Letters to the Editor: May 19, 2011

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Car show critique

Seal Beach, our unique little beach community, has a Main Street full of wonderful eateries and great stores. Have a car show to promote our local businesses, also great. But again this year the Chamber of Commerce brought in out of town swap meet food venders, in spite of all the very vocal opposition expressed last year.

This year on top of that, they brought swap meet retailers, like the “knock off sunglass guy” and all his cronies selling jewelry, clothes, knick-knacks, and on and on.

That’s a business plan to promote Main Street businesses?

The Chamber openly said more outside vendors more often.

Do we want to become just another swap meet? Our community’s cool and unique eateries and stores contribute to the tax base and local charities. Knock off Sunglass guy, not so much.

McKenna’s Creek paying for the shuttle to pick up and drop off in front of their restaurant is done to siphon business from our community’s  event. No, it’s not in our city or county. Chamber, please loosen up and spring for a shuttle.

First blazing hot weekend after a long cold, wet winter, a late spring break at the same time, and then you throw in the car show people; all the eateries and retail stores should have been busy all day and not just some businesses busy or some businesses busy for just part of the day.  Let’s have a car show and leave the out of town businesses there.

Woody Woodruff

Seal Beach

Regarding Rossmoor and taxes

“The key is that independence doesn’t pay taxes to the county.” (“Mega city dilemma,” by Enea Ostrich, Sun Newspapers, Thursday, May 12).

I guess that when I mail my property taxes to the “county of Orange” twice a year, it gets hijacked in the mail and goes off to who knows where.

The simple truth is that we have had a contract with the county, where we pay them property taxes and they provide certain services.

Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach has his plan, and, like the article says, most affected people don’t like it.

We in Rossmoor can get the total tax figures paid to the county, but the county cannot or will not tell us how much it costs to provide service for us.  But, evidentially, they know that we don’t pay enough.

Of course, they would refund any tax money needed for police, fire, etc., that we would need to expend if we became a city or were annexed, but again, they cannot/will not provide these figures.  It’s real easy to say that we’re not paying our share, but evidently not as easy to provide documentation.  It’s really a shame that inflammatory headlines can sway the uninformed.

So, how would anyone know if we receive more services then we pay for?  And, would we receive our fair share of our taxes back from the county in order to pay for needed services?

Our current system seems to work pretty well, and by a local vote, we would like them to continue as is, and not get threatened by a county official and various local politicians.  Personally, I do not see a need for another layer of politicians to tell me what I must do.

As to your comment about “mega mansions,” you do realize that the property taxes are automatically raised by the county when these houses are built, don’t you?  I am not—unfortunately—not one of these owners, but I wonder why you think they don’t pay their share like everyone else.  Is there a little class envy here?

I am tired of all the threats and half-truths that are being put out there to scare us into some half-baked plan.

Glenn Kovanda

Rossmoor

More on Rossmoor Taxes

You can be assured we in Rossmoor are not getting a tax-free ride, despite Enea Ostrich’s feverish claims (“Mega city dilemma,” Sun Newspapers, Thursday, May 12).

I have 51 years’ worth of tax receipts, paid to the Orange County tax collectors to show otherwise.  These are for schools, street sweeping, mosquito abatement, street lighting and much more. Our Community Services District pays into the Water District, the Sewer Fund, the OC Sheriff’s Department and more. In her column she claims several times we do not pay our way, because we’re not incorporated.

We couldn’t get away tax-free if we tried. It’s obvious and quite sad that a person’s opinion is so baseless and misdirected. Besides the tortured syntax, Ostrich’s entire premise is as embarrassing as it is erroneous. The real issues of cityhood and costs are complex.  Hopefully, our elected leaders can get it right some day.

Roy Roudine,

Rossmoor

We are the government

The former Rossmoor Shopping Center was in fact commercial when Seal Beach took over in 1965.

I personally remember Food Giant, Kress, Holiday Hardware, Thrifty Drug, Fox Theater, the Library and others. Residents of Rossmoor know that the decision was made without the benefit of public knowledge or input.

