Commission Meeting #2 Minutes
February 24, 1999
1. Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at approximately 10:45 a.m. by Chairperson David Abel. Southern California Association of Governments Executive Director Mark Pisano briefly addressed the commission, welcoming the members to SCAG and thanking them for getting involved in the important work of fiscal reform.
Chairperson Abel then asked Mr. Pisano to share some thoughts on fiscal reform with the Commission. Mr. Pisano described SCAG's Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), which addresses, to some degree, a number of relevant topics. It lays out the scope of infrastructure problems in Southern California and identifies solution options.
Pisano went on to pose a series of questions: How do we create a financing structure that incentivizes good, instead of bad, economic growth? What are reasonable user-based strategies? How do we cope with the requirement for 2/3 voter approval of many measures that might be helpful?
2. Introductions and Welcome
Chairperson Abel asked commissioners to introduce themselves.
3. Organizational Business
Commission consultant Fred Silva conducted this item. He opined that detailed meeting minutes would not be necessary until
He then deferred to Chairperson Abel, who referred to a letter from Speaker Antonio R. Villaraigosa regarding the election of "regional co-chairs." The letter suggested three, William Hauck of Sacramento, Sunne Wright McPeak of San Francisco/Concord and John A. Pérez of Los Angeles/Orange County. The Commission concurred. A brief discussion about choosing additional co-chairs ensued and commissioners from the San Jose and San Diego areas expressed interest in the concept. The Chair asked them to make recommendations at the March meeting in San Francisco. Chairperson Abel opined that the co-chairs would be instrumental in helping to coordinate the activities of the Commission, including helping to plan meetings in their regions.
Mr. Silva then resumed his discussion, moving to the question of a timetable for Commission activities. He said a discussion of goals and policies doesn't
Mr. Silva discussed some other organizational concepts, such as the possibility of creating subcommittees and holding unstructured meetings dominated by more policy discussion amongst the commissioners. He said his own bias was against creating subcommittees to formulate recommendations to the whole body. Commissioner Nathanson suggested that the regional approach could be used to take policy ideas to the public for airing. Commissioner Hauck suggested formulating a sense of where the Commission "wanted to end up" and then working back from there to determine a game plan for how to achieve that
Commissioner Fox made a formal request for a Legislative Analyst report on the projected status and viability of sales, income and property taxes in the coming years. (Note: This request was formally forwarded to the Legislative Analyst by the Speaker on February 26, 1999.)
Consultant David Myers made a presentation to the Commission on the Commission's new website: http://speaker.metroforum.org/. He noted that it would become a repository for a variety of information relating to the Commission, including commissioner photos and biographies, meeting synopses, summaries of testimony, policy recommendations and so forth. He requested that commissioners submit photos of themselves as soon as possible.
a. Dean Misczynski, California Research Bureau
Mr. Misczynski, a long-time Capitol expert on fiscal policy, presented his paper, "Reform School: California and Its Local Governments." He described seven over-arching issues he believes the Commission should consider:
He added five other issues the Commission might want to look at:
Commissioners then engaged in a lengthy discussion with Mr. Misczynski covering a number of issues: the cost of increased development density, the desire of local governments to regain more discretion, comparisons between State and local revenue growth in recent years, the importance of utility taxes since Proposition 13 passed, the importance of school finance, the threat of declining sales tax revenues, allegations of public disinterest in the work of local government, public frustration with the loss of home rule, the limits of the popularity of home rule if raising taxes is involved, and the long-term viability of counties and cities.
b. The Metropolitan Forum Project
This Southern California-based non-profit effort to foster public discussion and understanding of fiscal issues brought a series of presenters to provide their perspectives to the Commission.
Rick Cole, City Manager, Azusa
Gwen Norton Perry, Mayor, Chino Hills
Michael Colantuono, City Attorney, various cities
Keith Comrie, Chief Administrative Officer, Los Angeles
Robert Pinzler, Councilmember, Redondo Beach/President, Los Angeles County League of Cities
Barbara Zeidman, Fannie Mae, Los Angeles
Jacki Bacharach, former Councilmember, Rancho Palos Verdes
Shirley Bailey, Boardmember, Rossmoor Community Services District
Pamela O'Connor, Mayor, Santa Monica
Dan Wall, representing David Janson, Chief Administrative Officer, County of Los Angeles
Michael Jimenez, member, Los Angeles County Economic and Efficiency Commission
Susan Williams Guerra, Southern California Gas Company
5. Public Comment:
a. Dan Silver, Executive Director, Endangered Habitats League, Los Angeles
Fiscal reform will change local government behavior by design or default. Currently the fiscal system does so by default. We should seek positive outcomes. We cannot afford to neglect people and the environment: affordable housing, preservation of agricultural land, transportation-oriented development, investment in cities and schools. The environmental perspective
Chairperson Abel noted that the March meeting would be held in San Francisco at the offices of the James Irvine Foundation on March 24. He asked Bay Area commissioners to work with Regional Co-Chair McPeak on agenda recommendations. The April meeting was assigned to San Diego during the last week of the month. Commissioners Bersin and Nathanson were asked to work on logistics for that event. (Note: the date has now been chosen as April 28.) The meeting was adjourned at approximately 3:50 p.m.
Speaker's Commission on State/Local Government Finance