Wednesday, August 17, 2011

School Board Member Among 270 Owing on ‘Delinquent’ Sewer Accounts

School Board Member Among 270 Owing on ‘Delinquent’ Sewer Accounts
School trustee Bill Baber, treasurer to several political campaigns, faces $407 lien on property taxes.
By Ken Stone
La Mesa Patch
August 17, 2011

Thanks to recent council action, La Mesa hopes to collect $126,000 from people who haven’t paid their sewer bills—about 270 residents, businesses and other property owners.

Among those targeted is Bill Baber, a three-term member of the La Mesa-Spring Valley school board who served as campaign treasurer for incumbent Ernie Ewin in the 2010 La Mesa City Council race and state Sen. Joel Anderson.

Baber, an attorney, is currently the treasurer of Steve Danon’s campaign to unseat county Supervisor Pam Slater-Price in 2012.

Baber owes the city $407.72, according to a list of delinquent sewer accounts dated Aug. 3 (attached).

When contacted Tuesday night, Baber said he didn’t know he was on the sewer lien list—approved by a 5-0 vote of the City Council on July 26.

“I will investigate [the bill],” Baber said after Tuesday’s school board meeting. “If it’s a valid claim, I’ll take care of it.”

Also on the delinquent account list is Richard Bucklew, a member of the PBID Formation Committee, which is working to create a system in The Village where property owners tax themselves for various improvements and services.

Bucklew, owner of Don Keating Used Cars on La Mesa Boulevard, owes $747.56 on two parcels, according to the delinquent account list. In 2008, he owed $233.29. (The 2008 delinquent list said 359 accounts owed the city a total $103,747.)

An email to Bucklew’s business address wasn’t returned by late Tuesday night.

By far the largest amount owed by an individual is $9,521.50 by Joyce A. Peterson, who had to pay $4,457 in 2008 as well. The No. 2 individual is Charles Rowe, said to owe $1,428.

Sotal University Inc. owes $8,328, according to the 2011 list, and Sideral Systems Associates Inc. owes $1,039. In 2008, it owed $670.

On Nov. 8, a news release from Flocke & Avoyer Commercial Real Estate noted that Peterson had leased about 2,480 square feet at 5611 Lake Murray Blvd. to Scott Winston for a fitness center.

“The lease is for five years with a consideration of $195,708.12,” said Flocke & Avoyer.

The City Clerk’s Office said Tuesday it sent the names of delinquent accounts to the county Recorder’s Office so these can be added to the property tax bills of the listed people. When property tax bills go out, residents with liens will have to pay extra—the amount owed on sewer bills. The city then get its money.

Baber was first elected to the school board in 2000; his current term ends in December 2012. He has served as treasurer for Oceanside Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility, a group reportedly backed by Associated Builders and Contractors, which is critical of labor unions.

Baber is listed as government affairs director for ABC’s San Diego chapter.

In December 2010, the state Fair Political Practices Commission found that Baber had violated state law “because you should have reflected the name of your sponsor in the name of your committee” during an Oceanside campaign.

But the FPPC levied no fine—only a warning...

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