(Camarillo, Ca) Based on interviews at the “Repeal the Gas Tax. Vote Yes on 6” rally, the answer to the above is not “Happy” or “Appreciative” or “Excited.”
San Diego radio personality and Proposition 6 Chairman, Carl DeMaio, spoke to a room of 100+ people at Community Center Park in Camarillo who invited by multiple local candidates and organizations including Ronda Baldwin-Kennedy for State Assembly, Antonio Sabato, Jr. for Congress, and the local Republican Women’s Federation.
Phaedra Miller, of Oxnard, shared that this is the first time she had been to one of these. She heard about it on KFI AM640. “I am a big listener of the radio show and one of the shows has really been getting into it. We need to get on board with Prop 6 because this was put into effect without voter permission and no one knows where the money is going. I’m tired of this. It’s a vicious cycle.”
Miller decided to come in just the last few days. When asked if she knew of which of her elected officials supported this tax, she said, “No. But I am hoping to find that out here.”
Miller conveyed that she wants to get the word out about Proposition 6. “We complain about things and nothing changes and we keep voting the same way. Something has to change.”
Frank & Linda Orosco, of Camarillo, are also very upset about the new gas tax. When asked about how they heard of the event, Mrs. Orosco shared, ” I know Ronda and because I am really upset.” Frank chimed in, “Do you know what happened to the money the last time they added a tax? That money got spent on everything but the road and was put in the general fund. They can spend it on whatever they want. It was meant for the roads and if they don’t spend it on the roads then it should be given back to the people who earned that money.”
Malvina Letma, of Camarillo, was also very upset about the gas tax and about the overall cost of living in California, “I have four kids that all had to go out of state for college because other states gave them scholarships but their own state would not. Now they live all over the country. They have bought homes in places they can afford. It is too expensive here. My husband and I are about to retire and we are likely moving out of state too because we cannot afford to live here on a fixed income.”
When asked how she found out about the event she showed an email she printed that was forwarded to her by a neighbor. They loaned her a movie and told her about the event. She decided to show up and check it out for herself.
An elderly gentleman (unnamed), shared that he was here because he wanted to understand what was going on. He shared that he was upset about the increase in his taxes.
Michael Cordell, of Camarillo, has lived here since 1985. He came because, “The tax thing is affecting our family and it’s affecting every family. It has to be stopped (by us) because it’s not happening with our representatives in Sacramento.”
When asked what he was planning to do after coming here, he held up his hand full of bumper stickers received for free from Carl DeMaio and stated, “These stickers are going on my cars and at the next gas station I go to!”
Cordell continued,”It’s really exciting to come here and see local folks get involved both young and old. It was nice to see action actually happen and not just a bunch of talk.”
Larry Barbarine has been a resident of Oxnard for over 55 years. His family moved from Pittsburgh when he was very young. When asked how he found out about the event, he shared that he was looking up the issue and found this event on their website and decided to come. His interest was to see how they are organizing and how he could personally help.
“I’m impressed with their organization. I am glad they gave free handouts and the details, facts and costs,” shared Barbarine. “I am planning to spread the word. For Halloween, I give out candy and political things so parents can see it. I use that as an opportunity.”
Barbarine shared that he had recently attended the Oxnard City Council meeting where the council shared that without SB1 funds, the city may not be able to rebuild the Rice Avenue overpass. Barbarine expressed his frustration with those comments. “It seemed like a scare tactic. You have two council members and a few others saying they are ‘educating the public’ by saying there will be no money for the overpass when the general fund, which includes past gas taxes, and ending the central Ca. bullet train could provide for the overpass. It was 9:45pm last Tuesday so I guess it was late but I didn’t appreciate that.”
Speech by Carl DeMaio
“We had 6 months to get 60,000 signatures. Instead we got 100,000 signatures after just 6 weeks,”exclaimed Carl DeMaio to a crowd of applause as he described the process of assisting in the recall of Josh Newman, a former California state senator in Orange County that supported the gas tax. In June, voters recalled him with 59.5% of the vote. His ouster helped eliminate the Democrats’ supermajority control of the state Senate, a key objective for Republicans looking to gain at least a toehold in the California legislature.
