Board Chair of VCTA & VCTF
Vice President/Ventura County Manager for Fidelity National Title.
President of VCTA
Finished his career as Vice President & Product Manager at Dole Fresh Vegetables.
VCTF Vice Chair
President of Aspen Helicopters
VCTA Vice Chair
Business & Development Consultant
East County Member at Large Long Time Activist
Practicing CPA, business appraiser, consultant & litigation specialist.
Chief Financial Officer of a nationwide retail company based in Ventura
Vie President, Gold Coast Ecology
President of Insurance Brokers West, Inc. Moorpark City Councilmember
Vice President of an excavation and grading contractor company.
CPA working in Camarillo.
Attorney who specializes in defending police officers; instructor, Los Angeles Police Department; reserve police officer/retired lieutenant, LAPD.
County of Ventura Project Labor Agreement (PLA)
Ventura County Taxpayers Association voiced opposition to the Board of Supervisors proposed Project Labor Agreement touted by trade unions, on county projects because it would likely increase taxpayer costs more than $75 million over the next five years.
VCTA worked with local contractor groups, county staff and members of the Board to offer a better policy that would require all county projects be bid twice, first as a PLA (union) and then as a non-PLA (non-union). Doing so would allow the Board to be aware of cost differentials if any before deciding which bid to accept.
The Board of Supervisors accepted our recommendation and voted to require future public construction projects be bid both ways, allowing fair and open access to foster robust competition, reduce costs and increase public value that favors taxpayers.
Protecting Proposition 13 and 218 limitation on tax increases
Ventura County Taxpayers Association (VCTA) addressed the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC) and asked that it not sup- port a “citizens group” request to support a one-half percent special purpose sales tax initiative the group hoped to place on the November 2022 ballot.
The “citizens group” was attempting to exploit a recent court decision that said a simple majority is all that is needed to pass multi-billion dol- lar special purpose spending initiative because “citizens have the con- stitution right to tax themselves”.
VCTA and Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association assert that under Proposition 13 and 218 this special purpose tax requires a two-thirds voter approval. Thus, litigation can be expected if the “citizens group” planned tax initiative is placed on the ballot and receives more than a simple majority but less than two-thirds voter approval.
Ventura County Transportation Commission agreed with VCTA and turned down the request to support the special purpose tax initiative and in April 2022 the “citizens group” announced it had abandoned plans to place the sales tax on the November 2022 ballot.
Simi Valley Pension Obligation Bond
Ventura County Taxpayers Association voiced opposition at Simi Valley City Council meetings to the cities proposal to issue $150 million in risky “pension obligation bonds” to borrow money to fund the unfunded pension liability for city employees. We believe this would have constituted new debt, but the city council did not seek voter approval.
VCTA on behalf of itself and HJTA filed a lawsuit against Simi Valley to assert the rights of voters to approve or disapprove the bond under the constitutional provision requiring two- thirds approval of new debt. Rather than litigate the voter approval issue, the city agreed to rescind the pension obligation bond in a settlement and dismiss its lawsuit.
VCTA won on the issue that government debt should be approved by the voters, not based on the simple majority of Simi Valley City Council
Ventura County Medical Center Public Hospital Inefficiencies:
Ventura County Taxpayers Association voiced concern at Board of Supervisor meetings, bringing to light a lack of financial reporting and failures in internal controls at the $500 million publicly run hospital that routinely cost local taxpayers tens of millions in operating losses every year.
For over a year, VCTA met with County CEO, CFO the Auditor-Controller and members of the BOS to discuss ways to resolve these ongoing issues. The County agreed the hospital would restructure its management, begin monthly reporting of financial results, work toward operating efficiencies and submit to an audit of internal controls.
Today, a new management team is in-place, the hospital’s operating losses have been reduced, allowing it to “repay” taxpayers tens of millions to the General Fund and the internal control audit was completed with all deficiencies corrected.
