Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 23, 2008

It’s not personal, it’s business

Filed under: Alameda, Business, School — Tags: , — Lauren Do @ 7:00 am

A while back someone pointed to San Francisco’s rainy day fund for school funding as being responsive and proactive in a way that Alameda Unified School District was not.   The assumption, I suppose, was that the rainy day fund that came out of the City and County of San Francisco’s coffers would more than make up for any shortfall in funding that may be handed down from the state.   Even after the May revise calculations have been made, San Francisco — according to the Chronicle — is still looking at a $10 million gap in funding, highlights:

…The district expects to be $10 million in the hole despite Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s boost to education funding proposed in his revised budget released May 14 and help from city reserves.

San Francisco schools will still qualify for about $15.5 million out of the city’s rainy day fund – less than the $19 million they were eligible to receive under the governor’s previous budget…

The governor’s proposal would also give districts flexibility to temporarily suspend certain rules, allowing school officials to take money from one pot of money to pay for other services.

For example, the district could take money normally required for building maintenance to use elsewhere.

But those options are not attractive, district officials said.

“It’s like taking your gas budget and putting it into your food budget,” he said.

In short, you still have to pay for gas…

Despite the the rainy day funding and May revise, San Francisco is still facing a massive budget shortfall and is also proposing its own parcel tax to help pay for teacher’s salaries and technology in the form of Proposition A, their parcel tax would be a 20 year, that’s right, 20 year tax at $198 per parcel (to rise with inflation).   However, unlike Alameda it would appear that San Francisco’s parcel tax has a good amount of support from the business community.  The biggie, the Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco is supporting the parcel tax.  But in Alameda,  from what I understand, one of Alameda’s business districts is going to come out strongly against Measure H and last night there was a forum hosted by one of the business districts to explain to the business community the who, what, why and where of Measure H and how it would affect businesses in Alameda.   I don’t have a solid confirmation, so not naming any names, but I imagine that if the membership of the business association(s) eventually vote to not support Measure H and actively campaign against it, it won’t stay quiet for long.   

Another part of that last article was a listing of other parcel taxes* that are coming up for a vote as well in response to the cuts to education.  Because while some would like to characterize the parcel tax as throwing additional money at the schools, in fact, this is to make up for the shortfall in funding for the state, not to provide the icing and fancy dragees on the proverbial cake, but rather to just purchase the eggs to make the cake.

—————-

*

Alameda County

– Measure H: A four-year, $120 parcel tax for Alameda Unified, to help offset the expected loss of millions of dollars in state funding. Businesses would pay 15 cents per square foot. The tax would begin on July 1 and would raise about $4.2 million per year for such projects as keeping elementary class sizes small and retaining music and athletics.

– Measure I: A $205 million facilities bond for Hayward Unified to build permanent classrooms, install wireless technology and security systems, and provide access for the disabled at every school, among other projects.

Contra Costa County

– Measure C: A $61.6 million facilities bond for Antioch Unified to replace roofs and improve plumbing, bathrooms, electrical systems, school libraries and more.

– Measure D: This seven-year, $166 parcel tax for San Ramon Valley Unified would replace an existing $90 parcel tax expiring next year. The district would use the money to keep school libraries open, reduce the size of math and science classes, and keep school counselors.

Marin County

– Measure A: A facilities bond in the Ross School District would raise $6.75 million. Property owners would pay an additional $30 per $100,000 assessed value to pay off the bonds over 25 years.

– Measure B: An eight-year, $375 parcel tax in the Nicasio School District would be used for teacher raises, lowering class size and other programs.

San Mateo County

– Measure N: A five-year, $96 parcel tax for the Pacifica School District would be used to keep classes small and attract experienced teachers.

– Measure P: A five-year, $78 parcel tax for the Millbrae School District would protect teachers from layoffs and reinstate laid-off music and library teachers, classroom aides and custodians.

Santa Clara County

– Measure A: A $378 million facilities bond for Palo Alto Unified to replace portables with permanent classrooms, upgrade aging classrooms and libraries, and ensure that buildings meet safety standards.

– Measure B: A $198 million facilities bond to benefit Fremont Union High School District’s five schools would be used to upgrade electrical systems, to create a technology fund for computers, science labs and solar power, and to build new classrooms to relieve overcrowding.

– Measure C: This eight-year parcel tax for the Mountain View-Whisman School District would be used to keep class sizes small and let the district continue offering music, art and library programs.

– Measure E: Would extend for six years an expiring $290 parcel tax for the Los Gatos Union School District. The money would keep class sizes small and let the district continue offering music, art and library programs.

– Measure G: A $179 million facilities bond for the Alum Rock Union Elementary School District to fix old roofs, classrooms, bathrooms, and safety and electrical systems, and improve computer technology.

Sonoma County

– Measure H: A seven-year, $88 parcel tax would raise $500,000 annually for three unified districts – Healdsburg, West Side and Alexander – to be used for smaller class sizes and other programs.

– Measure I: Beginning July 1, 2009, an existing $9 parcel tax benefiting the Gravenstein Union School District would grow to $45 for eight years. Expected to raise up to $90,000 annually, it would pay for art, music and technology instruction.

