Attempt by union to takeover Hesperia City Council
Hesperia, CA. 10-3-2012
The upcoming Hesperia City Council election is loaded with posturing and political intrigue.
Voters will go to the polls on November 6, 2012 or vote absentee or by mail at an earlier date.
It is evident that attempts are being made by existing Hesperia City Council members who are backed by unions, or supporters of the union, to manage (manipulate) the upcoming election to end up with as many as four pro-union city council members.
Council member Leonard, a union aligned former fireman, is running for a third term on the city council. Despite a gentlemen’s agreement since 1988 that council members would serve only two terms, Leonard is nevertheless a candidate.
Realistically, in my opinion, Leonard does not have his heart in the election. If elected, he would serve, but not be motivated. Council members Holland and Smith would be pleased to have Leonard back on the council to form a union voting block. Union employee contracts will come up for renewal and possible raises.
Councilman Smith is ready to accept Leonard’s defeat and instead have his longtime friend, Chris Elvert, a retired sheriff and union member, win in the election, which would maintain a voting block for Smith. As a planning commissioner, Elvert voted in favor of the marijuana outlets.
Councilman Holland, a retired sheriff and union member, would probably feel comfortable with both Leonard and Elvert on the council. This would form a three member union voting block, with Smith as the fourth member of a union alignment, and almost certainly result in multiple new taxes.
It should be pointed out that Smith, Holland and Blewett all signed a “no new taxes” pledge in 2010. Since that time they have all voted in favor of new taxes.
Mayor Blewett supports Eric Schmidt for city council. Blewett appointed Schmidt to the planning commission early in 2012. Thereafter, Schmidt donated $3,000 to Blewett’s failed campaign for county supervisor. During the appointment process, Blewett ignored the other applicants for the position and did not interview them.
Schmidt currently has political campaign signs posted in Hesperia which are deceptive. Toward the lower right of the signs Schmidt refers to himself as a “Councilman.” He appears to have done so to lead voters to believe that he is experienced. Schmidt is not a councilman and is believed to have never been one, or an elected official in any capacity. His experience is very limited. His political career is starting out on the wrong foot.
The alignment between Blewett and Schmidt is further complicated by $8,000 Blewett accepted from Advance Disposal. Blewett received the money after he supported a $14 million new tax in favor of Advance, after he mislead the public to believe that he had to vote in favor of the tax because the law required so.
The political scene received an injection of complexity when councilman Holland released Bill Jensen as his planning commissioner and appointed Tom Steeno. Interestingly, Holland has the ability and credentials to check the legal histories of anyone he has appointed. I wonder if he has done so?
Steeno’s commissioner seat will represent a further threat toward a pro-tax vote. Steeno’s wife was a supporter of the failed Hesperia Fire Tax Measure F and endorsed advertising which stated that 1,500 Hesperians had recently been evacuated in a fire. The statement was designed to scare homeowners and cause them to vote for F. There never was a fire and no Hesperians were evacuated. F failed by over 80% of the vote and saved homeowners almost $100. per year in new taxes.
Currently being considered by the Hesperia City Council is a purchase of the Rancho Las Flores property and water in Summit Valley. The potential purchase would range between $30 million and $45 million. The purchase would probably be made using bonds, which Hesperia taxpayers would have to repay. The total debt including principal and interest over 30 years is somewhere near $70 million.
Readers can appreciate the necessity to vote for non-union, limited tax type candidates. Incumbent Paul Bosacki is the most well-read and studious of the council members. His opponents such as Smith and Blewett (who has a history of smear campaigns) will most likely conduct a smear-campaign against Bosacki, accusing him of matters which simply won’t be true. These smear campaigns will allege matters just before the election and, due to time constraints, won’t leave enough time for the person being so accused to respond to the voters. While Smith, Leonard and Blewett continue to go on conventions and trips at taxpayer expense, Bosacki stays in Hesperia to study important city issues. Last month, September 2012, Bosacki was the only city council member in town to handle any potential problem, while the others were ”vacationing.”
Bosacki was primarily responsible for the defeat of Fire Measure F and the prevention of a $3 million dollar tax against Hesperians by the Mojave Water Agency. He alone has made the call to increase the amount of property tax money that Hesperia receives back from the county. The 1.59% tax return is believed to be the lowest in the state. Bosacki’s campaign to pave roads resulted in many miles of Hesperia roads being repaved.
