Letters to the Editor

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911: Proposition 1 is limited to life of the bonds

Letter by Dick Muri, Steilacoom on Oct. 28, 2011 at 9:34 am with 30 Comments »
October 28, 2011 11:07 am

Opponents of Proposition 1, which creates a seamless countywide emergency communications system called South Sound 911, are making lots of incorrect claims.

Let’s set the record straight.

CLAIM: This is a permanent tax.
FACT: As a member of your Pierce County Council, I sponsored the amendment that placed an air-tight “sunset clause” on the sales tax increase. The one-tenth of one percent sales tax will expire in 25 years, after the construction bonds are paid off. It would take voter approval to renew it.

CLAIM: The government will “quietly” shift this tax to other areas after the capital needs are paid off.
FACT: This would be illegal. A state law, RCW 82.14.420, authorizes counties to ask voters to increase the sales tax by one-tenth of one percent solely to finance, design, build and operate “emergency communication systems and facilities.”

CLAIM: There are “undisclosed taxes and fees.”
FACT: There is only one new tax. The rest of the funding comes from existing 911 revenue sources.

CLAIM: This is only the county government’s problem.
FACT: Approximately 40 police and fire agencies in the county will get necessary radio equipment for their personnel. At least four local dispatch agencies will merge into a better, more efficient operation.

Voting for this new tax was not easy. But after many hours of hearings and reviewing the data, I concluded it was necessary to enhance public safety. Check out www.fix911.org before you vote, and learn more.

(Dick Muri is a councilmember for Pierce County Council District 6)

Leave a comment Comments → 30
  1. JimmyEOlson says:

    Yeah, and Initiatives 601, 602 , etc. and etc. are permanent. Tell me another bedtime story, Dick.

  2. rainiersnow says:

    FACT: The people who presently control all the money will continue to control all the money with no accountability for this money or the money they already spent.

    FACT: The money was mis-spent before so the county wants more of your money.

    FACT: There is money put aside already for the radio upgrade but County wants to build a Kingdom.

    LIE: Four dispatch agencies are NOT merging into one agency. There are two comm centers. Your calls will be transfered when you call 911 if you need fire or medical aid.

    LIE: This is a better system

    FACT: I am voting against Roger Bush in the next election and urge all County votes to remember who on the council tried to take your money for unnecessary reasons.

    FACT: There will be HUGE payraises for several involved in this should it pass.

    FACT: My family and I are standing up against the county and voting no! We are tired of being part of the 99 percent of the country supporting the 1 percent who already control everything.

  3. Really911 says:

    Mr Muri, Yes lets set the record straight. We never said this was a permanent tax, we have always acknowledged it as a 25 year sunset clause. We simply say that in 25 years the county will come back to the voters and ask to have it renewed. Logic would tell any voter to see this coming. The example is in front of us everytime the fire department levys are brought back for renewal. Its not a new tax it is the same tax you have been paying, we just want to renew it..If you don’t renew it and you need medical aid, we might not be able to respond..Scare tactics !!

    Let me clarify..
    You are saying that the funds currently required to fund 911, approx 7 million from Pierce County and 7.5 million from Tacoma as examples will not stay in their general funds as a result of Prop 1. And then be used elsewhere. Streets, Arts or whatever ?
    You are saying, There will be no fee to the cities for calls for service ?
    Because if that is what you are saying I would like the public to see that in writing so when the bill comes they will have your statement on their side.
    Your statement that 4 dispatch agencies will merge into a better more efficient operation. I ask you… How is it going to be better ? The way 911 works will be the same.
    The only reason you can say 40 agencies is because LESA currently dispatches for a lot of those agecies and Pierce County failed to do the necessary upgrades to radios and they have the same problem.

    Naturally you would defend this, bet you are salavating over getting these funds in your hands…

    Shame on you !

  4. Rollo_Tomassi says:

    “CLAIM: This is a permanent tax.

    FACT: As a member of your Pierce County Council, I sponsored the amendment that placed an air-tight “sunset clause” on the sales tax increase. The one-tenth of one percent sales tax will expire in 25 years, after the construction bonds are paid off. “

    This is your first line of defense? A 25 year tax is not a permanent tax? That’s true, I guess, if you expect to live longer than 25 more years. Else, the tax is permanent for the rest of us.

