Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 9, 2009

Uniformity redux

Filed under: Alameda, Development, School — Tags: , — Lauren Do @ 6:46 am

As mentioned yesterday on In Alameda, the judge in the Beery case (RG08405984) has made a tentative ruling on the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment. (full text below)   The tentative ruling basically says that there is a there there and while Beery’s lawyers tried to use a very similiar argument to that of Borikas’ (VG08405316) just as he did not buy it then, he doesn’t buy it for this one either. 

There were two main arguments that the Judge Burr addressed at the core of the motion for summary judgment.   The first was that of uniformity.   Much like what happened when Borikas tried that course of action, the Judge said, nope, not going to happen:

…The Court previously ruled on essentially the same “uniformity” issue in denying the motion for summary judgment brought by the Borikas plaintiffs. The Court adopts its holding in its prior ruling that the parcel tax imposed by Measure H is uniformly imposed. The Court is not persuaded to change its prior ruling by the new arguments and evidence submitted by Plaintiffs. The argument concerning legislative history was made in support of the prior motion. The new evidence submitted elaborates on that prior argument. In general, the evidence offered shows that some non-legislators thought that the statute might be interpreted in the manner sought by Plaintiffs in this action…

He did say that the stuff thrown in about the equal protection clause was “interesting” but not “persuasive.”

The second argument that was not offered by Borikas’s attorney, but that Beery’s lawyer attempted to argue is the contention that Measure H was, in fact, a “general tax” as opposed to a “special tax.”   The purpose of arguing that it was a “general tax” rather than a “special tax” is the Schools Districts are unable to impose general taxes.   Beery’s reasoning for describing the tax as a “general” as opposed to a “special” tax is that he claims that the uses for the money are so broad that it is more appropriately defined as “general.”   The Judge disagreed citing case law which sets forth that:

…All that is required for a special tax is that its proceeds are earmarked or dedicated in some manner to a specific project or projects…

At 9:30 a.m. today, the judge will decide whether to affirm the tentative ruling.  If everything goes the same way as the Borikas case then this will be a fair hurdle passed by AUSD.  All in all, positive news for the school district.

In other In Alameda news and lawsuit breaks, John Knox White is reporting that the Beltline dispute is almost over, the railroad companies having decided that their money is best spent elsewhere rather than defending the indefensible.


This Tentative Ruling is issued by Judge Kenneth Mark Burr The motion for summary judgment or, in the alternative, for summary adjudication, by Plaintiffs John C. Beery, Alameda Gateway, Ltd., and Mariner Square & Associates (“Plaintiffs”) on their complaint against Defendant Alameda Unified School District (“District”) is DENIED. The motion for summary adjudication of the First and Second Causes of Action is DENIED.

Plaintiffs contend that the parcel tax imposed on property owners in the City of Alameda by special tax Measure H must be invalidated because the tax it imposes is not uniformly applied, in violation of Government Code section 50079. Plaintiffs also contend that Measure H violates Government Code section 50079(b)(2), which only allows a district to impose “qualified special taxes” that do not include special taxes imposed “on a particular class of property or taxpayers.” Plaintiffs acknowledge that the claims under their First and Second Causes of Action are interrelated, since both causes of action are based on the premise that the parcel tax under Measure H is not being applied “uniformly to all property within the school district.”

