Tin cup men (Valles)

By Angela Valles

Isn’t it funny how many so-called businessmen who run for office claiming to be fiscal conservatives turn into tin cup jangling paupers begging the taxpayers for higher taxes?

There is a lot of this in the Victor Valley with men like Supervisor Robert Lovingood and Apple Valley Mayor Scott Nassif.

They always trot out some compelling story to justify the tax. We need higher taxes to pay for more police officers and firefighters, the politician will say. It is almost always about public safety and their supposed concern for your safety.

When they run for office they are the disciplined penny pincher who knows the value of a dollar and what it is like to sign the front of a check. And they say they will be tough-as-nails on criminals and crime while claiming that public safety and reducing crime is Job No. 1!

Notice that these politicians never claim that higher taxes are needed to pay for non-essential public services. It is always for life and death emergency type stuff. Well, if the life and death emergency stuff is so dang important, then why are these tough businessmen not cutting wasteful parts of our county and town budgets so that we can redirect these resources to hiring more deputies and firefighters?

A local blogger recently posted about how San Bernardino County is sitting on at least $400 million in reserves. The county is flush with cash as real estate prices have rebounded handsomely. And don’t forget the stock market has climbed from the 5,000 point range in 2009 all the way to 25,000 today!

Yet, our brand new $145 million jail has sections of it that have been mothballed and gone unused since it was opened in 2014. Yes, you read that correctly. You and I — taxpayers — funded a 1,400-bed expansion for the High Desert Detention Center and only part of it is being used while there are at least $400 million in reserves and Supervisor Lovingood scares you into believing we need higher taxes to reduce crime. County Budget for 2017-18 has a $3 billion discretionary fund.

Talk about a con-artist. I won’t even rehash the promises he made during his campaigns to not raise taxes, claiming that higher taxes would actually hurt our local economy and make it more difficult to fund public safety initiatives in the future.

Then you have Apple Valley — a town that hasn’t added any new deputies to its headcount since around 2007. In 2007-08, Apple Valley had $19.4 million in its general fund budget. A few months ago, Mayor Nassif approved the 2017-18 budget with a general fund totaling more than $28.7 million.

Apparently, even though our population has risen significantly in the last decade and the general fund has grown nearly 50 percent in that time, our town leaders have taken steps to explore putting a sales-tax increase on the ballot.

Meanwhile, we have a town manager and FOUR assistant town managers earning more than $1.4 million. Yes, that is correct. FIVE senior executives are earning $280,000 a piece on average. The average Apple Valley household (not resident) earns about $50,000 a year.

But, local businessmen turned politicians like Supervisor Lovingood and Mayor Nassif think you need to pay more taxes to fund essential public safety needs.

These greedy tin cup panhandlers we embarrassingly call elected officials are simply not credible and cannot be believed. The will work for food panhandlers at the Bear Valley Road off-ramp are more honest than these charlatans.

If Lovingood and Nassif had any honor, they would spend a weekend holding homemade signs on the off-ramp announcing their support for higher taxes. But they won’t!

So, it is up to us to hold them accountable and point out their hypocrisy while making it crystal clear that we will not support any new taxes no matter how they try to dishonestly sell it to us.

If you have suggestions on subjects or comments, please contact me at [email protected].

Source: Daily Press