San Joaquin Taxpayers Association

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$336,769 in unpaid bills owed to Lodi utility.  The SJTA is "always concerned with bad debt in government, because ultimately it is absorbed by taxpayers.  Lodi News Sentinel 11-15-2014

Stockton punts, but other cities are free to tackle pensions through bankruptcy.  After the city's "Yee-Haw!" reaction to the verdict, we still wonder what we got out of the $41 million process.  U-T San Diego 10-31-2014

Federal judge gives hope to busted cities: Stockton ruling says pensions can be cut in California bankruptcy - U-T San Diego 10-1-2014
No evidence current employees will flee relatively high-paid city jobs. Modest reductions - reducing cost-of-living adjustments, rolling back unearned retroactive benefits - could fix the budget problem without "dire circumstances", SJTA President David Renison argued in a letter to the judge.

Bankruptcy topic of choice at City Council candidates forum - The Record 9-26-2014
An audience of more than 100 listened as moderator David Renison, president of the San Joaquin Taxpayers Association, asked candidates 38 questions in two hours.  Twelve were bankruptcy related. VIDEO

Stockton's Measure A - The tax that's not delivering.  The Record 9-3-2014  -  The Record OPINION  9-7-2014
"Why was hiring 120 extra officers a slam dunk prior during the Measure A campaign and now it's a difficult, tall order?"

Staying out, not leaving, is trick with bankruptcy as Stockton's trial begins.  Some fear CalPERS costs will doom exit plan.  The Record 5-11-2014
In a letter to Judge Klein, SJTA President David Renison said that Stockton's decision to forego CalPERS reductions is like a lung cancer victim ignoring a doctor's order to stop smoking."

San Joaquin County Superintendent of Schools candidates speak at a public forum hosted by the SJTA.  
The candidates answered a variety of questions and each pitched themselves as the best person for the job; The Record 4-25-2014.     Three candidates discussed issues of money, vocational programs, charter schools and changes to the education system; Lodi News-Sentinel 4-25-2014.

San Joaquin County Sheriff candidates speak at a public forum hosted by the SJTA.  The Record 3-26-2014      Lodi News 3-26-2014

Mosquito board to keep benefits.  The Record 3-18-2014         News 10TV, Sacramento

The cost of Lodi City Council.  Lodi News 3-1-2014

Not enough votes to alter policy of mosquito district.  Public service has morphed into a sense of entitlement.  The Record 1-23-2014

Stockton Measures A &B came to be thanks to money.  Supporters of sales tax increase outspent opponents 8 to 1.  The Record 12-9-2013

California city's return to solvency, with pension problem unsolved.  The New York Times Dec. 5, 2013
"They wanted to get out of bankruptcy in the worst possible way, and that's just what they did."  SJTA's Dean Andal

Voters send signals in two struggling California cities.  Wall Street Journal 
"We were skeptical about adopting a tax increase without addressing Stockton's unsustainable pension system." SJTA President David Renison

Stockton voters to decide on sales tax.  CBS ch13TV Sacramento (Nov. 4, 2013)
"We don't buy it." SJTA President David Renison

Will a sales tax increase save Stockton or sink us?  Central Valley Business Journal (Nov. 1, 2013)
"We don't care about ideology and politics.  We care about the money."  SJTA President David Renison

Stockton voters face controversial ballot measure  Capital Public Radio (Oct. 31, 201)
"It's a general fund tax; they're making promises with no obligation to keep them."  SJTA President David Renison

Money and Trust.  Stockton's tax hike initiative   The Record (Oct. 8, 2013)
A panel of five took center stage for the forum hosted by the League of Women Voters.  VIDEO/live chat

Sides squabble over tax hike  The Record (Sept. 24, 2013)

Stockton officials take sales tax hike to the people   The Record (Sept.14, 2013)
SJTA President David Renison said an anonymous source mailed him a confidential city document from bankruptcy mediation that "does not square with the city's promise to the voters."

Stockton's Measure A:  Former official gets OK to fight Sales Tax; judge approves court challenge   The Record  (Aug. 22, 2013)
"We are in total agreement with any effort that would force the city to present the ballot measure in such a way that even uninformed voters understand the consequence of such a tax", SJTA President David Renison

The SJTA oppose Stockton sales-tax increase, KCRA 3TV (Aug. 16, 2013)

"Prevailing Wage" - Central Valley City Officials Publicly Voice Opposition to SB 7, League of California Cities  (Aug. 13, 2013)

Stockton's woes came from mistakes, not corruption, state says, Los Angeles Times (Aug. 5, 2013)
"These findings are valuable to us and to other cities as a blueprint going forward", David Renison

Audit Blasts City, The Record (Aug. 1, 2013)
"The audit has value because it sheds light on the true workings of Stockton City Hall and it provides insight into what we can expect if we give them more money in November",SJTA

State auditor: Stockton leaders should have seen warning signs, KCRA TV3 Sacramento (Aug. 1, 2013)
"We know that was happening, and citizens knew that, but the council wouldn't listen", Gary Malloy

SJC Mosquito District board responds to grand jury, Lodi News-Sentinel (July 17, 2013)
Attorney recommends they reconsider a controversial policy to provide non-elected board members full health benefits: SJTA Report

SJTA president, "We want to be seen as truly nonpartisan', Lodi News-Sentinel  (June 29, 2013)
The key is to seek solutions.

