Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 21, 2014

Thrown for a loophole

Filed under: Alameda, Election, School — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

Not Alameda specific but something that comes up every now and then particularly around discussion about City budgets and parcel taxes: Prop 13.   According to a SF Gate article, an Assembly bill to close some of Prop 13’s more questionable loopholes might have a chance of passing.   From the article:

AB2372 by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, would close a loophole that was unintentionally created when the law was written: the definition of what constitutes a change of property ownership that then prompts a new property tax assessment, and higher taxes.

The law says that if a single purchaser buys more than 50 percent of a property, it’s a change of ownership. Some commercial property buyers structure transactions to list multiple individuals or entities and avoid the 50 percent ownership rule and higher taxes.

While it doesn’t make any significant changes for residential ownership it will make a difference for commercial properties who have been able to capitalize on the structuring of different corporation transfers to make it appear that property did not change ownership even when it had.

I think even people who are super supportive of Prop 13 in general can get behind the closing of this particular loophole for commercial properties.

The Field Poll recently release a series of results for some polling around Prop 13, here are so results from their press release:

About half of voters (49%) say they generally support the idea of changing parts of Prop. 13, while 34% are opposed and 17% are undecided.


There is strong bipartisan support for changing one aspect of Prop. 13. This relates to the fact that, because of the complexities in the way businesses and commercial properties are sold, their properties are not always reassessed when ownership is transferred. By a 69% to 17% margin, voters endorse changing this so that the property taxes of businesses and commercial properties are always reset and based on their current assessed value whenever they are sold or transferred.

And, for those wondering about changing the 2/3rd requirement for parcel taxes:

Only a minority of voters (39%) supports the idea of reducing Prop. 13’s two-thirds majority
vote requirement to increase local taxes to a 55% majority.



  1. Great book I’m reading now, “The Fine Print” by David Cay Johnston, shows how corporations and their lobbiests make a meal of taxpayers and consumers with those little loopholes. We need to bring more of these to light. This bill has my support for sure.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — May 21, 2014 @ 7:23 am

  2. Thank you, Tom Ammiano! It’s time to rebalance the taxation scales in California and take the property tax load off of homeowners’ backs…

    Comment by Jon Spangler — May 21, 2014 @ 7:58 am

  3. I had to laugh when the rental property owner with 4 units , parking is assessed at the same rate as we do , 4 units income vs 1 residential same taxes , and same school taxes , something is not right in the picture , just do a casual survey of all these multi housing complex , they are all assessed on the same base .
    Should one really be interested in rent control , they would simply assess the property to current value every times a tenant move out .
    We would all win .
    Tracking it is actually very simple , $1 dollar tax the renter must pay directly to the City / County , this will automatically generate the new value , bet you they wont be throwing out their tenants in the street any time soon and it will contribute to affordable housing

    Comment by Joel Rambaud — May 21, 2014 @ 10:02 am

  4. Can California go any lower than 50th in US business policy ranking?

    Looks like we’re going to give it a try. We may need a whole new category.

    Comment by lavage10 — May 21, 2014 @ 12:13 pm

  5. #4 Do you mean the Small Business policy ranking that is published by Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO- a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican party? Pretty much against everything like living wages, safe working conditions, unemployment insurance, health care, anything that even resembles regulations, all taxes no matter what ? Or is there another ranking that you are referencing?

    Comment by librarycat — May 21, 2014 @ 1:00 pm

  6. Oh yeah – evil republicans. The recent CEO Magazine state
    rankings places CA smack at the bottom. Second year in row too. Nobody but nobody thinks CA is a good place to start or keep a business.

    By your reckoning, where does CA rank? What says Mother Jones?

    Comment by lavage10 — May 21, 2014 @ 1:35 pm

  7. @ 3…..the City of Oakland requires all rental owners, big and small, get business permits base on gross rents received. Alameda should do the same if none exist.

    Comment by flow — May 21, 2014 @ 1:47 pm

  8. Did not say that republicans were evil – only everyone needs to be aware of who is behind the “non-partisan” rankings when they publish them. It is very important to know who is financing the information that everyone is using to make decisions and what is their agenda. Otherwise we are just the sheeple that they want us to be. If you had stated that this information was from the Small Business council and that they were heavily invested in republican issues – then it would have been a totally honest post and there would have been no issue on it. It works for all information- whether it comes from Drudge report or Fox or Msnbc or whatever website you wish to cull info from.
    California is also the most hated state overall but yet- we generate more money than most countries and more taxes to support all the deadbeat states- if all these people and companies hate us so much- sure do wish they would stop driving all the rents everywhere.

