Letter: We are the City’s Money Tree



Here’s one more reason to oppose the city’s proposed 12.9 percent sales tax increase in November. Look at the City Council’s approval last week of the $11.1 million Village Entrance, at 30 percent over budget. Council members Rob Zur Schmiede and Toni Iseman, both up for re-election this year, voted to approve the over-budget expenditure without blinking an eye. Over budget? No big deal, there’s a money tree.

Most telling was Councilmember Toni Iseman’s statements when speaking about where the “over budget” money was going to come from. Iseman was not worried about the Village Entrance cost, stating, “Each time one of those houses sells…any time there is real estate turnover, we are going to find whatever this number is, this $7.6 or even $9 million, we find it in a hurry.” She concluded, “We will recapture this money if a couple people in this room sell their houses…get new property taxes.”

Viola! Just like that, the city “finds” the money. The money tree is us! That’s their fiscal plan, keep taxing and spending because the money tree will provide. Just need a few of us to sell our homes or die. No big deal.

So, if the money is so easy to find for multi-million dollar projects, why is the City Council asking residents to approve a sales tax increase in November to underground soon-to-be obsolete utility poles we don’t even own? That won’t keep us safe from fires, like the last two big ones in Laguna, which were both caused by humans and not those sneaky utility poles. The city doesn’t need this money, because, whatever the number is, the city can “find it in a hurry.”

Something to think about at elections in November. Vote no on the second tax increase in two years; it’s not necessary. We should “pay as we go.” The city should budget for the undergrounding and use those budget surpluses from the money tree. It should partner with Caltrans and the power companies and seek more Rule 20A undergrounding credits and more grant money like the $4 million just received.

Think about those City Council members running for re-election this year, and ask yourself if your money is safe in their hands. Will there ever be enough to fund their incessant spending?

For more facts about why you should oppose the sales tax increase, go to www.stoptaxingourproperty.com.

Jennifer Welsh Zeiter, Laguna Beach

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  1. I am saddened to the bone that anybody on our city council who represents the people would suggest that these people sell their homes and move out of the city so that the city council can have the money that they want. So really, is the city council just representing the future population and not the current population? Do we elect representatives so that we can be driven out of our own community? I really do hope that this was not an accurate quote.

  2. Thank you for sharing Jennifer Zeiter After several years of witnessing the thought processes, decision-making, flippant statements and questionable justifications of our current City Council members, this story doesn’t surprise me. But what does surprise me is how in the world Toni Iseman has been elected to serve four terms already and is now being considered for another term! And Rob Zur Schmiede, with his push for Measure LL tax in 2016 and his latest Sales Tax Increase Measure in November we don’t need but will live with for 25 years and assume the largest long-term debt in our history. WOW! Thanks, ROB!

    Wake up, resident voters! Both of these incumbents (Iseman and Zur Schmiede) have served long enough and our mounting city problems are a direct result of their poor and self-centered leadership.

  3. @ Hillary Cole…What Jennifer quoted above is absolutely accurate. You can see it if you watch the past City Council meeting (August 7) and fast forward to 4:14:30 and see for your self. It is time to get new people on our City Council.

    The Zur Schmiede/Iseman tax and spend team most go.

  4. “The ‘problems’ Laguna faced in 1998 still exist, but they have intensified, Iseman said.”-Pilot. Toni Iseman has served two decades as city councilwoman, yet the pilgrims will once again vote for their Queen. To solve Laguna’s persistent problems, stop voting for incumbents. For term limits and fiscal transparency vote for Lorene Laguna, City Council.

  5. Jan 19, 2018 Article by Bryce Alderton reads: “Every decision the council makes should be based on the basic question, ‘Does this make things better for residents?’ ” said Iseman. This and many other direct quotes and statements made my Ms Iseman demonstrate how out of touch she is with how City policy established by current incumbent leadership has diminished the quality of life for many residents.
    A typical systemic disease that creates “delusions of grandeur” is the sufferage by incumbents without term limits. They think they are great, wonderful while residents suffer the adverse consequence of City Policy. While residents pay to park, City Council voted to allow themselves to be given free parking passes, for life! While resident parking passes are restricted in public parking lots and metrered streets to accommodate “day trippers” …your city council has red construction cones placed in parking lots to assure they have parking privilege, currently denied to residents. Residents deserve equal and fair representation by elected officials. The second class treatment and exceptionalism provided to City Council must be extended to all residents, equally.
    Your vote to elect new leadership to City Council to put Residents First 365 days per year, will he made by casting your vote.


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