Voting No on 18-100 will NOT be the cause of the B-Pod closing. There is enough money to keep B-Pod open. Instead the real issue is how money is being allocated and whether government costs are under control.
In May 2015 Klamath County voters will be presented with a Public Safety levy — ballot measure 18-100. This levy is for a five year period and asks tax payers for an additional $5,500,000 per year for a total of $27,500,000. The money is specifically set aside for costs associated with operating the county jail.
However, the ballot measure has three specific problems — problems so detrimental to its cause it is no wonder proponents of the bill don’t want you to know the truth about them as they will change your mind from a leaning-Yes vote to a certain No.
We urge you to the learn the TRUTH — the whole TRUTH — about 18-100 and then decide for yourself whether this ballot measure is a good idea for Klamath County — or whether it is even necessary.
As you read through this website ask yourself this question: Does this levy guarantee public safety or does it just transfer more money to the public safety system?
The COST Problem
What if one night your son asked you for $20 to go to the movies; then $20 the next night for the same thing, and then came back a third night asking for yet another $20? Unless we were made of money, most of us would tell our dear son that his entertainment desires were unsustainable and that he had better find something else to do with his friends.
We all know people in our lives who are not wise with the money they receive — whether through charity or a gift. They spend it in a carefree manner thinking that they can just ask for more money and it will magically appear. Unfortunately Klamath County’s Sheriff’s Department seems to be behaving in a similar fashion.
From 2004-2012 the Klamath County Sheriff’s budget has ballooned from $4,400,000 per year to $7,800,000. That's an increase of 77% in just 8 years! And for that extra cost there has been no discernable improvement in public safety. The only real change has been an additional cost $3,400,000 per year to the tax payer for the same level of service.
If the Sheriff’s department continues at this rate, in 2020 the cost for the same set of public safety services will be $13,800,000. This amount will exceed the entire Klamath County Commissioner’s discretionary budget which is used to pay for a myriad of services — including the Sheriff’s department — by almost $4,000,000!
The Whole TRUTH
The assumption the Klamath County Jail Levy proponents must have you believe is that the Sheriff department’s ever-increasing, unsustainable costs have nothing to do with the problem of funding jail operations. As long as you don’t question this incredible rise in Sheriff department costs, then you can be suckered into the fantasy world that the only problem must be a shortfall in revenue.
The Klamath County Jail Levy proponents will do everything they can to avoid talking about, or minimize a real discussion about, Sheriff department costs. Instead their goal is to have you focus on the lack of revenue for the jail, and therefore why they claim a special taxing levy is absolutely necessary. This is not just a mistake in thinking, it is deceptive, if not despicable, to ask the public for more money when operating expenses are so out of control.
The NEED Problem
Do you like paying for more than what you need? What if you paid for a service that was $550 but later you learned it should have only cost $150? Would you be upset? Would you want your money back? Of course.
The Whole TRUTH
The proponents of the Klamath County Jail Levy claim they need $5,500,000 each year, for the next five years, to keep all three sections of the Klamath County jail open. This simply is not correct. They only need $1,500,000. As seen in the graphic, A-Pod is already paid for by the County Commissioners and C-Pod is paid for by the State of Oregon. This only leaves B-Pod unfunded.
So why ask for $5,500,000 when the Sheriff’s department only needs $1,500,000? Because you, the tax payer, are an easy mark in this con game. The proponents of this Jail Levy think if they cry the words “public safety” enough, while keeping this little secret from you, that you will mark Yes on your May ballot. Don't be fooled — unless you like paying for more than what is truly needed.
The CRIME Problem
This is a public safety levy that has no supporting data that Klamath residents will be any safer upon passage. The only thing certain to rise are our taxes.
Do you think crime in Klamath County is directly related to the amount of jail space available? Do you think that if only one or two jail pods are open (as opposed to all three), then Klamath crime rates will soar?
The Whole TRUTH
The proponents of the Klamath Jail Levy want you to think that Klamath crime rates and jail space are directly related. The fact is they are not. From the charts provided see if you can tell when the B & C Pods were closed. Answer: The only time B & C Pods were closed were in 2010. Unless we told you that, you would be hard pressed to figure that out by the data — because the data doesn’t tell you that! Crime rates do not correlate to whether B & C Pods are opened or closed.
The claim that mass-murder and mayhem await Klamath County residents unless this Jail Levy is passed is false. If it were true that crime rates in Klamath directly correlate to whether the B & C Pods are open, then we should expect to see a significant spike in crime rates only during the time Jail Pods B & C were closed (2010). But the data doesn’t support that claim. Why are nonviolent crime rates as high from 2000-2005 and 2011-2012 as in 2010, since B & C Pods were not closed between 2000-2005 or 2011-2012? Why are violent crime rates in 2000, 2002, 2006, 2007 and 2009 similar to 2010 when B & C Pods were not closed during those years?
The data clearly does not support the idea that Klamath crime rates are directly related to whether the B & C Pods are open or not — and this is the entire reason for supporting the 18-100. You need not live in fear that Klamath will become the crime capital of southern Oregon if this levy does not pass. The data does not support this notion. We strongly urge a No vote on 18-100 this May.