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73 Comments

  1. Could you let us know which business district will be opposing Measure H so that we can take our business elsewhere?

    Comment by notadave — May 23, 2008 @ 7:38 am

  2. Second that motion.

    Comment by dave — May 23, 2008 @ 7:45 am

  3. My thoughts exactly.

    Comment by Page — May 23, 2008 @ 8:01 am

  4. Of course, the business association is against this boondoggle as anybody who hasn’t drunk the koolaid should be!

    Comment by Pincher Penny — May 23, 2008 @ 8:06 am

  5. names woman!

    Comment by MarkD — May 23, 2008 @ 8:38 am

  6. 4

    Hi Tom.

    Comment by dave — May 23, 2008 @ 8:45 am

  7. Well, hopefully they stand proudly by their position and do us the favor of posting anti-Measure H signs on their windows. The rest of us can shop accordingly.

    Comment by MarkD — May 23, 2008 @ 9:14 am

  8. The pro-H sign in front of my business has been removed 3 times so far. I didn’t think much of it till now…

    Comment by dave — May 23, 2008 @ 9:21 am

  9. MarkD, if it turned out to be the Park St. Biz Assoc, would you still go to the new theater?

    Just curious.

    Comment by Jack B — May 23, 2008 @ 9:22 am

  10. #1

    Just to be safe, I’ve decided to boycott all Alameda businesses as I am certain that either the owner or their association disagrees with me on some issue.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — May 23, 2008 @ 9:26 am

  11. simple/plain dave, see #10 and get a life.

    Comment by Pincher Penny — May 23, 2008 @ 9:32 am

  12. “… not to provide the icing and fancy dragees on the proverbial cake, but rather to just purchase the eggs to make the proverbial cake,”

    They’ve already got the dragees, screw the cake, let them eat bread, unleavened.

    Comment by dragass — May 23, 2008 @ 9:41 am

  13. When those “issues” negatively affect the present and future of my kids, then yes.

    And JackB, that would depend on the position of the Alameda theatre, and its parent company. The Park st. BA is not the Alameda Theatre.

    Comment by MarkD — May 23, 2008 @ 9:45 am

  14. 13, in response to ANT.

    Comment by MarkD — May 23, 2008 @ 9:47 am

  15. Haven’t we all been boycotting Alameda businesses since the council voted a resolution asking we not invade Iraq back in 1993?

    Tom P. was there and spoke quite eloquently at the Elks Lodge to Council about how the president always knows best because he is the president and how we should trust that he has intelligence (CIA) which allows him the wisdom to make the right decisions for us. And I have a distinct impression here of him using a phrase like “who are we to question the president?”

    Another fellow said he didn’t shop in pinko Berkeley and would never shop here again either. I’m sure we have all followed suit and never looked back.

    Comment by Mark I — May 23, 2008 @ 10:01 am

  16. If a majority of WABA members voted that WABA not support the measure, I would not want to punish the entire district, but individually they should think seriously that supporters of H can vote with their feet too.

    There are rumblings on the other end too. I’m sympathetic to anybody in business having their overhead compounded by fees. I’ve also been somewhat confused by how to calculate the tax on businesses. I have no problem with Wind River forking over another $7500 for schools, but this illustrates why these taxes get written up as a flat fee for residential property, because the calculations lead to confusion.

    I have mixed feelings about boycotts. The California grape boycott was historic, but publicly calling for a boycott feels a little like witch hunting and in the case of this measure represents ill will we can’t afford. But it is also legitimate organizing tool and a democratic option for retail patrons.

    Comment by Mark I — May 23, 2008 @ 10:16 am

  17. MarkD

    While you are correct that PSBA isn’t the theater, PSBA was/is an energetic promoter of the project. The project likely wouln’t have come off w/o PSBA.

    Comment by dave — May 23, 2008 @ 10:18 am

  18. Boycotts will not work! Prop H will go down in flames.

    Comment by Pincher Penny — May 23, 2008 @ 11:12 am

  19. PP/Tom,

    I don’t think anyone is seriously talking about a major organized boycott a la Cesar Chavez. But an individual can choose with whom he does business, for whatever reason. Where I come from we don’t call that a boycott. We call it freedom.

    Comment by dave — May 23, 2008 @ 12:08 pm

  20. All three business associations in Alameda receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in handouts from the city; they have no problem with a publicly subsidized megaplex because it would boost their business (supposedly); but they have a problem with an emergency school tax. That’s hypocritical.

    Maybe they should “sponsor” the tax, like they sponsor other events for marketing reasons, and file that under business expenses. Of course, I wouldn’t expect them to then turn around and ask for more city subsidies as a result.

    Comment by AD — May 23, 2008 @ 12:28 pm

  21. I think Lauren has done a slight injustice by attributing an action to an unnamed business district, however since folks from all the business districts do read this blog, hopefully they will get the hint and not vote to oppose Measure H.

    As for Pincher Penny, it’s painfully obvious that you and education don’t share much in common, but at least we can all be thankful you have decided not to have children.

    Comment by notadave — May 23, 2008 @ 1:03 pm

  22. notadave, WTF? You don’t know jackshit about me or my kids … so please stay the f**k out!