Don Parkman appears to be anti-tax and opposed to union control of the city council. A businessman, this is his second attempt to be on the city council and demonstrates his tenacity. Mr. Parkman is a Hesperia resident of some time, along with his wife.
Newcomer, Mr. Roberts, has questioned Hesperia expenditures and budgets and is very vocal against the marijuana outlets. He has former law enforcement experience. He believes the city should be run without any new taxes.
Campaign financial reporting forms will be due at the City of Hesperia by October 5, 2012. Each candidate will have to report their expenditures and contributions received. This information should reveal which candidates have taken money from unions, developers or lobbyists.
We will attempt to report the 460 information on this website, as soon as it has been obtained. This may help guide voters on their choices for Hesperia City Council.
Candidate Eric Schmidt Erects Misleading Political Signs
Hesperia, CA. 9-21-2012
Campaign signs for a Hesperia City Council candidate, Eric Schmidt, were first noticed at several Hesperia locations on 9-21-2012.
At first, the signs appeared normal as to content. Although the political committee identification was somewhat small, it did exist.
Of more concern was the message at the bottom of the sign, toward the right corner, which stated that Mr. Schmidt was a “Councilman.” To the best of our knowledge, Mr. Schmidt is not only NOT a councilman, but he has never been a councilman and perhaps has never been an elected official.
There are rules governing the message that a candidate may put on a political sign communication. It appears that Mr. Eric Schmidt has not followed the rules by misleading the public to vote for him by alluding to experience that he does not possess. If a voter felt that Mr. Schmidt had prior experience as an elected official, they may vote for him instead of another candidate.
The City of Hesperia does not govern the content of political signs.
The Fair Political Practices Commission receives complaints of the nature that would apply to the Schmidt signs and then has three days to make an official ruling.
It is unfortunate that Mr. Schmidt is already mired in potential political intrigue and he is not yet in office.
Mr. Schmidt was appointed to the Hesperia Planning Commission early this year by Mayor Blewett. Despite the fact that there were several applicants for the position, Mayor Blewett did not interview or contact the other applicants and immediately appointed Schmidt. Thereafter, Schmidt gave $3,000.00 to the campaign of Blewett.
In his capacity as a planning commissioner, Mr. Schmidt recently voted to approve an unwanted solar farm in a quiet, rural residential area in Oak Hills (Hesperia.) Approximately 22 property owners spoke against the project.
Nevertheless, Schmidt asserted several times that the project had to be approved because the zoning would permit such an enterprise. Schmidt did not explain to the public that not only must the zoning be considered but that many aspects of development affecting health and safety must be considered. Factors such as a grading plan, a drainage plan, flood water retention, on-site fire fighting water supply and a paved public access road for fire engines were ignored as were other aspects.
Unfortunately, Mr. Schmidt appears to have a conflict over his vote on this matter. Mr. Schmidt is a managing member of a company named Solar West Holdings, LLC. which would indicate a potential conflict of interest, as his interest may be biased in-favor of solar developments. Mr. Schmidt made no attempt to recuse himself from the vote or to seek the opinion of the city attorney.
There are many solar farm applications currently in the Victor Valley. The ones with which we are familiar all have one thing in common. When the plans are submitted for approval there are no indications on the site-plan for necessary project improvements. That means that a developer could apply for a project, receive government funding to build, but NOT have to spend money for the necessary improvements to make the project safe.
At least one of the parcels is owned by a person who made political campaign contributions to the county supervisor for years. The parcel is reported to be steep and not developable. Documents indicate that over $300,000 has been offered for the property.
Mayor Blewett is believed to want Mr. Schmidt on the Hesperia City Council to form a voting block to be able to pass more taxes and raise fees.
HESPERIA FREE PRESS
UPDATE: The Larger Issue from 2-26-2012
As was written on 2-26-2012, the Hesperia City council passed an item to tax Hesperia citizens roughly an additional $9. per month, to be paid through their regular trash bills. The money would be used to build a new trash facility for over $14 million for the benefit of a private company on private land. The action appears to be a gift of taxpayer money.
