Bonds are Like Manure: The Flood Gates are Opening (Part 1)

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Do you smell that? Do you smell something that smells like fertilizer? You should. It’s the smell that bonds put out and the city of Chula Vista, Sweetwater Union High School District (“SUHSD”) and Southwestern College (“SWC”) are all testing the water to see if the time is right to issue new bonds:

Voters may be asked to decide how to spend money

Chula Vista’s Taxes May Skyrocket To Fund Bond Measures For Infrastructure, Schools

School board considering another bond

Cities and school districts have been waiting for years to propose new bonds. They couldn’t propose them while we were in a recession but as the economy improves so do the chances for bonds to be approved by voters.

Bonds are basically huge loans which are advertised as needed to repair crucial infrastructure or build new construction but are, unfortunately, often misspent. Some misspending comes from gold-plated projects, and/or contractors who are able to change the costs easily after they get the contract. Regrettably, there is no accountability for the misspending after the money has already been spent and the elected officials have already moved on.

Scare tactics, guilt-trips and worse-case scenarios are usually used to manipulate voters into approving the new bonds. You do care about children, don’t you? If you did, how could you allow our future generations to study in such decrepit conditions? Often, the very same people who will get the contracts are the ones who pay for the marketing of the new bonds.

Once a bond has been approved, there isn’t much that residents can do to assure that the money will be spent wisely. Bond oversight committees are usually put in place but are fraught with deficiencies and usually lack any real power to control the process. It’s common for good oversight committees to be ignored. Transparency is also usually an afterthought and contractors will do what contractors do best: pad their invoices and perpetually issue cost overruns that are rubber-stamped because administrators don’t know how to say no.

This series will explore some of the issues and pitfalls that come with issuing bonds:

Part 2: We Still Owe $1.4 Billion in Bond Debt 
Part 3: Fool Me Once, Fool Me Twice (coming)
Part 4: Used Car Sales Tactics (coming)
Part 5: Options (coming)

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3 Responses to Bonds are Like Manure: The Flood Gates are Opening (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: North of the Fence: Father Wakes Up To Vandalism, Includes Racial Slur - South Bay Compass

  2. Pingback: Bonds are Like Manure: We Still Owe $1.4 Billion in Bond Debt (Part 2)  | Focus on Chula Vista

  3. RussH. says:

    Most important and forgotten in this argument for going into even more long term debt is the absolute financial death grip put on the new young generation coming along. Do the math. The young folks will end up paying for the lack of financial governance of the current generation. This is criminal sin by the fuzzy headed leaders and their enabling civil servant executives who seem to think there is always a pot of gold waiting with the unsuspecting and ill informed taxpayer.

    We wonder why Californians are being priced out of living in this state. Its simple math. Whether you have a skyrocketing minimum wage or skyrocketing bond debts these are all economic death knells eventually. The fuzzy headed leaders in Sacramento with their nonsensical utopian views think that it is all your fault and keep piling on fees, regulations, illegal taxes because they think you are obligated to pay more and more. Look at your gas pump prices and compare California to the rest of the country and ask your local Democrat in charge to explain “cap and trade”. Somebody has to pay the bills and it is usually the dwindling middle class. That bubble is about to burst and explains the fury of voters this election cycle. They have every right to be angry.

    Frankly no more bonds should be passed until all debts from previous bonds are paid off. As an individuals, none of us could qualify for continued loans from a bank with so much debt. Why do we think government should get a free pass to do what we can’t?

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