San Bernardino Measure D Campaign “Despicable” and “Likely Actionable”

“The most despicable, deceptive campaign we’ve seen in a long time,” said Jon Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, about a mailer sent out by the proponents of Measure D in San Bernardino. “Moreover, the illegal use of the image of Howard Jarvis has resulted in two ‘cease and desist’ letters.”

Measure D is the latest attempt by entrenched interests to undo Measure K, a citizens’ initiative that imposed a one-term limit on San Bernardino County supervisors and cut their salaries to match the county’s median income. Efforts to reverse Measure K, which was approved by 66.8% of voters, have been pushed forward in the courts and in the Legislature and now are being put before voters in a ballot measure that is dressed up to look like taxpayer protection.

“They are masking their self-serving measure with images of Howard Jarvis, Ronald Reagan, and claims that Measure D is a ‘new Prop 13 for San Bernardino County,’” Coupal said. “But Measure D isn’t a new Prop. 13, it’s a ploy by special interests and career politicians to stay in power longer.”

Measure D does not actually contain the taxpayer protections for which it attempts to claim credit. Thanks to Propositions 13 and 218, the people already have the right to vote on taxes, and Measure D’s requirement for a “four-fifths” vote of the Board of Supervisors to place taxes on the ballot is misleading. Under current law (Government Code 53724 [Prop. 62]), general taxes already require a two-thirds vote of the supervisors, and two-thirds of five is the same four-vote requirement. Measure D would change only the vote requirement for board approval of special-purpose taxes, increasing it from three votes to four.

Measure D deceptively promises to give San Bernardino taxpayers rights they already have while taking away something voters approved by a two-thirds majority only a couple of years ago.

But the Measure D campaign takes deception even higher into the stratosphere with its illegal use of a photograph of Howard Jarvis. On the subject of taxes, California voters rightfully trust the name of Howard Jarvis and the eponymous organization that carries on his work. The author of Proposition 13, which has saved California homeowners hundreds of billions of dollars in property tax relief, would recoil at the politicians’ lying schemes that are being exposed in San Bernardino County.

The Measure D campaign has knowingly and wrongfully pirated the copyrighted picture of Howard Jarvis, the exclusive rights of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association as well as “Save Proposition 13,” an independent advocacy organization specializing in advancing taxpayer interests during California election cycles. Both organizations have forwarded “Cease and Desist” letters to the Measure D campaign over the use of the photograph and have demanded economic damages for the unlawful infringement.

While HJTA considers additional legal action against the Measure D campaign, it will do all it can to educate voters of San Bernardino County that Measure D in no way advances the interests of taxpayers.

Measure D is an attempt to reverse the will of the voters after the voters decisively ended a gravy train for politicians. This unseemly campaign only serves to reinforce that the voters were right.