3/4 cent Stockton Sales Tax Increase on Agenda, The Record (June 21, 2013)
The San Joaquin Taxpayers Association is not weighing in yet.

Stockton crime-fighting plans face off for taxpayer group, Central Valley Business Journal (June 10, 2013)
In a community forum sponsored by the SJTA, taxpayers were given a chance to weigh the pros and cons of each plan.

Stockton Mayor Silva calls for compromise in State of City address, Central Valley Business Journal (June 7, 2013)

Mosquito District Criticized by Grand Jury, The Record (May 28, 2013)
The report comes after a local taxpayers association repeated its criticism of the board's recent decision to renew monthly medical benefits for board trustees and their family members.

Stockton Leaders Debate 2 Tax Plans That Could Fight Crime in City, News 10 TV (May 23, 2013)
A battle of the taxes played out during a debate hosted by the San Joaquin Taxpayers Association.

Proponents of Competing Crime-fighting Proposals Lobby Support, The Record (May 23,2 013)
Under the leadership of the San Joaquin Taxpayers Association, the participants left out the drama and personality clashes to focus on the plans' true implications.

Crime-fighting Debate Organizers Hoping for Clarity, The Record (May 20, 2013)
"Bringing the sides together for the forum will give backers of each plan an opportunity to clarify any misconceptions and debate the merits of their respective strategies."  David Renison

Watching, Waiting for Ripple, The Record (Mar. 31, 2013)
"It would be a shame to waste a perfectly good bankruptcy by not taking full advantage of the protections afforded under Chapter 9.  Anything less and this... will not have been used to its highest value." David Renison

Modesto Opposes Bill to Require 'Prevailing Wage' on Projects, Modesto Bee (Mar. 24, 2013)
"The bill (SB-7) punishes charter cities that exempt themselves from prevailing wage."  David Renison

'Prevailing Wage' Battle Shaping Up, The Record (Mar. 18, 2013)
"We have seen first-hand how unfunded liabilities have affected Stockton and we are opposed to SB-7.  It sets a dangerous precedent for interfering in a charter city's right to maintain control over its municipal affairs and it is in direct conflict with recent California Supreme Court decisions."  David Renison

School Superintendents to Appear at Taxpayer Forum, The Record (Mar. 5, 2013)
Scheduled to attend are Stockton Unified's Steve Lowder, Lincoln's Tom Uslan, Lodi's Cathy Nichols-Washer and Tracy's James Franco.

Mayor, Officials At Odds Over Sales Tax Boost, The Record (Feb. 12, 2013)
"Stockton's economic development and our quality of life are linked to our need to reduce violent crime."  David Renison

Gravy Train Spotting, The Record (Jan. 23, 2013)
The reason we are aware of this is the San Joaquin Taxpayers Association.  We should be glad the Taxpayer's Association is out there.

Bug Board's Benefits Over the Top, The Record OPINION (Jan. 23, 2013)
The San Joaquin Taxpayer's Association questioned why appointed board members of a mosquito board should even have their health care covered by the taxpayers.

After Further Review, S.J. Pest Control Board to Keep Health Benefits, The Record (Jan. 21, 2013)
It was a decision that drew criticism from the SJTA, which questioned whether the trustees should receive the benefits at all.

Supervisors Appoint Three S.J. Trustees, The Record (Jan. 9, 2013)
This was despite a plea from the San Joaquin Taxpayer's Association to not make the appointments until the trustees finished deliberating about health benefits received by trustees.

Postponement Requested on Mosquito Board Appointments, Lodi News-Sentinel (Jan. 6, 2013)
SJTA is requesting a postponement until the Mosquito Abatement board re-evaluate a policy.

Stockton Closely Watching San Bernardino's CalPERS Case, The Record (Dec. 2, 2012)
"It is unfortunate the state Legislature didn't come together on pension reform.  Now this issue will probably become a product of the court."  David Renison

San Joaquin County Mosquito Board Postpones Decision on Trustee Health Benefits, Lodi News-Sentinel (Nov. 20, 2012)
"The question trustees should weigh is whether they should allow themselves to receive health benefits given the poor state of the economy."  David Renison

Trustees to Vote on Health Benefits for Mosquito District Board, Lodi New-Sentinel (Nov. 19, 2012)
"I don't question their authority to do this, but especially in times like these, people are looking at these sorts of things."  David Renison

Pension Reform Was Focus of Forum, The Record editorial (Nov. 9, 2012)
Stockton - the largest municipality in the U.S. to declare bankruptcy, largely due to overly generous government employee compensation - was the backdrop of a community forum hosted by the San Joaquin Taxpayer's Association on Oct. 17.

State Controller Yet to Release Any Findings from Audit of Stockton after 7 Months, California City News (Oct. 30, 2012)
Chiang's decision came after the San Joaquin Taxpayers Association (and others) made requests for his office to look into the city's financial practices.