The Court previously ruled on essentially the same “uniformity” issue in denying the motion for summary judgment brought by the Borikas plaintiffs. The Court adopts its holding in its prior ruling that the parcel tax imposed by Measure H is uniformly imposed. The Court is not persuaded to change its prior ruling by the new arguments and evidence submitted by Plaintiffs. The argument concerning legislative history was made in support of the prior motion. The new evidence submitted elaborates on that prior argument. In general, the evidence offered shows that some non-legislators thought that the statute might be interpreted in the manner sought by Plaintiffs in this action. Much of the evidence concerns attempts to add a provision to section 50079 allowing an exemption for seniors, which ultimately resulted in the language in section 50079(b)(1) allowing school districts to include an exemption for taxpayers 65 years and older and those receiving Supplemental Security Income. That provision allowing an exemption is not an issue in this motion. Plaintiffs have also added an argument claiming a distinction between the requirement of “strict uniformity” applicable to property taxes, and a looser requirement of uniformity in the operation of law that is analogous to the federal right of equal protection. This argument, although interesting, is not persuasive. The cases cited do not hold that there is a recognized distinction between the meaning of uniformity when used in a provision allowing special taxes, and the meaning of the same term as used in all other areas of the law. It is even less apparent that the Legislature would have or should have been aware of this distinction when it drafted Government Code section 50079. Finally, it also is not clear from the cases cited or Plaintiffs’ brief what is meant by the term “strict uniformity.” Plaintiffs do not explain whether strict uniformity means that every parcel, no matter how large, pays the same yearly assessment, or whether it means that taxes must be assessed based on the square footage of each parcel, without regard to its current use. The motion for summary adjudication of the Third Cause of Action is DENIED.

Plaintiffs assert that Measure H is not a special tax, but instead a general tax. A “general tax” is defined to mean any tax imposed for general governmental purposes; a “special tax” is defined as any tax imposed for specific purposes, which is placed into the general fund. Article XII C, Section 1, of the California Constitution. Plaintiffs contend that Measure H should be invalidated because under Article XIII A, Section 4, and Article XIII C, Section 2(a), school districts are only authorized to enact special taxes, and are prohibited from enacting general taxes. Plaintiffs argue that the enumerated purposes for the parcel tax imposed by Measure H are so broad that there is no effective limitation on the uses to which the revenue can be used. The Court does not agree that the “purposes” of the tax as set out in the resolution of the Alameda Unified School District in which the parcel tax was adopted provide no effective limitation on the uses to which the revenues can be used. All that is required for a special tax is that its proceeds are earmarked or dedicated in some manner to a specific project or projects. Neecke v. City of Mill Valley (1995) 39 Cal.App.4th 946, 956. The specification of purposes in Measure H all relate to improvements to education within the Alameda Unified School District, is proper under the holding in N.L. Nielson v. City of California City (2005) 133 Cal.App.3d 1296, 1310-1312. Finally, District is a “special purpose” district, so every tax levied by District is deemed a special tax. Rider v. County of San Diego (1991) 1 Cal.4th 1, 13-15.

Plaintiffs’ request for judicial notice of Exhibits A-E and G is GRANTED. Plaintiffs’ request for judicial notice of Exhibit F is DENIED. Lack of relevance. District’s request for judicial notice is GRANTED.


  1. Judge Burr affirmed his decision this morning.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — July 9, 2009 @ 12:13 pm

  2. Excellent … force more taxes upon those of us already paying 90% of the taxes and force gay indoctrination classes upon our children. Viva la revolucion …

    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — July 9, 2009 @ 9:50 pm

  3. Right on Jeff. But the worm has turned. Check this out from the Kaus Files. We have a lot of parcel taxes coming due in the coming two years. Payback is delicious.

