Blogging Bayport Alameda

August 25, 2008

Conforming uniform

Filed under: Alameda, Election, School — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:33 am

So, has everyone had a chance to read through the Borikas complaint yet?  If not, here is a link to the pages of the complaint, it’s not incredibly long, only about seven pages because the remainder are Exhibits which is just the language of the parcel tax and then the election results.  I guess I was expecting some big “a ha” moment of revelation, but in fact there was none. 

I also expected to see a much more fleshed out legal argument considering that the plaintiff is using this claim to seek an injunction against the school district from collecting the tax and asking that the whole parcel tax be thrown out the window, and of course, here’s the icing on the cake, the legal fees for the plaintiff as well.   Although that’s a pretty standard thing to ask for I believe, while you are asking anyway.

None of the parcels owned by the Plaintiff are commercial parcels per se, at least not according to the filing.   One parcel is a single family home and the other two are multi-family residential, but he does run a businesses (or uses one of the addresses) for his business.   It’s in the filing so it’s public record and I’m not going to even get into the topic of how much the property is actually assessed at (meaning how much the owner pays in property taxes), if you are curious you can look it up yourself:

  • Parcel 71-234-18 is listed as a Multiple Residential Building of 5 or more units (use code 7700)
  • Parcel 69-100-14 is listed as a Single family residential homes used as such (use code 1100)
  • Parcel 70-186-2 is listed as Four living units; e.g. fourplex or triplex w/SFR (use code 2400, which is under the larger heading of 2x – Series – Multiple Residential, 2-4 Units and Mobile Homes) 

And it appears that the resolution to the question of “is a multi-unit residential building” considered “residential” or “commercial” is in fact “residential,” according to the letter posted by Mike McMahon that will be mailed out to folks.   So, one has to wonder whether the Plaintiff chosen has legal standing to bring this case in the first place, if the larger question is of uniformity comes down to the application of the commercial tax as the residential, even multi family residential is taxed at a similiar or “uniform” rate and none of the parcels owned by the Planitiff would be taxed at the commercial rate.

Although from my reading of the complaint, it is highly vague as to the reason why Measure H is not uniform, other than the lawyer declaring that it is not uniform under California Government Code 50079.  Not to mention the California Government Code is pretty vague in and of itself, here it is in its entirety:

50079.  (a) Subject to Section 4 of Article XIIIA of the California Constitution, any school district may impose qualified special taxes within the district pursuant to the procedures established in Article 3.5 (commencing with Section 50075) and any other applicable procedures provided by law.
   (b) (1) As used in this section, “qualified special taxes” means special taxes that apply uniformly to all taxpayers or all real property within the school district, except that “qualified special taxes” may include taxes that provide for an exemption from those taxes for taxpayers 65 years of age or older or for persons receiving Supplemental Security Income for a disability, regardless of age.
   (2) “Qualified special taxes” do not include special taxes imposed on a particular class of property or taxpayers.

The only argument that is fleshed out a bit more fully in the complaint has to do with the exemption for seniors and people receiving SSI benefits.   The argument is that because seniors and those on SSI have to apply to get the exemption then it is an “additional requirement…not contained in Government Code section 50079…” and therefore they are using that as a reason why Measure H should be invalidated as well.

The second argument is going to be a tough one, if the court decides to go with the reasoning of “if you have to apply for the exemption that you are entitled to then the whole parcel tax is flawed and therefore should be repealed” a lot of school district’s parcel taxes will be in jeopardy as that seems to be the standard practices for senior and SSI exemptions.  A few that have the exemption application requirement include Albany (see source below or since we are talking legalese: infra), Los Gatos, San Francisco, Mountain View (infra), just to name a few.

The attorney in this case has really left the door wide open as to the interpretation of what is “uniform.”    After all, one could argue that “uniformity” could merely consist of taxing every single parcel of land except those that have been exempted per section 50079.   It could also mean that as long as there is a set rate (e.g $0.15 per square foot) even if it’s only for the commercial and industrial parcels that is considered uniform as well. 

