As I arrived home today, I found a flier stuck in my mailbox from an astro-turf organization called the "Altadena Alliance" urging me to vote for extending the Library Tax. I served on the Altadena Library Board for a decade, and I know the Library receives about 30% of it's operating budget from that tax and that the tax is needed. I was also the board member of our Altadena Library who insisted on raising the tax slightly year by year to cover the effects of inflation. I support this library tax.
I also, on and off have been a board member of the Christmas Tree lane Association. I am presently again a board member of the Christmas Tree Lane Association. I am writing as a individual and not as someone representing the Board of CTLA. At our 12 Aug 2014 meeting CTLA was asked to take up specifically endorsing the library tax for our Altadena Library. After a very heated discussion, the board decided to not endorse either a yes or no vote on the issue but to provide a notice on our website that there was an election, to encourage people to vote and to provide a link to the pro tax website that exists and the anti tax website if one of those is ever developed by anyone. We further voted on a separate motion to give our Altadena Library 75% of all of the profits from WINTERFEST, up from 50% last year.
While I have not polled the Board members, I believe each of them will vote for the tax. Our actual support as individuals never was an issue. The issue is can a not for profit 501 c (4) group endorse a political candidate or ballot measure? The answer given in every incorporation booklet from the State of California is clear, unambiguous and unequivocal. NO, they may not.
So imagine my shock at looking down the Altadena Alliance alleged group of supporters and seeing the Christmas Tree Lane Association on the list. I was shocked, but more than that, I was deeply angered. One of the people behind the ersatz "Altadena Alliance" is a grant writer and knows full well that by asking several of the not for profits on that list to endorse the Library tax she is endangering their legal status. Even more to make me, and the public angry, is this recklessness is totally unnecessary. Our Altadena Library has broad support from the entire Altadena Public. There is no question the public is inclined to support the tax. I suspect many of the other not for profits listed as endorsers of this ballot measure also have not endorsed because I suspect members of their Boards of Directors also respect the law.
The only thing that could turn the public against our Altadena Library are these un ethical tactics used by certain consultants who are directing this election effort. Hopefully the Library Board or District Librarian will see the error of their ways and stop this danger to our community behavior by this unethical consultant. In any case they are not needed. Without any organized effort by these unethical consultants, the Library Tax for our Altadena Library will pass.
Steven S. Lamb