After 7 Months, No Audit by state of Stockton Finances, The Record (Oct. 28, 2012)
Chiang decided to probe Stockton's finances upon requests by the San Joaquin Taxpayers Association (and others).

California's Government Worker Pay Raises Greatly Exceed Private Sector, Franklin Center for Gov. & Public Integrity (Oct. 22, 2012)
The purpose of government is to provide services to the public, not to enrich the people who work for it.

Study Finds State Workers' Benefits Grow 3 Times Faster Than Private Sector, CBS 13 TV (Oct. 17, 2012)
At a meeting hosted by the SJTA, a report was released - claiming that, if state workers' salaries grew at the same rate as the private sector, the state would have saved $2.1 billion.

Mayor Johnston says experience needed to guide Stockton out of turmoil, The Record (Oct. 14, 2012)
"Through the years, few people have demonstrated the passion of Ann Johnston."  David Renison

Senator to Discuss Pension Reform, The Record (Oct. 9, 2012)
Sen. Mimi Walters will visit Oct. 17 to talk about California's pension reform at a meeting of the San Joaquin Taxpayers Association.

1 Cent Tax Could Raise $2M for Public Safety in Lathrop, The Record (Oct. 4, 2012)
"I think the residents of Lathrop should shift the responsibility back to the policymakers to find other options."  David Renison

Some Local School Trustees Receive Monthly Stipends, Lodi News-Sentinel (Sept. 18, 2012)
"It's all about civic duty.  Serving should be for the betterment of the community, not for the betterment of your pocketbook."  David Renison

Should School Trustees Receive Benefits?, Lodi News-Sentinel (Sept. 15, 2012)
"Board members get into these positions and their benefits are hidden from the public."  David Renison

Stockton; Time for City to Chart New Course?, The Record (July 20, 2012)
One way to fix the cockeyed fiscal procedures and special interest politics behind Stockton's bankruptcy - and heal the city - is to revise Stockton's charter.

Taxpayer Watchdog Questions Mosquito Board's Benefits, The Record (July 19, 2012)
"Legal or not, that conduct is below the standard most people expect of community service."  David Renison

Stockton; City Will Flourish With Citizens' Help, The Record (July 4, 2012)
"I want people to know that I am working very hard to have a truly bipartisan organization."  David Renison

S.J. Weighs in on Health Care Ruling (U.S. Supreme Court on Obama Care), The Record (June 29, 2012)
The SJTA issued a statement that it would support those in Congress who want to repeal the Affordable Care Act and work on market-based reforms.

Interview regarding Stockton's decision to go ahead with bankruptcy, Reuters (June 27, 2012)
"The SJTA has accomplished a lot by forcing the debate and bringing important issues to the citizens of Stockton."  David Renison

Ex-assemblyman, City Manager Disagree on Fixes to Stockton's Finances, The Record (June 16, 2012)
Dean Andal explained his solutions at a meeting of the San Joaquin Taxpayers Association; starting with aggressive pension reform.

County Taxpayer Group Hosts Sheriff, Ex-lawmaker, Port Director, The Record (June 13, 2012)
The San Joaquin Taxpayers Association has recently become reinvigorated as Stockton moves closer with bankruptcy.

Some for Increased Taxes in Stockton, The Record (May 20, 2012)
"I believe those who push for a tax are mostly union associates whose pensions are threatened in bankruptcy."  Gary Malloy

Safety Concerns Dominate Meeting, The Record (May 8, 2012)
"The San Joaquin Taxpayers Association urged the City of Stockton to hold off bankruptcy - if mediation fails - until after an audit by state Controller John Chiang."  David Renison

Stockton Gorged on Debt for City Amenities Before Crash, Bloomberg News (Apr. 3, 2012)
"Our leaders were dazzled by rosy predictions and their desire to jumpstart downtown revitalization projects. We're going to be paying the price for a long time."  David Renison

20 Years of 'YES' Brings Stockton to Bankruptcy's Brink, The Record (Mar. 18, 2012)
That's the conclusion of a survey of 20 years of council votes on such expenses as lifetime retiree health care, the arena and ballpark.

Stockton; (Council Member) Fritchen Lobbies Against (City Manager) Deis Plan, The Record (Mar. 8, 2012)
All but Fritchen on the City Council voted to suspend payment on the bonds Stockton issues to build parking garages.

Judge Rules for Pension Transparency, SJTA (Jan.12, 2012)
Taxpayer advocates are entitled to know the retiree's start date, years of service, pension formulas and gross medical benefits.

State Orders Manteca Unified to Pay $137K in Interest, Manteca Bulletin (Aug. 31, 2011)
The payback... was brought to light by the San Joaquin Taxpayers Association that had been looking into bond funding and oversight issues at school districts throughout the county.

California State Controller Will Audit Stockton, KCRA TV Sacramento (4-2-2011)
"We need this audit because it will address a lot of concerns that lot of residents have had with the city leaders."  David Renison
SJTA in the News