    Comment by Pincher Penny — May 23, 2008 @ 1:16 pm

  23. As the president of GABA I can tell you we do not receive “hundreds of thousands of dollars from the city” we received a few thousand to support our mission this year. In one of the previous fiscal years we received exactly zero from the city. As far as my understanding goes PSBA and WABA each get under $100,000 per year. Just last week we donated over $1000 to school business programs. Thanks for painting us with the same brush. You guys should try and get some real facts up here.

    Comment by EJK — May 23, 2008 @ 2:58 pm

  24. EJK – Please keep ‘providing the facts’

    The business communities are partners with the residential communities – right?

    The business communities reap huge re-development projects that use money that would otherwise support residential community services.

    The business community reaps the benefits of doing business in Alameda, other wise they would re-locate out of Alameda.

    If these same ‘community partners’ want all the benefits but refuse to share the costs of what makes Alameda great, then I will not support those businesses. If PSBA, WABA or GABA oppose Measure H , then I will not support any business without a Measure H sign in their window.

    EJK – an we find out how each business voted or must we boycott all?

    Comment by David Kirwin — May 23, 2008 @ 3:15 pm

  25. EJK: At last year’s budget meeting PSBA’s “grant” was increased by 10%, from $98,000 a year to over $100,000. WABA’s was increased by 33%, to match PSBA’s. No amount was mentioned for GABA, apparently none was requested at that time. Maybe EJK can tell us how many few thousand dollars GABA receives so we can have more accurate numbers.

    And, what is GABA’s position on Measure H (since you seem to be reading this)?

    Comment by AD — May 23, 2008 @ 3:25 pm

  26. While we’re probably not gonna get any one silly enough to sport an Anti-MeasureH poster, Perhaps the bisness districts should encourage those in favor of Measure H to show their support at their establishments.

    Comment by MarkD — May 23, 2008 @ 4:29 pm

  27. business*

    Comment by MarkD — May 23, 2008 @ 4:30 pm

  28. #26
    What are you going to do if someone is “silly enough” to post a political sign in their window that differs from what you believe?

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — May 23, 2008 @ 5:47 pm

  29. Not give them my business? . . . .Where’s the confusion?

    Comment by MarkD — May 23, 2008 @ 6:40 pm

  30. That is, if I beleive that that particular “political difference” is harmful to my family and communitty.

    Comment by MarkD — May 23, 2008 @ 6:44 pm

  31. I don’t watch FOX NEWS. In most part because their political stance differs from mine,consequently, they don’t get my business. Most would say that is a great American virtue. Then there’s you.

    Comment by Anne Derossi — May 23, 2008 @ 6:51 pm

  32. I really wish we would know who does or does not support H so we could follow Anne’s “great American virtue” and vote against the popular.

    Comment by Jack Richard — May 23, 2008 @ 7:15 pm

  33. C’mon Jack. Haven’t you been at this blog long enough? Don’t you clearly see that here you make friends with those that agree with you, and instead of ignoring or just letting the others be, it is important to spew as much venom at them as possible ignoring concepts like truth or fiction. That seems to have always been the ‘entertainment’ of this site. After all for many here, all they can do is spew, – it takes too much time and thought to put together a rational argument to defend one’s point of view. In fact, I think many people here are afraid that a rational debate of issues would invalidate their perspective. (To mention just a few -Higher density = less traffic, increasing public debt is good, redevelopment is more important than funding education, the government should bail out the people who spend more than they can afford, we should blindly trust our government, (especially if they were elected)…)

    And due to my beliefs, there are some businesses here in Mayberry that I will never again step into.

    It is also important to realize that most of the businesses that are required to fund PSBA et al. are not the owners of the property. They would not have to pay the tax, and I would assume most are in leases that either go past the expiration of this short tax, or the leases define how future rent increases will be structured. Long range projection I imagine is an important aspect of business planning.

    The question others have brought up is “Who do these Business Associations really care about?” Politically, and otherwise, the owners have been, and will be, around longer than the tenants. I wonder if PSBA allows pro Measure H signage…

    Comment by David Kirwin — May 23, 2008 @ 8:18 pm

  34. EJK – “you guys should try and get some real facts”. Point well taken. Would you please share what GABA’s position on Measure H is?

    Comment by notadave — May 24, 2008 @ 7:35 am

  35. # 33
    “Don’t you clearly see that here you make friends with those that agree with you,…”

    Almost, DK. I’d phrase it: Don’t you clearly see that here, if you don’t agree with the herd, you won’t make any friends.

    Making friends is an enterprise I was never really interested in. One or two’s enough. My # 32 was a comment about Anne’s belief that she knows what “most would say” and, thus, would follow that line. Obviously you’re not so inclined. That’s probably why you receive all the love and affection from your fellow bloggers.

    Comment by Jack Richard — May 24, 2008 @ 10:04 am

  36. It would be pretty boring to only discuss issues with those who agree with you. It is possible to both respect and be friends with those who have differing opinions.