    Everybody Hates The Teachers’ Unions Now

    When Father Hesburgh throws down … How can we know when the tide of respectable opinion has decisively turned against the teachers’ unions? When a panel that includes Father Hesburgh, Birch Bayh. Bill Bradley, Eleanor Holmes Norton and Roger Wilkins goes medieval on them, saying their resistance to reforms designed to hold schools accountable has hurt “disadvantaged students” and led to “calcified systems in which talented people are deterred from applying or staying as teachers …”
    Here are two undiplomatic grafs from the report’s final page:
    The unions have battled against the principle that schools and education agencies should be held accountable for the academic progress of their students. They have sought to water down the standards adopted by states to reflect what students should know and be able to do. They have attacked assessments designed to measure the progress of schools, seeking to localize decisions about test content so that the performance of students in one school or community cannot be compared with others. They have resisted innovative ways-such as growth models-to assess student performance.
    In their attack on education reform, the national unions have often been unconstrained by considerations of propriety and fairness. They have sought to inject weakening amendments in appropriations bills, hoping that they would prevail if no hearings were held and the public was unaware of their efforts. They have used the courts to launch an attack on education reform, employing arguments that could imperil many federal assistance programs going back to the New Deal. They have failed to inform their own members of the content of federal reform laws.
    The report follows up a much heralded establishment call for reform in 1996 that was endorsed by two union presidents. But it notes that in the twelve years since, “few of the necessary reforms” have been put in place. (“Twelve years–the entire length of a child’s education–is a long time.”) In other words, it implicitly serves as an argument against trying to reform the schools in cooperation with the unions, and in favor of trying to reform the schools by defeating the unions. …

    Comment by Joseph Coolidge — July 10, 2009 @ 12:31 pm

  4. In this case I hardly think the tax was “forced” on anyone, since it was voted by the public, and if I recall it had to meet the 2/3 threshold to pass, which is pretty difficult. We call this “democracy”. It is part of our national social contract that we present issues to the electorate and we all comply with the wishes of the majority voting – in this case a super-majority.

    The case being argued is not, as I understand it, should we or should we not tax ourselves to support our schools, but rather, was this tax proposal strictly in keeping with the requirements of the way in which it was to be assessed.

    Comment by Kate Quick — July 10, 2009 @ 2:25 pm

  5. Certainly this ‘H’ tax was not understood by voters, nor did it get a chance to be understood or discussed by ‘stakeholders’.

    I would have hoped and expected both AUSD BOE and the LWV would require or have supported more public discussion as it was put together and we could have avoided the mess it has caused. The way it was assembled and presented leaves a bad taste, especially considering those businesses it seriously hurts, the divisiveness created between our businesses vs school community.

    I also question the creation of the new fund-raising organization that pushed MH – it was a new organization with a different tax status, not a 501 C(3) which already existed for the previous school tax ballots, which could have been utilized. The new entity, KASE, apparently has a tax status which does not require showing how funds are spent the way other tax deductible orgs do. It seems strange to start a new organization which permits lack of accountability.

    Comment by Double take — July 10, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

  6. 5. So the voters are fools? Remember, the stakeholders (businesses, schools) cannot vote in any capacity other than through their members as individual citizens. They can persuade and if they did that badly, whose fault is it? As Kate Quick says, this is a democracy.

    (BTW, is that you, DK? The writing style seems oddly familiar: “hoped and expected,” “would require or have supported,” “permits lack of accountability.”)

    And, 3, is the solution to any inflexibility on the part of teachers’ unions to starve the schools? You may have a point about certain union rules regarding getting rid of bad teachers, but the awful way we fund schools is a different issue. I don’t think anyone is suggesting teachers are overpaid.

    Comment by BC — July 10, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

  7. #5 Gee, I understood it – I read it and studied it and the LWV posted pros and cons on the web, and presented pros and cons at forums and answered questions – all completely neutral as we always do, and the voters who contacted us or showed up at our forums did not seem to be “confused”. They asked good questions as I recall and some said they would look into further before casting their vote, which always gladdens the hearts of those of us who try to educate the electorate.

    I do not think, since 2/3 of the electorate voted for it, that there was “confusion”. If the vote had been 49-51% that argument might be made, but I really, really do not believe that you can get a 2/3 vote for anything in this state unless a super majority of the voters support it. Look at the last election where the voters rejected all those State propositions – for various reasons, but from what we heard many were confused and upset over the overcomplication of the proposals.
    If the Measure H vote had gone the way you thought it should have gone, I’ll bet you would say it was because the electorate is anti-tax, not confused. 2/3 of the voters said yes. Again, the argument before the court was about how it was written, not about whether the taxpayers should or should not be asked to support their schools by a parcel, or other tax.

