Taxpayers group drops lawsuit against Measure P

By From page A1 | November 21, 2012

FAIRFIELD — The lawsuit against the city’s 1 percent sales tax measure has been dropped after Measure P passed by more than 67 percent.

The Central Solano Taxpayers Group has filed to dismiss the lawsuit against Measure P that was filed prior to the Nov. 6 election. It claimed improper language was used in voting material and the measure should have been an exact tax, needing a two-thirds majority.

Measure P only needed 50 percent plus one vote to pass and has received 67.06 percent of the vote. Plaintiff William “Dexter” Sanders, the taxpayer group’s vice president, previously said he felt the lawsuit would be tossed out by a judge if it hit the two-thirds threshold.

The group agreed, as it was announced at Tuesday’s City Council meeting the lawsuit was dropped. Sanders, and the named counsel George Guynn, were on hand. Each spoke briefly about the issue without directly addressing dropping the suit.

Sanders and Guynn both said after the meeting that the overwhelming support of the voters was the reason they dropped the suit.

A letter had been sent by the city to the group informing its members that if the lawsuit wasn’t dropped by Thursday, the city would seek to recover all fees associated with fighting it.

That was countered late last week with a letter sent to the city requesting it to repay the taxpayer group’s fees for filing the suit, according to the city’s attorney, Gregory Stepanicich. He said the city sent a letter back declining to pay the fees, which are more than $400.

City Manager Sean Quinn also announced that the council would receive a report on Measure P and begin the process of selecting an oversight committee in January. Measure P is set to take effect April 1.

After hearing some public comment, Councilman John Mraz hinted that those who filed the lawsuit may not want to apply to be on the committee.

“You can pretty much decide who won’t be on the audit committee,” Mraz said while looking at the taxpayer group members in the audience.

Reach Danny Bernardini at 427-6935 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dbernardinidr.

Danny Bernardini

Danny Bernardini

Danny is a newspaper man born and raised in Vacaville. He attended Chico State University and has written for the Enterprise Record and the Reporter. Covers the City of Fairfield, education and crime. A's, Warriors and Saints fan. Listener of vinyl, frequent visitor to the East Bay. Registered "decline to state" voter. Loves a good steak.

Discussion | 17 comments

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  • A Different PerspectiveNovember 21, 2012 - 5:49 am

    The Solano Taxpayer's Assoc has lost all credbility and is hanging on by its last thread of dignity.

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  • SteveNovember 21, 2012 - 8:57 am

    Their dignity went out the door last night too. This group is a joke. It doesn't represent taxpayers. It is a coffee klatch of mostly retired guys with nothing better to do than complain. They have zero credibility. And it's what they deserve. If they don't change their leadership and direction, they will remain a laughingstock, an absolute joke of an organization. The only folks who don't see it now, are the members themselves. George, you out there??

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  • Rick WoodNovember 21, 2012 - 7:36 pm

    Steve: I wouldn't be too harsh. Dexter Sanders has been a contributing member of the FSUSD Measure C Citizens' Oversight Committee (COC) for several years. While we don't agree on everything, he has regularly attended meetings and provided valuable input. For local school bonds like FSUSD’s Measure C, state law requires a COC and that at least one member be from a bona fide taxpayer advocacy group. Dexter has filled that role well. State law does not require a COC for Measure P, but the City opted to include one in the measure. It does not require ad taxpayer group representative, so it’s up to the Council.

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  • George Guynn, JrNovember 21, 2012 - 9:43 am

    A different Perspective and Steve, so all you can do is make catty remarks about people you don't even know, instead of talking about real issues? As bleeding heart librals, how can you support a sales tax that hurts the poor a lot more than the top one percent? You don't even believe your own script! How is being a yes puppet working for you?

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  • Rick WoodNovember 21, 2012 - 11:34 am

    George: There you go again! I tried to engage you on this objection before. If your real objection is Measure P was a sales tax, and therefore regressive, what kind of tax would you support? Again, I didn't think so. Like you, I was surprised Measure P passed with over a 2/3 majority, only I was surprised in a nice way.

