Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Saturday, August 16, 2008

One of These Commercials is Not Like The Other! What's the difference?

The other day, I did a post about Tony Strickland's attack ad which was paid for by special interests (California Taxpayer Protection Committee). Today, I present to you his ad and her ad. His ad makes false claims -- see below. Her ad shows her experience....

Here's info from HBJ's campaign refuting Strickland's ad:

The advertisement placed on local TV and cable stations by friends of candidate Tony Strickland is patently false in every factual claim it makes.

The ad cites a series of legislative votes cast by Hannah-Beth Jackson to “prove” three assertions. Let’s examine them one by one.

Claim: Jackson “voted to raise the gas tax.”

To support this assertion, the ad cited 5 bills.

AB16, 2003, Hannah-Beth Jackson author.

AB16 had nothing whatsoever to do with gas taxes. AB16 required that petroleum produced offshore be transported to shore by pipeline, not by barge, to help prevent oil spills. It affected only one petroleum operation in the state.

AB1058, 2002, Pavley

AB1058 had nothing whatsoever to do with gasoline taxes. AB1058 was one of Pavley’s landmark greenhouse gas emission bills, requiring the Air Resources Board to adopt regulations to comply with the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals. Strickland, a global warming denier, voted against this important bill.

AB1706, 1999, Strickland

At least this had something to do with gasoline taxes. This do nothing bill would have required the California Energy Commission to report back to the legislature on ways to lower gas prices. It was an attempt by Strickland to answer skepticism about whether the oil companies would return any reduction in gas taxes to consumers, or simply pocket the extra profit. A vote against Strickland’s bill can in no way be called a vote “to increase gas taxes.”

AB1707, 2000, Kuehl

This is the most ludicrous citation of all. AB1707 was a bill to protect consumers from the release or sale of private financial information without their affirmative approval. Jackson supported this bill. Strickland, ever the slavish servant of his special interest contributors, opposed the bill. Needless to say, this bill had nothing whatsoever to do with gas taxes, or even petroleum

AB1740, 2001, Ducheny

This bill formally enacted the state budget for the 2000-01 budget year. It was 869 pages long, and did not raise gas taxes.

In fact, state gas taxes in California have not been increased since 1990. They have been constant at 18 cents per gallon for 18 years, despite inflation and the fact that gas prices have dramatically increased.

Claim: Jackson “voted to weaken Proposition 13 making it easier to raise property taxes.”

To start, Prop 13 is a state constitutional amendment, passed by voters, which cannot be changed, altered or “weakened” without a vote of the people.

But the ad nevertheless cites three bills to buttress this laughable claim.

AB94, 2003, Chu

Prop 13 limits property taxes to 1% of assessed valuation with an exemption for public indebtedness approved by voters before July 1, 1978. In 1982 the California Supreme Court ruled (Carmen v. Alvord) that public employee pension obligations approved by voters before July 1, 1978 constituted “indebtedness” and 26 jurisdictions around the state were given the authority to set a somewhat higher property tax rate to meet that obligation. AB94 granted an extension to allow those jurisdictions to cover their voter approved pensions. Jackson’s yes vote did not weaken Prop 13 in any way.

AB822, 1999, Mazzoni

This bill was very similar to AB94, except it affected only public pensions in the city of Oakland, and imposed the additional requirement that the rate be approved by a 2/3rd vote of the electorate.

AB81, 2002, Migden

AB81 resolved an arcane jurisdictional dispute involving whether local county assessors or the State Board of Equalization should perform property tax assessments on large electrical generation plants. Until the passage of energy deregulation in 1996, electrical generation plants had always been assessed by the BOE. Deregulation shifted that responsibility to county assessors. The BOE reasserted their jurisdiction and the whole issue wound up in the state legislature. AB81 had nothing to do with Prop 13. The big utilities preferred dealing with the less experienced local assessors. Strickland toed their line and voted No.

Claim: Jackson “voted to increase the car tax.”

The ad does not cite a specific bill, but credits this claim to the intentionally vague “August 2003 Gray Davis Budget Vote.”

In 1998 the car tax (Vehicle License Fee, VLF) was reduced from its historic 2% rate to .65% as a way of returning a budget surplus to taxpayers. Funds from the VLF, which were channeled to local governments, was “backfilled” by the state to prevent local services from being cut. The VLF program included a provision that ended the reductions if the state did not have the funds to make the “backfill” payments to cities and counties. In 2003 the state faced unprecedented budget shortfalls.

Here is how the respected Legislative Analyst’s Office explained it:

Vehicle License Fee (VLF). The budget assumes that the VLF will increase from the current effective rate of .65 percent to 2 percent beginning October 1, 2003. As a component of the VLF reductions that were enacted in 1998, current law provides that the state "backfill" (and thus make local governments whole) the difference between the lower VLF rate and the 2 percent rate, unless the state has "insufficient moneys" with which to make such payments. In June 2003, the Department of Finance made a determination that the state had insufficient moneys to provide any backfill to local government, and as a result of this determination, the backfill ended and the VLF will return to the 2 percent level in October 2003.

“Major Features of the California Budget” LAO, 2003

The decision to suspend the VLF reduction was made by the Department of Finance.

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Anonymous Tom S. Storke said...

Strickland is quoting the Newspress?

They lost me just on that.

Now I need to roll over some more in my permanent resting place.

8/17/2008 10:11 PM  
Anonymous shoreline shark said...

Sara, would it be possible to ask the Strickland campaign for a response? In particular, I'm interested to know why they would cite some bills as "gas tax" bills if they aren't? Was it a lie, or is there some buried text in those bills we should know about?

By the way, HBJ calls herself a "college professor" in her ad. As far as I know, she's never been a college professor (although she did co-teach one class at UCSB last year with an actual college professor).

8/18/2008 7:10 PM  
Anonymous professor said...

Definitions of Professor:


1. a. A college or university teacher who ranks above an associate professor.
b. A teacher or instructor.
2. One who professes.

Jackson would be definitions 1a and 2.

8/19/2008 12:18 AM  
Anonymous shoreline shark said...

I nominate professor's comment for most laughable political spin of the day.

8/19/2008 8:06 PM  
Anonymous Professor said...

Hard to understand what is spin by quoting the same definition in all the dictionaries?

The real LOL spin is Strickland's advertisements that say he knows or cares about sustainable and renewable energy when he and his financial backers have done everything they could to attain the opposite.

Strickland's record is a fat ZERO on energy conservation and a 100% on corporate oil. He thinks the voters are too stupid to get that.

8/20/2008 11:07 AM  
Anonymous shoreline shark said...

Did you know I'm a doctor?

doc·tor –noun

1.a person licensed to practice medicine, as a physician, surgeon, dentist, or veterinarian.
2.a person who has been awarded a doctor's degree: He is a Doctor of Philosophy.
3.Doctor of the Church.
4.Older Slang. a cook, as at a camp or on a ship.

I fried an egg when I was camping once, so I am a doctor by definition 4.

HBJ a "college professor" -- what a joke.

8/21/2008 4:44 PM  

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