No on A!
Our thanks to the 74,192 Contra Costa voters who saw through CCCCD's schemes, and voted "NO" on Measure A. Unfortunately, the measure passed narrowly, with 57% of the vote in a bond election which required 55% approval for passage (down from two thirds since 2000).
In our view, the Contra Costa Community College
District cheated to win. The flier below (shown front and back) was
apparently produced by CCCCD personnel, and then distributed at District
campuses (with the second page changed for each campus), with arrangements
apparently made by CCCCD's student member of its governing board.
“No school district or community college district funds, services, supplies, or equipment shall be used for the purpose of urging the support or defeat of any ballot measure….” — California Education Code §7054, in relevant part
“Be fair in reviewing both the good and bad aspects of the measure…. A board of education… should not urge the electorate to vote in support of or in opposition to [an] initiative…. Do not use your official appearance to speak for or against [a] measure.” — From “Nine Guidelines to Follow When Confronting an Election Issue,” transmitted by CCCCD's Manager of Audit Services, to CCCCD's "Interim Special Assistant to the Chancellor (whose term coincided with CCCCD’s Measure A campaign and its immediate aftermath, and who appeared to spend much or most of his time promoting passage of Measure A) — March 8, 2006
A is the $286.5 Million bond
measure promoted by the Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) and appearing at a polling place near you on Election Day,
June 6. 2006.
Here is why CCCCD has a perceived money problem:
about CCCCD's scandal involving "concurrent enrollment"
of local high school students in physical education classes here.
Adding to an extended list of other scandals, the District was caught
padding its flat or sinking enrollment figures with high school students,
inflating its apportionment of state taxpayer dollars.
about CCCCD's illegal use of taxpayer dollars for a
previous bond measure, below.
CCCCD Scandals We Know About:
B. Audit finds CCCCD Accounting Department "in disarray" (CC Times, 1/31/98)
C. CC College President "Candy" Rose -- "no contest" to misusing public funds (CC Times, 3/14/98)
D. CCCCD cuts salary + benefits deal with Candy Rose to end that scandal (CC Times, 4/12/98)
E. DVC Foundation pays $2500 for not reporting bond campaign donation (CC Times, 4/28/98)
G. CCCCD's Fired Chancellor files large benefits claim (CC Times 12/15/04)
H. CCCCD spends $17,000 publishing self-congratulatory report on 2002's Measure A
At left is CCCCD's
Remarkably, even as the District
... and build a brand new campus
In November, 1996 and
again in November of 2000,
Costa Voters had the good sense to vote NO on Measures D and
K, earlier bond measures orchestrated by the irresponsible
Contra Costa Community College District, to defeat those
.... So CCCCD returned to
the ballot in 2002, still seeking too
And they're already
back for more -- now, $286.5 Million more,
At Least One CCCCD Employee Speaks Out:
Bradley, a courageous long-time current CCCCD employee, has written to say
Ramon has added a whole new tier of bureaucratic administration [despite
an alleged] 'lack of funds.' District staff continues to
elevate itself and expand at the expense of actual teaching and services.
People are sickened by the notion that Chancellor Helen Benjamin should
receive a yearly bonus merely for receiving a ‘satisfactory’ review
from the Governing Board.
"The Bond money was requested before the priorities on how it would be spent were completed...; the principled effect is to subsidize bottomless pockets.
do not want taxpayers misled by what is a ‘perceived need’. This
Bond does not help...." [Instead, it acts in ways which] compromise
left is CCCCD's headquarters office building, overlooking the Martinez Waterfront, and
characterized even by
a CCCCD consultant as "palatial." Taxpayers appreciate the benefits of community colleges; but this district operates a taxpayer-funded gravy train for its employees -- especially the bureaucratic layers, headed by a chancellor paid more than the governor of California.
What's Wrong with Measure A?
