...About County Executive John Stoffa.
On Sunday, May 08, 2011, Mr. Stoffa wrote a guest column in the Express Times that clearly illustrates and proves what we have been saying all along.
John starts out by giving us a kiss on one cheek, and then slaps us hard on the other...he says:
"The work of collecting these signatures is onerous and exhausting, and I commend this group for their fierce interest in this question and their willingness to participate in the democratic process. (KISS) However, I see a great danger in the presentation of the ballot question — not in what it asks, but what it doesn’t ask. There is no mention in the referendum of the cost to taxpayers or any question about their willingness to pay more taxes to retain Gracedale as a county-owned facility." (Slap)
The first point we want to make is: if the County Executive actually saw a danger in the presentation of the ballot question, then why did he tell us to do it? He not only explained some of the processes to us, he eagerly encouraged us to go out and get the signtures!
During our meeting with Mr. Stoffa in the 911 building, he told us "all I can say is - if you want to save gracedale you have to get the signatures", and yes - that quote is to the best of our recollection, however, there were three COAF members present, all who heard the same thing. Now c'mon John...you led us to believe that Ron Angle was the culprit, and Bernie was just a nuisance, when in reality you believed in your heart that we were not going to get the signatures...not possible - so you played with our emotions, and strung us along. Tell the truth John...never in your wildest imagination could you vision that we would do it...RIGHT!!! But we did! And then your world began to crumble...and crumble.
He continues with these two statements 1)"The cost to taxpayers to retain Gracedale will be a 10 to 30 percent increase in county taxes" and, 2) "If the ballot initiative passes and Gracedale cannot be sold, county property taxes will need to be increased"...As we know today, both statements turned out to be outright deceptions, or bluntly stated - lies. We The People challenged the executive on this point because we realized that he wasn't taking us seriously, and his failure to do so caused him underestimate the enormous home work we were doing on this possibility. Our analysis indicated that no tax increases was necessary, at least not due to Gracedale, so we simply stated publicly that the threat of an increase in taxes was nothing more than a scare tactic...and it turned we were correct - but the greatest thing to occur was that 3 out of 4 of the individuals we spoke to on the possibility of a tax increase expressed that they were willing to endure a tax increase to preserve Gracedale in County hands, because it might be their home at some point in the future. John did not anticipate this or his strategy may have been different.
Surprisingly, Mr. Stoffa also stated in his guest column: "While some will argue that the county has a $62 million fund balance, most of this money is already committed — $14.1 million committed to a swaption" WAIT - we can stop right here to point out that this very evening Mr. Stoffa announced that the swaption was ended June 22, 2012 at an actual cost of 27.275 MILLION dollars to the taxpayers with absolutely nothing to show for it. That's 13.175 million dollars more...if they did not have the funds available then...where exactly did Mr. Stoffa get the additional funds from in June? There's been no tax increase! Furthermore, we would like to point out once again that if he had made a genuine effort to convince County Council to pay off the swaption when it was well under ten million, he would be observed as a financial genius today...instead, he is viewed as an incompetent manager.
We're not attempting to be mean spirited, just honest and truthful.
Read full colum - John Stoffa - Guest Colum: Vote NO on Referendum Question