    Just a point of view- you are welcome to another.

    Comment by librarycat — May 21, 2014 @ 2:00 pm

  9. Must be why California has nearly 700,000 companies and the next closest state is New York has around 450,000. Clearly none of those 700,000 companies think that California is a good place to keep a business. Not a one.

    Comment by Lauren Do — May 21, 2014 @ 2:01 pm

  10. Better make the 699,999. Toyota is out the door. BTW – where do you think NY ranks?

    Anyone who doesn’t understand CA is in deep shit is just not paying attention. I know it doesn’t mean anything to most people who comment here but in the real world, quality of peoples’ lives begins and ends with economics.

    Comment by lavage10 — May 21, 2014 @ 2:25 pm

  11. #10 – – if that is what deep s*#t look like, then what is success? That’s not to say that we don’t have major long term issues to deal with, but we’re not falling into the sea just yet.

    Comment by david burton — May 21, 2014 @ 4:51 pm

    “The move, creating a new North American headquarters, would put management of Toyota’s U.S. business close to where it builds most cars for this market.”
    There are a lot of factors involved in staying competitive. Aside from taxes there are wages and health and safety standards. Should we race to the bottom just to retain businesses? That pandering Republican Rick Perry knows no bottom limit when it comes to deregulation, “Come on down!” But which 3 federal departments would he close again? ah…duh…
    In construction industry in Texas the number of contractors who hire illegally is so dominant that legitimate contractors can hardly stay afloat. The loss of federal taxes to this practice is in the BILLIONS.

    Comment by MI — May 21, 2014 @ 4:51 pm

  13. 8. So your opinion is basically uninformed but you do know that you do not want to be a sheeple.

    Are you aware that there are information sources that are non-politcal in nature that just collect the facts and report them? It’s up to you the consumer to digest and discern the truth of the matter.

    Comment by lavage10 — May 21, 2014 @ 4:54 pm

  14. The San Francisco Bay Area is experiencing one of the largest growth periods in decades with San Francisco becoming the new Silicon Valley. People are migrating to the San Francisco Bay area like never before. Not sure where you’re getting your information from or where you live, but we’re feeling it here at home.

    And it sounds like you’re suggesting we should trust your news source — someone who won’t even divulge their real name.

    Comment by Karen Bey — May 21, 2014 @ 5:07 pm

  15. It’s hard to believe sometimes that we live in an age of instant information at our fingertips that anyone with a computer and an internet connection can access. Any question that the human brain can imagine can be typed into your browser search engine and Viola!, numerous sources providing information about your query will magically appear. You can browse through these sources at your leisure in the comfort of your own home. You can choose expert sources or political polemists as you wish.

    My secret source of information about CA business ranking is provided by CEO Magazine, as I stated previously. I have many more secret sources that I can’t divulge because Google will kill me.

    But really, anyone trying to make the case that the CA economy is healthy and vibrant and a magnet for US or international business is on a fools’ errand. There are bright spots like the Bay Area but there are areas of the state where unemployment is at Depression levels; we’re talking 25 – 30%. The official state rate is 8.3 while the official national rate is 6.5. This in a place with everything going for it – weather, natural resources, huge population, ready markets and access to international markets. One knock against CA for business expansion is the dwindling skilled labor force. That used to be one of the strong points of this state.

    In the mid-eighties, CA ranked as the fifth largest GDP in the world. That ranking eventually slipped all the way to eleventh by the mid-2000’s. It now stands at eighth. And not because the CA economy is improving. It’s because European economies have tanked. We bettered ourselves by not sliding as far backward as fast as the competition.

    So if you want to believe that CA is a big thumbs up economically go ahead but the facts don’t support the conclusion. If you believe that it’s a really good idea to suck every last drop of blood out of CA business and hand it over to the State, your going to see states like Texas grow fatter and happier while we cry about it.

    Comment by Lavage10 — May 21, 2014 @ 8:06 pm

  16. If we’re now 8th from 11th because of decline of others, who was competition when we were 5th? It’s all relative and everything you use to prop up your argument can be turned around. I’m not arguing that there aren’t downward pressures on the economy here, but Silicon Valley is all up. Then there is agriculture which they don’t have in Pioria, Berlin, Texas wherever. The drought and Climate may cause a huge shift there, but that’s outside the parameters you are grousing about. Taking advantage of the Prop 13 loophole is largely circumstantial. The loophole would not be something which has drawn business to the state would it,? but rather it’s something circumstantial which allows people in real estate to reap profits while making speculative investments. Did Toyota set up shop here because of commercial property where it was able to profit tremendously from Prop 13? They set up shop here because it’s California. It’s not like real estate is not part of the economy, but closing this loophole will not cause commercial real estate markets to plummet. And again, California is a national leader in environmental standards and it would do nothing for the the standard of life you make so much noise about if we followed Texas “lead” out of desperation to compete. GDP would be a much more objective measure of the business environment than subjective ratings on business “environment” by profit focused business people wouldn’t it? GDP 8th, business rating 50th? That’s a big delta. hmmmmm…….

