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S. Pasadena Taxpayers Group Explains Itself

July 27, 1989

You've been reading about the South Pasadena Taxpayers Assn. and my comments concerning management and tax reform in South Pasadena. As an interested citizen, let me explain who they are and what they seek.

The SPTA is not an anti-tax group. They supported the utility and school board tax issues. They believe in paying taxes to adequately fund local municipal government and schools for the services that are provided. They are for sensible taxation. If we allow taxes to increase faster than income, taxes will eventually exceed income. In the past five years, inflation in the Long Beach/Los Angeles area jumped 25%, but local government increased spending over 70% in the cost of operation.

As a member of the California Senior Legislature, we are vigilant in reviewing proposed new taxes, assessments and license fees. Over 27% of the residents of South Pasadena are over age 60, and according to U.S. census records, 50% of these persons are living at poverty levels.

The SPTA is not a rebel. Rebels defy authority and break laws at will. SPTA operates strictly according to California law.

The current City Council has developed an almost insatiable appetite to spend whatever tax dollars skyrocketing real estate assessments will produce. The council members must be told quickly and emphatically that they were not elected for that purpose. The voters should decide if they stay in office or be replaced before the 1990 election.

We want the council to understand the widespread dissatisfaction with the South Pasadena sewer assessment and utility tax, and to pay attention to the voters when they appear before the council to ask for modification or change concerning financial expenditures.

Contrary to many almost hysterical reports, the sky will not fall. South Pasadena will continue to have schools, teachers, firemen and policemen just like the many other small cities in the San Gabriel Valley, but the diligence of the SPTA and other private citizens gives the voter the opportunity to either elect or retain the existing City Council.

As Councilman Jim Hodge stated: "It's like robbing Peter to pay Paul when the Community Redevelopment Agency borrows money from a very solvent sewer tax fund." The primary beneficiaries, Bank of America, Security Pacific Bank and East-West Savings, got a substantial increase in the value of their real estate holdings at no expense to them, but at a tremendous cost to the taxpayers. The community parking lot did not increase sales tax one iota.

ROBERT WAGNER,

former mayor pro tem

South Pasadena

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