An individual or group self identfying as "Citizens for a Good Government", distributed a single page back to back printed flier throughout a portion of Grand Terrace. Residents found the flier under their cars windshield wipers. Cars that were parked both in driveways and on the street received fliers
In this weeks Grand Terrace City News, Herman Hilkey the Campaign Manager for Former City Mange , now City Council Member Candidate, Tom Schwab was half right. He clearly believes that all of the 4.6 Million Dollars spent of RDA funds are properly accounted for because they were spent by the City on City Projects. The city does have a proper right to some RDA funds annually, however, the way the accounting was done, there is insufficient accounting trails to know where every dime of RDA money has been spent.
This is a Legal and Regulatory problem Mr. Hilkey. RDA Money is acquired via the issue of Debt Bonds. There are terms and conditions upon its use. It is not only a violation of the Redevelopment Agencies Charter and Legal limitations but a Federal Issue if those funds were used in a way they are not fully accounted for. Bonds, Mr. Hilkey are Federally Regulated Financial Instruments.
Mr. Schwab as acting City Manger provided "Staff Recommendations" and statements to lead Council Members to believe he was directing them to take proper actions regarding the spending. Included in those council members you are right Council Member Walt Stanckiewitz did as the others did. He voted in accordance to Schwab's recommendation. When Stanckiewitz began to question the recommendations he was ridiculed as were citizens who were asking similar questions regarding the financial accounts and fungibility of the resources between the RDA and City.
The State RDA regulators have required some funds be repaid to the RDA due to their improper use. The question is of the 4.6 Million how much of it went where and how much has to be paid back. Mr. Schwab's statement, he borrowed the money and never intended to pay it back does not offer any level of confidence things were done right in the past. Nor does it suggest Mr. Schwab has any intention of doing things better in the future.
Mr. Schwab's defence of not paying income taxes on Council and Commissioners Stipends is an example of his not being able to accept regulation even when the IRS rules on the matter.
Yes, Mr. Stanckiewitz was lured in to making a bad vote on past budgets. Those bad budgets were prepared and represented by Mr. Tom Schwab. Those budgets and presentations use words like Reserves to mean, Bond Money (DEBT that is a Liability) that has not been spent yet for their intended purpose, should be used to fund the budget. The City Manager at the time should have said. HEY we are spending money that we should not be spending. This is where that money comes from and it is an improper use of those funds.
Rather he misrepresented the facts and gave the City Council Members an inflated hopeful view of future returns on his Redevelopment Ventures, assuring them that one of them will hit and bring in piles of money to sustain the debt and city both.
Council Member Walt Stanckiewitz realized the error of these practices and this was and is in part why he is running for Mayor. He wants this practice to stop now and in the future. He wants to identify the liabilities clearly and establish a plan to pay off the debt both the properly spent debt and the improperly spent debt.
Mr. Hilkey, your candidate is running against Bea Cortes, Bernardo Sandoval, and Richard Loder not Walt Stackiewitz. Perhaps it would be wiser to compare your candidate to those individuals. Bea Cortes whom Mr. Schwab identified as the least prepared Council Member he worked with, also voted to approve your "Staff Recommendations". Bernardo Sandoval agrees ardently with the idea GT should not continue down the same accounting practices of Mr. Schwab's design. Richard Loder, desires more accountability and transparency even though he has not dug into the issue of past management until this campaign.
Mr. Hilkey, do you not recall your displeasure with the purchase of the Dodson Property the price and reason of its purchase and the behind closed door agreements made. Quite frankly your support for Mr. Schwab is a puzzle for many citizens who have been active Citizens. Perhaps you would serve Mr. Schwab better as a spokes person if you resolved those past conflicts with his actions to the satisfaction of the voting public. If Mr. Schwab could account for every bit of the 4.6 million and what specifically was spent where that may be all together different situation. However neither Mr. Sandoval or Mr. Loder voted for any of the budgets you now try to defend with your argument. Your missing your target on purpose with a distraction.
Mr. Schwab is offering the Voters a Tarp for the bad roof over the City. This while he collects his large retirement he negotiated for himself. It is reasonable to say no thanks to more of that in the future.