Democratic Assemblyman Matt Dababneh to resign following sexual misconduct allegations

Assemblyman Matt Dababneh said Friday he is resigning from office at the end of the month, a decision that comes four days after he was publicly accused of masturbating in front of a lobbyist and other inappropriate behavior.

In a resignation letter, Dababneh said the allegations against him are untrue and said he expected a legislative investigation would “bring to light and into focus the significant and persuasive evidence of my innocence.”

“As we battle for change, we must remember that due process exists for a reason,” he wrote. “We should never fight injustice with injustice.”

Dababneh, a Democrat from Woodland Hills, told The Times that his resignation should not be construed as a tacit admission of wrongdoing. …

Click here to read the full article from the L.A. Times

Two Women Accuse Democratic Assemblyman Matt Dababneh of Sexual Harassment

Two women went public Monday with sexual harassment allegations against Democratic Assemblyman Matt Dababneh, with one accusing him of forcing her into a bathroom during a party last year and masturbating in front of her.

Dababneh, 36, strongly denied the allegations.

“I affirmatively deny that this event ever happened — at any time,” he said. “I am saddened by this lobbyist’s effort to create this falsehood and make these inflammatory statements, apparently for her own self-promotion and without regard to the reputation of others. I look forward to clearing my name.”

Pamela Lopez, a lobbyist, filed a complaint with the Assembly Rules Committee detailing her accusation, which she said occurred during a January 2016 party in Las Vegas attended by a variety of “political professionals.”

After filing her complaint, Lopez held a news conference Monday in Sacramento alongside another woman, Jessica Yas Barker, who worked under Dababneh when he was a district chief of staff for Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Sherman Oaks, in 2009-10. Barker said Dababneh was known for his sexually charged comments in the office and inappropriate conduct. …

Click here to read the full article by NBC Los Angeles

How to increase transparency for local bond measures

Voting BoothsPicture yourself on Election Day at your local polling place and looking over a lengthy ballot. Or, try to recall when you were at home reviewing your mail-in ballot. In choosing your elected officials on the ballots, it is pretty straight-forward: You vote for the candidate that best matches your interests and values.

But what about tax levies and bond measures proposed by local governments and school districts? There are so many factors to consider. How will the new funds help your community or school? How long will it take for bonds to be paid off? Most importantly, what will be the actual financial impact on you and your family?

Current law requires that a “tax rate statement” be mailed out to all voters, which includes the best estimate of the highest tax rate for voters, as well as the best estimate of total debt service. While this information can be helpful, it is often insufficient in aiding voters to estimate how much their property taxes might increase.

This is why Assembly Bill 1194 (by this column’s co-author, Matt Dababneh, D-Woodland Hills) is necessary to alleviate this uncertainty and increase transparency for voters regarding the effects that local bond measures may have on property taxes. By providing information upfront, such as the best estimate of the average annual tax rate and the last year when the bond is expected to be paid, voters will have the ability to better understand the bond measures’ impact on their own personal finances.

AB1194 was approved by the state Assembly with strong, bipartisan support. It is supported by taxpayer advocacy organizations and by the very people in local government who are most affected if this bill should pass: the California Association of County Treasurers and Tax Collectors.

However, AB1194 faces more hurdles in the state Senate and has attracted some opposition. One organization fears the additional information provided to voters through the legislation “could have a chilling effect on the passage of local bond measures.”

This opposition should concern all taxpayers, as well as transparency advocates. How can providing more information about the average annual tax rates be misleading or even “chilling”? Are opponents afraid that more transparency might give voters pause and cause them to take a closer look at the consequences of the bond measure’s passage rather than blindly voting “yes” down the ballot?

Taxpayers should ask themselves if they could benefit from more clarity on these bond measures. If the answer is yes, then we need your support to ensure AB1194 wins approval in the state Senate and moves to the governor’s desk. You can help by contacting your state senator over the course of this summer to urge their support on AB1194 for better voter transparency.

Jon Coupal is the president of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Matt Dababneh is the California Assemblymember for the 45th Assembly District.

This piece was originally published by the Orange County Register.

Making It Harder for Politicians to Lie to Their Constituents

legislatureIt was Will Rogers who said, “If you ever injected truth into politics you have no politics.” If the renowned satirist were with us today, he would not be shocked by the dishonesty of the Sacramento political class, even if the rest of us find it offensive.

Many of our current class of politicians attempt to present themselves as standing for the interests of average folks. They pay lip service to low and moderate income Californians, while California continues to have the highest sales and gas taxes in the nation. They claim to be supporters of property ownership, then attack Proposition 13 and then proceed to make it easier for government to take private property through eminent domain.

For those trying to sort out who is actually representing average taxpayers and who, instead, is doing the bidding of powerful special interests, the just released Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association Legislative Report Card will help. The Report Card holds lawmakers accountable by documenting how lawmakers have voted on issues important to taxpayers.

Of the 120 members of the Legislature, 76 received a grade of “F” while only 27 earned an “A” grade.

In the legislative session that ended last month, Gov. Brown signed over 800 bills. These bills create thousands of pages of new laws, spanning dozens of code sections. The HJTA Legislative Report Card also draws attention to the best and worst of these bills. For example, Assembly Bill 2153 (Cristina Garcia) that imposes a new tax on car batteries. It may seem like a small matter to some, but it represents another step by Sacramento to make personal transportation more expensive for average folks.

The Report Card also spotlights lawmakers who support legislation that helps taxpayers. Los Angeles Assemblyman Matt Dababneh received a higher grade due to his carrying an HJTA-sponsored bill, AB1891. This new law allows seniors and those with disabilities to permanently opt out of paying education parcel taxes if they fill out a required form one time, which is sent to their residence.

Votes on 22 bills were used to score lawmakers. These reflect a range of policy issues including new tax and regulatory burdens, and attacks on the initiative process that would make it more difficult for taxpayers to exercise their right to place measures, like Proposition 13, on the ballot.

The Report Card also documents a troubling trend. Some lawmakers, who at one time were supportive of taxpayers’ interests, seem to have shifted their allegiance and now routinely vote for taxes, bonds, and other measures that increase the burden on average Californians. A record number of these legislators received “C” and “D” grades this year. Taxpayers can only hope that this was due to election year politics and not the beginning of a trend.

Seven lawmakers deserve credit and thanks for a perfect score. Members of the Assembly receiving 100% are: Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes, Shannon Grove, Jay Obernolte, Matt Harper and Don Wagner. They were joined on the Senate side by Ted Gaines and Jim Nielsen.

To view the 2016 Legislative Report Card, and find which representatives are proud of their grades, and which would rather they stay hidden, please go to www.hjta.org where it can be found under “Hot Topics.”

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.