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  • A Different PerspectiveNovember 21, 2012 - 6:12 pm

    George, leave my cat out of this!

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  • George Guynn, JrNovember 24, 2012 - 12:44 pm

    Rick, when the economy is in the basement, taxes should be lowerred, not raised. Furthermore, it is not the public's fault that the council went down the redevelopment dead end. They had a fuduciary duty to protect the public's money, which they didn't do. Now they are getting another bailout. Won't surprise me that five years from now the temporary tax will be asked to turn permanent! And finally, if you had worked for the private sector, instead of tax and waste government, you probably wouldn't have a $100K+ a year retirement and wouldn't be so free to want to take from the pocket of others! A different Prospective, does hiding behind a phony name give you credibility? Could it be that you are a gov thug or one of their boot lickers?

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  • Rick WoodNovember 25, 2012 - 10:00 am

    George: And there you go again, attacking the messenger. The sad truth is people who have worked in government are among the few that appreciate all the good government does well enough to defend it and are motivated to do so. Just like some news outlets try to convince people that they are the only "fair and balanced" source of information so that people won't believe the truth, you try to delegitimize anyone who tries to corner you with truth. You did not answer my question. Do that first, and I will engage on your other points.

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  • George Guynn, JrNovember 25, 2012 - 11:00 am

    Rick, you didn't respond to my comment about the City's lack of fuduciary duty with redevelopment, either! Since the public is FORCED to pay taxes at gun point, there should be strong limits on what it can take. If you wish to give all your money to government that is fine. Don't force others to do the same, however! As far as what kind of tax I support, the public is taxed more than enough already. Government needs a big FAT pay cut!!!! As I mentioned before, when times are bad, taxes should be cut, not raised. Thus, Fairfield should have cut taxes, not raise them.

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  • Follow the MoneyNovember 25, 2012 - 11:19 am

    Citizens need complete financial transparency, to be able to follow the money. For examples -- What is going on with the Vallejo Fairgrounds project? Why all the money being spent here? Who really benefits? Even if built are we really going to SHOP our way out of economic difficulties? Do we not already have enough retail? Now about the train station, OK so a school is going to buy land from the city and the city will take the money and but land for the train station project in the Vanden road/ Peabody Rd. area. Who benefits? Who owns this land that the city will be buying? I thought the schools did not have any money. How much is the project actually costing the city? Will the train station project also cost the county anything?

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  • continuedNovember 25, 2012 - 11:25 am

    What contracts are being/ or will be let to what contractors? What is the price tag for each contruction step. Who benefits the most? Is this something we really need? Where is the money coming from to pay for all this?

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  • Rick WoodNovember 25, 2012 - 12:05 pm