    Alameda is a small town. It is possible to disagree with someone on one issue and then later agree on another. It is best not to burn any bridges — which is good advice for those who live on an island.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — May 24, 2008 @ 10:25 am

  37. Yet another call for a boycott.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2008/05/24/entertainment/e081317D15.DTL&tsp=1

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — May 24, 2008 @ 10:29 am

  38. Jack – Your rephrasing of that line is valid.

    The use of terms like “friend” and “enemy” may be illustrative, but are usually not accurate terms for people espousing or comparing opinions.
    Although I vehemently oppose the views of many here in Alameda, including JKW, H.O.M.E.S., and often R. Ratto, John P., and some of the other current PB members, and sometimes our CC members; I do not consider them “enemies”. They are likely very good people going above and beyond duty, (and beyond reality in some cases). Even good and caring people can make mistakes and have some warped views of what is best for our community.

    I deplore “herd mentality” like: I’m going to vote for “X”, because I think they will win, or “X” must be a good plan because a group with a catchy positive name supports it, or we have to support the ‘Clean Air Act’ because clean air is good. Machiavelli’s sheep can be quietly led to their demise, and in a democracy they can drag the rest of society with them. Sheep don’t question their leaders. ‘Sheep’ believe marketing hype, sound bytes, and stay informed by glancing at headlines.

    We as Americans CAN “vote with our feet” – we can choose not to bother with FOX NEWS, we can choose not to shop or support merchants whose views oppose us. I agree with Ann that most would agree that kind of choice is a great American virtue. I will sometimes watch FOX just to “know the enemy” – but that is just my opinion.

    Perhaps when views are expressed in so few words on this blog they can more easily be misunderstood.

    Comment by David Kirwin — May 24, 2008 @ 10:52 am

  39. Boycotting local businesses would be counterproductive and exacerbate the funding problems of our local government.

    Comment by Mike Rich — May 24, 2008 @ 12:34 pm

  40. Mike,

    I don’t think that anyone is suggesting that all local businesses be boycotted. The choice here is whether I patronize Store A in Alameda which supports Measure H or Store B in Alameda which has come out in opposition to Measure H. I would choose Store A. There aren’t that many local stores/restaurants that offer services that cannot be found in another store/restaurant in Alameda.

    Comment by Page — May 24, 2008 @ 12:41 pm

  41. Jack, you got me! I haven’t met every individual living in the US. I don’t know how I could have made the assumption that we generally like our freedom and liberties. Even with matters such as, who or who not to support with our wallets, and the right their of.

    Comment by Anne Derossi — May 24, 2008 @ 1:22 pm

  42. As with most things GABA won’t take a position on this. We don’t have an assessment district that wastes educational funds on things like litter and street cleanup as suggested here. GABA received $12,000 (approx. but close) from the city this fiscal year to fund our one paid employee. Yes, GABA’s budget is so small it doesn’t support our one paid staff person. And yes it is one of GABA’s budget line items that the proceeds from our monthly raffle are donated to schools each May. We have had an AUSD staff member on our board for the past couple of years. When GABA tried to host a bike race in downtown Alameda, PSBA kicked us out. Long story.

    The business community “reaps the benefits” of serving this community by struggling to make ends meet on the penny pinching and blame thy neighbor mentality of this community. THere are not many PSBA GABA or WABA members that are not nearly as wealthy as some of the families who have kids in school. Some of us don’t own our own homes. You can all vote with your feet and then the businesses will fold and then who will be paying this tax? The business community was given a full 50% of the burden of Measure H while none of the businesses per se use the schools. If you take a business entity as seperate from the person who owns and operates it, they don’t use the schools. Yet they still find ways to support them. Trying to demonize the business community is not going to convince them to support this measure.

    Comment by EJK — May 24, 2008 @ 1:23 pm

  43. They may not use the schools “per se”, but they sure use the students’ business.

    Comment by MarkD — May 24, 2008 @ 1:49 pm

  44. Nobody here is demonizing the business community. Rather merely pointing out that:

    A) Business survives and grows as the community does. Investing in schools makes the community more prosperous, which obviously helps out the business community. H is a sound long term investment for a business.

    B) Certain factions within the business community, principally PSBA of which I am a member, have loudly advocated for and received tens of millions of tax dollars for a non-essential project. How dare they then turn around and deny a relative pittance for a suprememly essential public purpose?

    That’s not “demonizing” — that’s just telling it like it is.

    Comment by dave — May 24, 2008 @ 2:09 pm

  45. I’m so sure that Park Jewelers and the Watch Hospital just thank their lucky stars for those students. Watch how wide a brush you paint with there, kids. Any time you want to make a sweeping generalization about business or business associations you will be proved wrong.

    Every single person who attended the meeting mentioned, which Lauren did not attend has an interest in seeing these school programs survive. No one wants our reputation to suffer. The issues raised were not whether to, but how to raise money for schools.

    There are inequities in the language of the measure. The measure favors large property owners like Harsh Investments. The measure double-dips against business owners who also own homes here — People who are doubly invested in the economic success of this community.

    The measure could even put the Elks out of business. The student are huge supporters of the Elks who donate several thousand to schools annually.

    Comment by EJK — May 24, 2008 @ 2:18 pm

  46. PLEASE ELIMINATE POST #47

    EJK – I found post #43 hard to follow. I hope you can find some time to better explain your points.

