Well, well well, the benefits that maintenance assessment districts offer are zero, if not look at the rightly dissolved MAD (Hey! where is our money?). People like Li Mandri and many like him exist thanks to are great representatives. So, my advice is, be careful for whom you vote in the coming elections.
The City of San Diego acted in bad faith, from start to finish, with the Greater Golden Hill MAD, so it's highly likely that it is also doing the same with other MADs. Here is the sad saga of how the City handled the GGH MAD:
- The City inflated their vote to illegally pass the MAD in the first place, inflicting the unwanted and unwarranted double-tax on residents who were already paying for services with their property taxes.
- The City pocketed a portion of the MAD assessments for "administration" despite not providing any.
- The City gave the remaining MAD money to a private company - the Community Development Corporation (CDC) - with the City's Economic Development Corporation nominally providing oversight (non-existent).
- The CDC:
• promptly ousted the Golden Hill property owners ELECTED by the community to serve on the MAD Oversight Committee, and replaced them with its own APPOINTED committee
• hiked the amount of the MAD assessments, in direct violation of the approved budget on which the MAD was formed
• used a significant amount of the MAD funds to market itself (no doubt to solicit further MAD contracts)
• received "contributions" from the contractors that it selected to service the GGH MAD
• purported to have spent significant funds on audits which were never documented nor filed (the City's overseeing Economic Development Department REFUSED to document audits, despite an explicit recommendation by the Ethics Committee)
• had an IRS filing showing the CDC to be approximately $150,000 negative through the previous fiscal year
• employed a company - Harvest Landscape - which operated on a suspended Contractors' License, and submitted one-line bills for approximately $17,000 per month (with no itemization of services provided)
- The City fought the residents of Greater Golden Hill, who filed a lawsuit to dismantle the illegally formed MAD.
- The city lost the case, but appealed, using "lawfare" against Golden Hill property owners to continue taking further MAD assessments while the case languished in the courts.
- The City lost the appeal, but delayed shutting down the MAD and refunding the money, thereby avoiding having to repay homeowners for the first year's assessment by exceeding the statute of limitations for refunds.
- Once the MAD was finally ceased, the City failed to "administer" an orderly shutdown of the MAD - instead, allowing the CDC to simply walk away, leaving public trash cans un-emptied, dog waste stations overflowing, and residents having to clean up the mess.
The City of San Diego not only acted in bad faith throughout the five-year Greater Golden Hill MAD debacle, it acted incompetently and deviously too. Aside from flouting Proposition 26, MADs are a blatant end run around Proposition 13. The Greater Golden Hill MAD was dual taxation, cronyism, and gross government waste, fraud, and incompetence all rolled into one. Neither the community nor its residents are any better off for it!
The new lawsuit against the City of San Diego questioning the legality of maintenance assessment districts is not only a matter of fighting to preserve the fairness of California's Proposition 26, but it is also a matter of not being ripped off so that a bunch of pals can distribute among themselves contracts for their own benefit, and keep themselves doing their private deals -- deals that have nothing to do with improving our shared community spaces but that are being made with OUR money. GGHMA was a shameful case in point.
May I suggest that the City Attorney's office, instead of spending lots of money defending the opaque-private interests of a few individuals (aka corporations), employ the money (and efforts) on meaningful community activities such as having music, singers, dancers and/or performers in our beautiful public parks?
I am a resident of South Park and one of those brave and idealist people who joined like minded others and sued the city over the MAD Assessment and won. That is some consolation but unfortunately we will always need watch dogs to protect us from the thieves, liars and juveniles that oversee our city government.
What goes around comes around Todd Gloria and the rest who connived and bullied South Park and Golden Hills residents.
I have lived in. "South Park" for 56 years. I live on the same street on which I was born. I'm a native San Diegan, the son of a native, and grandson of an native, I have seen our city devolve into something that would be unrecognizable to our forebearers. Outside interests and outside money have come into the city and taken over its entire leadership. GHMAD is just another example of how Government comes into our homes, makes unilateral decisions, based on special intertests, for the enrichment of a few, at the expense of the many, and touts it as good for us all. What a screw job! These people don't really consider this place their home, they just want to get what they can get and get out. I'm sick of the lies and subterfuge, and I really don't understand the apathy. Why a statute of limitations? Why a form to fill out? The City knows what was paid and what is owed. Pay back our money. Do the right thing! It's not that hard, if you really want to.
I think there is no either/or regarding ethical behavior and the law. When in law school, did Ms. Carmen Brock skip the course on law and ethics? A refresher course on ethical values, on wrong and right is a sine qua non for a person who is presently San Diego City Attorney. Furthermore, it's humiliating to be treated as you have treated us, the residents of Golden Hill and South Park.
Regarding Mr. Todd Gloria, well, what's new, no? Remember whom to vote next election. And, Mr. Hardgrove, thank you for keeping us, the "duped" public, informed, even when there is nothing we can do about it.
Ken Harrison 7:48 a.m., Dec. 7
Laura Dvorak 5:47 p.m., Dec. 6
Matt Potter 4:30 p.m., Dec. 6
Ken Harrison 1:30 p.m., Dec. 6
Cesar Esquer Diaz 1 p.m., Dec. 6
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