    George: Thank you for answering my question. I asked first, so was entitled to your answer first. Your answer is that you disapprove of all taxes, not just the sales tax because it is regressive. OK, but you should have said that in the first place. Regressivity is irrelevant to you in regards to Measure P. You are not so concerned about how a tax affects poor people relative to rich people so much as you are opposed to all taxes, which appears to be because you are opposed to all government. Your concern for the poor was just putting a patina of legitimacy on you general anti-tax position. I agree with you that raising taxes during a recession is not good policy in general. But that mostly applies at the federal level. States and localities don’t have that luxury. I also agree with you that the sales tax is not the best way to go, but I supported Measure P because I think our City government does a good job with money and services, and Measure P had unanimous Council support, which gave it a chance of passing. I don’t think any other tax measure would have enjoyed the broad support of Measure P. In this case our elected representatives had a good sense of public opinion and knew it was time for action. I give them credit for that. You can argue with a 2/3 majority, but I won’t. As for the City’s violating its fiduciary duty with redevelopment funds, you will have to be more specific, and you have to be talking about Fairfield and not Suisun City or redevelopment any other place. As you are from Suisun City and have been vocal about redevelopment there, I want to be sure you are specific to Fairfield. The state taking away all redevelopment was because of some abuses, but not here. And also because the state wanted the money. So what else is new? Maybe now that Prop 30 passed, the state will leave local governments alone. They have squeezed the locals dry. We are left with resorting, in desperation, to raising our local sales tax. I’ll give Vallejo credit too. They went bankrupt, showing everybody else what can happen if people are in denial that cities ARE squeezed dry. Then Vallejo passed a one-cent sales tax, and is making good progress in restructuring its finances and business model. Because of Vallejo, our City leaders had more credibility when they warned we were in trouble. We didn’t have to go bankrupt first, and we were able to pass Measure P with a 2/3 majority when Vallejo barely got a 50% majority. And by the way, I am the real Rick Wood. I have worked in the private sector, and I am again in “retirement.” If you had any appreciation for my contributions to the City in work and volunteering, before and after retirement, you wouldn’t be taking your cheap shots at me personally. If you wonder why people don’t use their real names in replying to you, that’s a big part of it, and no one can blame them.

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  • Tom ChalkNovember 25, 2012 - 1:42 pm

    Hey, Rick: It occurs to me that Mr. Guynn might be better off posting anonymously.

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  • Rick WoodNovember 27, 2012 - 3:26 am

    Tom: How do we know he isn't?

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  • Tom ChalkNovember 27, 2012 - 9:22 am

    RLW: Obama is mounting a big "PR" blitz in support of his insistance on taxing "the rich" by not extending the Bush tax cuts to those making over $250k (New York Post this am). Meanwhile, the GOP side is putting "revenue" on the table at the very least by closing tax loopholes enjoyed by "the rich." Other GOP leaders are softening on taxes, as well.

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  • rlw895November 27, 2012 - 10:16 am

    Tom: And some Republican leaders are prying themselves loose from Grover Norquist and his Pledge. Thank goodness. Maybe our creaky system will work well enough.

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  • George Guynn, JrDecember 05, 2012 - 11:55 pm

    Rick, there you go again trying to put words in my mouth. I never said that I was against all taxes. I think that taxes should be minimized as the power to tax is the power to destroy and we are taxed more than enough already. I believe in small efficent government! Furthermore, as a lefty, don't you care about the poor? So, you want to tax the poor and give the rich a break? So the poor should give up food so that you can fully enjoy your $110K a year pension? Also, I don't agree that raising taxes just is bad policy at the federal level when times are bad. It is bad at any level. Lowering taxes would get the economy going much faster. As for the public leaders having a good sense of public opinion, if so, why did they waste big bucks on a survey? Even worse, why were big bucks spent on the campaign, if they knew the public wanted to pay more tax? As for redevelopment disasters, how about the nice weed patch that used to be a bowling alley and now is a nice weed patch paying no property tax? How about the Cottage Square Apartments that the council harassed the new female owner that brought $1 million to Fairfield when she purchased the property till she used the courts to get a buy out, but did nothing to the previous owners? This property is now another redevelopment disaster. How about the properties that were purchased at a high price and sold for a much lower price? There are lots of those! As for the state wanting money, so does the fed and city governments. My point is that money is better used by the public than any government! Keep government small and efficent, not big and inefficent! You talk about the state squeezing the cities, you and the cities want to do the same thing to the public! Government should not be able to squeeze the public! Are you willing to give up your PERS Pension for more inefficent government? And by the way, I have not taken cheap shots at you, but you have at me. I state the facts and you don't want to hear them. Also, I have never said that you didn't use your real name. I'll give you credit for that. Tom Chalk, Hi Mr Calk! You are right that I might be better off posting anonymously, but I don't intend to do it as I am not trying to take cheap shots at others as anonymous people love to do to me. As for Rick Wood's comment about not knowing that I am really me, all he has to do is post as me and he will know it is me when he is banned.

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