    Comment by MI — May 22, 2014 @ 7:18 am

  17. Karen, SF is not “new Silicon Valley”, it is merely ten feet away as the Valley has creeped up the peninsula to take over SF and is gradually dominating the entire Bay Area economy. The Libertarian who floated the Six State initiative solution even labeled the entire region Silicon Valley in his plan. The effects aren’t all positive and your sanguine attitude about things like rapid rise in real estate values and job creation give me pause. One six figure tech gig supposed creates something like 4 baristas, but how many real well paid non-tech jobs come with it? The ratio of tech workers displacing tenants like teachers and retired is more relevant. Lennar’s units at Hunter’s Point are going to make them some hefty profits in the improved economy. They made their move at the right time. One bedrooms start at something like $500k ?

    Comment by MI — May 22, 2014 @ 7:31 am

  18. MI – it’s new in the since that there has been a huge increase in technology companies moving to the SF which is spurring the rapid growth in Class A office space and housing. SF being the new Silicon Valley is a tag line used in alot of marketing data.

    Whether it’s right or wrong –I’ll let you debate that.

    Comment by Karen Bey — May 22, 2014 @ 9:34 am

  19. 18. Karen, my previous response must have been sent to spam which happens periodically. Too bad because it was clearer than what I’m attempting to reconstruct here.

    BTW, my use of Lennar as an sample was not pointed at you because you work for them ( or did right?), It was the most recent example I had just seen on TV. I respect your activism and I’m not inclined to accuse anybody of being a shill for developers, but I have to say that over time I have yet to hear you criticize any development in Alameda. The wrong or right are being debated constantly, but do you not feel you are a part of that? If you favor a certain type of development you are weighing in whether you like that or not. Rapid economic growth can do a lot of “disruption” which is hard to adjust to, especially if wages across the board are not keeping up. The tech sector is largely run by libertarians who seem to have little appreciation for the larger impact of the economic shift they are unleashing. One six figure tech job may create 4 barista jobs, but it doesn’t seem to spawn a lot of other six figure jobs, maybe some $50K construction jobs,. but mostly creates a ton of dislocation in housing, particularly rental. There has been a VERY recent wave of philanthropic activity emanating from tech sector, but it seems like flat footed PR, too little too late. Marc Benioff is almost alone in having a vision for contributing financially to communities right from the outset. Even the old school oil and railroad barons like Carnegie did more than Silicon Valley guys whose one fascination seems to be to fund privatization of public education, but now I’m off on a tangent.

    Anyway, on local economic impact and housing this article has been widely distributed because it is more nuanced than stoning Google buses. It is also VERY long, but worth reading.

    Also pretty disheartening, another casualty of the times:

    Comment by MI — May 23, 2014 @ 4:51 pm

  20. MI, you just made a fool out yourself. I actually know Karen’s motivation’s and my own…you are not even close except sampling off as foulness and I have know Karen for 15 or 20 years and you are clearly off base…I could tell you but then I would have to shoot myself. Who cares who she worked for Lennar doesn’t even have any holdings in Alameda. You can ask Karen yourself instead of blogging about it…she cares about Alameda because she lived here most of her life…she is actually a very gentle and a honorable person…which means you have never meant her…but you try to destroy her in a blog. Go meet her for some coffee.

    Comment by Joseph — May 23, 2014 @ 11:40 pm

  21. 20. you obviously didn’t read 19 with care. I was qualifying my remarks in 17 as NOT being pointed at her place of employment Joseph. I’ve met Karen too and your assessment matches my impression, but I am still a bit puzzled that she is so reliable in being a cheer leader for every development which comes down the pike with very little if any criticism.

    Comment by MI — May 24, 2014 @ 8:24 am

  22. Mi…I know I am posting to much on here….but the land is where most of the costs arise. So you talk about $500 K but most of that cost is the land now. Who wants to live on a big lot in San Jose…when you can live in the City or Alameda which is close to SF and jobs. Try to buy a lot in Oakland…which is actually one of the best opportunities to buy right now…just get rid of the mayor. Oakland is the city of possibilities…I not saying that because I want to live there, I am happy in Alameda. MI I don’t know you but where in the bay area but where can you buy a $500 thousand home?

