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COMMENTARY: Measure W increases a tax politicians promised would end this year – so what happened?

Tax extension is a euphemism for a tax increase

According to The Free Dictionary, the definition of extension is an addition that increases … operation, or contents of something: a delay, especially one agreed by all parties, in the date originally set for payment of a debt or completion of the contract, for a publicly funded programs.

The proposed Measure W half cent sales tax extension in Hollister, for all intents and purposes and by definition, is the result of a broken promise or agreement politicians made to the voters five years ago - to set a day certain for its termination. When the Hollister City Council took action to extend the tax and not end it end as promised in 5 years (2016) however, they surreptitiously and unscrupulously are attempting to raise a permanent tax (20 years) by the use of an extension

Therefore, an extension beyond the agreed-to termination date in 2016 is a 20-year tax increase!

Aware that a conservative community such as Hollister would not accept and support an outright tax increase, the “politicians” in their unbounded foolishness offered the voters a “Trojan Horse” - a TEMPORARY five-year tax increase to pay off certain debts in the hopes that you would not notice the shift, shell game or flim-flam.

However, and according to the city’s 2016-2017 budget recently released, the city is doing quite well in that department – revenues are up. The only issue is where they would waste and/or concentrate their spending.

So the only credible explanation, at least to this writer, is that the extra revenue (a 20-year permanent tax), beyond the revenues raised by the Hollister Police Department i.e., (traffic stops at 2,223 in 2015 and parking citations issued in 2015-16) is that it will provide additional money for the council to spend untethered for so-called "public safety" programs (federally-funded), not for the public but for the protection of the police. Even though the programs may be federally-funded, we pay into it through our federal taxes portion.

Just as we have seen in the recent events in Charlotte and Tulsa, police resistance to and reluctance in allowing the public to see is unacceptable. Whereas spending in the much needed and important areas of educational and community projects (youth after-school programs, college and university scholarships, and our library) are being fiscally ignored.

So, in order for the extension to be legitimate, one of several things must have occurred:

1) the original conditions offered for the temporary tax have NOT changed or been met;
2) the conditions have been met, but the temptation is too great and the tax should continue, an extension or a permanent 20-year “increase” in wolf's clothing;
3) or, we are the recipient of a well-perpetrated misrepresentation by our politicians, in the hope that you did not/would not notice the forked-tongue promise made five years ago, that the tax was only a one-time temporary initiative. 

P.S. "Everybody Knows" by Leonard Cohen in the closing credit to the movie “War Dogs.” View and listen.

So, what say you?  

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Luis Burguillo (An Engaged and ...)

As a student of the media and journalism, I am interested in utilizing the medium in order to assure that the residents of the City of Hollister and San Benito County are alerted, informed and educated on the official actions of their elected officials who are sworn to preserve, protect and defend the US constitution and Bill of Rights. More importantly, their engagement in the political process will hold the leaders accountable for their actions/decisions and lead to an improved governance.


Luis, just a few corrections and comments.  This won't make you happy but the proposed tax is an extension of the current one-cent transaction sales tax, not a half-cent tax and it has not been 5 years, by the time this current tax is through it will be ten years (original tax and one 5-year renewal or extension).

Several terms back (15 years ago?) the City Council (all different members and a different management then) put the city into enormous debt by increasing the retirement benefits for all city employees and even paying a part of their retirement contributions.  This was during a short term 'happy time' of a skyrocketing economy that was going to last forever (my little joke).  Then the bottom fell out and all those folks went on their way leaving the debt behind as a gift (sarcasm).  I opposed those raises and overly expensive benefits, but I lost that battle.

The current members have been cleaning up the mess.

As with many of the 'poorer' locations we go deepest into a crash and have the worst time getting out and the answer is your number 1; " the original conditions offered for the temporary tax have NOT changed or been met."  We have not been able to generate the revenue necessary to provide the levels of public service that the residents want, we do not have the business revenue we need to do it.  We are becoming more and more of a bedroom community and people want protection where they live. Much of th tax comes from out of the city and even with the tax we still have the lowest sales tax rate among the 12 local shopping areas  (Gilroy, Salinas, Morgan Hill, San Jose, Monterey, Watsonville, Sand City, Del Rey Oaks, Marina, etc.)

Since the tax has been in effect we have paid off many millions in debt, we have also put in the (now legal) two-tier hiring and retirement plans; however, there are still millions to pay in debt and it takes many years for the second tier to have a significant impact on the budget.

Police and fire (public protection) make up 60 percent of Hollister's $21 million General Fund budget, (28 percent police and 32 percent Fire).

That's typical in California due to the fact that they are 24/7 operations, going pay rates and the labor laws.  Administration is next at 12 percent followed by Parks and Rec at 7 percent.

If we lost the annual $4 million from the transaction tax, the most likely outcome would be a 20 percent across the board reduction in services, Fire, Police, Administration, Parks and Rec, Animal Control, Code Enforcement. etc.