Uniform could mean that every parcel (commercial, residential, industrial) has to be taxed at the same flat rate, but if the judge makes that decision, a lot of parcel taxes would face legal challenges as well.  One of which is Albany’s which has a different rate structure for commercial ($0.05 per square foot up to a cap of $250, which ever is higher) as opposed to residential parcels, (flat $250) not to mention the fact that the senior and SSI exemption has to be applied for just like Alameda’s.   Additionally, Piedmont’s would be under scrutiny as well as there is a different rate structure depending on the size of the parcel as well as what type of parcel it is.  If we are arguing that a minimum and maximum cap is what makes Measure H not uniform, one could posit that Piedmont’s tax with its lower cap (anything below 5000 sq ft taxed at $1141 per parcel) and higher cap (anything 20,000 sq ft and above taxed at $1937 per parcel) is also not uniform, and that’s just for the residential parcels.  Mountain View has a similiarly structured parcel tax to Piedmont as well with an upper and lower cap based on square footage of the parcel.

One resource that has been cited quite a bit by folks in favor of the lawsuit has been the FAQ by the firm Orrick, which has provided an FAQ of sorts for parcel taxes.   And of course, it doesn’t really shed much more light on what is considered “uniform” under the law either.  However, what is interesting is that opponents of this parcel tax measure had/have another option and that is to take the parcel tax back to the voters to repeal the tax.   And, they would only need to get a simple majority vote, 50% + 1 rather than the 2/3 vote that was required to pass the measure in the first place:

Proposition 218, adopted in 1996, subjects nearly all taxes to repeal by initiative.  Unless the Parcel Tax is pledged to repay bonds or other contractual obligations, a voter petition drive could put the tax back on the ballot.  And repeal would only take a simple majority vote…

Personally, if that was what the commercial property owners/businesses were looking to do, this would have been a much less aggressive and divisive move than a lawsuit.   With a voter driven repeal at least they would have the backing of 50% + 1 of the voting population, provided they won, that would give them the satisfaction of being able to say that they had the backing of a substantial portion of the community, as opposed to what is currently happening.


  1. Whether the community backs a repeal of the law is irrelevant. If the law, as drafted and passed, is illegal, then challenging it in court is the proper course of action. I, personally, hope that the law is repealed …

    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — August 25, 2008 @ 7:30 am

  2. I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t even play one on TV, but the case looks like a stretch. A biiiiiig stretch. In order to file a suit, don’t you have to have been damaged in some way? Borakis doesn’t even own any commercial property – at least not that was listed in the lawsuit (you can plug in the parcel numbers)so how can he argue on behalf of commercial owners. The argument that opting out requires an additional step that is not legal, is also a non-starter. Please, do you really want the assessors office to keep track of your age and whether you get SSI? There is no way they could or should do that, so obviously you need to inform them if you need the exemption. Just like you need to inform them if you are residing in your property in order to get the deduction. Has that been challenged in court? I thought not.

    One other thing that is continually being forgotten – any commercial property with less that 2,000 sq feet is going to be taxed the same 120 as residential properties. I would guesstimate (but am open to being proven wrong) that that means that about 90% of all parcels in Alameda will be taxed at 120. Sounds pretty uniform to me.

    Comment by notadave — August 25, 2008 @ 8:27 am

  3. “About 90% of all parcels in Alameda will be taxed at 120. Sounds pretty uniform to me.”

    Actually, 100% of all parcels taxed at the same rate would be uniform. As you indicated, 90% is almost uniform.

    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — August 25, 2008 @ 9:25 am

  4. # 2..
    The tax is per parcel, not building size, I dont think there are to many parcels in Alameda 2000 sq.ft. or less. If there is one, it will be paying $120. Thats for 800 sq.ft. and nothing above that.

    Comment by R. Cobre — August 25, 2008 @ 9:45 am

  5. Is there any place that lists parcels by size?

    Comment by notadave — August 25, 2008 @ 10:00 am

  6. The question I would like to resolve is if the senior exemption is optional. The language, as I interpret it, allows for the District an option to include or exclude by the use of the words “may include taxes”. If so, then I have a problem with the District creating an exemption, to get votes from people who will never pay the tax.

    I do not think that the tax is uniformed. A cap at both ends for businesses mean that businesses are not treated equal. Uniformed would be .15 per square foot, no cap at either end. The current process, is unfair to business and the tax payers.

    The larger issue is not the tax, but what the district refuses to do. The District needs to cut, not budget, but facilities. Consolidation is the real answer. Alameda is a mediocre school district, when compared to like communities, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Alamo, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda. All of these cities outperform and do it with fewer facilities.

    We need different answers to the question of funding, not the same one that does not solve the issue.

    Comment by John — August 25, 2008 @ 10:00 am

  7. Sheesh. Given how much lawyers cost, he’s going to end up spending more money trying to fight this tax than he would have spent by just paying it for the rest of his life.