    By eliminating the double negatives, it sounds like one statement is; there are many PSBA GABA or WABA members that are nearly as wealthy as some of the families who have kids in school.
    I’m not sure what point you are trying to make – AUSD parents have the full spectrum of family wealth, probably a broader spectrum than business owners.
    Do you have any statistics for what percentage of GABA, WABA, PSBA business owners are, or aren’t AUSD parents?

    You said “The business community was given a full 50% of the burden of Measure H while none of the businesses per se use the schools.”
    WHERE OH WHERE DID YOU GET THIS IDEA?

    Measure H only taxes property owners – not businesses.

    EJK – How many of the businesses in GABA, WABA or PSBA own their own buildings? I’m willing to bet is a small percentage.

    Who does GABA, WABA PSBA represent – Businesses or commercial property owners?
    I am confused as to what the real mission is for these “Business Associations”.

    Comment by David Kirwin — May 24, 2008 @ 3:20 pm

  47. sorry to distract from the constructive focus of this thread, but I have to respond to #33.

    I blew it with the small town/bridge burning thing months ago by ignoring the fact that what had been a small venue in which most readers posted, turned into a massive venue read by public officials, consultants, developers, and tons of citizens with no intent to join in the discussions, or who are too feint of heart to expose themselves to what can be contentious and at times even rude.

    I’m with ANT that it’s about the discussion and not about making friends, but the only friends or enemies one makes are virtual ones, unless one posts using their name.

    In #33 DK would like to portray this venue as some kind of piranha tank in which well meaning innocents like himself are regularly ripped apart by rabid hordes of Lauren’s minions, but on the whole I’d say there are many, many points of view and a fair amount of diversity of opinion here, even if the majority agree with Lauren most of the time. And the latter is no crime.

    Typically DK protests too much, as I think he fairly revels in the role in his mind of playing a martyr for all that is good in Alameda. The reality is he’s made his share of low blows at people and for that has been slammed also. My response is a big fat so what? What goes around does come around. Though many people here had been trading sarcastic blows with DK, the first time it got personal for me was when he lead off a response to one of my posts “Idiotic Mark”, essentially calling me an idiot. Ironically, within a couple days he was bleating over personal attacks from others and crying can’t we all just get along? He had to be redirected to his own behavior and that time was contrite for perhaps five seconds. Recently we found DK badgering Mike McMahon about who authored Measure H with the refrain, “It’s still not too late for integrity!” , as if DK has cornered the market on that virtue.

    Also recently DK crowed to somebody here about how it was only through the toil and perseverance of true believers like them, who weather the slings and arrows of abuse, that the truth is told at all. He further claimed the fact some people simply ignore him wholesale and do not respond to his incessant posts, often containing a profusion of unanswerable questions, is proof that those people have been disarmed and have given into his rightness. In that same stretch of time he essentially implied John Knox White and Michael Kruger as being full of shit, with remarks playing off use of the word “manure” in another post. But he whines that MK and JKW don’t engage him in rational dialogue. Hmmm, I wonder why?

    Recently, in the thread ‘Til it squeaks, a number of people including Brooke Briggance responded quite rationally and at length to his avalanche of staccato questioning, innuendo and conspiracy mongering, but somehow those responses don’t count in the assessment in #33.

    In reality it’s a practical matter of self preservation, DK. Responding to your broken record ranting becomes a waste of time and can lead nowhere fast. So get over yourself. Many here have credited you with procession of copious amounts of raw intelligence, the tragedy is that you often can’t seem to balance that with equal amounts of common sense. It seems you could read an entire encyclopedia in one sitting and the next morning at 1 a.m. puke it all back at us verbatim. What a feat! Too bad the conclusions you draw are just as biased as those you decry.

    Comment by Mark I — May 24, 2008 @ 3:36 pm

  48. Someone who owns both a house and commercial property(not a business) in Alameda is (probably) on the upper end of the Alameda income spectrum, EJK.So the “we’re not as wealthy” argument falls short of spectacular. Wait, I see your point, they may not have school age kids, so why should they share this “burden”. . . .

    And as for the Lodge going out of business, I’ll have to hear that from the ER herself. And ask I will.

    Comment by MarkD — May 24, 2008 @ 3:59 pm

  49. I’m sorry I misspoke about the Elks What I meant to say is I heard a member say that they may have to give up their building next to city hall due to the cost per square foot.

    Yes we’re not taxing businesses but property owners. So there is a distinction. But the prevailing assumption is that property owners will need to pass at least some of the cost onto their tenants.

    There are several in each business association that I can name who own their own business locations.

    You’re right, I had a double negative in that post about who’s wealthy. Sadly, I probably don’t know enough to make that statement about whether families or small business have it ‘better’ right now. Nobody’s got it good.

    My point should really be that small business has just as much right to complain about tight finances as anyone.

    Yes indeed, schools are a huge part of what makes this community a success. But another part of what makes this community so special is our unique small businesses. Alameda doesn’t look like any other small community off the freeway with their starbucks, McD’s etc. etc. We have unique small business that add value just like good schools do.

    As GABA pres. I feel it necessary to speak to the defense of small business – or I wouldn’t be doing my volunteer job properly. Please let it be known that I am not advocating any particular vote.

