Ruffalo: Loss of League of Placer County Taxpayers a huge one

Looking Behind the Scenes
By: Jim Ruffalo
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It seems to me that it’s the little things in life that provide the biggest clues as to what’s really happening. For example, need a hint as to just why President Barack Obama will be re-elected despite proving just how incompetent he really is? Well, the biggest reason is Republicans have become even more inane than their Democrat counterparts, which is really something when you think about it. Now right about here I need to provide the disclaimer that I am a registered Republican, so this is not the effort of some pajama-clad blogger sitting in the dark in the basement of his mother’s duplex. The rest of what I write today is something I wish were not true, but I feel it is. The lack of sanity I see in my party appears to be prevalent at all levels. It’s there from a Republican Congress fumbling its way to defeat even though Obama is pushing another stimulus, down to little old Placer County where the right side of the aisle at the Board of Supervisors chamber placed itself squarely on the wrong side of the issue of something called the slush fund. Yes, I’m well aware that the correct term is revenue sharing, but think about it. Those so-called revenues are nothing more than money involuntarily “donated” by us taxpayers. As such, it should go to more worthy items than whichever service club has promised a passel of votes to whichever supervisor. For a while, the slush fund was on hiatus, thanks to 5th District Supervisor — and Democrat — Jennifer Montgomery shaming her supervisorial brethren into laying off of the largesse for a spell. But then the Republicans, along with lone Independent Jim Holmes, got off their largesses and narrowly voted to bring back revenue sharing. Gee, and just before that latest election cycle. What a coincidence! Funny thing is, the Republicans recaptured Congress last November by telling their collective constituents that they, alone, would be those who would return fiscal sanity to the government. Some did, but a lot didn’t. Meanwhile, closer to home, Placer County supes got together to provide a gift for the Democrat party, doing so by inventing an issue so that the electorate could better determine just which party cared about taxpayers, and which didn’t. While you’re at it, please don’t tell me that supervisorial elections are non-partisan. Hogwash! About the only thing non-partisan these days is bingo, and that could change what with the way that each and every governing body goes 24/7 while searching for new ways to finance its workings. Truth is, the supes blew it. That slush fund should have been aborted. Now because it wasn’t, it could change the outcome of the upcoming elections. It could, that is, if anybody is foolish enough to want to run for that underpaid and overworked office in the first place. It also seems to me that there wasn’t enough — or any, for that matter — consternation over the announcement that the League of Placer County Taxpayers was going out of business. Granted, the LPCT was pretty much a one-person operation these days, but in its salad days, the league was one of the few man-made barriers erected between the elected officials and our pocketbooks and purses. It was the league which — rightly or wrongly, depending upon you viewpoint — dramatically lowered the salaries of the members of the Placer County Board of Supervisors. The league was also in the forefront any time a local government thought it could foist yet another tax on us, and also successfully pointed out that just by calling the latest rate-hike a fee, didn’t mean you could do so without going to the voters. It doesn’t appear that many of us are missing the LPCT, but I do. And down the line, when the elected officials realize the league is demised, a lot more of us may wish it were still here. Jim Ruffalo’s column runs on Sundays. Contact him at