    Comment by Ayse — August 25, 2008 @ 10:04 am

  8. #7 And of course he wouldn’t pay it for the “rest of his life.”

    Just four years.

    Comment by Wants a Better Solution — August 25, 2008 @ 10:16 am

  9. John, the exemption is optional. According to Michele Ellson’s blog, about 2300 seniors have opted out.

    Comment by notadave — August 25, 2008 @ 10:25 am

  10. So, more than 10% of the parcels that are classified as single family residents have opted out.

    Comment by John — August 25, 2008 @ 10:28 am

  11. Where are the total number of parcels listed?

    Comment by notadave — August 25, 2008 @ 10:53 am

  12. Census Data

    Occupied housing units

    Owner-occupied housing units

    Renter-occupied housing units

    Owner-occupied housing units 14,491 100.0

    Renter-occupied housing units 15,735 100.0
    Built 1999 to March 2000 22 0.1

    Owner-occupied housing units 14,491 100.0

    Renter-occupied housing units 15,735 100.0

    Comment by John — August 25, 2008 @ 11:01 am

  13. Historical data of parcels for Measure A:

    Comment by Mike McMahon — August 25, 2008 @ 11:04 am

  14. Hello Mike, aren’t you blogging on taxpayers time????????? I apologize, if it is your day off.

    Comment by R. Cobre — August 25, 2008 @ 11:08 am

  15. Mike – Wouldn’t it be nice if BOE members were paid? Then maybe you could do some of this work on “taxpayer’s time”.

    Comment by David Kirwin — August 25, 2008 @ 11:15 am

  16. To clarify #17 (in response to #16)– Board of Education members don’t work full-time for AUSD. (Most of them have “day jobs.”)

    And as of this spring, when AUSD had to make cuts in response to a threatened $4 million state budget cut — BOE members no longer receive stipends for their service.

    These are the sort of details about AUSD and the BOE that I wish the lawsuit backers had understood before wading into this lawsuit…

    Comment by Wants a Better Solution — August 25, 2008 @ 11:19 am

  17. Mr/s Cobre, comments like that show how out of touch and uninformed you might be on this issue.

    Comment by notadave — August 25, 2008 @ 11:31 am

  18. Mike, are the parcels listed on the link you just posted all parcels in Alameda, or just residential parcels. Do you have any info on commercial parcels – number of, size, etc.?

    Comment by notadave — August 25, 2008 @ 11:33 am

  19. To the best of my knowledge the parcel information provided is all of the parcels in Alameda.

    As for information related to commercial versus residential parcels and the size of commercial parcels I do not know of any accessible published sources.

    When we were working with the City who was fielding questions, I racall we came up with the following estimates:

    Approximately 850+ commercial parcels

    Approximately 100 would be assessed the minimum of $120

    Approximately 100 would be assessed the maximum of $9,500

    Comment by Mike McMahon — August 25, 2008 @ 11:56 am

  20. I’ve never wanted to pass a bar but it seems to me the intent of the term “uniformly” as used in 50079 must draw its meaning from those tax restrictions which California Code and the State Board of Equalization place on the parent state Property Tax code. The Need for Uniform Assessments from the State Board of Equalization follows:

    While the county assessor determines the value of locally assessable property for taxation
    purposes, the Board has a vested interest in the valuation by virtue of its
    constitutional responsibility to promote uniformity in property assessments throughout
    the state. Uniformity is important both within and among counties for a number of

    • Cost-sharing provisions for funding public schools require the state to make
    up the difference between revenue guarantees and the amount actually allocated
    from property tax proceeds. Underassessments increase the required
    state subvention from the general fund. State Board of Equalization
    4 California Property Tax May 2001

    • Local agencies are constitutionally limited to the tax rate they can apply to
    property. Assessments at less than full taxable value deny local governments
    their fair share of revenues.

    • The Board assesses public utilities and other inter-county properties and
    allocates values to each county on a uniform basis. A proper allocation depends
    on consistency among all counties. If a county assessees at a level below
    the legal requirement, then the state assessees pay a higher proportion of
    property taxes to support local government.

    • If a taxing agency operates in more than one county, a county assessing at less
    than full taxable value causes the taxpayers in the remaining counties to bear a
    heavier tax burden.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 25, 2008 @ 12:15 pm

  21. Jack R.: That might possibly be the intent, but when you talk about county assessments of property we are talking about ad valorem taxes which is based on the value of the property, which is strictly forbidden when it comes to parcel taxes. It appears that uniformity for county assessments per piece of property is more important county to county because of the impact that it would have on the State and its budget and not on the individual parcel owner.