Measure A involves four major issues:
The answer is NO. Measure A
includes extensive funding for repair, renovation, and
furnishing projects that could and should be accomplished with
general-fund dollars. But Measure A is a bait-and switch
|CCCCD Salary and Benefits Far Exceed
Inflation and Enrollment
CCCCD Enrollment Numbers Level or Dropping
Some of CCCCD's Excessive Salaries
CCCCD's Illegal Use of Public Funds in Promoting Failed 1996 Bond
Measure A seeks $286.5 Million in new bonds -- at an
anticipated local taxpayer cost of over $500 Million in
principal + interest. And the total could go much higher,
depending on the interest rate in effect at the time that
CCCCD's decides to sell Measure A bonds.
This new Measure A scheme has been advanced after the
State Legislature irresponsibly squandered a $13 Billion
overpayment by California taxpayers. Additional taxpayer
funding for unnecessary schemes like Measure A will
only encourage more waste in Sacramento.
CCCCD salaries and benefit increases have
far exceeded the combined effect of both inflation and
enrollment growth. And in fact, CCCCD enrollment, as
measured in "full-time equivalent students" or "fall-
census enrollments," has leveled off or even dropped
off since 1992. More facilities dollars from bond money
"frees up" general fund dollars for more raises.
From 1984-85 to 2004-05, CCCCD enrollment increased by 28.1%; Bay Area inflation increased by 91.8%; and the compounded effect of enrollment and inflation was a growth of 145.8%.
But CCCCD's salaries + benefits grew by 211.0% !!!
|CCCCD Growth Factors||1984-85||2004-05||% Growth|
|FTES (Enrollment Measure)||20,256||25,952||28.1%|
|BAY AREA CPI, December||104.0||199.5||91.8%|
|FTES Growth x CPI Inflation (compound effect of both factors)||145.8%|
|SALARIES + BENEFITS||$39,003,834||$121,308,636||211.0%|
Had CCCCD salary and benefits grown at the rate of inflation + enrollment, plus
(let's say) another 15% in aggregated real income growth, CCCCD would have
another $18 Million more in general fund money each year to spend on facilities.
But the district continues overspending on salary and benefits, and now
CCCCD's overpaid bureaucrats want local taxpayers to bail them out -- despite
the enormous tax overpayment also accumulated by the state.
Just say "NO" to such double-dip shell games!
Now take a look at
scanned excerpts from CCCCD's own "Fingertip Facts"
brochures, as distributed (1) 1996 -- 2000 and (2) June 2000 forward.
Note that Fall Census enrollments peaked in 1992, have fallen sharply since.
CCCCD has stopped updating the 1996 graph; but compare its peak (39,216 in
1992) with the 2000 brochure's number: 34,693 (apparently, the Fall Census for
1999). A separate 1999 Fall Census document reported 34,788 students.
Another attendance measure, "full-time equivalent students" (FTES), shows
a very slight increase -- from 28,044 FTES in 1992 to 28,386 in 1999. The
FTES number dropped to 25,952 in 2004-05, and will apparently drop again
for 2005-06, based on CCCCD's own documents. CCCCD DOESN'T NEED
OR DESERVE ANOTHER $286.5 MILLION WINDFALL that would cost County
taxpayers over HALF A BILLION DOLLARS OR MORE (principal + interest).
|CCCCD Brochure Distributed 1996-2000||CCCCD Brochure Distributed Beginning 6/2000|
|CCCCD Brochure Distributed 1996-2000||CCCCD Brochure Distributed Beginning 6/2000|
CCCCD spends far too much in taxpayer funding on salaries and benefits.
bureaucrats must be laughing all the way to
the bank! Look at what some of them are paid, in
base annual salary alone:
Chancellor -- up to $218,700 (More than statutory
limit for Gov. Schwarzenegger, which is $175,000)
Presidents -- up to $143,124
Vice Presidents -- up to $129,888
Vice Chancellors -- up to $$129,660
Associate Chancellors -- up to $117,456
Directors (many) -- up to $117,456
Deans -- up to $111,792
These are junior colleges, not 4-year institutions!