I believe that for most residents that is not an acceptable level of service, it isn't for me.  Do I wish it were cheaper, a lot cheaper?  You bet, but it's not.  I will continue to push for greater efficiency and lower cost, but I do not want to reduce the service levels.

Marty Richman

Submitted by (Dee Murphy) on


Do you realize the difference in 20 years ago and today? How we had no police responses because there might be one or two police officers on duty at all per shift? A fire truck but not enough fire personnel to use it ($550,000 cost) and a dilapidated fire station and only ONE fire station for 29,000 residents????

Imagine needing to call 9-1-1 and ask for the firefighters to come because your house is on fire and when the fire truck arrives...there are only three firefighters on the truck. YET it took 5 firefighters to functionally USE the truck and work the fire? Yes, this WAS how it was in the early 1990's. Now, I understand you were much younger back then and probably do not remember the reports that were not written, buildings that burned down, the crimes not solved because we lacked proper amounts of funding for public services.

Parks were in shambles or closed to use with no dog parks or places that were safe for kids to play in. We currently have had numerous parks repaired and are usable again and if not for all residents of Hollister being willing to pay a tax to keep these places and employees operating the departments then Hollister will fall back into needing more money later on.

Have you gone to the Hollister Police Department and spoken to Chief Westrick?, I am sure he would gladly take you on a few ride-alongs so that you can see all of the work our law enforcement officers, animal control officers and fire department employees do and where all of our tax dollars go to.

I sure did not see you mention how much these organizations budgets will be cut if Measure W fails but I can assure you that many people will be laid off and crime will go up Response times will go down or like in San Jose NO ONE will come at all and you will be told... File a report on-line!.

Now, I am not sure about you but I KNOW when I need to call 9-1-1 I ABSOLUTELY want someone to come and help me and by stating non-true facts as you have above you are misleading residents of Hollister and they will not fully understand the truth of Measure W. I for one shop in Santa Clara County (since Trader Joe's refuses to open a store here as I have written them several times asking for a TJ's) and I pay more in Santa Clara County then I do here!

VOTE YES on W Do not return to the past of limited police and fire personnel. As Marty Richmond said all of your "facts" are not correct facts unfortunately and you are misleading voters.

VOTE YES on Measure W

Submitted by Tod DuBois (John Galt) on

Dee, which agency does your family member work in? LOL, my small business I had $15,000 in theft last winter - response from Police "we are sorry". This is after the tax increases were in place for almost a decade. Bottom line is we have more homeless because of these tax increase, plus more crime because of lack of economic planning. That means more cost and more expense and the need to take $90,000,000 out of local tax payers pockets over the 30 year life of the tax increases. 

Bottom line is this tax will make Hollister like Salinas - larger, more crime, more problems and more staff in a ugly long term cycle of decay. The good news is you will win becuase the Unions behind the tax increase have the tax money $15,000 I think from the last 10 years to use to overwhelm the voters with fear mongering stories. KInda like your response above. It's not wrong to be scared it just doesn't help anyone. American's really do better with leadership that is fearless but we don't have those people anymore. Until we get past the fear we can't guide the city to a positive outcome. 



Taxpayers need to be informed about the business of local government by their elected leaders.

Elected leaders - and yes even THE POLICE CHIEF - recommend EXTENDING the EXISTING TEMPORARY TAX in order to meet the fiscal needs of running the city.

There is no cause to vilify or characterize elected officials as "foolish" or "fork-tongued" for doing their jobs to the best of their ability and I see no correlation between Charlotte, Tulsa and Hollister. Worse, the sentence doesn't make sense from a grammar, syntax and contextual perspective;  "police resistance to and reluctance in allowing the public to see is unacceptable." HUH? 

In my view, the author would be better off simply expressing that he does not support the extension of the 1cent sales tax rather than failing to provide a cogent and compelling reason for doing so based on a lack of salient facts and demonstrably poor writing skills. 

Submitted by Dee Murphy (Team Driver) on


Please feel free to run for office elections are coming up! Good Luck. I am awaiting your solutions to solve all of these fear mongering stories I have. 

Salinas has 160,000 residents and Hollister has 35,000. San Benito County overall has 58.000 residents while Monterey County has almost 446,000 residents in no way are these two counties anything close.) 

I can assure you that our small town of Hollister is nothing like Salinas. Do you actually own a home in Hollister because I travel to Salinas often working and shopping and the difference is amazing in these two "towns". 

Please do explain how having a 1% tax continued (NOT a NEW tax) causes more homelessness. This is a tax raised from purchases at retail stores and food that is not prepared already is not taxed. I know from living here that there are more police on duty, more fire fighters, a newer fire station downtown (do you remember when and why Building D burned down?).

I believe your argument is invalid and that you need to come up with true facts instead of just typing what you want others to hear/read. Just look at what happened when San Jose our neighbor to the North passed Measure B! Now a city of 1,100,000 has barely 848 cops with no detectives units. 