Currently, Democrats holds a supermajority in the state assembly, thereby making it impossible for Republicans to block any legislation they disagree with.
Rounds of applause again came when DeMaio shared his many stories of how he and a well organized group got enough signatures to get Proposition 6 on the ballot after many cautioned that it could not be done.
“How did we get the money for this appeal? Glad you asked!” He continued to share.
“We started out with a small group of people and kept getting people added and forwarded. Over the course of a year we were able to raise donations in increments of $37.00 on average. No donation was over $1,000. The average was $5. We raised $2.8M from this email campaign effort. The average was $37.00 times 25,000 people, some that gave 1 or 2 or 3 times.”
In the effort to get the initiative on the ballot, DeMaio was told they would need $8M. He replied that they would do this on a shoestring budget of $2.5M.
They needed 500,000 signatures. DeMaio described how 20,000 volunteers received the long form and obtained on average 9 additional signatures. That combined with the short form signatures amounted to 250,000 free signatures. Typically signatures cost around $10 each when obtained by companies hired to gather signatures for an initiative.
DeMaio went on to talk about how this has been a non-partisan initiative. “In San Francisco, the Green Party has signed up to support this.” Information online to validate this could not be found.
DeMaio closed with hinting to the crowd that they would be sharing more announcements and information in the coming weeks.
In a 1 on 1 conversation with DeMaio, the radio personality shared, “We know we will be outspent by a lot. All we can do is work hard with the volunteers that have helped us all along.”
When asked why this initiative was so important, DeMaio replied, “Cost of living is the number 1 issues for people living here. They are living paycheck to paycheck. Housing is expensive. Politicians are doing this. It hurts the poor and people will reject it. People know it’s not going to the roads. Nothing is changing. There are no changes to the roads. It’s a fraud and a waste on existing tax dollars and that is the driver for ‘Yes on 6.’ ”
“The opposition is spending $50-70M and we will spend $5M. Jerry Brown will spend a lot of money but we will go on grass roots,” explained DeMaio. “This impacts families to the tune of $779.28 more in tax burden per year. It will affect families and those roads still will not be built. So there are two impacts. 1- crappy roads and 2- paying more.”
Other Proposition 6 Supporters
Ronda Baldwin Kennedy took the stage and shared, “$775 is what the average family spends on Christmas. I just imagine The Grinch stealing Christmas from families with this gas tax each year.”
Antonio Sabato Jr. shared, “I am against any tax like this. The government’s job is to make sure that when we go to work everyday, we have a better life. The government needs to stay out of our lives. I left Europe to get away from liberalism. Look at Europe, it’s not doing so well now. Liberals have been running this state into the ground. That’s how this state got in so much debt.”
According to the California Policy Center, California’s debt is estimated at $1.3Trillion. This includes pension obligations, which have been difficult to assess by many groups attempting to estimate the financial obligation with wide ranges.
Whistle blower Information Regarding State and Local Agencies
In a news release by the “Yes on Prop 6” campaign, the group shared information provided by whistle blowers regarding the use of SB1 Funds. SB1, which passed last year, is estimated to generate $5.2B in funds.
“One whistleblower provided payroll documentation to prove that a single bus driver for a local transit system earned $227,181 in compensation last year alone. That’s just the beginning.”
To encourage more tips from whistleblowers, the “Yes on Prop 6” campaign launched an anonymous tip website at www.GasTaxWasteWatcher.com.
“The waste and abuse of taxpayer funds in state and local transportation agencies is staggering,” said Carl DeMaio, Chairman of Reform California – Yes on Prop 6. “While Sacramento politicians are raising the cost-of-living for taxpayers with the massive gas and car tax hikes, they are turning a blind eye to the wasteful spending in CALTRANS and local transportation programs,” DeMaio continued.
“We encourage principled whistleblowers with knowledge of waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer funds at CALTRANS or local transportation programs to step forward and anonymously tell us what they know at www.GasTaxWasteWatcher.com,” DeMaio urged.
UPDATE: Comments from Larry Barbarine were corrected.
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