    Comment by Kate Quick — July 10, 2009 @ 7:04 pm

  8. Kate – Had I understood the unfairness of MH to some of the businesses in Alameda, I would not have supported it.

    Fool me once, – done; it won’t happen again.

    Comment by Double take — July 10, 2009 @ 8:14 pm

  9. #5 and #8,

    News and explanations of Measure H were in ample supply throughout the spring of 2008: on the KASE website; in news articles and letters in the local papers; in your ballot materials; and, yes, in meetings with “stakeholders.”

    If you were “fooled,” perhaps it’s because you weren’t paying attention, not because H supporters were hiding anything.

    2/3rds of the voters approved this parcel tax. The judge has denied summary judgment in both case. At what point will the opposition realize their critique is unsound?

    Comment by H Supporter — July 11, 2009 @ 7:34 am

  10. #8, “Had I understood the unfairness of MH to some of the businesses in Alameda…”

    One more point: What’s really “unfair” here is the way Alamedans for Fair Taxation seduced local businesses into thinking they had a legal leg to stand on — so now these folks are both paying the parcel tax and footing what must be a hefty legal bill.

    If I was one of these local business people I’d be kicking myself right now for not having spent my money more productively — like on marketing myself better to AUSD parents (“hey, we’re supporting the schools by paying the tax…but we need your support to do so!”); expanding my product line; or upgrading my operations so as to run more efficiently.

    Comment by H Supporter — July 11, 2009 @ 10:19 am

  11. MH was written in a way that now has some property owners paying over $100k/year in this MH tax – That is fair? Apparently some are required to pay over $200,000./year. Yeah – over $200,000/year!

    – Do you think that was understood by over 2/3 of the voters before the ballot? I don’t think so. Although I supported MH, I now know it is more flawed than I imagined. It is unfair and unequally damaging to some businesses. I now understand the outrage.

    Would you be willing to sell your property to support this tax? What if the measure was politically motivated to target certain property owners? If the unfairness was an accidental by-product, or unforeseen consequence, does that make it fair?

    BTW the plaintiffs DO have a solid set of legal legs they are standing on. The judge ruled against ‘summary judgments’ just as he ruled against AUSD motions earlier.

    The KASE aristocracy ain’t as smart as they think, and their ‘self-will’ may leave AUSD more damaged, just as the BOE’s affirmation of the “Cahill plan” without balancing viewpoints has trashed public trust.

    Do you see a common denominator in these community-damaging actions?

    Comment by Double take — July 11, 2009 @ 11:26 am

  12. #11…Hmmm, let’s see. Given that there’s a cap on commercial parcels of $9500.00, anyone paying $200,000 owns 21 parcels of commercial real estate in the Bay Area, all of which have long been sheltered from any reasonable taxation under Proposition 13.

    Also, it’s funny how these stories about business owners’ tax bills keep climbing. Last fall, the story was that some people had to pay $20K. This spring, I heard $50K. Now you’re saying $100K in one sentence and then in the next breath doubling it. Just like that!

    Exaggeration is a good rhetorical technique — except when it’s so transparent.

    Comment by H Supporter — July 11, 2009 @ 11:46 am

  13. 12. well said. as for teachers union being the root of all evil, get rid of it and see how little of the basic problems of quality education and funding are magically resolved. I grow impatient with knee jerk idealogues waving around supposed magic bullet solutions which are instead huge distractions from the basic problems, which is that there is no free lunch, period. Do we value good education or don’t we? What is a reasonable definition?

    Rather than go off on some goose chase involving statements by people like Eleanor Holmes Norton etc. in far off places, I’d prefer to keep our noses to the grind stone, our eyes on the prize and close ranks around our very excellent new superintendent’s effort to bring us together to roll up our shirt sleeves and get real about what we can and cannot due with our current situation.