    Now, lets talk about how much revenue it generates over the next 25 years…

  5. octobernight says:

    They must really be worried about this passing seeing how they’re bombarding us all with these articles and trying so hard to skew the REAL FACTS. Misdirection and scare tactics, that’s the game they’re playing. Not falling for it! VOTE NO ON PROP 1!!

  6. Really911 says:

    Should we remind the voters that Dan Roach tried to introduce an ammendment that would have guaranteed that these funds could not be used for anything else…watch the July 26th council meeting…Mr. Muri would not vote for this ammendment…Mr Muri says the money can’t be used for anything else, but what would if have hurt to pass it ? I think Dan Roach is the only stand up guy on the Pierce County Council..

  7. Mr. Muri,
    As you can tell, the anti-government people have their narrow minds made up and facts will only confuse them.
    I and many others will trust your word and gladly vote for Proposition 1 in the interest of public safety for everyone.
    The deniers’ arguments are just so much nonsense.

  8. rainiersnow says:

    Publico,

    Personally, I am not anti-government I am just not a sheep that believes what I am told just because someone holds an office of authority.
    **
    My family has served in the military and gone where told. They have fought in the Vietnam war and I have lost a member of the family in Afghanistan. The family has paid the ultimate price for this county.
    *
    I fly a flag in my yard with pride. Not for those that sit behind a desk at the county and make stupid decisions but for the men and women in uniform who stand the line everyday so you can vote and we can have a difference of opinions. This is the American way.
    *
    Again, having a different opinion of you does not make a person anti-goverment, it makes then an individual.

  9. Really911 says:

    Publico,
    Before you insult people you should get the facts. You are the one that is confused by their lies. But you certainly have the right to follow like sheep…I hope you are alive in 25 years to see this tax come back for your approval.

  10. I will give you a FACT not one of the Pierce Council Members who are endorsing PROP 1 has ever requested an audit of Pierce County 911 funds and where & what the monies have been used for. If you had you would find serveral violations & misuse of 911 monies. For years the other Pierce County 911 PSAP’s have requested 911 audit & have been ignored due to your lack of leadship on the Council. As far as equipment monies for radio’s and upgrades the monies were available to all after 9-11 and all of the agencies in Pierce County received those funds. The mismanagement of those funds is why PCSO & Pierce County Fire does not have the updated radios. Tacoma Fire & Police both upgraded to 800 using those monies & not taxing the Citizens for extra taxes that are not needed.

    Do your job & find the monies that you all ready have to fix your problems.

  11. rainiersnow wrote: “Not for those that sit behind a desk at the county and make stupid decisions….”
    Sure sounds anti-government to me. You see, when you generalize like that it can come out only one way. Your claim of individualism is simply smoke.
    By the way, I served in Vietnam, lost friends there too. My flag is in the garage today because we have construction going on in the front yard.
    Care to condescend some more?

  12. rainiersnow says:

    Publico,

    I will correct my statement, “For Roger Bush and Dick Muri who sit behind the desks at the county”. With a position of authority comes great responsiblity. Neither of these people, nor the county auditor have shown that responsibility. I respect the position they hold but not those who hold it. That is my right and does not make me anti-government.
    **
    As for smoke, that is what the county is doing. Why are you not asking for an audit. The money they are asking for is unreasonable even the Sheriff at one time said he did not support this. Do you know that if this passes you 911 call will still have to be transfered to the fire department. Do you know that Pierce county cannot meet the Federal Government standard for answering 911 so they set their own so they could meet it? Did you know that if this passes there will be huge pay raises for those at Firecom? Do you know that your medical and fire calls will be delayed in dispatching and help responding to you because the call taker has to transfer the call so you are waiting and waiting and some times waiting some more for an answer.
    ***
    If making accusations towards people make you feel like a bigger person, I feel sorry for you. Reaching out and educating those that have a different opinioin is taking the higher road.
    *
    I will not lower myself to the level of calling you names or questioning your loyalty to this country. I am an American. I have a right to my opinion as you have a right to yours.
    *
    Oh, and my flag does fly 24 hrs a day and it is has a light shining on it at night. I am proud to be an American, proud to serve my country and community.