Ongoing investigation of serious problems at Ventura County Medical Center including lack of financial oversight, excessive management turnover and possible hidden clinic losses. For months the County rejected VCTA call for a complete audit of HCA arguing it wasn’t necessary. After learning about some of VCTA preliminary findings the County reversed position and is now prepared to spend $100,000 on an audit.
VCTA filed an Amicus Brief in support of the State of California in the pension reform case of Cal Fire v. CalPERS. The brief articulates the right of the legislature to adjust future pension benefits and the grave threat to state and local economies posed by increasing pension contribution requirements and the ever increasing balance of unfunded liabilities. The brief argues against the judicially created “California Rule” that, as applied, requires that any reduction in pension benefits be offset by a different bur comparable benefit.
Recommended Port Hueneme City Council reject a proposal from PARS to invest it’s contingency reserves set-aside for water, wastewater and economic development, in the stock market. We told council the markets have significant risk. Reserves are intended to provide needed funds for contingencies and therefore should have the least amount of risk.
Urged the California Energy Commission to approve the Puente Power Project. The proposal by NRG Energy Inc. would have generated $5 million in local taxes and create $25 million in economic benefit for the community.
Spoke against Ventura City Council’s decision to continue subsidizing two municipal golf courses - costing residents $13.8 million over the next 15 years. The city managed to turn what had been a profitable business into a bureaucratic mess that loses $600,000 each year.
Offered testimony to the State Water Resources Control board in support of the California WaterFix, the plan to update the state’s aging water infrastructure. Currently, 75% of Ventura County’s population relies heavily on our state’s antiquated water distribution system, and this percentage could actually increase to virtually 100% as adjacent communities struggling with extreme drought conditions, including the cities of Ventura and Ojai, may take their state water allocations for the first time in history. As a state we can and must do better to stabilize this critical water supply.
Raised concerns with Ventura City Council’s decision to adopt a new tiered water rate structure. The rates failed to meet criteria set out in a successful San Juan Capistrano legal challenge. The court said Capistrano failed to show that its rates were tied to the actual cost of service. Proposition 218 says agencies cannot charge more than the “cost of the service” provided.
Opposed the Board of Supervisors decision to vote themselves a pay raise that clearly violated a county ordinance limiting pay to 70 percent of the base salary of Superior Court judges. Against the publics wishes, four members of the Board enacted a supplemental pay equivalent to offset their pension contributions.
Representatives of Ventura County Taxpayers Association filed a sweeping retirement system reform ballot measure. The measure, the first of its kind for a California County, will create a sustainable Defined Contribution retirement system for all new employees. The measure would have eventually brought an end to a system of unfunded liabilities which for too long has been an unfair burden to the taxpayers that must support it.
AARP highlights outrageous Ventura County Pension System from story in LA Times prompted by VCTA and its efforts to bring attention to this unjustified and shameful burden on taxpayers.
Addressed Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District Spending. Raised public awareness of out of control spending increases for salaries and pensions that outstripped revenue and in November, Voters rejected the board president, re-electing new members committed to fiscal responsibility.
Opposed Lifetime Healthcare for Ojai City Council and successfully created pressure for City Council members to take up the issue of continuing to offer lifetime healthcare when the city is ailing financially – a tremendous perk for part time employees.
Improper Golden Handshake was Exposed that included an associated increased lifetime pension spike by VCTC to a highly paid manager whose job was being phased out because of lack of work. VCTC reversed their position once exposed.
Successful Lawsuit Requiring Ventura County Pension Board to release identities of county retirees earning over $100,000 annually under the Freedom of Information Act. The data identified 335 people collecting $42 million annually, confirming pension spiking is excessive and unaffordable.
Ventura City Council Drops Money Losing Housing Subsidy. Exposed a little known housing program that was providing interest and payment free home loans to employees. Most of the money went to only a few highly paid executives. The program was dropped shortly after VCTA’s article.