    Comment by M.I. — July 11, 2009 @ 1:35 pm

  14. What’s the hub bub??? 10% of us already pay 90% of the taxes. Why not propose another measure asking renters if they want property owners to pay more taxes? Everyone loves a free lunch. Viva la revolucion 🙂

    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — July 11, 2009 @ 7:33 pm

  15. Jeff, which are you?

    Comment by M.I. — July 12, 2009 @ 3:32 pm

  16. I KNOW, I KNOW.

    Comment by John Piziali — July 12, 2009 @ 7:17 pm

  17. M.I. … I’m the guy tired of paying for everyone else’s holes. When is this city going to quit sticking its sticky fingers in my pockets???

    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — July 13, 2009 @ 10:40 am

  18. #12 H Supporter – If you had been listening to the statements at the recent BOE meeting by those with this whopping tax bills you’d know some are being taxed over what I stated. I believe the figure by one speaker was $230,000. If you drive over to the west side in the Marina district you will also see that Legacy partners has what appears to be a 50% vacancy in all their properties, so they can’t just pass the costs on to someone else?

    You still consider this fair?

    Comment by Double take — July 13, 2009 @ 12:52 pm

  19. #18 I think anyone who owes $230,000 for this tax owns 24 parcels of valuable Bay Area commercial real estate and is probably not hurting.

    (Real estate experts chime in please: what could that much be worth?)

    Meanwhile, there are thousands of low- and middle-income families in AUSD who have no options for educating their kids other than the public schools. Those kids will only get the education that we, as a community, are able to provide them.

    Who should we protect?

    Comment by H Supporter — July 13, 2009 @ 1:39 pm

  20. With all the great titles that Lauren cooks up, you would think that she would have worked, “Preparation H” into this topic.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — July 13, 2009 @ 1:47 pm

  21. ANT: JKW beat me to the punch on that title last year.

    Comment by Lauren Do — July 13, 2009 @ 1:52 pm

  22. #19 –that’s easy – we should protect all of Alameda! You are trying to push equity, equal edu opportunity, yadda, yadda. Same needs apply for taxation measures. Just as we can’t ballot unequal tax increases for those living in certain blocks, we can’t unfairly tax owners whose businesses required numerous, smaller parcels, even if it was by decree of PB or CC.

    A more equal form of taxation would not allow huge tax imbalances like this:

    Imagine you own two or three dozen 3k sf business parcels, (half of which are vacant due to economic conditions out of anyone’s control). On the other end of the island someone else owns a single business parcel 12 times the combined total of all your little lots for which you are mortgaged past your eyeballs.

    Is it fair that the single parcel owner who owns much more still has a smaller MH tax bill?

    Would a judge call that a “fair tax”? Could you?

    Comment by Double taken — July 13, 2009 @ 7:22 pm

  23. Double taken,

    First, not every business in Alameda opposed Measure H. Many, many businesses recognized that strong schools are good for business and supported Measure H even though they knew that they would be taking a tax hit — in some cases a significant one.

    Second, if you or others feel like you were “fooled” by the supporters of Measure H, I’d like to remind you that there was lots of press coverage that occurred in the days leading up to the vote that explained what the effects would be. For instance, this article ran in the Sun just days before the election.

    Third, the judge is not being asked to determine whether this tax is fair. The fairness of the tax is an issue that was decided by the voters. The voters, by passing the tax by a more than 2/3 majority, decided that it was fair. Instead, the judge is deciding whether the tax is illegal. There are many things about our tax system that are unfair, but that does not mean they are illegal. Take Proposition 13, which has been enormously beneficial to business, as an example of a tax that may be unfair but is not illegal.

    Finally, despite the spin coming from the plaintiffs in these suits, the judge has already rejected the core claims of the plaintiffs. He has decided that the tax does not violate the uniformity requirements and that it is not an illegal general tax. He also determined that the exemptions are legal. Those decisions have almost completely killed the basis of the Plaintiffs’ claims.

