Home > Uncategorized > The Central Coast Taxpayers Association

The Central Coast Taxpayers Association

First, thanks for a great week on Hometown Radio. It was good to have Tom back from vacation and we certainly had an interesting mix of segments this week, everything from Marilyn Farhat discussing Lebanon to Becca Carsel explaining the failure of No Child Left Behind.

But things really exploded Friday when Mike Brennler appeared. Mike is Republican. North County. Conservative. Ex-cop. He has all the right credentials, so to speak. But Mike, like many other Atascadero residents, was curious when he received a flyer in the mail recently from a group called the Central Coast Taxpayers Association. The flyer seemed to be urging support for the proposed Annex Shopping Center up on Del Rio Road, a.k.a. Wal Mart, and included endorsements from former mayor Ray Johnson, a local firefighter and county assessor Tom Bordonaro.

Mike began sniffing around, as he explained today, because he wanted to know who was behind CCTA. Neither the firefighter, nor Tom returned his phone calls. Mike then spoke with Mayor Johnson, who indicated that Tom Bordonaro was the founder of the organization. Mike and I both expressed some concern that our supposedly non-partisan county assessor was behind a political action group. It bothered us because his name was not on the flyer as the head of CCTA, though his endorsement as county assessor was prominently displayed.

Well, the phone calls start rolling in and you’d think we were attacking the Holy Grail by bringing up this subject. Both Mike and I have voted for the guy in the past. We like Tom. We respect him. Somebody finally called in and explained that the new web site was http://www.cctaxfighters.org. Now why a group called Central Coast Taxpayers Association would have a “taxfighters.com” web listing is beyond me.

But reason prevailed and the callers started swinging over to our side during the last half hour. Mike is going to continue to investigate and I hope we can get Tom on the show to explain his side of the story. Mike claims that engaging in committees like this violates the assessor Code of Ethics (he read it on the air). So I kick the question out for you — should our county assessor be involved so publicly in the Wal Mart fight in Atascadero and should he be heading up this political action group?

Have a great weekend!

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  1. Rich from Paso
    August 5, 2006 at 1:56 pm

    Wal-Mart update: Wal-Mart announced to its employees that new employees hired on to several California stores, Paso included, will now make $9.25 starting. That new Wal-Mart minimum wage is also retroactive to employees that have worked for the store for less than five years. That means that someone hired a year ago at the old $7.25 an hour, get a $2 raise automatically.

    Just thought you’d all like to know that.

    One last thing: I saw an interesting Robert Novak column on the minimum wage propossal that the Democrats shot down this week. He says the following: “(The minimum wage’s) main effect will be to eliminate low-skill jobs in areas with a low cost of living and to deprive teen-agers of summer work. (The average wage of a family containing a minimum-wage worker in the U.S. is $45,500.) But it also affects relatively few businesses in a big way — only 6.6 million Americans currently make less than $7.25 per hour, which will become the new minimum wage in 2009.”

    Food for thought.

  2. Anonymous
    August 5, 2006 at 8:28 pm

    So if Tom Bordonaro and his group are tax fighters, why didn’t they come out against the sales tax increase? Who paid for the glossy mailer?

  3. Anonymous
    August 7, 2006 at 8:27 pm

    Thanks Rich for sticking up for Wallyworld! I’m glad you’re getting that payrise. If you think that they are doing this for their staff, you’ve got another thing coming. Even that small increase in wages will do little to get around their poor health care provisions ($1000 annual deductible!) for all their “part-time” workers.
    As for the Democrats “shooting down” a minimum wage – damn right! The Republicans attached the “Paris Hilton” Tax repeal to the bill. If they were concerned about anything but politics, the two would be seperate bills.
    Finally, your figures are a bit wrong there. Approx 6.6M make the minimum wage of $5.15 an hour, whereas 14.9M make $7.15 an hour or less. Since the average wage for an American Worker is about $35K, the spouse is usual required to take one of these type of jobs to bring the family average up to your measly $45K salary you quote.

  4. Rich from Paso
    August 7, 2006 at 9:52 pm

    You are somewhat misinformed. The $1000 deductable is just one of the plans. There are other plans with higher premiums to get to the lower deductables… just like with the rest of America.

    It was Robert Novak’s statistic that I cited, so blame him. Where did you get your 14.5 million stat?