    Which just goes back to the point that someone else made earlier that the term “uniform” while it may be clearer for others from a quick Google search could be defined in a myriad of other way depending on the context. And that is a question of law at this point.

    Comment by Lauren Do — August 25, 2008 @ 12:37 pm

  22. Looking at the assessor maps (available through the link that Lauren posted, it does indeed appear that many commercial parcels would pay above the 120 amount. So how bad is the potential damage on folks. Two businesses that have been mentioned are Pillow Park and Paganos. The later because they have a large space, the former because they are supposedly promoting the lawsuit.

    According to the maps, Pillow Park has about 11,000 sq ft, and thus would pay $1650/year. On a daily basis(assuming they are open 5 days a week)that comes out to an extra $6.35 per day. Assuming they have 10 customers a day, if they were to pass on the tax to their customers, that would be an extra 63 cents per customer.

    Paganos has about 17,500 square feet (I think they take up the first two parcels on lincoln) and thus would be paying 2625 per year. Assuming they also are open 5 days a week, and assuming they only got 20 customers a day, if they were to pass on the extra tax burdens to their customers, that would be an extra 50 cents per customer. Anyone that knows Paganos knows the actual volume of customers far exceeds this conservative projection. The point I am making is that many of the commercial parcels could pass on the cost of the tax without it being felt in the slightest by their customers.

    Comment by notadave — August 25, 2008 @ 2:34 pm

  23. While everyone loves Paganos, and they are open 7 days a week, and have a 100 or 100’s of customers per day, they are in a different ball park than PPP which is less likely to make 50 sales per week.
    But PPP has big ticket items and even an extra $5.00 on a dresser or bed would not be an issue, especially if PPP could post a “We support Measure H” sign in their window. That sign would be more likely to draw in customers too, even if they were just looky-loos, PPP may be 1st on their mind next time they thought about buying something more substantial for their home, or up grading from IKEA.

    Comment by Pink Pig Phriend — August 25, 2008 @ 4:51 pm

  24. # 23 Uniformity, in this sense would have nothing to do with ad valorem. Merely the uniformity of taxing all property in the same manner, i.e. each property at $120 or each property at $0.15. More likely it’s just boiler plate verbiage carried over from pre prop 13 assessment rules and nobody really knows what it means. If that’s the case, maybe some good will come from this matter.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 25, 2008 @ 4:54 pm

  25. #24 and #25, I so much appreciate this kind of analysis and I hope, hope, hope some of the business people involved in this suit are thinking about it.

    An organized shop local campaign — and I don’t mean just some word-of-mouth effort, but something promoted well, with media coverage and a slick ad campaign — could reap a lot of business folks the kind of sales they need to cover the parcel tax for four years. (I bet given the price of gas right now, a lot of people want to shop locally!)

    And taking this approach — rather than filing the lawsuit — would save this community a long, bitter, and ugly fight that in the long run and the widest perspective can’t have a good outcome.

    Part of the reason Measure H supporters are so angry about this is that they poured time, energy, and sheer heart into this campaign this spring. It was a heroic effort to help the district offset historic cuts in state revenue. Those same volunteers cannot believe H can so easily be torn down.

    Why not choose a course of action that will benefit everyone — yourselves, AUSD, and the community at large? Choose an alternative that will help the kids, not hurt their educations. It will reap you tremendous amounts of good will.

    Comment by Wants a Better Solution — August 25, 2008 @ 5:59 pm

  26. #25

    How about anyone who owns a Mercedes or BMW has to pay double the parcel tax? That’s only additional $10 bucks a month and those people can afford it — besides, what are they doing buying foreign cars and putting Americans out of work? The same with those people who eat at Pappos. Follow them home and make them pay triple the parcel tax! I bet they spend at least $120 on dinner for two. Those rich greedy people are stealing from our children. Let them eat a hamburger at home instead of going to Pappos. Hell, quadruple the tax for those self-absorbed people. If they protest, follow them home and picket their house. Let’s make examples of them!

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — August 25, 2008 @ 6:01 pm

  27. ANT – Did you forget your meds? Or can you explain what you mean by post #28?

    #27 – While we are trying to raise $ for our schools, and now raise $ for local businesses, who is going to put up the $ for your suggested “slick ad campaign”, AEF?