    So isn’t it time for the Plaintiffs to stop throwing good money after bad and costing the district thousands in unnecessary legal fees that could be better put to use in the classroom now that it has become clear that the judge is going to ultimately rule against them? Wouldn’t their efforts be better directed to working toward strengthening our community by looking to the future and helping the District figure out a way to keep our district viable? A failed school system will not be good for business.

    Comment by Taking it back — July 13, 2009 @ 8:30 pm

  24. I am supportive of the schools, but there’s one comment I have to make, in the interest of objective truth: if this Measure had spread the tax burden equitably between residential and commercial properties, it would never have passed. People were going off the deep end over $120 a year, which doesn’t sound like such a terrible hit, and apparently that was (just barely) the limit. My guess is that many voters looked at the direct impact on themselves and voted on that basis alone, and obviously, residents greatly outnumber business owners as voters.

    So I would not say that people voted to tax themselves — in fact, they voted to tax someone else. No surprise.

    Comment by DL Morrison — July 13, 2009 @ 8:41 pm

  25. #24 — You may be right that the tax would not have passed if it had been higher on residential properties, but you should also acknowledge that the current tax and school finance systems really leave communities like ours in a bind. The only way for a community to raise local revenues for schools is to pass a parcel tax by a 2/3 majority. All other money comes from the State. If other options were available, there might be alternatives that would be more palatable to everyone.

    Comment by Taking it back — July 13, 2009 @ 9:03 pm

  26. #25: Yes, true. Alameda doesn’t get its fair share from the state, and the money has to come from somewhere. I was kind of surprised by all the opposition to the parcel tax, $120 doesn’t seem that terrible, and I’m always appalled by people who claim that it’s not their responsibility — we all benefit from good public school systems.

    Comment by DL Morrison — July 13, 2009 @ 9:14 pm

  27. #22 I was just about to post the same point about fairness versus legality, but Taking it Back beat me to the punch. (Thank you, TIB.)

    Same goes for the issue of whether I think this tax is fair. There’s lots about taxation that isn’t fair. There’s also lots about public school financing in this state (and on this island) that is shockingly unfair.

    You summarize my argument as being about “equal opportunity education” and then dismiss it as “yadda yadda.” But public schools are legally mandated to give children equal opportunities to learn. That’s not happening under the current system, which is one reason why AUSD is in such a financial jam. (That and a crashing state economy, of course.)

    BTW, though my heart doesn’t bleed much for people who own 24 parcels of commercial real estate in Alameda, I’m well aware that some small business owners are feeling the pinch of this parcel tax. So I go out of my way to support them.

    That’s what community’s all about.

    Comment by H Supporter — July 13, 2009 @ 9:16 pm

  28. #23 People decide all the time to do things that are not “fair”. The ballot is not proof of “fairness”.

    Prop #13 was voted in to stop the “unfairness” of excessive tax burdens upon those who are financially incapable of dealing with the tax structure of CA such as it was.

    It still works that way. Every buyer of anything, homes included, have to be able to know and predict what the costs of the items or services are going to be. Just as we have laws protecting vehicle owners from unscrupulous service mechanics, Prop 13 protects home owners from unscrupulous taxation by the government.

    I think Prop 13 is “fair” even though my neighbors assessed value is a fraction of mine, and I know when his house is ultimately resold it will be revalued, and at that point my house will seem to have a tax advantage. In reality the house is inanimate, it never has a tax advantage or disadvantage; in all these cases the owner always maintains the advantage of knowing what his parcel tax base is, based on what he is willing to buy the house for, plus the parcel tax rate it allowed/required to increase each year under Prop 13 law. (Yes even while house prices are. dropping, those of us benefiting by Prop 13 have our tax rates increase each year).

