Mike Harris: Some things you may not know

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harris screen shot

The things you should know about Mike Harris (and share with others who don’t know)

…The Harris record on Fiscal Responsibility and taxes, Rainier funding, public safety and politics…

The Overview:

  • Fiscal Responsibility and Taxes: Harris has consistently worked to let developers and certain business interests off the hook for their fair share of infrastructure costs while seeking to increase the burden on residents through higher taxes. Most recently it’s Measure Q, the Harris, no strings attached, forever sales tax increase.

  • Rainier: Harris says he supports building the Rainier cross connector but in his 12 years as a council member he has never secured a penny to fund it. Further the Harris, no strings attached, forever tax increase does not provide any guarantee that any monies will go to Rainier.

  • Public Safety: After the Sandy Hook school shooting the city council voted on an common sense public safety proposal – to ban assault weapons. Harris was the only council member to oppose banning assault weapons. (January 2013 council meeting)

  • Politics: Despite being a non partisan race, Harris’ political objectives are decidedly partisan Republican.   His objectives include registering and electing Republicans and he has been active in Republican leadership supporting Bush, Cheney, McCain, Palin and organizations promoting climate deniers Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry and others.

The Detail:

HARRIS IS NOT FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE: As the PD states, Harris “fails to demonstrate the kind of fiscal responsibility the city needs.” Press Democrat, September 29, 2014

Taxes: Harris has consistently sought to unfairly shift the burden for the cost of managing our city to taxes on the residents of Petaluma

2010  Opposed an increase in the Visitor/Hotel Tax that would have raised taxes for out-of-town visitors staying in local hotels but now he wants to tax you (June 2010 Council Meeting)

2012   Supported taxing residents to pay for playing fields,          but two years later was letting developers off the hook for funding fields.

2014  Let developer Basin Street off the hook for the costs of a badly needed all weather play field

2014  Supports Measure Q, the Harris, no strings   attached, forever sales tax increase.  The tax will result in among the highest rates in the bay area — at 9.25% a full half percent higher than San Francisco!

The Harris, no strings attached, forever sales tax increase is seriously flawed:

  • As a sales tax it has a proportionately greater impact on those with fixed or lower incomes;

 Screen Shot

      A reflection of the Harris view of a Petaluma Sales Tax Increase?

  • The tax continues forever – there is no sunset clause and effectively no way to eliminate it if it is voted in;

  • The tax has no strings attached – the money can be used for whatever the Council decides and as a general tax there is absolutely no guarantee that any, let alone all of it, will  go to fund Rainier, fix our streets, hire police or any of the other things it promises to address.

 Fiscally Irresponsible: In addition to the Harris, no strings attached, forever sales tax, Mr. Harris is unable to articulate a clear plan for meeting the financial needs of the city. He relies on promises of money from development but shows no appreciation for the numbers. The Mike Maher, aka, Petaluma Pete interviews (Petaluma Mayor Race – 5 Questions, 5 Answers) of Candidates Glass and Harris make this clear.  Note that Harris avoids or is unable to put the numbers together to show how we will meet our financial needs.

HARRIS LACKS A PLAN TO DELIVER ON RAINIER PROMISES:  For years Harris has played political football with the Rainier Cross town Connector stating support to win favor with voters yet failing to deliver on the one thing needed — funding.

  • Talk is cheap:  Harris campaign literature states that he is the “only candidate for Mayor who has supported the Rainier Cross-town Connector” when it came before City Council.  But…

  • Rainier is expensive:  …and all the hollow promises and campaign mailers will not pay for it.  In his 12 years as a Council member he has never secured a penny dedicated to funding Rainier.  And, the Harris, no strings attached, forever sales tax increase he is now promoting as an answer provides no assurance that any proceeds will go to Rainier over the many other possible uses listed.

Harris’ inability to articulate a clear plan for Rainier and the city in general is clear in an enlightening commentary in the The Raucous Rooster.


HARRIS’ POLITICS SUPPORT THE EXTREME OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY: Since city elections are non partisan a candidate’s political party should not matter.  One could argue this is the reason that many do not know that Harris is a Republican and, before the radicalization of the Republican Party, most would not care.  However, Harris is not just  a Republican leader  but one who has taken leadership positions in Northern California in support of its most concerning candidates.  His Republican resume:

  • 2002 Sonoma County Republican Party Chairman

  • 2004 Republican National Convention Delegate for George Bush (Bush/Cheney)

  • 2008 Regional Deputy Chairman, McCain’s California Presidential Campaign/Sarah Palin Vice President

  • Supported the Northern California Lincoln Club with contributions out of his Council campaigns.  The club promotes climate change deniers like Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry and like minded Tea Party members.

Summing it up:

In addition to saying that Harris lacks the fiscal responsibility needed, a look at his record and his words confirms the other two comments the Press Democrat made about Harris when they endorsed David Glass:

  • “[Harris] has done little to distinguish himself as a leader on the council…”

  • “[Harris] fails to make a good argument for why he should replace the existing mayor…”

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Please Vote November 4!

Petaluma Tomorrow
General Election
November 4, 2014


David Glass

Teresa Barrett

Janice Cader-Thompson

SRJC Board of Trustees Area 2
Maggie Fishman

Thank you to the many members who responded to our Summer Endorsements Poll and request for member feedback. We really appreciate all the constructive, honest responses– this gives us a lot to work on after the election. And the complete summary of our Members’ Poll will follow shortly!

Absentee ballots will be arriving any day. These are crucial races for sustaining a Progressive voice on the City Council and developing a community voice on the SRJC Board of Trustees.

Those of you who watched the recent City Council Candidates forums could see clear differences among the candidates.

Please use the candidates’ web addresses to contact the campaigns directly and to donate, volunteer and place a sign in your yard.

Please remember to vote on Tuesday, November 4!

PT Board of Directors

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Based on a review of campaign filings by Petaluma City Council candidates submitted on October 5, through the end of September a total of $59,174 has been raised through a combination of out-of-town contributions, in-town contributions and debt.  The funding was dominated by contributions from outside interests and supported by debt.

  • The largest source of funding was Out-Of-Town Contributions.  These contributions represented 41% of total funding.
  • Debt played a significant role in keeping two candidates, Healy and Miller competitive.  Renee also relied heavily on debt.  Overall, debt represents 25% of total candidate funding.  99% of the debt was concentrated in three candidates, Healy, Miller and ReneeHerries and Kearney have no debt and Davies only 1% of the total.
  • Less than a third, 32%, of campaign funding came from Petaluma residents and businesses.  Only Davies and Herries received a majority of their funding from local sources.

              - Kearney received 79% from outside interests;     

             – Only 18% of Healy’s funding came from Petaluma contributors

             -  Just over a quarter, 25.8% of Miller’s funding came from Petaluma  

            – Under a quarter, 23% of Renee’s funding came from Petaluma

Read the full report


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