    I ask myself “What happened to the ‘Buy Alameda’ campaign that CC was trying to push two years ago?” I never heard anything about it after it was approved.

    Do you know an agent that can recommend a consulting company that can work with the city and an advertising agency to design a campaign that we can then fundraise to try to promote the idea of putting a tax on the ballot to glorify a promotion for increasing retail shopping in Alameda so the commercial property owners can rationalize raising their rents so they will feel no pain when paying a parcel tax to benefit their patronage?

    In the end, I think a lot of people will tell you that they just don’t have it to spend like they used to.

    Comment by Inner Twisted Circle — August 25, 2008 @ 6:34 pm

  28. #27
    If the tax is legal, it will be upheld. People have a right to challenge what they believe to be illegal legislation. Are you saying that you do not care if the measure is legal or not because it accomplishes some greater good and those who believe in the measure worked long and hard to get it passed?

    It is true that some court decisions that overturn legislation may not be popular.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — August 25, 2008 @ 6:37 pm

  29. #29
    Capsule summary:
    No one has the right to say that the owners of Pillow Park can pay more because the cost to them is inconsequential. If you follow that logic, then anyone who dines out in Alameda also can afford to pay more. We don’t all get to vote on how much the owners of Pillow Park and their employees can earn.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — August 25, 2008 @ 6:43 pm

  30. Whoa, ANT. You and the libertarians may not like it, but yes we the people acting through our government do have the right to tax people who we think can afford to pay it.

    Governments do have the right to tax people, don’t they? You aren’t part of the Wesley Snipes defense team or something, are you? When more than 2/3 of the voters approve a tax, then that’s what should happen.

    Comment by Reading is Fundamental — August 25, 2008 @ 8:41 pm

  31. 2/3 of the voters is over stating it, less 1/4 of the population in mid year election. A true test would have been to have this vote during the presidential election. The Board has never done a parcel tax during the Nov. election for fear of a larger turn-out.

    Comment by John — August 25, 2008 @ 8:51 pm

  32. ANT, the plaintiff in this lawsuit is a Fernsider. Are you now going to change sides?

    Comment by Cesar Chavez — August 25, 2008 @ 9:05 pm

  33. John, look at the numbers again 2/3rd of the voters did support it. As the poster said, reading is fundamental….

    Comment by notadave — August 25, 2008 @ 9:43 pm

  34. #34
    I have found that liberal lynch mobs are just as deadly as conservative ones.

    The measure barely passed, but that isn’t the issue. It could have received 90 percent of the vote, but that would not affect its legality. This is simply about due process.

    I do not know if the tax is legal. There has obviously been a lot of use of parcel taxes lately with even more on the November ballot. Possibly, just possibly, the creators of Measure H where more concerned about getting to 66.67 than whether the measure would pass legal muster. The trend in parcel taxes is that they are becoming less uniform — probably in order to meet the political reality of passage. The question is whether this is legal or not. Even if 99 percent of Alamedans voted for the tax, that doesn’t mean that the tax will stand.

    As I said when people were jumping to conclusions about the death of Troy Lancaster, let the process work. The matter needs to see its day in court.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — August 25, 2008 @ 9:48 pm

  35. Not a dave you need to be more specific that 2/3 of voters on that given day. 2/3 voters to mw is of registered voters.

    Comment by John — August 26, 2008 @ 6:27 am

  36. No I don’t. She said 2/3 of the voters and that’s what it was. If you don’t vote, you don’t count.

    Comment by notadave — August 26, 2008 @ 7:31 am

  37. To put that 2/3 in perspective, no president has won that much of the popular vote since James Madison. It is really solid majority, a mandate even.

    Comment by dave — August 26, 2008 @ 7:45 am

  38. correction: Jmaes Monroe

    Comment by dave — August 26, 2008 @ 7:56 am

  39. Dave,

    As I recall it was pointed out that this Measure was rushed onto the June ballot not just for ‘emergency’ money, though that was also a big factor because more people are likely to vote in November. (Is there any chance the BOE will put corrective measures on the Nov ballot.). The “2/3” majority of the June ballot only equals about 15% of Alameda’s population, and many of them (more than enough to make/break the tax) were encouraged, even driven, or had a polling locations right at their home, even though they were going to ‘opt out’, and not have to pay the tax.

