Copperhead Consulting Services References From Past Clients
From Nederland, Texas
In 2009 the Nederland Independent School District proposed an $120.3 million dollar bond issue. This was Phase One. Phase Two (to be attempted if Phase One passed) was $82.1 million. Phase One was primarily to bulldoze perfectly good schools and build new ones. I was incensed, but felt helpless to do anything about it. I called school board members who would only say, “It’s for the kids.” When I asked how much they calculated that test scores would rise by spending a few hundred million dollars (bond principal plus interest) they would become angry and hang up on me.
It was quickly apparent that the School Board and District administrators held all the cards. They were promoting the bond proposal, for the kids of course, on my tax dollar and my time. The bond issue would be an enormous tax burden on a small community.
How can one person oppose the political machine? I began searching the internet about how to fight a school bond issue and stumbled upon Paul Dorr. Paul had fought numerous campaigns and had an outstanding record of defeating them. Paul had the knowledge and a system to fight bond proposals. In the end, we defeated the proposal by a lopsided margin of four to one. We later received a report on 44 school bonds on various ballots in Texas that same Saturday in May, 2009. (Texas law limits school bond elections to two days a year.) 75% (33) of those 44 bonds passed. Ours was one of the 11 that failed.
Without Paul, we would have never had a chance. In fact, there would have been no “we.” I did not have a clue how to get started, recruit like-minded people, organize a committee, or raise funds. I had no idea how to run a campaign, what to do, how to use the media, what to say, how to write copy, or how to spend the funds effectively. The way I was considering proceeding, if I tried anything at all, would have been totally wrong. The odds are stacked against the average citizen. The governing bodies, the bureaucrats, and special interest groups have the upper hand. We needed an equalizer. Paul Dorr was the equalizer.
Charles Vaughn, Nederland, TX
From Yankton, South Dakota
With declining enrollment and escalating costs the Yankton School District could find no way to stop their excessive spending. With the state legislature’s new cap on state aid, the district would not listen to the people and proceeded to pass an ‘Opt Out’ resolution to secure authority for a $42 million property tax increase above the legal cap, over the next ten years. They passed on the opportunity to take it before the voters as the law allowed. We didn’t take a pass. Some in our group used the petition process and forced it on the ballot.
Then having heard about Paul Dorr we contacted him. It was the best call we made. As our Chairman and former Yankton city councilman later told the CBS affiliate in Sioux Falls, SD, “I’ve never worked with a finer guy. Never have!”
Dorr has figured out the game our system of local government plays on us. He knows local government and he plays their game back against them. He told us from the beginning, “If I can’t help your committee make the proponents squeal, I’m doing something wrong. Watch for the squeal factor. They don’t know what to do when the unvarnished truth is applied to them aggressively but with grace, while at the same time we’ll do an end-run around the ‘cover’ the local media normally provide the district. So all they have left is to squeal.” He was right. My, did they squeal!
They overplayed their hand, demonized us and prepped the entire community to carefully read our campaign material when it came out. The voters read it and then 57% of them turned out to vote on election day and handed the school board a 66% NO vote. The district was stunned. Out of touch local media were stunned.
Copperhead’s services were extremely valuable to us. Most of us are business people and had no idea where to even begin. He was professional and walked us through every part of the campaign – technical, political, marketing and financial. Yet in every decision, he left the final authority in our hands.
We want to keep working with Copperhead in the future as we work to roll back more of our local government.
Mike Lemon, Yankton, SD
From Aiken, South Carolina
When We The People Aiken decided to oppose a $350 Million Dollar (including interest) School Tax Bond we had no idea that the odds were stacked against us. The elite in our town, bankers, lawyers, our Chamber of Commerce and local newspaper heavily promoted this property tax by spouting that we needed to build six new schools “For the Kids” and we should all “Just say yes for the Kids”.
One phone call with Paul Dorr, was all it took to understand that we were in over our head. Our fight was only 4 weeks long and we were shocked when we defeated the school board with a 70% No Vote. We simply followed Paul’s instructions and enjoyed an unbelievable victory. Paul’s counsel not only helped us to defeat this egregious tax, but more importantly, he was diligent in keeping us safe and out of the snares of public officials.
Through this process, we realized that confronting local government is a learned skill as we discovered when we later challenged the renewal of a one cent sales tax and were also successful in stopping the City of Aiken’s requirement that small businesses submit corporate tax returns upon renewal of their business license.
Paul has an unbelievable knowledge base, and is a patient, kind and Godly man. He tells the truth in love and believes that the real battle ground for our freedom starts locally in our City and County Councils and School Boards. After working with Paul for almost 18 months, I highly recommend his services to anyone that wants to stop the over taxation and growth of their local government. For us, he was worth every penny!
Deb Nix, We The People Aiken, Aiken, SC
And A Reference From An Opponent.
“Don E. Lifto, Springsted Vice President and Client Representative, spoke at the Minnesota Association of School Administrators/Minnesota Administrators for Special Education (MASA/MASE) Spring Conference on March 16, 2006. His topic was “School Finance Election & the Paul Dorr Factor: Get Ready or Get Defeated.” www.Springsted.com
Lifto works for a bond company that pockets large bond issuance fees, funded by taxpayers. He is a national expert on helping school districts pass bonds at the ballot box. He is the author of the book School Finance Elections: A Comprehensive Planning Model for Success. Twenty months after he gave this lecture above, I had a client challenge a proposed $200 million tax increase in a Minneapolis suburban school district. Lifto was the consultant for this school district. My client beat them by nearly 1,000 votes in a campaign where some told my clients, “You don’t stand a chance!”
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