CCCCD's excessive 1996
measure failed, despite CCCCD's illegal expenditure of public funds to promote
it. (The district cannot legally solicit,
collect, or spend campaign funds -- nor directly promote a ballot
The District was fined $16,000 by the Fair Political Practices Commission
CCCCD officials later paid the $16,000 FPPC fine with more taxpayer dollars.
As even the pro-tax Contra Costa Times editorialized (Mar. 13, 1997):
" ...[College officials] should make it clear to the public that they know
Instead, CCCCD has continued to claim innocence, despite
its certified-mail receipt of notice regarding the requirements
of law. And at roughly the same time that CCCCD was being
fined by the FPPC for its failure to report campaign funding
that was illegal to begin with, the District was involved in
two other fiscal scandals -- including an independent audit
firm's finding of a district "accounting department in disarray"
(Contra Costa Times, 1/31/98).
So now you're supposed to trust this irresponsible outfit with
over $500 Million
CCCCD's 1996 bond
anticipated spending $8,000 per
classroom just to paint walls, and $5,000 per classroom
for window coverings. We're still trying to discover what
similarly outrageous costs are hidden in Measure A.
Read the fine print: Measure
take of $9.00 per $100,000 assessed value "is based
upon District projections and estimates only, which
are not binding upon the District" (emphasis added).
Should you trust long-term guesstimates from a district
involved in several financial scandals since 1995?
And with PROPOSITION 39
having passed, notice
are the ballot arguments we opponents submitted on March 17 and
This is the kind of distortion
that should probably be expected
from those supporting a district that spent taxpayer funds to
promote its failed 1996 bond measure, and will now collect many
thousands from CCCCD contractors and vendors to promote
Measure A. Not surprisingly, after slandering Measure A opponents,
the tax promoters then fail to rebut our arguments. They claimed in
2002 that "nearly 60,000 students" attend CCCCD campuses.
Now they say it's "more than 35,000 students." But in fact, the District
has enrolled fewer than 30,000 full-time-equivalent students in 2005-06.
2002 BALLOT ARGUMENT — FOR THEIR $120 Million bond THEN
CCCCD “serves nearly 60,000
students and will grow up to 30% over the next ten years.”
Now it’s allegedly “more
than 35,000 students.” In
fact, CCCCD enrolled fewer than 30,000
full-time equivalent students
the equivalent of 1,700 fewer full-time students… than
in 2003-04” (Contra
Costa Times, February 26, 2006).
ALREADY FUND REDUNDANT facilities.
is only 7 miles from Las Positas College. As a Chabot-Las
Positas Community College District trustee said, “This is a sad waste of taxpayers’ money.” At
generously supported state EDUCATION bonds,
oversight committees” become just crony
with bond supporters. CCCCD
personnel nominated all 15 “independent
oversight committee” members
for CCCCD’s 2002 bond.
a, another irresponsible Prop. 39 bond, requires just 55% approval.
Citizens opposing Prop.
39’s assault on Prop. 13
Vote NO on measure
Industrial Consultant; Former
Marilynne L. Mellander —
Richard S. Colman —
Founder and Owner of
Donald E. Lively —
J. Kaste —
Community College Student;
We do not agree with the CCCCD pollster's
assertion that "those who can evaluate
passed a $120 Million bond measure just four years ago. This
new local taxes,
compensating for CCCCD’s building-maintenance
already provide generously for local community colleges, through state
But Measure A’s
new property taxes
facilitate CCCCD’s continued overspending
on salaries and benefits.
are flat or declining. 2005-06
“Resident Full -Time Equivalent Students” are estimated at 1.6% fewer in number than
BUT CCCCD’s numerous
administrators remain especially well compensated.
in base salary alone, CCCCD’s chancellor is paid considerably more than
Had CCCCD compensation
structures not raced past inflation
per-person Federal, state,
and local taxes ALREADY consume more
CCCCD’s 2002 bond
campaign was financed mostly by beneficiaries of CCCCD
PLEASE JOIN US IN VOTING NO ON MEASURE A!
