: The County knew Measure K was illegal, but went ahead and put it on the ballot. This is False!
To claim the County knowingly violated the law is simply a lie. The County received multiple expert opinions on the legality of Measure K and intentionally drafted it to comply with the law. Simply because some individuals and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association claim that Measure K is illegal does not make it so. However, they are entitled to that opinion and to pursue a remedy in the courts, which is the course of action they have chosen.
Accusation: The County hired an outside law firm to defend the Measure K Lawsuit. This is True!
It is not uncommon for the County to hire outside counsel when involved in litigation. Often this is to take advantage of legal expertise in a specific area and/or supplement County resources. The County Counsel’s office is staffed to handle the day to day legal operations of the County. Keeping staff in the office at a minimal level, and going outside for additional resources and expertise only when needed, saves taxpayers money.
Note: This post represents the opinion of Gary Bradford acting in his capacity as an individual supervisor, it does not represent an official statement from Yuba County or the Yuba County Board of Supervisors