    All that is “legal” according to the law, but does that make it ‘right’ or ‘fair’?
    Somehow it does not feel ‘right’ to me, even though I feel like “we” won and our schools need the money. It doesn’t make it ‘right’, and because it feels like cheating, it is not the kind of example I want to set for my kids – and it sucks that so many ARE taxed disproportionately. Even I would have had to vote against the tax if I was being taxed at $0.15/sf for our parcel because we would have to pay over 18x the $120 residential rate and I just can’t afford that.

    Thankfully far few seniors have ‘opted’ out on Measure H, just as in the last parcel tax fewer seniors opted out. In the first Measure “A” more seniors DID opt out, but I think most of Alameda’s seniors who own parcels do realize what is best for Alameda, (and their property value) and fewer have decided not to refuse the tax.

    Personally I wish this issue to cleaned up on the November ballot, and I think it would pass, especially if the option was to keep it as is, which could allow the lawsuit to proceed. Then in 2010/2011 we could point at the huge numbers of school tax supporters who voted for this tax in ’08 (and include the ‘yes voters of both ’08 polling days) and use this as the precedent to make the tax permanent, or until Alameda is at or above state average in state funding. Remember the tax can always be repealed with a simple majority vote, despite needing a supermajority to enact a parcel tax.

    After talking with neighbors it seems the preferred plan for settling this Measure H lawsuit would be for the BOE, KASE, AEF, and PSBA, GABA, WABA, to negotiate a settlement, out of court. Neither party can afford a prolonged legal battle. The greatest good would be for the complainants to agree to pay the tax THIS TIME, coupled with the agreement that no new tax parcel gets designed for the BOE without involving the business community. (And I would add, ‘the public at large’.)

    It is my understanding the because of the lawsuit, this tax will NOT be on the property tax bills which should be mailed very soon. (Before Sept 15th?)
    If that is true, the BOE may have to act on the budget cuts they declared would happen on March 4th. I think it is likely that the state will approve tax cuts for education, but it will be in the 4-5% range, not the threatened 10%.

    I am certain that even if we do not lose our high school athletic programs, the complainants, if they do not quickly withdraw this suit, will lose much much more of what they think they will gain by following thru with this legal action.

    Not only will they lose the respect of the community, there will be picketers outside of not just THEIR businesses, but also in front of every store they own. It may hurt some “innocent” business owners, but those properties will lose value as retail rentals. Obviously only about 15% of the population voted for the tax, but most of those were committed to wanting to protect our schools, and by the activism involved in promoting the tax in such a short amount of time, this is a powerfully active part of our community.
    With pent up frustrations, everyone can enjoy a good public demonstration.

    Imagine how little Pauline pays in property tax with her Prop 13 protection!

    Imagine the lunacy of the George’s of Pillow Park Plaza, who recently added a line of children’s furniture to their store, but now deliberately takes action to damage the quality of the education we can provide for our children! Frank George and his wife, who is the president of PSBA have taken a grievous step and are on the brink of hurtling off an edge from which there will be no way to redeem their reputation or business. Already people, even without kids in AUSD, have cancelled thousands of dollars of furniture orders.

    I once thought that PSBA represented Alameda Businesses, but perhaps the organization really just represents Park Street Property Owners (PSPO). It is shameful that to have a business license in that jurisdiction, the City charges an extra fee to businesses and turns it over to PSBA to benefit the property owners who in turn may hurt the actual businesses again. Because of the local rage there will be innocent victims, just like our students, only these will have Park Street leases instead of standardized tests..

    I also heard the Pauline’s also recently received a City grant – more money from the tax payers she is willing to hurt by ruining the reputation of our schools, which not only hurts our kids, but also de-values our property as our school systems reputation sinks, and which also will make it harder to get the best CFO’s and Supers to want to apply for a position with AUSD.

    I missed the BOE meeting tonight, but I bet they will be extending the ‘Super Search’ to try to put this mess behind us.

    Comment by David Kirwin — August 26, 2008 @ 8:52 pm

  40. The acronym is POPS (Property Owners of Park Street). No kidding.

    Comment by AD — August 26, 2008 @ 10:37 pm

  41. The only one that can “settle” this case is Borikas, since he is the Plaintiff.

    Comment by R. Cobre — August 27, 2008 @ 8:23 am

  42. Anyone who choses not to vote, has explicitly given up any rights and voice in the decision making, and have (again explicitly) turned that decision making over to those that voted. Therefore it is perfectly acceptable and appropriate to assume that the 2/3rds that voted for the tax not only represents 2/3rd of the actual voters, but 2/3rds of all people eligible to vote (registered or not), and that is an overwhelming mandate.