Hear is a link to information on Measure W...
When less law enforcement is on duty  (20% LESS is a HUGE amount of no responses to 9-1-1 calls)

all Hollister residents will be affected. No Tod, I know no one in the department and no relatives at all in Hollister. I am not scared, I am realistic and realize nothing comes for free. 

Also Tod aren't you living in San Luis Obispo???, if so why do you even care about Hollister and Measure W??

Submitted by Tod DuBois (John Galt) on

Dee - it is called a regressive tax - that means it impacts the poorest people far more than the wealthy. So we are burdening the poor way more than those who can afford it. The tax hits all aspects of retails sales, including shoes, socks, sleeping bags, clothing, anything besides food that you need to live even as a poor person. 

I am quite effective at political action - I could alone fund and manage a campaign to beat Measure W alone if I wanted to. When I ran the Measure T Opposition we came within three point and the pro side spent 50 to 1 more - mostly the unions. The reason I don't is people in Hollister are afraid of political action - can you believe Americans in your town are AFRAID! It is shameful that situation exists but I can't alone cure all the ills and let's be real SLO is a way...way...way..way...WAY better place to live. 

So I'll just sit back and watch - it is less work and until the political process starts to function and we have competition in place locally things will not change. With Measure W that means 20 years of more of the same. Like Salinas, so we'll be having this conversation for a couple decades likely and then you'll move you family away as well realizing the path ahead is more of the same. 



Submitted by Dee Murphy (Team Driver) on

Here is an article from the Chief of Police in Salinas where he has watched his staffing FALL from 187 in 2010 to 133 now (2016) and the Justice Department (remember the Justice Department analyzed Salinas PD for numerous reasons) and says the correct amount of officers is 260 which is double the force that is on now.

DId you head over to Hollister PD and speak with Chief Westrick yet and tell him your recommendations because he is a Chief who is community friendly and while you are there make sure to do a ride along to see your tax dollars at work.

PS In your statement (first one) above you said it was 30 years and in the secondary statement you now say it is 20 years...which time frame is the correct one for you? 

Also make sure to read what the Fire Chief said too.....

Seems like the City Council hopes that volunteer firefighters (you know citizen firefighters that volunteer after work) will be able to fulfill all of these spots in the fire department. If you were upset when you had a business and it was robbed IMAGINE the issues now when there are not enough fire fighters and rescue people and you end up in an auto accident or have a fire at your place of business? 12 firefighters terminated is 12 too many for me!

Funny you worry so much about San Benito Counties tax rate (7.5%) when you live in San Luis Obispo County (7.5%) (they match) and the county rates that border these counties are Monterey County 7.5%,

Kings (7.5%), Kern (7.5%), Santa Barbara (8.0%), (SLO areas) then Santa Cruz (8.25%), Santa Clara (8.75%) So overall San Benito County sits next to two higher taxed resident base. Of course also San Benito residents absolutely drive to Santa Clara to purchase taxed items at a higher tax rate (there is no tax refund except for those purchasing vehicles in a more expensive county).

I think your money is much better spent in your county plus you seem to be the one afraid since you moved away afraid of what I am not sure?


Checked one more fact of yours.... those living in poverty....

San Luis Obispo County 14.81%

San Benito County 12.14% 

Looks like more live in poverty in San Luis Obispo County than in San Benito County since 12.14 is LOWER than 14.81 that is 2.67% LOWER here in SBC! 


Let us all know how your ride along and talk with the Chief(s) go!






Submitted by Tod DuBois (John Galt) on

Dee, I know Westrick well and went to school with Chief McMillan - Kelly is a dear friend. This is not about the police and fire staff or management - this is about poor city management and a failed political process to get good people in leadership roles on council. 

People try to attack me personally and suggest I am against police and fire and that is not the genesis or agenda though I understand that the taxes get used that way. This is about Hollister and SBC being able to compete effectively to get investment. Investment like hotels, restaurants, affordable housing, job creation instead of job retention. 

Simple facts that need to change: most politicians in Hollister and SBC run unopposed - that is bad - it means we get people who don't have to compete. In other words - weak or worse. Second none of the city hall senior management staff have proven successful in other cities of good reputation. That means we don't have senior management that actually know what they are doing or at least can't prove they know how to manage. 

Bottom line is we have fear that things will go wrong. Fear permeates and dysfunction happens. Bad projects get approved and good projects get blocked. Bottom llne is job creation and economic development that could provide massive more money for police and fire don't happen. In SLO that kind of investment happens. The staff here is HUGE and best of all each position is recruited from the best cities all over the country. The new chief of Police here came from Mesa, AZ - a much larger and vibrant city. 

If you want your kids to be able to grow up without fear and in a vastly better city you need to understand what actually drives success. 





Submitted by Tod DuBois (John Galt) on

Dee, that was a less than optimal example. I like Westrick but don't know if he is skilled. I know the prior Chief was a buffoon and there were multiple indictments of people on hos staff. 