    Comment by EJK — May 24, 2008 @ 4:14 pm

  50. In the case of the Elks its non-profits getting hit where it hurts. Not small business. Apparently non-profits that own their own properties will need to shoulder large burdens as well. Will you be so quick to boycott donating to local non-profits?

    Comment by EJK — May 24, 2008 @ 5:22 pm

  51. Elks parcel is a 6800 – Institutional. Why do you think Measure H would put it out of business? Commercial/Industrial parcels are in the 3x, 4x, 8x, and 9x ranges.

    http://www.acgov.org/MS/prop/useCodeList.aspx#6

    Also:

    http://www.acgov.org/MS/prop/index.aspx

    Comment by Andy Currid — May 24, 2008 @ 5:26 pm

  52. Just to clarify, some non-profit organizations are exempt from property tax in the State of California. For further info, see http://www.boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/faqs/welfarevetsfaqs.htm#11.

    Furthermore, section (b)iii of the Measure H parcel tax language states: “Real property otherwise exempted from taxation under the constitution and laws of the State of California shall also be exempted from any liability for the special tax imposed by this measure.” See http://www.alamedaschools.org/faq.shtml#q37.

    I don’t know why the Elks do not qualify for this exemption.

    Comment by Page — May 24, 2008 @ 6:57 pm

  53. This seems to be a successful thread – many have learned new information. Sounds like the PSBA meeting Lauren missed was not able to adequately inform the business and fraternal property owners of the extent of exemptions. I wonder what other misinformation could have been sown. I wonder who attended this special ‘tax Measure information meeting – were any tax lawyers, or anyone familiar with this tax measure and tax code invited or paid to inform Business Association members, or did the leadership simply espouse their pet opinion?

    While I agree there are other ways to raise money for our schools, and this is a very poorly written ‘measure’ we the customers were just saddled with a huge loss of future tax revenue to buy the theater project PSBA and others fought so hard for. If you and the mayor can’t get the commercial property owners to partner with us to support our schools (and we do a lot more than this tax…) then I will only care about the businesses that I know care about the community. If we need additional tax to make up for the lost sales tax we can identify ways to tax those who won’t support our schools now.

    EJK – There seems to be a combined total of over 600 member listings with PSBA, GABA,& WABA, so if you can name “several” in each of the 3 associations that own the property where they conduct their business, it seems that Measure H overwhelmingly will not affect businesses.
    Again it seems the 3 “Business Association” leaderships are more concerned with their relationships to the commercial property owners rather than the Alameda businesses who are the tenants.

    What % of members regularly attends the Business Association meetings? What % of commercial property owners regularly attends Business Association mtgs?

    BTW I saw this on the GABA website: “GABA receives no funding from the City of Alameda or other agencies and relies solely on membership dues and volunteer fundraising efforts to operate.”

    And this on the GABA website:
    WABA vigilantly represents the interests of Webster Street and West Alameda merchants.
    • Streetscape: WABA partnered with the City of Alameda to design and implement Phase 1 of the Webster Renaissance Streetscape, adding pedestrian amenities, landscaping, and historic acorn lighting. WABA also lobbied to protect the historic look of Webster by opposing bus shelter advertising on the street.
    • West End Cleanup: WABA retained a full-time maintenance crew and obtained funding from the City of Alameda for a green machine and maintenance vehicle to keep the business district clean.
    • Image Creation: WABA has implemented a strategic marketing plan to promote West Alameda. The district has received ongoing favorable media coverage, launched a website and logo, enhanced existing special events and developed new ones, and offered a variety of marketing opportunities for members for free or at reduced costs.
    • Sign Ordinance: WABA, the Planning Department, and PSBA worked to rewrite a portion of the sign ordinance, adopted in 2005.
    • Design Guidelines: WABA updated the Design Guidelines adopted by the City in 2005.
    • Façade Grants: WABA, PSBA, GABA, and the Development Services Department worked to enhance the City’s façade grant program.
    • Mentoring: WABA provides member businesses with marketing, grant, and permit assistance.
    • Zoning Changes: WABA successfully lobbied the City of Alameda for a zoning change to limit industrial/commercial uses and promote pedestrian-oriented businesses.

    WABA provides member businesses with marketing assistance and assists them in getting grants and permits. Through WABA’s efforts, well over $100,000 in façade grants have gone to our businesses.
    Strange that they work so differently – GABA uses no city funds, WABA prides itself on getting city funds. PSBA, which lists twice the nuber of memberships as GABA and WABA combined does not even list a mission statement, or anyinf on the about of money received from city for itself or its membership thru their work.

    If it is logical that business would get large chunks of local city revenue, isn’t it logical that business should also help the community that supports them?

    Comment by DAvvid Kirwin — May 25, 2008 @ 1:59 am

  54. To go waaaay back to the original blog post — thanks, Lauren, for listing all those school-related measures on local ballots.

    It really makes it clear that AUSD is not the only district struggling financially right now–and that the problem stems from the state budget cuts, not mismanagement at the district level.

    I wonder how many districts across the whole state are having to do this?

    Comment by Susan Davis — May 25, 2008 @ 10:12 am

  55. # 55 “I wonder how many districts across the whole state are having to do this?”

