Mangum: Letter mailed to supporters filled with ‘lies’
UPDATE: On Friday, Nov 2 Les Bailey, an elder with the Panorama Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, said that his church has not used a post office box for “at least five or six years.” He speculated that the box has since been assisgned to someone else.
By Steve Dreyer
Poway City Council candidate Jeff Mangum is fuming over the contents of a letter mailed anonymously this week to his supporters that Mangum says is riddled with false and misleading statements.
The awkwardly worded letter, signed by “Your neighbors” accuses Mangum of being responsible for future increases in the recipient’s property taxes though his support of Poway Unified School District school construction bonds.
“It is unfortunate that you are promoting this fiscally egregious candidate for a position on the Poway city council,” the letter says. “Shame on you.”
“I agree that someone should be ashamed — whoever sent out these lies, whether it was my opponent personally or one of his surrogates, should be ashamed,” Mangum said Thursday. “These kinds of dirty, dishonest politics have no place in Poway.”
Council candidates Steve Vaus, Jim Cunningham and Gary Vineyard on Thursday each denied any connection to the letter.
The one-page letter comes in an envelope with the return address of a post office box in Cathedral City. An Internet search revealed the box is one used by “Panorama Congregation.” There was no answer Thursday afternoon at the listed telephone number. A phone message was left at the business of someone listed as a church official.
The letter is addressed to “Resident at” and begins with “I saw your sign in front of your house promoting a candidate for Poway city council. It is good to see that your are exercising your First Amendment right.”
The second paragraph begins with “Based on public records your yearly taxes are currently …” and gives a cash amount. In a letter provided to the News Chieftain, the amount was $11,843. “That’s about $911 per $100,000 on the value of your home,” the letter says.
“In twenty years, when the bonds that are now extant come due, your tax bill will be approximately $59,215.00 per year. That’s assuming your house will still be valued at $1.3 million.
“You can thank the candidate you are promoting for this increase in your property taxes, since these figures are based only on his predictions of what the average tax bill will be in the future.”
The letter says “In 2010 this candidate DID VOTE to create the bonds that are the basis of the $1.2 billion bond debt and he was at the time on the PUSD board. This fact is a matter of public record that he does not dispute, in fact, he admitted that he did participate in constructing and promoting the bond issues as they eventually went to the voters in 2011 and later.”
Asked to respond to the letter’s allegations, Mangum released the following statement:
“With regard to content, the letter is false and misleading on so many levels that I hardly know where to begin.
“The letter implies that the bonds are responsible for the entire property tax. In reality, the bonds account for a maximum of $55 per $100,000 of assessed valuation (AV). If the house referenced in the letter is valued at $1.3 million as the letter claims, that would be $715 ($55 x 13) or about 6% of the tax bill ($715 divided by the entire $11,843 tax). The remaining 94% has nothing at all to do with the PUSD bonds.
“The letter claims that $11,843 in property taxes due in 2012 will grow to $59,215 in 20 years when the bonds are due. (Actually, they are not due in 20 years.) But that is literally impossible: Proposition 13 limits annual AV growth to 2%. By my math, the maximum AV growth over a 20 year period would be 48.6% (2% x 20 years). That would make the maximum tax about $17,500, between one-quarter and one-third of the $59,215 the letter claims. And once again, the portion attributable to the bonds would be only 6% of that amount or about $1,050.
“The letter’s statement that “this candidate DID VOTE to create the bonds that are the basis of the $1.2 Billion [sic – the amount is overstated] bond debt and he was at the time on the PUSD board” is patently false. I left the board in December 2010. The bond was created by the May 2011 vote, not by the October 2010 vote. The bonds authorized in 2010 were never negotiated, issued or sold. Period. Anyone who wants the truth can confirm this with PUSD.”
Mangum added: “Perhaps the most shocking thing about the letter is its obvious purpose: To intimidate people who support me. That is a new low in Poway politics.”
Asked about the letter, Vaus said, “The short answer is, I know nothing about it. I have no clue. It kind of boggles the mind. It makes no sense.”
Cunningham said, “I suspect the anonymous authors of this letter seek to get a reaction from the citizens of Poway and drive home their goal to have all of us reduced to the sad populous who are force-fed reasons to vote against someone rather than being encouraged to vote for a candidate based upon their accomplishments and character. I predict that tortured logic will fail in Poway.”
Vineyard also denied any connection with the letter.
- Mangum, Vaus clash at Poway forum over PUSD bonds
- Committee formed to study controversial PUSD bonds
- City Council forum works around no-bond ruling
- Council to consider refinancing City Hall bonds
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