    *

  13. rainiersnow says:

    Voters, please read this article. It contains “The Facts”

    http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/10/23/1876258/911-proposition-poor-plan-that.html

  14. octobernight says:

    Publico,
    So not wanting to throw my money down the drain just because someone says I should is anti-government? Being a responsible voter by asking questions, questions I might add have NEVER actually been answered, is anti-government? There are no facts or answers being presented, only promises that that supposed facts and answers exist. Well it’s time to show something REAL for all this talk, don’t you think? I don’t believe in blindly following the rest of herd when it’s being led by a wolf. Maybe your open mindness woulnd’t mind paying the tax for me if you so heartily belive in this plan then?

  15. took14theteam says:

    After reading Publico’s comments on this letter, I have come to the conclusion that he/she is a troll. If you believe that a tax with a sunset clause 25 years out is going to end, I have a tunnel replacement for a viaduct to sell you.

  16. dankuykendall says:

    I am very happy that there are those that fly their flags 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. However, this does not make you more American or a better American than me Mr Publico. I chose not to fly a flag to convince others how great an American I am! I also served in Vietnam as a medic in an infanrty platoon and later as a medic on a recon team. I also lost friends, I lost patients due to trauma beyond my knowledge or expertise to care for or just noway to save them.

    Do not place yourself above another because you may get your soapbox kicked out from under you!

  17. rainiersnow says:

    Interestng…it looks like we are getting a little off track here but that is expected when people are being called to task. They try to change the subject. Let’s get down to the real facts.

    Where did all the money go that Pierce County had to upgrade their radios? Why do they need to build more comm centers when your call is still going to be transfered if you need fire and medical aid? Why isn’t there an audit of all the 911 monies that have been previously collected. How come they are not mentioning the large payraises that will come should this pass? Look at the new vehicles that were bought, the remodels that were done, etc. We need accountablity by those that control our money.
    **
    The auditor says it is only a penny. Well, she can pay my pennny.

  18. LarryFine says:

    “Trust your word” LMAO… now that really speaks volumes.

  19. What are the two most misleading words ever printed? I believe they are,Temporary Tax.

  20. Mr Muri is not telling the whole truth about the use of the tax proceeds. He well knows there is no prohibition in this RCW against supplanting existing funding of LESA. At the July 26 council meeting,  Muri, Bush and Roach all acknowledged that the tax will bring in MUCH MORE than needed for 911. Roach estimated the excess to be $80 million and unsuccessfully offered an amendment requiring proceeds to be spent only on the radios and two new (duplicate!) dispatch centers ( and not put into the general fund). Muri said the excess would more likely be $285 million (!!) but he and Bush actually said the excess SHOULD go to the general fund to build roads and such. So this 25 YEAR tax increase is actually a slush fund for whatever pet projects the council dreams up. Listen for yourself to the discussion, between 66 and 84 minutes into the 7/26 meeting: http:/www.piercecountytv.org/cfapps/pctv/CouncilMeeting.cfm .

  21. ItalianSpring says:

    I also voted NO on this. Government needs to REALLOCATE the funds they already receive. LESS fraudulent, laziness enabling, SOCIAL spending. I have seen NO attempts to stop this theft.

  22. The county keeps saying that the funds from Prop 1 must be spent on the 911 system and I believe they are telling the truth. Now for the rest of the story that they aren’t telling. There is no requirement that the funds currently provided by the various agencies will continue to be provided at the same levels. Some of the funds from Prop 1 will cover those costs allowing the various agencies and local governments to channel the funds they used to pay for 911 into other areas. So we get a part truth.

    The picture that they put up on fix911.org shows the devastation from the earthquake in Japan with the title “Will we be prepared?” Do you think the 911 system would be operational if we experienced anything like that? There would be no phone service so what good would 911 be? This proposition is a sales pitch that we can ill afford. We can provide all 40 agencies with new communications equipment for $35,000,000. That is $260,000,000 less than they are asking for. I am not anti-government or anti-tax. I do believe in responsible financial decision making and I don’t believe that this proposition meets that requirement.

    With all of the budget deficits that local, county and state government is facing I think there are more worthy uses for these funds.

  23. takuwinds says:

    For all those that are opposing this tax. Don’t assume it is going to fail. Make sure you go out and vote. Today I was driving on Meridian in Puyallup at 176th. There were two woman waving and holding signs AGAINST PROP 1 but there were about 20 people, including children, men and women holding signs SUPPORT PROP1. I give those two ladies credit that were holding their against prop1 signs in the sea of yes prop 1 signs and honked at them in support. Remember go out and vote no. Don’t let Pierce County use their pathetic tatics to pull at your heart strings to give them an open check book.

