The Apple Valley Town Council will be meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) evening at 6:30 pm. One of their agenda items is to consider placing The Right to Vote on Debt Act on the 2016 General Election ballot.
Only one measure guarantees residents have the right to vote. The citizens measure. The Government measure does not.
As you know, this measure was qualified for the ballot because nearly 4,000 Apple Valley residents signed petitions demanding a simple right to vote Yes or No to whether local government should take on more than $10 million in debt that is repaid by residents through new fees. Apple Valley government leaders and lawyers have steadfastly refused to give residents the right to vote and would not have if residents, like yourself, didn’t act.
But, sadly, the same Town leaders and lawyers are set to adopt a scheme that seeks to undermine your right to vote in order to protect their ability to spend millions of taxpayer dollars under the cover of Attorney Client Privilege and closed session agenda items.
Here’s what they will be doing on Tuesday night:
The Town Council will receive the staff report on our Right to Vote on Debt Act that requires the issuance of public debt in excess of $10 million be subjected to voter approval on the November 8, 2016 ballot.
But their private, for-profit lawyers, have developed a competing ballot measure that claims you would have the right to vote, but includes a loophole that would let them out of this requirement.
Here we go again! They are going to also place a competing ballot measure of their own on the ballot that is intended to muddy the waters, confuse voters, and bully constituents into giving up their right to vote on debt that we all would have to repay with interest for decades.
The Right to Vote on Debt Act has been legitimately and carefully pursued, with sufficient signatures as certified by the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters. The Town Council should respect residents and allow for the measure to be considered without obstruction or political gamesmanship.
Sadly, instead of doing so, Town leaders are taking legal advice from a private, for-profit law that claims to represent the Town but clearly has a conflict of interest. They are incentivized by stopping a public vote and ensuring they get to continue pursuing their eminent domain lawsuit, regardless of the cost or consequences to residents.
This law firm has crafted a cynical measure to undermine a simple public vote to approve or reject the cost of an eminent domain effort. The Assistant Town Manager, with his own questionable past, has indicated that the Town has no intention of even creating, much less clarifying, a financing plan until it is too late — after an eminent domain lawsuit is decided and millions of dollars have been spent. They cannot event provide accurate information about the cost of the system and water rights, which could be well more than 200 million dollars.
The Town plan is not about accountability, water bills, local control, or transparency. It is a costly and divisive plan that will cost all residents hundreds of millions of dollars. One need only look at Claremont, CA to see how this scheme plays out. Millions have been spent on lawyers, consultants and public relations firms and there’s no end in sight. The same lawyers working in Claremont are working in Apple Valley. They make millions…and you pay for it.
We feel that, instead of politics, residents deserve respect and the right to vote on debt. We know that you agree. We will keep you appraised of the issues and the process.
If you attend the Town Council meeting tomorrow night, we will look forward to seeing you there!