Op-ed: 29 Palms Band Of Mission Indian commit tribal money to MUSD for advertising concerning new bond measure

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MUSC Sup. baumgarten

I spoke today with Tom Baumgarten, Morongo Unified School District Superintendent.  The call raises important concerns

The promotion of a school bond tax measure is in the beginning stages of movement. However, advertising expenses are already paid for with Tribal money.

Local Radio: The 29 Palms Band of Mission Indians has agreed to donate up to $100,000 to the school district to promote the pursuit of a future school district improvement bond.

Can Morongo Basin property owners afford to authorize more bonds?

Voting is one of the most important Constitutional rights we have in America.

Tribal money that directly funds a local government entity to change the way people think and vote is wrong. Tribal money used to advertise to raise property taxes on depressed Morongo Basin property owners is wrong.

Note that property owners are still paying for the old school bond property tax.

During our call, Superintendent Baumgarten confirmed that the District is pursuing the possibility of floating (another) MUSC school bond.

Baumgarten confirms that the Board will meet July 4th in a regular scheduled meeting to discuss an agenda item to float another bond measure.

He also confirms no action will be taken on the bond discussion at that meeting.

Such bond is a property tax bond that will require another Measure on the November ballot. And it would be paid by raising property taxes on Morongo Basin property owners.

As we may recall, Measure O last November went down in defeat

We can understand that Baumgarten is paid to educate our students and oversee the operations of the MB schools. And that takes funding.

The other side is can a majority of property owners take another tax hit?

An alarming numbers of property owners are borderline on missing their next property tax payment, or sending in their next mortgage payment.

At issue: The more taxes taken in results in the more taxes that are needed

All of the local government entities need fuel, that is money.

Our local government institutions are not the enemy. They are not against us. They are us.

Little is known about the circumstances concerning TRIBAL money use exclusively for advertising and promoting a new school bond

Put another way, propaganda can be true and it can be factual, but it is still propaganda. Tribal funds used as Propaganda to change the way voters think?

How did that come about?

Baumgarten acknowledged that TRIBAL money will be used to directly pay for  advertising in order to promote the District’s property tax bond measure.

Will TRIBAL money circumvents the wise rule that government not to use taxpayers’ money to promote bond measures?

Property owners in the Basin don’t meddle in Tribal politics that directly and adversely affect tribal members.

Baumgarten advocates that a donation is not public funds.

The Tribe ought to consider avoiding further controversy to not pit itself against property taxpayers.

The Tribes money is thought as disrespect upon a large numbers of Morongo Basin property owner — who already said no to school bond property taxes in November.

Many families, veterans, seniors and Americans will feel this new property tax would be another threat upon their very livelihood.

DARRELL MIKE – TRIBAL CHAIRMAN and the Tribe have been very generous to the Morongo Basin.

Respectfully, however, the Band Of Mission Indians could better disperse this gift to another community project — and refrain from corporate meddling in local “hot issue” Basin taxing controversies.

Branson Hunter 

MUSC Contacts:
Tom Baumgarten

Morongo Unified School District School, PO Box 1209, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277 | (760) 367-9191 Phone | (760) 367-7189 Fax

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One Response to Op-ed: 29 Palms Band Of Mission Indian commit tribal money to MUSD for advertising concerning new bond measure

  1. Branson Hunter
    Branson Hunter May 30, 2019 at 12:13 pm


    Given the ire and controversies over the recent county fire taxes (and add on tax to that) and the multitude of new state taxes — why was this reportable news buried under a different title in connection with a government meetings.

    It’s a given that station’s advertising revenues will increase should the MUSC decide another taxing bond is necessary. This time, the District has $100K of outside money, corporate interference in the voting process. TRIBAL money will come in generous amounts to radio station.

    The charitable view is that the station news manager is holding the story to a later date as it becomes better developed and more information is available.

    Meanwhile, Journalism standards and journalism excellence should always be questioned as decisions are consummated.

    Property tax bond increases touch and concern all property owners in the Basin.

    Hungry readers and listeners would love to see an Op-ed from the stations newsroom concerning both sides of the developing issue.


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