Hesperia City Council Mayor Russ Blewett, who has the unstated power to direct and guide meetings and decisions, did nothing to stop this unwarranted new tax. In fact, it is believed that he stated that the city council had to vote yes on the matter because the law required them to do so. That is misleading because there is no such law.
Any new building which would have needed construction would not be required until the year 2020. A plea from the public to delay the new building for two or three years, to determine the direction of the economy, fell on the deaf ears of Mayor Blewett. Mayor Blewett, who advertised himself as the “Taxfighter” during his recent county supervisor election campaign, which he lost, is clearly not done with his attempts to pass taxes.
Within two months of Mayor Blewett’s new trash tax, he received $8,000 from the very trash company for which he pushed the $14 million tax. The $8,000 he received is believed to be the largest political contribution that the trash company has ever given to a candidate. The second largest appeared to be approx. $2,600 given to Supervisor Mitzelfelt in 2007. The normal range of contributions is $100-$500. One can only guess why Mr. Blewett was given $8,000 and, more importantly, why he took the money knowing that the public would perceive the contribution as a conflict of interest.
Therein lies the heart of Mr. Blewett’s supposed public concerns. There are none. He will attempt to continue to tax for the benefit of developers and the Building Industries Association (BIA), of which he was formerly the president.
In a Daily Press article dated August 19, 2012, titled “Future uncertain for 15,000-home development,” an amusing quote from Mayor Blewett was included. The quote, (I haven’t) “...had any discussion with Terra Verde, who needs to close escrow on the property...”, is so unlike Mayor Blewett that one wonders why he went out of his way to make such a statement?
Could it be that when the City of Hesperia makes an attempt to pass a huge new tax to either buy the water that is part of the project or, the project itself, that Mayor Blewett wants to distance himself from such a move in the eyes of the voters?
Want to bet how Mayor Blewett would vote on any such proposal? No matter that people are already broke and under/unemployed, what’s another $100 per year in taxes?
Three members of the Hesperia City Council signed pledges in 2010 not to vote to pass new taxes. Additionally, they are supported in their city council voting by another member who cannot SAY NO to almost any proposal.
The upcoming election in November 2012, will present an opportunity to replace “Mr. NO” and to not allow a city council member to stay in office for a third term. It is truly a TIME FOR CHANGE. Eight years is enough.
HESPERIA FREE PRESS
June 1, 2012
ATTEMPTING TO SILENCE OPPOSITION
In two recent Letters to the Editor in the Daily Press, writers have expressed the opinion that they cannot understand anyone wanting to campaign against or to encourage voters to vote against Supervisor Mitzelfelt.
One writer, Scott Nassif, Apple Valley Town Council member, stated he felt that first amendment free speech was being misused. He offered nothing in his letter as an inquiry about the ISSUES surrounding the Mitzelfelt politics. Nor did Mr. Nassif inquire of the very people he was criticizing regarding the issues. Nothing but blind flailing about and using his council notoriety to convince people he is correct.
On 6-1-2012 a second letter, signed by Mr.and Mrs. Morris, stated signs with "...Vote No on Brad Mitzelfelt" are because of a vendetta "...accusing Mr. Mitzelfelt of things he had nothing to do with." The Morris' hardly know what Mitzelfelt is being accused of because they never tried to find out.
It is unfortunate that people in position of power who have received money through Mitzelfelt feel he is a great guy. He may be. But he also has a greatly negative political side.
Suggested reading on the Mitzelfelt issue would be a Letter to the Editor in the Daily Press dated 6-1-2012 signed by Paula Nowicki, former Chief of Staff to Mitzelfelt. She has first hand opinions.
Secondly, is an article in the SBCSentinel.com, June 1, 2012 edition, titled "Politicians and Their Cronies Looted Adelanto Charter Academy." Of particular note in the article is the connection between taxpayer money, Mitzelfelt, and some of the campaign money Mitzelfelt has received for his current Congressional candidacy.
I wouldn't expect either Nassif or Morris to research the above because they would then have to deal with their biases regarding Mitzelfelt. However, if they read the articles and, they change their minds about Mitzelfelt (hope they are not blinded by facts), how will they notify the voters they have attempted to influence with their opinions that appear to be based on nothing more than rumor and certainly not research?