    You don’t know much about the so-called “Paris Hilton” tax. Do you know who lobbies against the estate tax the most? The mutual fund and retirement planners of America. Part of their whole strategy is how to beat the estate tax and that strategy pays the brokers fees and commissions. Doing away with the estate tax will only cost those guys money. Furthermore, the estate tax is a very inefficient and misguided tax. If you want to tax Warren Buffett, then lower taxes and do away with the estate tax so guys like him will want to move their money. Why do you think that he gave some of his billions to Bill and Melinda Gates’ foundation? So his heirs wouldn’t have to pay the taxes on that money.

  5. Bob from San Luis
    August 8, 2006 at 3:34 am

    Okay, if Rich and I (Bob from San Luis) are the same person, is it that we are always in opposition to each other?, or is that usually one of us makes more sense than the other, or one of us actually has our facts straight?
    Rich: I am surprised that you quote Robert Novak for anything and, that you would even put any credence into anything that lying treasonous “reporter” would publish. Here is a link to a very “wonky” economist who, if you can stay awake reading the article, explains very dryly how the canard “increasing the minimum wage will decrease employment” is wrong. It is a non-argument, period. The article also addresses the concern that small businesses suffer when the minimum wage is increased. Or, you can read here, a link to of all places, the Bloomberg Report. Much of the same assertions are made by the writer at Bloombergs as the first article, but they do try to spin it towards their usual right slant.
    As for the estate tax: Please remember that some 98% of the US population will never be affected by the estate tax. The estate tax is basically a tax on the transfer of wealth, from the estate of the person who dies to their heirs; eliminating that tax basically amounts to a tax free transfer of wealth. If the person who has died had sold all or most of his estate prior to his death, he would have been taxed on the sale of those assets, but because they weren’t sold, having no estate tax eliminates that revenue stream. Here is a link from ’01 by the Brookings institute that explains the estate tax much better than I could ever.

  6. Anonymous
    August 8, 2006 at 3:53 am

    Yes Rich, there are more expensive plans – but we’re talking MINIMUM wage, which 99% of the time means minimum health insurance plans.

    The statistics are from the Department of Labor. Where you’ll find that waitpeople are paid LESS than the minimum wage. The generous increase that the GOP put forward included a provision to make this class of people have to pay MORE taxes. It also took away a State’s right to set their own minimum wage too!
    The “Paris Hilton” Estate tax makes it such that such people do not inherit a vast, untaxed income.
    As much as I dislike how BillG made his $, he is not doing this as a tax dodge, but because he doesn’t want to leave his children with a vast fortune. Oh yeah, they’re set for life, but not BillG wealthy. Here’s his father on the subject: http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/publications/template.cfm?PubID=900584

    Quick question though: How is taxing the dead “inefficient”?

  7. Anonymous
    August 8, 2006 at 6:10 pm

    Back to Dave’s original post here, which is not about Wal-Mart or minimum wage or estate taxes but is about Tom Bordonaro and the CCTA. I think Dave in his comment is trying to minimize the hysteria he and his guest jumped to and the show ending with egg on their faces. You make a big deal about this Mike Brennler guy being a detective and doing all this investigating, but he didn’t even come across a web-page announcing Tom was the President of the Central Coast Taxpayer’s Association? How does any association get started? Doesn’t it begin with a group of folks with an idea or opinion going out and finding individuals with like-mindedness? Isn’t that what the Atascadero Homeowner’s Association has done? So, Tom Bordonaro and Ray Johnson and others are in favor of growing the sales tax base for the North County and therefore sent out response cards to find out who is in agreement with them. I agree with you that perhaps their wording could have been clearer and referencing the web-page would have been a good idea, but failing to do so is far from a crime or a conspiracy or anything worth hours of discussion on your show. Tom Bordonaro is our County Tax Assessor. That has to do with property taxes, not sales taxes. He does not make laws, he implements them. Where is the conflict?

  8. Kevin Ashley
    August 8, 2006 at 11:28 pm

    As Vice-President of the Atascadero Homeowner’s Association, I can tell you, yes, we started by meeting with like-minded people and filed as a tex-exempt group. We have made public our address, our contact info, and informed our members when our meetings are. We keep track of all funding (through membership fees) and expenditures, and record minutes of all our meetings – exciting stuff.
    Anyway, it seems the Central Coast Taxpayers Association doesn’t seem to follow this mold.
    I presume that their Website couldn’t be found due to their dual identity – are they the Taxpayers Association, or the CCTaxFighters.org? A google search brings up nothing when looking for the former, so I can see where Mike failed to make the link.
    Does Tom even live in Atascadero? Why would a “private citizen” create such a group and spend at least $6,000 on a mailer to every tax paying family in Atascadero (wonder where he got the list from) and include a pre-paid response mailer? This was an expensive outlay that was surely not done with “private” funding.
    Why wasn’t Tom and the CCTA at the May 30th meeting if they were concerned about Wal-Mart? Is it because they were only started on 7/30/06 (the date their website was registered)?