    Prop H is very different that Prop 13, they are not comparable, their level or frame or reference of “fairness” does not equate I any way.

    Hopefully MH will not be struck down by the court, but the court will judge the level of “fairness” of the tax measure, as prescribed by law. The core of the problem with MH is not that we voted an unfair burden on others, as is always the case for renters, myself included for many years, the core of the problem was the lack of communication during the creation for the Measure. Public discussion, discourse and opinion was non-existent during the creation of MH.

    Some may have suggested it would have been more “fair” if there were no caps on commercial property and instead property was taxed at a much reduced rate per sf, but I guess the owners of South Shore, and other large parcels were protected as “friends of AUSD”, the BOE, or those who wrote the Measure. Certainly the same ‘level of protection’ was not equally provided to all with otherwise obscenely onerous MH tax burdens, which is another example of the unfair application written into MH.

    Isn’t it time the BOE discussed settlement with the plaintiffs and those who by intent or unforeseen consequence, were unfairly burdened with obscenely onerous MH tax burdens? There can’t, or shouldn’t, be too many of them. …And as you pointed out, the 2/3 voters may also vote with their pocketbooks in regard to those who are just whining about paying taxes vs those who seriously were unfairly burdened by the unfair application written into MH. Our bean crunchers should explore the comparison of revenue lost by also capping taxes paid by individuals vs the costs of the legal battle stretching well into next year with an unsure outcome.

    This would at least be one small step for the BOE to take on the path of trying to mend one of the rifts it has created in our community.

    As we discuss the lower ADA portion of State financing that AUSD receives, let’s also remember that AUSD also receives “State Equalization Funds” which not all other Districts receive. It is clearly a ‘spin’ when those speaking on behalf of AUSD quote the one (major) pot of money we get from the state is (5 – 10%?) lower than other districts in Alameda, but not mentioning that there are other pots of money we get because of that and other factors.

    I’m for supporting our schools, but when we speak the truth, we should speak the whole truth, sometimes it helps when other point out other things, such is the beauty of the blog, when we try to use it constructively.

    …and in my book, “yadda, yadda” does not negate that which it follows. In the case of post #22 it is shorthand for “there are a lot of things that affect ‘equity’, and on some levels, there is no such thing as total equity, we also have to appreciate and accept differences too.”

    Differences are a part of life. It’s good to have pie, even if we all can’t have the same piece of pie – Some seem to want to interpret that our democracy and public services should provide every body with the same piece of pie, which is just not

    Comment by Double taken — July 13, 2009 @ 11:55 pm

  29. MoreOn Prop 13…

    Mike McMahon has another survey;

    There may be “acceptable” (people would vote for it in sufficient #’s) ways to modify Prop 13, but changes should first try to avoid home owners, at least those who bought their home as opposed to having inherited it. Perhaps Prop 13 protection should continue to protect commercial property too, maybe a one pt increase per year above present, and for residential property, maybe only a primary home should have Prop 13 protection for the owner; maybe when property is ‘given away’ or inherited, it’s value is should be reset. With the high divorce rates, I would not say that any title change should trigger a revaluation. This would be a good topic…

    Comment by Double taken — July 14, 2009 @ 12:07 am

  30. Kirwin:

    Should your co-workers be taxed at lower rates on their incomes if they were hired before you?

    Comment by dave — July 14, 2009 @ 5:19 am

  31. The shame of all of this is that [the Fed &] the State don’t practice what it preaches by mandate. [Now it is broke, of course… but…] If there is a mandate for public education, then the taxes [not to mention ALL THAT LOTTERY MONEY!!!!]that were supposed to be allocated for education should have been and should still be–no ifs, ands or buts.

    But it has been the case FOREVER that the politicians put up beautiful photos of them with cute children, and then abandon the families with kids to the heap, once they in office. Ain’t nothing new.