So-called "Citizen Oversight
Committees" quickly become
just crony committees, comprised of known bond supporters,
and utilized to validate expenditures which bond opponents
have identified up front as invalid.
All 15 members of CCCCD's supposedly "independent"
current "oversight" committee were nominated by CCCCD
personnel. When ACCT's chairman -- a fiscal analyst and
former grand jury member -- volunteered for the committee,
he was turned down.
The "Citizen Oversight
Committee" for CCCCD's $120 Million
CCCCD's Community Relations and
Regarding CCCCD's 2006 Bond Measure
Community Colleges Are Spendthrifts
Another election, another expensive bond measure. Contra Costa Community College now wants $286 million in addition to the $120 million it got only four years ago. If there is in fact a real need for the new funding it demands now, it is only evidence that the CCCCD cannot operate within the means already lavishly provided to it by the taxpayers.
Send a message to the profligate spenders of your money and vote no on Measure A this June.
Taxpayers Should Respond:
|Should local taxpayers provide half
a BILLION dollars in additional taxes (bond principal plus interest) to an
irresponsible, scandal-ridden public agency which constructs redundant new
facilities while hugely UNDER-funding existing- building
upkeep and OVER-compensating numerous administrators?
Should Democrats appreciate being
pigeon-holed by that agency’s $36,250 tax-funded push poll as submissive
targets for new taxes?
Should voters at large support
encroachments on Prop. 13, including certain bond measures now requiring
only 55% approval instead of the 66.7% required from 1879 to 2000?
you say? Then you should
likewise reject Measure A, the Contra Costa Community College District’s
gigantic new bond scheme.
approved a $120 Million CCCCD bond measure just four years ago.
Having absorbed another $90 Million in state bond money, the
District will receive more millions if November’s huge new state bonds
pass. But Measure A’s tax
promoters present virtually the same arguments as in 2002
— “aging facilities needing repair and
Meanwhile, the District has
constructed an entire new campus just 7 miles from Las Positas College —
“a sad waste of taxpayers’ money,” commented a Las Positas trustee
— even as Concord’s Cal State East Bay campus remains an underused
CCCCD boasts $2 Million in annual
maintenance expenditures, whoop-de-do, just 1.4% of its $140 Million
general-fund budget. The
standard for heavy-traffic buildings is 4%, or $5.6
Million here. But general
fund dollars not spent on upkeep are available for salaries; so Measure A
is a borrowed-money, bait-and-switch con game to compensate for building
As is, CCCCD’s chancellor can now
get up to $218,700
in base salary alone, considerably more than
From 1984-85 to 2004-05, CCCCD enrollment increases and Bay Area inflation together grew 146%,
compounded. But salaries and benefits grew 211%, factoring
in the District’s loudly heralded “cutbacks” and employees’
tiny contributions to health-insurance costs.
Inverted Priorities, False Pretexts
#1 announced goal is to “achieve enrollment growth to better serve our
community.” It’s the other way around: serving the community should
drive enrollment growth. But their real objective is increased per-student
state apportionment money, to better serve their pocketbooks.
figures seem to confuse them. They
alleged “nearly 60,000 students” during their 2002 bond campaign.
Now, they say, it’s “more than 35,000 students,” supposedly
an increase of “more than 7%
over the past ten years.”
attendance has in fact declined, to 24,635 resident full-time-equivalent
students (FTES) in 2004-05 — and a reported further “lowering of the
projected resident FTES… in 2005-06”— from 26,594 resident FTES in
CCCCD has admitted registering hundreds of high school students in
“concurrent enrollment” P.E. classes.
That scam padded enrollment figures, double dipped from taxpayer
funds, and enriched CCCCD’s budget.
Meanwhile, reports the Times, CCCCD’s
Regional Training Institute “has failed miserably,” and “has lost
millions of dollars since 2001.”
other scandals, the District’s administrators spent over $40,000 in its
1996 bond measure campaign, despite certified-mail advisement that such
public-money campaign funding is illegal, They
later paid a $16,000 FPPC fine
— again using taxpayer funds — for
not reporting their impermissible campaign-finance expenditures.