    Comment by notadave — August 27, 2008 @ 9:02 am

  43. I believe it’s too late to get any new measure on the November ballot.

    Comment by Page — August 27, 2008 @ 10:08 am

  44. “Anyone who choses not to vote, has explicitly given up any rights and voice in the decision making, and have (again explicitly) turned that decision making over to those that voted.”

    Can you please provide a cite for this pretend rule that you are pulling out of your butt? No??? I didn’t think so 🙂

    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — August 27, 2008 @ 10:11 am

  45. I don’t need to. It’s not a pretend rule, it is a natural fact- try to explain how someone who refuses to vote has a voice in the decision.

    Comment by notadave — August 27, 2008 @ 10:37 am

  46. #41, David, on what basis do you make the claim that many of the voters “(more than enough to make/break the tax) were encouraged, even driven, or had a polling locations right at their home, even though they were going to ‘opt out’, and not have to pay”?

    Also, just to remind you, encouraging people to vote is “fair.” Giving voters rides to the polls is also “fair”. Both in fact are standard practice in elections.

    Not sure, at all, what you mean by a “polling location right at their homes.” Are you talking about being allowed to vote absentee from home? That’s fair.

    Comment by Wants a Better Solution — August 27, 2008 @ 11:06 am

  47. #8 – I was refering to all the senior centers that are in fact polling places.

    It is not my opinion that it is ‘fair’ to drive (or bus) seniors to vote and then let them opt out. Yes it gets us a vote, but it is not ‘fair’ in my mind. Maybe that goes to the rule of opting out seniors, most of whom are strongly tax sheltered in other ways too, not just Prop 13.

    Comment by David Kirwin — August 27, 2008 @ 3:43 pm

  48. “yes” it would be “much” better to ‘make’ seniors, who often “don’t” drive, or ‘shouldn’t’ drive, to make their “own” way to a ‘polling station’ that is often “too” far to “walk”.

    Comment by notadave — August 27, 2008 @ 4:13 pm

  49. #49 So it should not be a neutral ride to the senior center polling place. The driver of the senior crowded van should first poll the seniors to see what their real motive is and require them sign a fair usage pledge to not opt out of the tax regardless of how they vote? My, my the cruelty, the cruelty!

    How are seniors sheltered by prop 13? If a 65+ buys today in CA, is he sheltered differently than anybody at any age?

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 27, 2008 @ 4:29 pm

  50. Several CA counties allow seniors to move in from another county & carry their P13 welfare tax base with them to their newly purchased home.

    Comment by dave — August 27, 2008 @ 5:19 pm

  51. #49, But David, you know that KASE didn’t set up the polling places, right? That’s done by the county Registrar of Voters (or maybe the state?)

    So it’s not like there was a conspiracy to set those polling stations up at senior centers or anything.

    Comment by Wants a Better Solution — August 27, 2008 @ 5:30 pm

  52. Without joining the polling place and free ride debate … doesn’t anyone have a problem with a system that allows seniors and non-property owners to vote for taxes that apply only to non-senior property owners?

    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — August 27, 2008 @ 5:54 pm

  53. Isn’t it great to vote on taxes that only other people have to pay? Not everyone who owns property in Alameda lives here, so they don’t even get to vote on it. Now, if we can only get the requirement lowered to 50 percent plus one, we can get the other 49.999 percent to pay for everything. Isn’t that what democracy is all about?

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — August 27, 2008 @ 6:19 pm

  54. #55: People who own property in other towns/states never get to vote on the taxes applied to their properties, because they’re not residents.

    That’s not unique to Measure H. It’s the just the nature of being an absent property owner.

    Comment by Wants a Better Solution — August 27, 2008 @ 6:37 pm

  55. #56
    “It’s the just the nature of being an absent property owner.”

    Absent? If I live in Castro Valley and own commercial property in Alameda I’m absent? What exactly makes me absent?

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — August 27, 2008 @ 6:43 pm

  56. You don’t live in Alameda. So you can’t vote there.

    Again, this isn’t unique to Measure H.

    Comment by Wants a Better Solution — August 27, 2008 @ 6:51 pm

  57. #58
    But I can be taxed here. Isn’t that called taxation without representation?

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — August 27, 2008 @ 6:58 pm

  58. Could be, yes!

    But again, it’s not a Measure H issue.

    Something to bring up with a Higher Tax Authority, perhaps.

