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Measure A spells trouble

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What do the troubled cities of Bell, Vallejo and Stockton have in common with Auburn? Today, not much. If Measure A is passed and Auburn becomes a charter city, we will have much more in common with Bell, Vallejo, Vernon, Stockton and even San Francisco. Why? Because we would be joining them in the minority of California cities that have enacted a charter. Each of the cities mentioned has learned the hard way that charters can bring many unintended consequences. Politicians in Bell exploited a loophole in their charter that let them pay themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra compensation for serving on boards and commissions. Vallejo became insolvent because it is so easy to amend a charter. Special interests descended on the city and enacted sweetheart deals that drove them into bankruptcy. Stockton is in trouble for many of the same reasons. In San Francisco, we have seen how charters are exploited by politicians who routinely bypass voters to enact higher penalties and fees. These hidden tax increases aren’t allowed under current law in Auburn, but they could be enacted if Measure A passes. The bottom line is this question for which Measure A proponents have no answer: why would we invite these problems to Auburn if our city is working fine as it is? That’s why I am voting no on Measure A and why I am asking others to do the same. Terry Foch, Auburn