Measure A’s tax promoters trumpet an
“independent citizen oversight committee” to ensure spending as
advertised, i.e., to validate expenditures opponents have identified
upfront as invalid. CCCCD
personnel nominated all 15 current members of 2002’s Measure A
Last November, CCCCD’s Marketing Office
drafted a self-congratulatory "com- munity report,” ostensibly to
originate from the “oversight” committee.
Spending $17,000, CCCCD’s hucksters finally published their
glowing report on the 2002 bond last month, just before absentee voting
began on this new Measure A.
CCCCD’s 2002 bond campaign was 80% subsidized by present or prospective providers of goods and services to the District — smelling very much like shakedowns or kickbacks. An instant replay is likely in 2006. In contrast, our grass-roots opposition hopes you’ll vote NO on A!
Arata, a former
chemistry teacher and swim coach, is a board member of the Alliance of
Contra Costa Taxpayers, www.ACCTaxpayers.com.
College District: Dialing for Dollars
As the Times recently
Irresponsible front-loading by
community college administrators likely occurs because tax funding of
their operational budgets (and resultant salaries and benefits) is
ordinarily tied to enrollments — i.e., warm bodies, not academic
Indeed, the Contra Costa Community
College District proclaimed its No. 1 goal for 2005-07 is to “Achieve
Enrollment Growth to Better Serve Our Community.”
That’s cart before horse, of course.
So what they really mean is “…to
And that’s what
CCCCD’s buckrakers have done, despite declining enrollments. CCCCD
projects 27,930 “full-time-equivalent students”(FTES) for 2006-07 —
10% fewer than in 2003-04.
But total compensation is up 4.4%
for fewer employees, not counting a $15.6 Million “one-time
contribution,” obtained by “borrowing” FTES from one year to
another, to begin backfilling a $200 million black hole in bountiful but
unfunded retiree health benefits.
In an earlier scheme, exposed
eventually in a state investigation, the district padded attendance
figures with “concurrent enrollments” of hundreds of local high school
physical education students. And
as the Times reported last May, the district’s Regional
Training Institute “failed miserably,” and “lost millions.”
Meanwhile, buildings had fallen into
disrepair. But taxpayers
continued enriching a multi-layered superstructure of CCCCD presidents,
vice presidents, vice chancellors, directors....
Like other public-sector entities,
CCCCD sought to compensate for facility neglect by shifting maintenance
needs from its general fund budget — whence also come new salary and
benefit dollars — to bonds, which taxpayers repay, with interest.
District contractors and other
favored vendors typically finance such new-tax bond campaigns, a practice
which smells like shakedowns and kickbacks.
But in 1996, CCCCD administrators
themselves spent over $44,000 pushing that year’s bond measure, despite
my certified-mail warning to CCCCD’s Board that such tax-underwritten
campaigning is illegal.
The Fair Political Practices Commission later fined the district
$16,000 for failing to report political contributions it couldn’t
legally make in the first place.
The district lost that bond
campaign, and another in 2000, while enrollments trended downward but
salaries and benefits continued exceeding the combined effect of inflation
and (negative) enrollment growth.
Those included captive-audience
students, naturally. So
CCCCD officials produced handbill texts specific to each college campus,
advising students to “Vote Yes on Measure A.” The handbills were then
given to the student member of CCCCD’s Governing Board for campus
CCCCD Chancellor Helen Benjamin named a DVC professor and one-time district critic as her
“interim special assistant” — for a five-month term that coincided with the Measure A
drive and its immediate aftermath, and
paying $8,867 per month, before benefits.
The special assistant apparently spent much or most of his time promoting
public agencies, including local K-12 districts, BART, and the East Bay
Regional Park District, have become similarly cavalier in supporting their
tax campaigns with public resources. A
conscientious Grand Jury — or an intrepid District Attorney — could
perform a great public service by grounding these unscrupulous,
is a board member of the