Let's take City Manager - here is the bio for the City Manager in SLO - compare that to the bio for the current city manager in Hollister and you'll see exactly what I'm trying to get across. Also the political process here is highly competitive with multiple people running and with very high skill levels and diverse backgrounds. 

Katie Lichtig began her tenure as City Manager of the City of San Luis Obispo, California in January 2010. Ms. Lichtig was formerly Assistant City Manager/Chief Operating Office for Beverly Hills, California after serving as City Manager for the City of Malibu and Assistant to the City Manager in Santa Monica.

Ms. Lichtig has more than 25 years of varied public service experience. She began her career as a presidential management intern working for the Department of Treasury Office of Inspector General and the Office of Management and Budget in Washington, D.C. Katie’s next career move was to become a special agent with the Departments of Treasury and Education, investigating fraud and other white collar crimes. Ms. Lichtig then returned to Southern California and transitioned to a career in municipal management.

She received a Bachelor of Arts in political science, public service from the University of California at Davis and a master of public administration degree from Syracuse University. She is a member of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), California City Management Foundation (CCMF) and the League of California Cities City Managers Division.

Tod, good example. Another good example is Kim Walesh, the deputy City Manager in San Jose. Her job is to keep economic development moving in that city. Bachelor's from Valparaiso, studies at the Kennedy Center for Business, Master's from Harvard. Think she is getting things done? Damn right she is. She more than pays her salary right back to the city with her efforts. You get what you pay for. Remember Mr Avera's comments when appointed to his position?  He said his primary focus is to “make sure you guys, the council, always looks good.” His poor English was a portend of his future performance.

Let's have a public safety department under Dave Westrick, eliminate the fire chief and the city manager and hire a Kim Walesh clone.  Oh, one can dream...

--William McCarey

I'm sorry, these are comparisons that do not make sense, just because we have a transaction sales tax and Salinas has a transaction sales tax does not mean we will end up like Salinas.  Carmel-by-the-sea has a transaction sales tax, no one would say that we would end up being Carmel because we have one too.  Talk about fear mongering, holding up Salinas as a threat is fear mongering at its worst.

Most of the people in San Benito County do not want economic development - they won't admit it and it's certainly not my position, but actions speak much louder than words.  There are a bunch of adages that all mean the same thing, "Pay no attention to what people say, just watch what they do."

They want good jobs WITHOUT development, an impossibility, so they choose to forego economic development. They consistently oppose any development they believe will impinge on their version / vision of the character of the county from franchises and gas stations to solar farms to renaming roads or building first-class tourist hotels in the unincorporated area.

Most of the residents see the county as residential and what to keep it that way; heck, the motels and Rdgemark campaigned AGAINST the increase in Transient Occupancy Tax even though the customer pays it and it is a traditional soak the visitors tax.

The people living south of Hollister do not want more visitors to the Pinnacles, they want less.  Hardly anyone wants less policing they want more. If they want it they are going to have to pay for is and since we have a large population of public and public safety employees working at other places, but living here, they usually are amiable.

We are more of a bedroom community today than we were even 10 years ago and will be more so 10 years from now.  Hollister is more likely to become Danville than Salinas.

Marty Richman

As a separate item I should mention that the much of the opposition to the original Measure T, including mine, was a huge backlash against the incompetent and totally irresponsible - and in my opinion corrupt - former City Council that had put us in the soup.  Thankfully, we got rid of that bunch and the following councils have done a reasonably good job since.  Not perfect, but much better.

Yes, we have a long way to go, but we are generally heading in the right direction.  Plenty of work to do.

Marty Richman

Submitted by Dee Murphy (Team Driver) on

Funny Tod, you say in one posting that you know Chief Westrick well then directly below the first post in your second one you say this...

"I like Westrick but don't know if he is skilled"???     This seems to contradict your previous post so do you know him well or do you not know him? You seem confused. Of course if you actually knew about Chief Westrick (No, we are not related nor have I met him except riding by him and saying "Hi" in the San Benito Horse parade) you would realize he is well liked by the community, accomplishes tons of great things, gathering grants, volunteering and getting the public to see the HPD as a good department. He is doing better than previous Chief's in may ways. Please ask your friend Chief Kelly if the new Chief works well. We already know he does!

So I wanted to let you know some facts since you believe Hollister is headed down the road towards Salinas.

                                                 Salinas           San Luis Obispo       Hollister

Crime Index (100 is safest)             11                      10                        45 (winner)

Annual Crime Rate per 1,000/res      41.02                 42.44                    17.53 (winner)

Chances of becoming a victim         1:155                 1:162                    1:263 (winner)    CA avg 1:252

So overall you are arguing from where you live in SLO, a town 150 miles away about what residents need to vote on and yet you have not realized that Hollister is safer than Salinas which is SAFER than SLO!

Nice to know you research so much on your City Manager. I suggest asking your SLO City Manager Lichtig why is it San Luis Obispo (SLO) is MORE dangerous to live in the Salinas and no where near as SAFE as Hollister.  Seems like you might have moved to a more dangerous place then even Salinas.

