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29 Palms: Discretionary slush funds under attack

By   /   May 16, 2014  /   1 Comment

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Friday, May 16, 2014 ~

Twentynine Palms – A few day ago, the Editorial Board of the Sacramento Bee condemned their City Council’s use of discretionary account funding for special projects. The Editorial Board detailed how their city charter allows members of Sacramento’s City Council to keep ‘discretionary accounts’ which allows them to personally direct funds to projects in their district, or in any other manner they choose. Said the Board, “One politician’s discretionary account is another politician’s slush fund.”

Likewise, Cactus Thorns has published many articles and comments shining light on the 29 Palms City nefarious discretionary funds. Like the editorial board of the Sacramento Bee, this blogger has been saying all along that 29’s discretionary funds are basically “slush funds” to manage and influence and achieve self-serving private “agendas”.

By way of example here is how it works behinds the OZ curtain:

By his own admission local crony, Gary Daignault, admitted Theatre 29 master-minded Project Phoenix’s state of-the-art performing arts theater. The council thugs went along with it. The fallout… the city is in bond debt for 30 years, for 30 million dollars spanning three generations. Your children will pay for the fiasco of duplicate city buildings. And yes, Theatre 29 thugs will use both the present Theatre 29 city building as well as a new one (if it ever happens).] According to the California Attorney General, bond attorney Munoz has earned a million bucks on this foray (including an ongoing cut of the action). Thus far there is nothing to show for the city debt and the council’s misadventure. And to date, here has been no public input whatsoever, other than backdoor crony input. 

 

Traditional, discretionary accounts are for council member, county supervisors or other state/federal elected officials whom represent specific voting districts. By some rather unwholesome scheme — even though 29 Palms City Council Members are “at large” public servants without voting districts – why have they set up slush funds as a whole group for themselves?

The council continues to act like like the Saudi Kings who can do whatever they want without consequences or accountability.  In at large voting districts discretionary funds are moot. No need for this type of slush fund. The only purpose is an easy ripoff of public funds. The 29 Council have and are now neglecting the city’s basic infrastructure and public safety.

Not only have discretionary funds been established for purely pet projects with no priority whatsoever, city council thugs also tapped into the general fund, capital gains and even diverted annual City’s Reserve funds to placate themselves and the small circle of cronies whom have become money-grubbing selfish gluttons.

The 29 Palms Chief financial Officer, Ron Peck, pretty much established this in his recent report to the council that the city (i.e., the council) has spent more money than money than it has money coming into the city; that come June the city would be in the red; and that annual surplus finds of approximately one million dollars is no longer there. To add salt to an open wound, the last council meeting they voted more money for their cronies. 

Traditionally, discretionary funding were established for the use of elected officials for their own districts.Hence, why were they established for council thugs in the same manner who have no voting districts? For for the last three years this city council ceased being democratic in practice or transparent to the public; they fail as public servants. They have destroyed what our founding fathers envisioned. 

This so-called slush funds may not be illegal, however, they have incubated the unwholesome environment where 29 Palms council members have an established the “bandwagon doctrine”: an unspoken political environment where they stick together: you vote for my pet project and I’ll vote for yours. It’s been their private piggy banks (slush funds/discretionary funds) to fund our misadventures even at the risk of later bring the city to the brink of bankruptcy. 

This “bandwagon” mentality” on many levels is corrosive and destructive as well as anti-democratic. It corrupts local officials, and empowers their small gaggle of oligarchy cheerleaders whom personally benefit one way or another off public funds.

At the present time the public has lost control of the city and public funds. Special interest and bumbling Dagwood Bumstead characters have seized the city’s monetary assets. If these people are reelected I predict they will seriously tap into city reserves for their own purposes in order to serve their egos and further serve a small shadow-government of local cronies. The city needs to put an end to these lopsided discretionary accounts. 

The Editorial Board of the Sacramento Bee has this to say about discretionary accounts:

Though no one has alleged that anyone in Sacramento has misused funds, the very idea of a taxpayer funded account that politicians can spend at their pleasure – with little disclosure required – is a disaster waiting to happen. As the editors of the Bee put it, “When feathering your own nest, best to keep quiet about it.”

We have an eerie, self-serving and delusional city council of thugs. Three seats are open in the 2014 local elections. Harris’ seat, Mintz’s seat and Corbin’s seat. Corbin has wisely chose not to seek another four years. It’s rumored Harris is laying-in-wait to see who will run. Mintz is addicted to power, position and spending public funds — all of which will foreseeable help his multiple local business 0.3 tens of a mile away from ground zero. 

At issue: Does the public want public safety, a well-rounded and adequately funded fire department and much neglected city infrastructure attended to – or does the public want anti-democratic ripoff thugs (including outside bond attorney Munoz) moving the city forward in troubling times for nefarious purposes with questionable discretionary funds for their pleasure?

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OP-Ed

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About the author

Branson Hunter

(This story was posted by Cactus Thorn contributor Branson Hunter)

"The ends do not justify the means." If you use illegal mean to accomplish a legal and even desirable result, the good result does not make the bad means you used justifiable.

1 Comment

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