    Comment by Wants a Better Solution — August 27, 2008 @ 7:03 pm

  59. I absolutely agree that everyone who owns property should have voting rights. That way the Saudi Arabian royal family and a bunch of Japanese conglomerates will be able to vote wherever they own property and influence our tax policy. I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to support any tax that would improve the quality of the average American’s life.

    Comment by June Cleaver — August 27, 2008 @ 7:15 pm

  60. June, you should stop pretending to know anything and go back to ironing shirts and spanking the Beaver. How many properties do you think that the Saudi Arabian royal family and a bunch of Japanese conglomerates own in Alameda?

    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — August 27, 2008 @ 8:01 pm

  61. I would like to put forward the “Gold Coast Tax.” All lots of over 5000 square feet will have a parcel tax of $100,000 a year. All parcels under 5000 square feet will pay $1 a year. The tax would be uniformly applied. Since few lots in Alameda are over 5000 square feet, it should be easy to pass. Let’s squeeze every cent we can out of the rich bastards.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — August 27, 2008 @ 8:06 pm

  62. #62 — Perhaps June forgot to add “in New York” or “in Los Angeles.”

    The point remains the same: Taxing people who own property in towns where they don’t reside is not unique to Measure H (or Alameda).

    Comment by Wants a Better Solution — August 27, 2008 @ 8:21 pm

  63. It’s clear that Wants a Better Solution understood my point exactly and that Jeff did not. Perhaps my analogy was too complex for Jeff.

    And Jeff, although you may have made it a practice to spank your children, that’s not how we do it in the Cleaver household. So now that I’ve finished ironing the family’s shirts, it’s time for me to do some work on my PhD dissertation. Times have changed since our TV show aired.

    Comment by June Cleaver — August 27, 2008 @ 8:44 pm

  64. Wally and the Beaver appear in court.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — August 27, 2008 @ 9:01 pm

  65. “Times have changed since our TV show aired.”

    It sure has! Now days, if you are not a gender neutral socialists hell bent on the redistribution of wealth and preaching the positive aspects of homosexuality … well then you are just a freak 🙂

    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — August 27, 2008 @ 11:31 pm

  66. Interesting points on both sides, despite some immature baiting by thomason. If we were to just allow property owners to vote on property taxes then you would have a situation of people outside the community voting for their own interests and not the community interest (and don’t under-estimate the amount of foreign investment in local real estate, particularly in parts of Bay Farm). To take that to the logical extreme, shouldn’t we really let the banks and mortgage companies vote on the taxes since they are the ones that really own the property?

    As for renters, isn’t it likely their rents will go up as a result of the tax, so wouldn’t they still be paying for it, and thus shouldn’t they have a voice in the matter?

    Comment by notadave — August 28, 2008 @ 8:29 am

  67. [sarcasm] “That way the Saudi Arabian royal family and a bunch of Japanese conglomerates will be able to vote wherever they own property and influence our tax policy.” [/sarcasm]

    I am appalled at how racist this community is becoming …

    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — August 28, 2008 @ 8:40 am

  68. Now, now, Jeff. I’ve always taught Wally and the Beaver to just suck it up and admit when they’re wrong instead of resorting to name calling. Although times have changed since our TV show aired, that principle is timeless.

    Comment by June Cleaver — August 28, 2008 @ 9:32 am

  69. People have been talking about a minimum $120 per commercial parcel up to 2,000 square feet, but the letter from the district refers to it as a maximum. Can someone clarify whether it’s a maximum or minimum?

    If it’s a minimum, then all property up to 2,000 square feet is taxed at $120 regardless of size. People with properties less than 800 square feet would be paying a higher per foot rate. If it’s a maximum, then all owners pay 15 cents per square foot up to 800 square feet. From 800 to 2,000 square feet the tax would still be $120, which means someone with a 2,000 foot commercial lot would be effectively paying 6 cents per square foot. At 2,001 square feet it goes back to 15 cents or $300. That’s 2.5 times $120 for an additional square foot.

    Even discounting the different treatment of residential and multi-residential property, this doesn’t sound very uniform to me. Could someone explain this to me?

    Comment by Allan Mann — September 1, 2008 @ 3:42 pm

  70. #2 ~ less then 2 dozen, make the cut for 2000 sq. ft

    Comment by st — September 3, 2008 @ 10:19 pm

  71. #72 – Source?

    Comment by 2nd st — September 3, 2008 @ 10:57 pm

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