VOTE Yes on Measure W 







Submitted by Tod DuBois (John Galt) on

William, I'd even propose we merge the city and county though I'm not sure that would work for San Juan. The key point is better management gets better results and for some reason everything gets hung up on fire and police cuts and fear mongering ensues. The main argument is "we need the money" rather than how do be do things better and be more effective. This is coming from the Democrats and even the Republicans are going with "we need the money". So I moved away - if you can't get better people running things "because we can't afford skilled people" then the outcome is fairly clear. The city and county won't effectively compete and won't get better over time. The target will remain "let's not let it get any worse" rather than actually make things better. 

I'm actually happy now when people say "you don't live here so your opinion doesn't count" LOL - they are right about one thing - I'm sure glad I don't live there because it's not going to get better. 

Tod, the City-County merger works fine in San Francisco. It would at least lessen the total number of tree stumps sitting behind the dais. SJB can play the role of Haight-Ashbury, historically significant. Though I do agree with Marty, the caliber of city council people has improved some from the early '80s. Unfortunately the old adage about never hiring someone brighter than yourself is still true with this council. Just look at the executive hires in the last three years. Chief Westrick is the shining exception.  The county Board of Supervisors is the reciprocal in that they are getting worse. Robert Rivas is no Pat Loe, sure miss her work on streamlining the county government, pushing everything to (gasp!) computers, worrying about roads, and economic development.

Submitted by Tod DuBois (John Galt) on

Dee, why don't you check with Oprah or National Geographic on SLO. I know you are interested in facts so those sources should be helpful. 

It's Ok to operate on belief rather than fact but it won't help you make better decisions. Like I said Westrick seems like a forthright and potentially good Chief. I just know that I've had lots of thefts in Hollister and I don't know if the Chief has run a Department successfully anywhere. 

All these internal promotions with people who have actually never done the job before are very risky, basically gambling. No company or large successful non-profit would hire a top management position unless that person was proven in the job somewhere else. Gambling should not be done with public money typically though I do support project risk as a way to compete. 

As best I can tell all the senior management in the city and county have never held those same positions in another successful city. So that is a tremendous risk to the budget and cost structure. Measure W will pass, you don't need to worry - fear is a great motivator and the Unions are highly skilled at scaring the voters.  You will bang the FEAR drum as loud as you need to get what you want won't you? 

What we care about Tod is that Chief Westrick is running a successful police department HERE in Hollister.  That's a fact we know for sure.  I missed you yesterday at the County Fair as I worked the Measure W booth.  We provided written literature that was based on facts and figures.  No "fear drum" Tod just community outreach and interaction.

Submitted by Dee Murphy (Team Driver) on



Thank you for volunteering to work the Measure W booth. Great to see people letting the community know how important Measure W is! I too agree that Chief Westrick does a fantastic job as the head of Hollister PD as do the other officers and community service officers plus our forgotten Animal Control officers and staff!

Great Job! Thank You

Submitted by Dee Murphy (Team Driver) on

Sad Tod that you do not like honest and accurate facts when they do not show you as correct. That is being a sore loser. Seems like you should run for office (after you move back to Hollister a much safer community) as I stated before to "smarten" up our elected officials. You can then help all of those currently in charge make better choices and do so under scrutiny of the public (such as you) who does not even live in this community.  Instead you are not accepting true known facts you complain and try to blame others and then post irrelevant information about a TV show host. 

 Sorry, I know who Oprah is but I have not watched TV in over 20 years and I cannot understand why you use a TV person and a magazine to use as research points instead of actual facts. I prefer to use crime reports and true facts so that the public reading this understands what really happens with their money. 

It really sounds as if you are the fearful one. Remember you were speaking about you are being safer and better off living in SLO even though those are untrue facts as shown previously..

In reality what seems to be the truth is you hate being wrong and try to stir up negativity because you were upset that you are wrong. Of course people get robbed of things and after Prop 47 passed (Did you vote Yes on 47 and AB 109?) letting criminals out of prison and law enforcement less ways to arrest them for theft and "simple" charges? Because that Proposition just like the upcoming Prop 57 are WHY crimes is higher because stealing went from an arrest to a written citation and immediate release offense. Not at all LE's fault it was the residents of California who choose proposition  47 to pass. VOTE NO on  Prop 57!!!

So far you have not gone on ride-alongs with HPD, you seem to know so much about each individual hired yet you still do not know about any of them, you stated "you know Westrick well" yet above you again do NOT know him?? conducted a meeting with Chief Westrick and not spoken up at the BOS and city meetings I have attended and spoken at.You might want to start there everyone is given three minutes to speak during public forum.

Here is YOUR statement in quotes (below) which it seems is how YOU respond to the facts I and others have posted, You are the one posting up BELIEFS instead of facts. You believe SLO is safer although it is not safer , not even safer than Salinas (See previous posts again) 

"It's Ok to operate on belief rather than fact but it won't help you make better decisions."