  9. Anonymous
    August 9, 2006 at 4:11 am

    Let’s stop with acting like Tom Bordonaro is anything more than a Conservative Republican, I mean compassionate conservative Republican. He may hold a supposed non-partisan office but he is as partisan as can be. He ran for County Assessor because he saw a chance to win, and he did. I can guarantee he’ll run for a higher office when he smells the chance to win. Being Tax Assessor is just a interim position for him as it keeps his name out there in the public. I’m certain he’d like to get another cushy position like the Parole Board if he could. I wish someone on his staff would run and take the partisanship out of the position. Brett

  10. Dave Congalton
    August 9, 2006 at 6:10 am

    Hey Anonymous —

    How did Mike and I end up with “egg on our face” on Friday? For the first 20 minutes of phone calls, it was one Swift Boat after another coming down from Atascadero, immediately trying to attack Mike and me.

    Then it turns out that Mike is telling the truth about Tom’s involvement and suddenly the callers are agreeing with us. I think we did a pretty good job of getting this out in the public.

    And how the hell can someone go read aobut the Central Coast Taxpayers Association when the web site is CC Taxfighters Association? That makes no sense.

    Tom can get involved in partisan politics, but he can’t have it both ways. His name was not listed with CCTA on the brochure, but it did feature a prominent quote from him as ASSESSOR. That’s misleading.

  11. Anonymous
    August 10, 2006 at 4:31 pm

    Hey Dave–

    I think you’re the one who is misleading.

    I love the fact how you claim Mike has all the right credentials to speak. It must have been convenient for you guys to not mention that he is with ‘Oppose Wal-Mart’ in Atascadero. I think it is also very convenient no one mentioned that he was planning to run for city council. He announced only 4 days after appearing on your show that he was a candidate, can you seriously claim you had no idea at all he was going to do this?

    I think last Friday you were dishonest with your audience Dave. It would have been one thing to say, “We have a member of Oppose Wal-Mart and City Council Candidate Mike Brennler on to talk about the Central Coast Taxpayers Association,” that would have been fine. Instead you presented him as a neutral party/citizen as just trying to find out the facts, which was dishonest because as it turns out he is not a neutral party at all.

    Be straight with your audience next time Dave.

    PS This guy must not be too much of a PI if he cannot find a website on his own.

  12. Anonymous
    August 11, 2006 at 4:25 am

    Hey Anonymous,
    I don’t know Dave but I do know Mike personally and he is definitly NOT dishonest. If you listen to the content of what he says you will know exactly where he stands on the Walmart issue or anything else for that matter. Mike doesn’t mince words and he will tell you what he’s thinking if you ask him. Or, are you one of those type of people that has to have every little thing spelled out for you before you get it?
    The fact is, even though he had thought about it, Mike didn’t even know that he would run for city council until after the show. It was reaction to what happened on that show and other things within the city council that made his decision.
    By the way, you should never underestimate his abilities as a PI. He’s done some very good and important work that you will probably never know about.

    Neighborly in A-Town

  13. Mark
    August 12, 2006 at 12:28 am

    Having known Mike for many years, I can say he one of the most honest, straight-talking people I have ever known. His decision to run was after the show, due to the response and additional information he has gathered. Mike is not a politician by any means. Mike is running because he believes the citizens of Atascadero deserve a more open and honest approach to government. In fact I plan on helping Mike with his campaign, because I believe he is not only good for Atascadero, but for the entire county.

    Let it be known that Mike is NOT anti Wal-Mart, or part of any “Oppose Wal-Mart’ group. Do not think for a minute that Mike is running on an anti Wal-Mart platform. He is for honest and open government, no matter what the issue.

    Finally, while Mike is a licensed PI, he spent 32 years serving the public as a Police Officer. I think his many years of service speak to his dedication to public service. Referring to Mike, as a PI is accurate, however, retired Peace Officer and truth advocate is more accurate.

    Mark Brady

  14. NewsstandGreg
    August 20, 2006 at 10:23 pm

    Conflict of interest: do they still teach the meaning of this phrase in journalism/political science courses?

    Appearance of impropriety: another useful term when applied to the public sector officeholders.

    These phrases must mean something today. Just ask former U.S. Congressman Randy Cunningham during visitor hours at the jail. Or read The New Republic interview with his ex-wife!

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