What is the “the poorly kept secret” behind the sales tax increase?
That is a good question—and it has an interesting and concerning answer.
The “poorly kept secret” is the a political strategy that had West Covina’s police and fire unions putting a sales tax measure on the ballot so that the city council didn’t have to do it. The “poorly kept secret” became part of the public record when former Mayor James Toma explained the concept as part of his public comments at the May 8, 2018 Special City Council Meeting.
Once the “poorly kept secret” became part of the public record, many West Covina residents anticipated the city council would realize that campaign strategy was wrong and do the job they were elected to do—exercise prudent fiscal management on behalf of the residents of West Covina. That leadership did not happen.
Required campaign reports associated with the November 2018 election show the police and fire unions
spent approximately $47,109 “educating” voters on who to vote for and against. The union’s “investment”
paid off. The two newcomers the unions supported won and a new council majority was born.
In July 2019, West Covina resident Glenn Kennedy became the petitioner of record on the proposed sales
tax initiative that became Measure WC. Kennedy is a paid consultant to the West Covina
Police Association (POA).
Required committee reports filed by police and fire union’s show they spent over $170,000 in monetary
and non-monetary contributions to get the police and fire sales tax initiative on the ballot. Their paid
consultant, Glenn Kennedy, led that effort.
In 2019 Kennedy was appointed to the Planning Commissioner by appointed Councilmember Jessica Shewmaker.
Kennedy is much more than just a resident. He is highly involved in our city.
The Bottom Line:
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"I used to complain abut not having a majority behind me and now I got my wish," Wu said. "The full responsibility is on our shoulders now."
Then Councilman now Mayor Tony Wu
San Gabriel Valley Tribune, November 7, 2018