I use facts instead of your continuous ranting of what you believe. Recheck the facts you missed earlier to see or even better research the pages I linked for you and see the truth for yourself.

You mentioned how "people attack you personally". In truth Tod YOU are the one who is a BULLY and seems to try to push non-facts on the Hollister community. Why? Because of a grudge or a failure of something that did not go your way? Maybe a business decision you had and failed or was not approved or lacked enough funding to get off the ground? You push an entire barrel of rotten apples in each and every posting you do.

You really sound like you are butt-hurt do to the fact you were not helped out by the city enough in your opinion because of the new laws that went into effect from California voters. Chief Westrick's door is open for you so let us know how your meeting goes (Everyone knows you will NEVER meet the Chief). Of course right now he is volunteering his time at the San Benito County Fair so you can find him there and get a "selfie" of the two of you.

By the way there is a new hotel being built I guess you missed seeing it over by the new Ford dealership It cannot be missed as you drive into town it is four stories high! You might want to drive over and look at it plus the new Les Schwab tire dealer. Not sure how you missed all of these new businesses being built recently the David Westrick grilled burgers at the opening of Les Schwab's for Hollister Ag Boosters.  

I have no problem with a free-wheeling discussion, especially about the future, but recommendations have to have some degree of reality.  Our future will be determined by our physical location (access to the ocean - none, major freeway miles - just a few), population (small), history (agriculture), buildable space (limited) and infrastructure (minimal, no college level educational institution).

Some decades ago Hollister and San Benito County were "discovered" - as a good place to be a bedroom community, and there is no indication that is going to change.  The firms in Silicon Valley want to be in Silicon Valley, that is why they are there.  We have no major, or even minor educational institution, we cannot offer urban amenities we will never have the population density,

The county and city are never going to combine because neither the politicians nor the residents want it.  There is no "rural" in San Francisco, it's densely populated city - county.  Heck, we can't even get SBC and Hollister to work together where they have mutual interests, how can we talk about becoming a city-county or county-city?  South County and Aromas are in different worlds from each other and from Hollister or North County.. 

If you want a City Manager with the qualification of San Jose's you can have one - all you have to have is the budget of San Jose., $1 billion for the General Fund, that's 47 times ours.  Their net city use funds for San Jose is $3 BILLION.for 2016-2017.

Why, exactly would a manager who makes more than $250,000 a year managing $3 billion, come to a city with a $21 million a year budget and when they ask for public safety people who make more than $300,000 a year like San Jose what will we give them? 

One year revenue for the City of San Luis Obispo from taxes and franchise fees alone is $55 million.  They have 140 public safety employees, take in more than $17 million in General Sales Tax, almost $14 million in property tax, more than $7 million IN LOCAL SALES TAX (that is similar in form, but not rate, to ours), and $6.8 million in transient occupancy tax.

Come on folks, you cannot compare us to either San Jose or San Luis Obispo - we have no ocean, no college, and no Silicon Valley just to start.  Try proposing things that can be done that would have the support of the voters.

Marty Richman



Submitted by Dee Murphy (Team Driver) on

So after more research Tod,  I saw that you had plans to develop condos on Park Hill. You also were the person developing five story condos and a hotel on Fourth and San Benito Street. When this did not happen you obviously became upset, moved and still have hard feelings against Hollister and San Benito County.

An 11 plus year grudge is a long time to dislike a place and its people.

Funny, in 2014 you wanted Monterey County to annex San Benito County??? That sure will not happen it seems you really do hold grudges for a very long time!

You even brag that you got a person fired "by accident" Wow, you really should just stay in San Luis Obispo and bring all of your ideas to their city council we would appreciate that.

Seems like you always have a huge bag of sour apples in your arms because your ideas did not happen for various reasons. I bet SLO is much more accommodating to your wishes. I wish you good luck in your business proposals there..




According to state data Hollister had 23 sworn full-time police officers in 2014 a ratio of 1 per 1,330 residents.  Average total compensation, all pay and benefits, $159,269.

The City of San Luis Obispo had 54 sworn full-time police officers in 2014 a ratio of 1 per 848 residents. Average total compensation, all pay and benefits, $173,383.

For 2014 SLO had an entire police department of 93 personnel, and a total compensation cost of $13.3 million or $290 per resident.  Hollister had an entire police department of 32 personnel and a total compensation cost of $4.3 million or $115 per resident.

On a per capita basis Hollister is spending about 40 percent of what SLO is spending for overall police department total compensation.  Our sworn personnel are making 10 percent less.  We are not spending it because we do not have it to spend, if we had it we would probably spend it.

Marty Richman

Fifteen years ago I developed a theory called the "I  hate the rich guy next door",  It was during the dot-com bubble (mania) when I noticed that people did not care when someone on Wall Street or 5 states away made a lot of money, but they just could not stand it when the guy next door did it.