    A lot. And make that “across the whole nation”, Susan. And make that “Public School Districts” as in “bureaucratic creatures of the state”. It’s only because public schools affect most citizens directly that these citizens exert the time, energy, money and emotion to finance what they think is good for them personally and what is good for their city, state and nation.

    In our state, it’s a neat trick Arnold is playing. He must know that since public schools are so dear to the hearts of common citizens these citizens will not allow their schools to fail (and even if they do fail in bankruptcy they end up better off financially …witness the Jerry Brown quote I passed along here many threads ago).

    Other than DK does anyone expend the emotional energy on any other state bureaucratic endeavor? So being that special interests are the sine quibus non of elected officials getting their’s, and being that the state initiative process has hog-tied this state’s school fund gathering process at the local level, we can all look forward to many more frazzled but interesting threads in this blog tapestry.

    By the way Mark I, I liked your # 48 comment, didn’t agree with most of it but it was well done.

    Also, DK, in your # 39, I didn’t say anything about “enemies” in my # 36. You indirectly implied I was illustrating both “friends” and “enemies” in my comment. I may have few friends but I call no one an enemy.

    Comment by Jack Richard — May 25, 2008 @ 11:29 am

  56. #51, Faith-based organizations (i.e., churches and temples) also would be taxed as residential parcels ($120.00/year), not as commercial properties.

    Thanks for bringing up the question –it’s a good one.

    Comment by Susan Davis — May 25, 2008 @ 11:35 am

  57. Susan,

    Most buildings used for religious purposes are exempt from property tax and would be exempt from the parcel tax. See my post #53 above.

    Comment by Page — May 25, 2008 @ 12:10 pm

  58. Jack – In #39 I agreed with your rephrasing the line. As for the rest of the post I was stating my views and did not mean to imply they had anything to do with your post, sorry to create a misunderstanding.

    I didn’t like Mark Irons post #39, and since nothing he stated about me was put into context I don’t see how anyone could agree with it either.

    Mark I’m sorry I must have left out a comma whenever it was that I posted “Idiotic, Mark”, if I was calling you an idiot, I would have used the word “idiot” not “idiotic”. Wish you could have posted what I was commenting on so we could all make a fresh judgment on what we agree with, I don’t always disagree with you but some of your statements have been “out – there.”

    True, I have ‘slammed” some of our CC, PB, and TC members when I believe it was deserved. Once I recall feeling I went too far and publicly apologized. As far as Mike Kruger and John K White – I make no bones about my belief they espouse horrible ideas and blatantly vomit forth incredible inaccuracies and have mal-formed arguments where they credit me with statements so far from the truth that a Monty Python skit would be less absurd. I wish I could have found one of the particular threads that was so off the wall. Finally in that thread Kruger copped to the fact that his abuse of the truth was a “mind experiment.” I don’t miss his absence on this blog.

    Also the real benefit of local parcel taxes for our schools it the fact that the State can’t f*** with that money – it stays here.

    Comment by David kirwin — May 25, 2008 @ 8:30 pm

  59. DK, the context is you and everything you’ve ever posted.

    Comment by Mark I — May 25, 2008 @ 11:26 pm

  60. DK, Slight Freudian slip on your part in # 59. You mentioned you didn’t like Mark Iron’s post number 39. You surely meant his # 48 since #39 was your post.

    That said, of course you didn’t like Mark I’s post, that’s why I judge it well done overall (other his use of the word “feint” of heart when I think he meant “faint” of heart when he spoke of tons of citizens, et al).

    I would quibble with his last paragraph, though. He decries that you produce copious amounts of data lacking the balance of common sense. I’ve found that “common sense” is a term usually used when facts contravene one’s political viewpoint. The fact that he responds to your “data” using beliefs he calls “common sense” then stating that responding is a “waste of time” must mean he is going nowhere fast

    Comment by Jack Richard — May 26, 2008 @ 10:18 am

  61. Oh Jack, you are just too smart for me! I’m toast!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/25/magazine/25internet-t.html

    Comment by Mark I — May 26, 2008 @ 1:29 pm

  62. Richard – you are correct – I was in error when I referred to Post #39 twice in the last post. However, I don’t see any Freudian connection to the error.

    As you said, I meant to refer to Mark’s post #48 the second time.

    #48, although laughable, it is somewhat negative humor. Mark tries to confuse ‘martyrdom’ with willingness to honestly express thoughts and facts even when they counter the herd mentality often shown on the blog. I can’t fathom why he exaggerates basic integrity as martyrdom, especially since he calls it “a big fat zero” in the next sentence, yet it’s important enough for him to write about…

    I also found it amazing that he waxed so poetic for me “it was only through the toil and perseverance of true believers like them, who weather the slings and arrows of abuse, that the truth is told at all”. While I suppose I could be flattered, my ‘true belief’ is that every individual, regardless of background, CAN respond with integrity and the questions I post here are not “unanswerable” as he postulates. They can be answered rationally, and without fiction. Some people have made long rational replies, but sometimes these too avoid answering the questions asked. Just because the questions I ask may not be popular does not make them irrational, or impossible to answer. And the avoidance of questions can itself raise questions , at least for those who think about it.

