County Supervisors are Gaslighting Voters with Measure D

Gaslight – manipulation of a person causing them to question their perception of reality

San Bernardino County’s Board of Supervisors are being neither fair nor honest by presenting Measure D to county voters.

Voters have already spoken on this issue! 

In November 2020, voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the county charter (Measure K) which set annual compensation for elected supervisors on par with the median household in the county. The 2020 amendment also limited elected supervisors to a single, four-year term of service as an effort to reform local politics.

No matter what they thought about Measure K, it is crystal clear how the Supervisors should have responded. As elected representatives the Board was duty-bound to implement the voters’ choice as expressed.

Instead, the Board set off on a nearly two-year odyssey to destroy Measure K. In the courts and via the state legislature, the Board spared no effort (nor tax-payer expense) to render Measure K dead on arrival.

California’s 4th District Court of Appeal, however, threw a wrench in the Board’s plans. In a 58-page tentative decision dated July 12th the court upheld Measure K. 

Panicked, the Board rushed what would ultimately become Measure D through the approval process. In consequence, voters are forced once again to consider pay and term-limits for the Board of Supervisors at the coming election.

We encourage voters to simply read the proposed charter amendment laid out in Measure D. It has little to do with tax protection. It has everything to do with misleading voters and attempting to dispose of Measure K – which was approved by a supermajority of county voters.

In reviewing Measure D, constituents should ask, “what does this do for me?”

The answer is – of course – nothing! Everything in Measure D benefits career politicians rather than voters. In effect, Measure D:

• Gives sitting supervisors the chance to hold office a total of 16 long years (Section 203, 204) Given time already served, the current Board Chair could serve a total of 20 years if re-elected

• Offers Tax Protection voters already largely have under the State Constitution (Section 207)

• Ensures supervisors retain their quarter million per year compensation package (Section 208)

• Removes the compensation and term limits set by voters via Measure K in 2020 (Section III)

• Threatens voters by repealing the so-called “Tax Protection” clause if the voters alter supervisor compensation or term limits via a future charter amendment (Section VII)

Supporters of Measure D will point to the proposed four-fifths vote requirement to increase taxes as a benefit to voters. This is a dubious promise. 

If the Board believes new taxpayer revenue is needed, might they simply label the tax increase as something else? 

This is exactly what happened in 2018. Rather than present a straight-forward proposal to voters to increase taxes to support County Fire, the Board chose a different path. Fire Protection Service Zone Five (FP-5) was expanded under the Health and Safety Code. The vote was 3-2. In consequence, property taxes increased and county landowners, who were never given their rights to approve a special tax as stipulated by the state Constitution, were disenfranchised. Nothing in Measure D would prohibit the Board from pursuing the same scheme in the future.

Career politicians, and the special interests that control them, concocted Measure D in an effort to gaslight voters. Measure D offers constituents nothing of value. Rather, voters will find the proposal benefits the ruling elite and attempts to overturn the reform effort started by county voters in 2020 via Measure K.

Tom Murphy


The Red Brennan Group

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