Their first thought is, "I'm as smart as the they are; heck they're jerks, we're actually smarter than they are.  If they can make $200,000 buying stock in 'I'm an idiot dot-com' we can make a million bucks buying stock in 'Used-underware dot-com' - anybody can do it".

That's what we have here the theory that Hollister and San Luis Obispo are almost the same because the populations are relatively close, if they can do it we can do it, but that's where the similarity ends.  SLO is at the junction of 101 and 1 the two major north-south highways, a 15-mile easy drive to/from the ocean NW or 6 miles SW to one of the busiest beaches in the state. 

There is little to the south for 100 miles  Cal-Poly's main campus has 17,000 students expanding to 20,000.  What's the ocean and college worth in total economic input?  The answer is a fortune, we don't even have a community college education center because the economic opportunities already exist to the north along 101.  If you were spending your money for a hotel or restaurant where would you put it and where would the local government - reflecting the resident's preferences - let you put it?

Marty Richman

Submitted by Tod DuBois (John Galt) on

Dee, Marty, I love you both but you keep making this about comparisons and sour grapes both of which are relevant but not important. The bottom line is we don't have management and senior staff we know will deliver on the money. You only have the audacity of hope to barrow a phrase of people with zero track record of success. You both are welcome to believe that zero experience management will fix things; I am fairly confident they can't.  

I simply choose to believe and make a case for that improvement over time within the city and probably the county to be simply hope and not rational. Sometimes I get frustrated with the debate and say stupid things, it's easy as we know on the web. Sometimes I even blog during happy hour while watching the sun set over the ocean, also not a good idea. 

Irrational exuberance is prevalent and contagious - it has swept the nation up in real estate speculation and you are both happily being exuberant about Hollister's future. You are of course gambling with public funds with this approach - maybe you don't see it that way but that is the way it looks to the outside world. Those with money to travel and talent can move about the marketplace stay away. 

Furthermore, the use of fear tactics to obtain the votes needed for these tax measure further erodes what little confidence investors have for the future. Leaders who use fear to control the future are the type my Jewish family members particularly hate. Marty, do come visit the Synagogue here in SLO, there are two. There is a vibrant Jewish population in SLO - that tells you as much as you need to know. Dee will never be convinced as that would would not fit with the stubborn belief system that goes with those with only hope and need. 

Tod, you are the only person on earth to ever accuse me of "irrational exuberance", I'm a renowned pessimist.  My glass is never half-empty, it has a huge hole in the bottom.  When things were going really bad a little voice came to me and said, "Cheer up, things could be worse"; so I cheered up and sure enough things got worse.

On this chapter of the never-ending subject, I give you the final word.

Marty Richman

Kiddies, kiddies, what happened to playing nice? Let's discuss things online and try to create answers or solutions. I don't care about SLO, it is not relevant to Measure W. With our talented council Measure W is just about it for known revenue for the future. We all know that neither the council nor the city manager have any sort of resume for success. So let's pass W and hope that the future brings experienced talent to the forefront. Maybe there will be an opening in Dos Palos for a city manager and both cities can win, to paraphrase Will Rogers. But I am not sure that sales tax is all it is supposed to be. What happened in Gilroy? Does anybody know? They have the sales tax from the Outlets, Costco, Walmart, Target, and all the other stores. Where in the world are they spending that money? Gilroy downtown looks like a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie. Hollister is heading in the same direction with less money to fix the problem.

--William McCarey

Bill, here is the macro data from Gilroy's two-year, 2016-2017  budget est. population 54,000:

The total combined expenditure budget for FY 16 and FY 17 is $134.0 million and $116.5 million, respectively.

These overall budget totals include a general fund budget expense in FY 16 of $48.0 million, representing an increase of 5% over FY 15. The FY 17 general fund expenditure budget of $48.2 million, represents a slight increase over FY 16.

The City continues to meet and exceed its minimum general fund reserve levels (25% general fund reserve and 15% economic stability reserve).

The General Fund sales tax revenue for FY 16 is anticipated to total $17.3 million, up from projected FY 15 revenues of $15.7 million.

The old saying is that the time it takes to do a job expands to fill the time allotted to it, the corollary is that the amount of money spent by a public agency is the amount available, lol.

Gilroy spends 64 percent of their General Fund on public safety, 44 percent for police (approx.. $21 million a year)  and 20 percent (approx. $10 ,million a year) for fire.

So the GF alone is $600 per capita in Hollister and $888 per capita in Gilroy, 38 percent more.  Not sure if that proves anything, but those are the figures.

Marty Richman


Thanks for the info, Marty. At least the ratio in Gilroy is correct between police and fire. I guess the absence of an RDA process is affecting the beauty of their downtown. But I understand why all the council people are smiling in the Gilroy budget packet.

--William McCarey

Submitted by Tod DuBois (John Galt) on

Measure W will pass, it is easy to scare everyone with the exception of the Greeks with austerity or overwhelming force. Watch or read about the movie "300" to get a grasp of overwhelming force and the strength of resolve...I digress but what i was saying is we could stop Measure W but it would take about $10,000-20,000 in cash and why spend that when risking $90,000,000 on unproven management means very little downside to anyone. That's the proponents basic argument right? 