    Comment by David Kirwin — May 26, 2008 @ 3:07 pm

  63. Mark I, ready to clarify the intent of your hit-and-run a few posts back? Apologize, perhaps? Who’s on the stick again? Thanks in advance.

    Comment by Jack B — May 26, 2008 @ 8:20 pm

  64. 64. you refer to #60 or what? or another post to you? #62 I was wising off to Jack who can take it and who always traps me with great circles of logic.

    as for #48, something like that was long over due, whether it was done well or not. I may be just as big a hypocrite, but the back log of B.S. breeched a threshold in #33.

    Comment by Mark I — May 27, 2008 @ 10:34 am

  65. Hate to get in the way of you guys bickering with each other, but there appears to be a misunderstanding about how Non Profits are handled under Measure H. At the meeting Bill Schaff seemed to give the impression non-profits were not exempt. The Elks appeared frustrated. Measure H people are telling us NOW that NPs are exempt, but that wasn’t the conclusion that I or Alan Lopez of that other rag came to after the meeting. Lopez is apparently taking some heat for his article today that misstates the issue according to Measure H people. The Sun is working to get to the bottom of this misunderstanding as to who is exempt and who isn’t. Word is that maybe the Elks don’t count as non-profit because they rent out their facilities to other groups. We’ll see. Read your Sun.

    Comment by EJK — May 27, 2008 @ 12:10 pm

  66. EJK,

    I thought Allen had been bought out of his contract or something. Isn’t the onus on a journalist to investigate rather just report? The deadline aspect of your business is surly nerve racking, but the internet allows rapid access to this information for people who are good at it.

    Comment by Mark I — May 27, 2008 @ 1:58 pm

  67. #66 “Bill Schaff seemed to give the impression non-profits were not exempt” and “Measure H people are telling us NOW that NPs are exempt”

    If a non-profit owns a parcel whose use code is not commercial/industrial, then our position is that it is “exempt” in the sense that the parcel doesn’t fall under Measure H’s commercial/industrial tax rate. If a non-profit owns a parcel that is classified as commercial/industrial, then it will pay the Measure H commercial/industrial tax on that parcel.

    Measure H is a parcel tax. It taxes parcels, not individuals or organizations.

    Comment by Andy Currid — May 27, 2008 @ 2:13 pm

  68. Thanks for the clarification. I’m not a reporter guys. And DK thanks for the heads up about that inaccuracy on GABA’s web site. If you go there now, you should see that sentence has been changed.

    Comment by EJK — May 27, 2008 @ 2:37 pm

  69. #67. Lopez is still there. And I repeat: Read your Sun.

    Comment by EJK — May 27, 2008 @ 2:39 pm

  70. EJK,

    As I understand it, there are 2 ways that a property can “escape” Measure H.

    The first way is to be exempt from property taxes under California law. This exemption is written into Measure H. “Real property otherwise exempted from taxation under the constitution and laws of the State of California shall also be exempted from any liability for the special tax imposed by this measure.” Under California law, a “welfare organization” (which is defined to include certain non-profit, religious and veterans’ organizations) can, under cetain conditions, apply to the State Board of Equalization for an exemption from property taxes. I understand that there are very strict restrictions on how the property can be used if this exemption is granted, so it may be that the Elks’ use of their lodge would make this exemption inapplicable.

    The second means of “escaping” Measure H is to fall outside the definitions of the property that is subject to taxation. In that case, the language of Measure H says that it would impose a tax “of $120 per residential parcel and 15¢ per square foot for commercial/industrial parcels.” So by definition, the tax only applies to residential, commercial and industrial properties. Here, I understand that one would look to the Alameda County Assesor’s office use codes for a determination as to whether a parcel is categorized as residential/commericial/industrial.Properties used for institutional purposes like lodges and churches generally fall into the series 6000 (or institutional) use categories, so they would likely not fit within this definition. Because the Elks’ lodge falls within the 6800 use series, it may not be considered a residential/commericial/industrial parcel and therefore it may not be subject to the tax.

    Note that the language of Measure H differs from the language of the 2005 parcel tax which imposed the tax on “all taxable parcels,” so even if a parcel has to pay the Measure A parcel tax, that does not necessarily mean that it would be subject to the Measure H tax.

    As I said, this information is just based on my understanding and I’m perfectly willing to admit I’m no expert on this issue and that my understanding may be dead wrong, so it should not be relied on for any purposes whatsoever including wagering. ;-)

    Comment by Page — May 27, 2008 @ 2:59 pm

  71. Update on the Elks. Lodge spokesperson Jan Curtis has said that the Elks will not have to pay. See http://theislandofalameda.blogspot.com/2008/05/happy-ending-for-elks.html

    Comment by Page — May 28, 2008 @ 2:19 pm

  72. I find it a little incredulous, the Sun’s attribution to Frank George that Park Street merchants have been intimidated into hanging pro Measure H signs. My impression is that Frank is familiar with bullying but perhaps not from that side. However, it occurred to me, rather than to threaten to boycott him, I would pledge to try to spend money at his shop if H passes, even though at this point I never have.

    Comment by Indy — May 29, 2008 @ 12:50 pm


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