As for Ross Cortese’s plan for Rossmoor, allow me to quote his Planning Consultant Kenneth F. Mitchell who shared Cortese’s commitment to a beautiful, self-sustaining community, “Rossmoor was not land-planned to be a ‘typical-tract’ subdivision with a simple pattern of streets and homes to be developed on a quick-profit basis, but rather conceived so as to have its own environmental character to balance and integrate the needs of people housed in one area.

“The end result will be an outstanding community of exceptional homes, schools, churches, parks, shopping centers and other facilities, all reflecting a deep sociological aspect. My office is proud to have had a part in the planning of Rossmoor.”

I do not fault Ms. Ostrich’s condemnation of Rossmoor not paying its way.

If I believed Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach’s lies, I’m sure I’d feel as she does.

It seems to me that John Moorlach is perpetrating falsehoods between neighbors to create sissension so he can more easily further his agenda.

Proverbs 11:29 warns, “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise.”

To rectify the “revenue neutrality” issue, Rossmoor Community Services District and individual citizens of Rossmoor have requested those figures reflecting Rossmoor’s utilities and services usage versus taxes paid to the county.

So far, no documentation has been found to support the claim Rossmoor owes the county. If it isn’t available, it doesn’t exist.

I was shocked to read Ostrich’s statement, “What I have found is that what the government wants, it usually gets.” We, the citizens, are the government. Elected officials are servants of their constituents. When this becomes corrupted, it is not only the right of citizens it is the responsibility of citizens to remedy this condition.

As a very fortunate resident of Rossmoor, I continue to cherish my neighbors and businesses in Seal Beach and Los Alamitos. Most of the political animosities are engineered by those greedy for power and advancement.

Diane Rush

Rossmoor

LW critics raise legitimate questions

Last Thursday’s Seal Beach Sun featured a story regarding property taxes in Leisure World by Charles M. Kelly.

In this article, Kelly quotes Bruce Smith, president of Golden Rain Foundation, saying that the Board Members are trying to do their best as volunteers for Leisure World.  This part of Mr. Smith’s statement is accurate.

The article continues with Mr. Smith saying, “There are a certain number of people that want to stir up trouble” without specifying any individual or group.

From the context of the statement, it appears that Mr. Smith is slightly confused about the tenor of the critics’ comments.

My understanding of the critics’ position is that there are some valid questions as to the management capacity of the current Golden Rain Management.

These questions are exacerbated by reports that one of the key requirements of the Accounting Department of Golden Rain, the collection and timely payment of property taxes, was bungled.  Individuals in the Accounting Department are hired by and supervised by Mr. Smith and paid from monies collected from the Mutuals.

These are not volunteer positions.

Further, there are questions as to whether or not the Accounting Department of Golden Rain Foundation complied with its fiduciary duty to immediately disclose this improper payment to the Golden Rain Board, which is composed of representatives from the Mutuals.

The term “stirring up trouble” implies that the critics are simply disagreeing with concepts or management decisions for the sole purpose of making trouble.

Here, the critics are members of the mutuals who raise legitimate questions regarding the operation of the Golden Rain Foundation.  Mutual members do not have the option of prudently handling their own tax payments.  They are required to rely upon the Golden Rain’s Accounting Department to make these payments.

At this point, they are being told that an individual, hired by Golden Rain Foundation, supervised by Mr. Smith, paid with their money, failed to make a payment and that as a result, financial penalties will be imposed.  These penalties are rumored to run into the six figures.

If objecting to this situation is “stirring up trouble,” I would be expecting much more stirring.

In my opinion, Mr. Smith should know the date that taxes are due for the various mutuals.

The supervisor of the Accounting Department should have a way to verify prompt payment within a reasonable amount of time prior to the “due date.”

Efforts should be made to subtract any human element in this matter, perhaps by allowing an automatic draw from established accounts.

Not paying taxes in a timely fashion is a very serious breach of fiduciary duty.  It is not a “screw up.”

Mr. Smith apparently is not taking any proactive steps to avoid a penalty this time, nor a repeat of this error.

If he doesn’t know what will happen until he gets a notice from the tax collector, I suggest that he speak with a tax attorney who is conversant with this type of matter, and see if there are steps which may be taken to ameliorate the effect on the members of Leisure World to whom he owes a fiduciary duty.

Carol M. Johnstone

Leisure World,

Mutual 14