The economy is relatively strong so why would anyone want austerity - come on, there is enough fish and bread for everyone right? Marty's a pessimist and even he thinks risking $90,000,000 on unproven management over a thirty year period makes sense. Did I read your memo correctly Marty?

I'm predicting that the $90,000,000 will get spent, the homeless population will grow, crime will increase and Hollister will be in the same position it was 10 years ago. The good news is I won't have to live in that environment, though many of you will. 


Tod, just for the sake of accuracy, the proposed Measure W is a twenty-year, not thirty-year, continuation of the 1 percent transactions sales tax.  In today's dollars (spending power) that's about $4 million a year which accounts, TODAY, for about 20 percent of the City's General Fund.

The vast majority of the funds will be spent annually to pay for all aspects of the city's ongoing operations including public safety (police, fire, code enforcement and animal control, 64% of the budget), administration (12%), parks and recreation  (7%), and development services (8%) , together that is 91 percent of the entire GF budget.

If we did not have those funds and cut across the board, all the services would be reduced by about 20 percent.  We need the income to supply those public services.

Sales tax rates (Hollister's would remain the same)

Hollister 8.500 %, Gilroy 8.750 %, Morgan Hill 8.750 %, San Jose 9.000 %, Monterey 8.625 %, Carmel 8.625%, Santa Cruz 8.750 %, Del Rey Oaks 9.125 %, Salinas 9.125 %, Sand City 8.625 % and Santa Clara    8.750 %  

It's still the among lowest sales tax rates in the area, unfortunately the cost of public services are driven, to a large extent, by the competition from the wealthier counties.

If the residents want to keep a reasonable degree of pubic services they should support Measure W.

Marty Richman

Submitted by (Tod) on

Marty, Dee, I get it - "we need the money" - it's the same argument that we hear often. You have to admit - it's not really about improving anything, it's about just keeping some resemblance of the current services.

Thanks for noting that it's about $4,000,000 per year Marty because with the past ten years and the future twenty years that makes it more like $120,000,000 spending on just keeping things functioning and ZERO on making it actually better. Even better that's $120,000,000 million all spent by inexperienced management.

When I go to my investors and say "we need the money" I don't get the resounding support you think the voters will give you on this proposition. I usually get "this is our pension money so do with what you have". Spending someone's pension on not making things better is a sure way to lose friends. Would you want your pension money to be spent this way?

Ok, you'll both be dead or close to it by then, why should you care. Actually I don't know how old Dee is - so maybe she'll be around. Dee even mentioned the 400 block - my favorite subject. The RDA spent $6,000,000 to build the parking garage to then give away the land next door - you go skilled management! Brilliant!

Submitted by Tod DuBois (John Galt) on

Marty, Dee, I get it - "we need the money" - it's the same argument that we hear often. You have to admit - it's not really about improving anything, it's about just keeping some resemblance of the current services. 

Thanks for noting that it's about $4,000,000 per year Marty because with the past ten years and the future twenty years that makes it more like $120,000,000 spending on just keeping things functioning and ZERO on making it actually better. Even better that's $120,000,000 million all spent by inexperienced management. With an inflation factor and the new retail in town it could be $150,000,000 - all spent or gambled away. Twice more than the sewer plant cost over a shorter period of time. Are you getting the picture now of how massive this is? 

When I go to my investors and say "we need the money" I don't get the resounding support you think the voters will give you on this proposition. I usually get "this is our pension money so do with what you have". Spending someone's pension on not making things better is a sure way to lose friends. Would you want your pension money to be spent this way? 

Ok, you'll both be dead or close to it by then, why should you care? Actually I don't know how old Dee is - so maybe she'll be around. Dee even mentioned the 400 block - my favorite subject. Management spent $6,000,000 to build the parking garage to then give away the land next door - you go skilled management! Brilliant! Spend it, waste it, use it up and ask for more...Marty and Dee will provide! 

Submitted by Dee Murphy (Team Driver) on

According to the article I posted about you and the other people in the running for the 400 block I am pretty sure you would have been on the other end of the  "Go skilled management! Brilliant!" if they had opted to give you that land to develop as you wanted and as said before are upset it went to someone else and still are holding grudges.   

Maybe the reason your investors do not give you resounding support is they can see how you act here on forums and decide it is not in their best interest to invest?

Yes, I did mention the 400 block since that is most likely when you became so upset with the City of Hollister and its management because you did not have things go your way??? Of course they are all gone now so nothing can be done about the past.. 

I believe you used those very same types of words for yourself "I need the money!" the hotel on 400 block and condos on Park Hill both did not go through for you correct?

Since we covered San Benito County and Hollister already what have you accomplished in the town you love so much San Luis Obispo? Please show us maybe the City and the County can learn form your efforts?

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