  24. arbeenjo says:

    ALERT!

    Take a look at the voter’s pamphlet and you’ll see they didn’t even get the percentage right! They claim it’s “one-tenth of one percent” yet show it numerically as 0.01%! For those Prop 1 supporters and council members who are math challenged, 0.01% is one one-hundreth of a percent. “One-tenth of one percent” is 0.1%. Which is it gang? And you want us to support a measure put together by a bunch of bureaucrats who can’t do basic math?

    Notice too how they minimize the cost by saying it’s only 1 cent on a $10.00 purchase yet nowhere in the voters’ pamphlet do they actually account for the annual tax or total tax over the 20 year bond. Of course not, since that would really identify the true cost of this boondoggle. This is the same tactic used by Pierce Transit to camouflage the cost of their “mere” 0.3% increase in sales tax which represented a 50% increase in their take from sales tax. Even a 0.1% increase in the sales tax would raise about $20,000,000+ a year….and Muri says this would go on for 20 years? Don’t be so naive Dick. Where is the money going to? So far the Pro-Prop 1 folks aren’t saying except in the most general of terms….which means they don’t know either.

  25. arbeenjo says:

    Correction to my last post….25 YEAR BOND (not 20)at $20,000,000+ annually equals half a Billion dollars out of our economy…..but then again it’s only just a “tiny” 0.1% addition to the sales tax. What a rip off!

  26. took14theteam says:

    Yet Sum people who comment here would say you are being selfish by not bending over and giving more money to the government when they ask for it. You don’t want to kill old people and children, do you?

    ;-)

  27. Really911 says:

    There were 2 of us standing on Meridian at 176th. We got there about 9:00, we were there for about 1 hour before 2 Pro-Prop 1 folks showed up. They immediately began texting, and the 4 of their friends showed up, and about 10 minutes later 4 more showed up. Now I don’t begrudge them the right to wave signs. But to us this was another bullying tactic. We have told our folks not to go out sign waving unless they have someone with them and this is why. They have used these tactics throughout this entire campaign. Like damaging and stealing our signs. As a matter of fact I left 1 of our signs there yesterday, and when I drove back by that intersection at 1:30 PM it was gone too. We stayed until it was time to go to another intersection, but I am sure they think they bullied into leaving.

    We stick to the same statement. The federal mandate is to upgrade radios. We agree that this needs to happen, we have never denied that. But, they could have done this with federal funding when Puyallup, Tacoma and Central Pierce Fire and Rescue did it several years ago. Now Pierce County wants the public to fund it. They have known all these years of the hazard to the officers. So using the Widow of officer Mundell is only making them look more irresponsible. I hope Mundell’s family sues Pierce County for failing to act on a safety hazard that they admit having knowledge of long before he was killed.
    Pierce County SO and The Fire Departments have enough money to fix the radios. It is time the public holds them accountable and makes them dig into the “considerable funds” they have to draw from and make this happen. Stop using widows and children to pull at the heart strings of the public. They are holding onto their funding until Nov 8th to see how the vote goes. They should be acting on the radio issue in the mean time if they really believe it is a public safety, officer safety and fire fighter safety hazard. Vote No and make them expose their funds that they themselves say they have.

  28. LarryFine says:

    All good and valid points Really911.
    Reminds me of the libs in Lousiana spending federal $$$ for levys on other things and then blaming Bush for the levies failing…

  29. Really911 says:

    Takuwinds, Thanks for your support. You are absolutely right. No one should assume the outcome. Cast your vote !!!!!

  30. Wow… thank you for posting where to find the county council minutes

    “between 66 and 84 minutes into the 7/26 meeting: http:/www.piercecountytv.org/cfapps/pctv/CouncilMeeting.cfm”

    They basically all agree that this will generate WAY more money than is necessary to get the system setup, so they will then use the extra money to cover the operations (which is already covered by money in the general fund). This in turn frees up the general fund money to pay for whatever they feel is necessary (potholes, arts, etc).

    Really they should reduce the proposed new tax to just cover the system setup (0.1% for 12 years or 0.05% for 25 years), the savings to the general fund should come from the proposed efficienies of the new system.

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