No, this is not an April Fools Day joke. County Supervisor Gary Ovitt has endorsed Brett Henry for County Supervisor and he said, “Brett Henry is someone we can count on to have integrity and leadership...”
Well, that is certainly a matter about which there is more than one opinion.
During the campaign for the failed Hesperia Fire Tax Measure F, Mr. Brett Henry, the fire union president, was responsible for mailing and writing a campaign leaflet which expressed to potential voters that “...fifteen hundred Hesperian’s were recently evacuated in the fire...”
Simply stated, there was no fire and fifteen hundred Hesperian’s were not evacuated. The message in the flyer was designed to use fear to cause Hesperian’s to vote in favor of Measure F. Had the Measure F passed, Hesperian’s would be paying close to $100.00 per year for the new tax.
Oddly enough, Mr. Henry’s campaign website states that he “...opposes tax hikes...” The website message generally has several distortions of the truth and implications about Mr. Henry’s academic background. Does Mr. Henry have college degrees? If so, from where, what year, and in what major field? Has he received a Bachelors or Masters degree?
To demonstrate Mr. Henry’s attention to detail, as all fire captains should be very alert, we include a link to Mr. Henry’s website in which the fifth of five pictures on the HOME page depict him in a safety-alert area. Notice Mr. Henry is NOT wearing a hard hat as the law requires. Observe the sign just behind his left shoulder.
Mr. Henry is the president of the fire union in Fontana. As the president, he was responsible for approving the expenditure of $10,000 to attempt to defeat Measure F. Clearly the money of the dues paying members was not protected. If Mr. Henry was our Supervisor would he protect the taxpayers money?
We ask further, if Mr. Henry was elected, would he step down as the union president? Would he resign as a fireman? Clearly, he could not ethically serve more than one boss at a time.
Mr. Henry would have a conflict of interest every time a new contract for wages and retirement came in front of the board, for the firemen.
Mr. Henry’s candidacy is symbolic of the attempts that the unions are making to take over the Board of Supervisors and the Hesperia City Council.
The Hesperia City Council already has four members who rely on county benefits, wages, or retirements. The fire union has plans to have at least one candidate run for the city council in November.
The Board of Supervisors has five members who have taken campaign contributions from either/or unions, developers or employee’s groups.
Several of these contributors are currently under indictments.
After a recent Hesperia City Council meeting, two members of the public attempted to talk to Mr. Henry to discuss approaches to spend less taxpayer money to operate the Hesperia Fire Dept. Mr. Henry turned his back to the public and walked away.
Clearly union president Henry does not possess the skill required of a member of the Board of Supervisors.
The Larger Issue Daily Press Letters 2-26-2012
Re: “This ’n that” (Our Opinion, Feb. 24).
You touch upon only the smaller part of the larger issue of the increased Hesperia trash rates.
At issue is the public financing of a private business.
Hesperia had until the year 2020 to comply with new upcoming regulations regarding trash diversion. Public testimony suggests that Hesperia already had a 71 percent trash diversion rate and the new facility would boost that rate to only 75 percent. It was asked, and not answered by the City of Hesperia, why we should spend over $14 million for a new facility, increasing diversion by only 4 percent?
Unfortunately, neither the City Council or staff cared enough about the public perception of a Prop. 218 hearing to properly explain that it did not require the City Council to vote either for or against the trash rate hike. The pro-taxing council allowed the public to believe that the vote would be in favor of the issue, because Prop. 218 required a “yes” vote. That was a significant distortion of the truth.
Under Hesperia’s new regulation, some rate payers will actually save a small amount by using fewer trash cans. However, the small portion saved is much smaller than that which will be collected to build the new facility. Additionally, cost of living increases are in the new contract which will further destabilize thousands of taxpayers who are on the verge of financial collapse.
Hesperia has eight years remaining to comply with new regulations, and the city could easily have waited a year or two before their proposal, to see if the economy stabilizes. The new rates will play their part in causing more people to leave Hesperia and move from the State of California.
The cumulative monthly rate increase of almost $9 per month, for construction, will greatly harm taxpayers. The single rate payer fee correction will do little to help.