    No economist am I, but it look like this to me: The tax base gets ripped off because the state government don’t have the balls to tax properly. I mean, the average person end up paying more than we would need to because of a system that seems like trickle-down taxation. [Could that be inverse Reaganomics?] Feds say “we won’t tax you, but you got to provide, figure it out.” Then pass the responsibilty to the state, which says, “we won’t tax you, but you got to provide, figure it out.” Then they pass it on to the local government to do all the taxing and all the banking and all the providing. Meanwhile, by the time it get down to us, everything costs way more [especially the banking part!!! Them munis cost more than any other type of bond!! Banks been ripping everybody off, coming and going!] than it would have if they hadn’t been bargaining everything back into the dark ages of pennies and nickles—and what pennies and nickles we get is too little to late to be effective and rational help.

    The worst part of it is that business has not paid its fair share. In boom times, when business could fork out [and I mean lobby bucks], the State has bent over and said, we love you cause you run a business in our fair state [and you give us money for our campaigns], we let you do whatever you want [including treat your workers badly!]. That policy has made it so that owners of business property could sit on their empty space during boom econ, and not get hurt too bad.

    Now that there ain’t no boom, we all hurting.

    But I DO think that the business property owners are being asked to pay more than they should. I disagree that average voters looking at the measure would have even thought about looking at what it would mean for business owners… I mean, if you don’t own a business, then why would that part make any sense to you? If you have a mortgage on a condo, you ain’t gonna go and get out your calculator and figure out what your tax would be if you was the owner of Marina Village! Come on!

    Seems to me that the business associations and the chamber of commerce really fell down on the job by not getting involved earlier. Yeah, there was articles, in the paper, but they came SO CLOSE TO THE ELECTION.

    Comment by Jayne Smythe — July 14, 2009 @ 10:34 am

  32. #31 – I agree, Jayne, that the residents weren’t responsible for calculating the Measure H tax burden on local businesses. My own impression was that the businesses themselves didn’t calculate what they would owe until the very last minute. I.e., they didn’t do their homework.

    As for the “rift” created by Measure H, I beg to differ. The tax might have caused some unhappiness and grumbling among some business owners, yes. But the real rift came when the plaintiffs turned around and filed a lawsuit against AUSD. I can’t even begin to guess how much the legal costs of this lawsuit are to the district.

    Comment by H Supporter — July 14, 2009 @ 11:54 am

  33. Just to clarify a statement. When Senator Hancock indicates that school districts like Alameda receive “equalization monies” it DOES NOT create another pot of money for AUSD. When the State has extra money (once during my seven years on the Board) they provide monies in the budget that is used for “equalization”. These “equalization dollars” are distributed among the qualifying school districts by increasing their ongoing per pupil funding. The net effect is to increase per pupil funding of the bottom tier of school districts. Therefore, when you compare per pupil funding for school districts it an apple to apple comparison since Alameda does not have an additional pot of money called equalization funds.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — July 15, 2009 @ 7:43 am

  34. ummm, that totally did not make any sense, Mike.

    Comment by notadave — July 15, 2009 @ 12:38 pm

  35. #34 — I think Mike is just saying that although the idea of equalization funds sounds good (because it sounds like the state provides extra funds to schools receiving low per pupil funding), in reality, those funds don’t come through very often.

    Comment by H Supporter — July 15, 2009 @ 9:56 pm

  36. #33 I was attempting to address Double Taken quote of:

    “As we discuss the lower ADA portion of State financing that AUSD receives, let’s also remember that AUSD also receives “State Equalization Funds” which not all other Districts receive. It is clearly a ’spin’ when those speaking on behalf of AUSD quote the one (major) pot of money we get from the state is (5 – 10%?) lower than other districts in Alameda, but not mentioning that there are other pots of money we get because of that and other factors.”

    The inference in this statement is that equalization monies equates to more money not being accounted for in campaign literature. I diagree.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — July 16, 2009 @ 7:26 am

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