    Comment by Joseph — May 24, 2014 @ 10:24 am

  23. The big influx of people with money in SF fall into demographics that do not support the arts and in some cases, do not support charitable giving of ANY kind. Very bad news for the arts especially. The big supporters, Getty family, etc. are dying out or moving away. Dot com millionaires are more likely to fund tech scholarships or give to their alma maters than they are to give to the poor or the arts. Get ready to lose the ballet, the symphony, the museums, if this doesn’t change soon.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — May 25, 2014 @ 1:13 pm

  24. When L:ennar bought the land the market was not this hot, but now that the ONE BEDROOM UNITS are coming in line they will START at $500K. Big profits there. This is capitalism so good for Lennar I guess. I sure don’t expect them to give the units away below market rate and they are just developers, not the companies which are primarily driving the economic, but it takes everybody. However, the DISRUPTION is total. This film about Robert Reich is easy to watch, entertaining even. It’s filmed around a semester of his lecture hall at Berkeley and his message about unequal wealth distribution is consistent and has been for decades which is all born out and made easy to understand in a number of graphics.

    Comment by MI — May 25, 2014 @ 5:04 pm

  25. 23
    You’re generalizations are full of prunes, why should Google support Opera when it’s in direct competition with Chrome?

    Also: “Google Art Project is an online platform through which the public can access high-resolution images of artworks housed in the initiative’s partner museums. The project was launched on 1 February 2011 by Google, in cooperation with 17 international museums, including the Tate Gallery, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City; and the Uffizi, Florence.”

    Comment by who cares — May 25, 2014 @ 5:56 pm

  26. Online art? Seriously? No comparison to the real thing

    Comment by Denise Shelton — May 25, 2014 @ 7:08 pm

  27. It’s like saying, “I can see Ian McKellen on DVD. Why pay to see him in person?” If you have to ask, you can’t afford the emotion.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — May 25, 2014 @ 7:12 pm

  28. Spoken like a true elitist snob. Let them eat cake.

    Comment by who cares — May 25, 2014 @ 7:23 pm

  29. MI try to buy a 1 or 2 bedroom fixer upper in Alameda….$500,000 is cheap. You can go to Stockton or Texas and find the same job but they also pay you half the money. It is all relative. A friend of mine lives in a small studio in NY…and pays $2,000 a month in rent He rents a storage unit to park his car in New Jersey…which actually makes a point…Alameda has a ton of storage places…just get rid of it if it isn’t something you need. I have a friend who has a storage unit and doesn’t even know what is in there…she just keeps paying the rent every month.

    Comment by Joseph — May 26, 2014 @ 3:15 am

  30. 28. on line access is better than nothing, but I’ll take a nice coffee table book, though the costs and paper are all factors to access. The world is changing fast but it’s not snobbery to prefer real paintings. To not realize that is sort of scary. I had never heard of Zorn until this year when Legion of Honor had a show. He was a Swedish contemporary of Sargent and Eakins and was a highly compensated portrait artist. Nothing compares with seeing the actual paintings which were a revelation. Opera and museums have traditionally been supported by rich people, mostly for their own enjoyment, but the tech sector has been even less supportive of the arts. This Vanity Fair article compares new and old money in Pacific Heights, pretty ridiculous.

    Comment by MI — May 26, 2014 @ 10:12 am

  31. 29. relativism….so what? Our son lives in Bed Sty, part of the creeping gentrification of Brooklyn Spike Lee has been bitching about. Because he was priced out of Manhattan. Unaffordable is unaffordable no matter where you are. It’s not O.K. just cause it’s worse somewhere else. SF is now more expensive than Manhattan, which is nuts. Though a one bedroom in SF is usually not a converted closet, at least not yet. Not since the industrial revolution have we seen the kind of change brought by tech and the speed of the change is frighteningly rapid. The Industrial Revolution brought wealth and great rise in standards of living….along with things like Climate Change. I’m not a Luddite, I’m just saying’….it’s all relative all right.

    “The industry’s splendid isolation inspires cognitive dissonance, for it’s an article of faith in Silicon Valley that the technology industry represents something more utopian, and democratic, than mere special-interest groups.”

    Comment by MI — May 26, 2014 @ 10:23 am

  32. Comment by MI — May 26, 2014 @ 3:34 pm

  33. hey. A little crazy, but WTF? I’ve been surfing You Tube for a couple hours which is rare. For music actually, but I hit on this. Joni Mitchell interview, at about minute 19:00 to about 22:30. Her comments on the Internet. “The push button generation”. Just a cranky old broad, right? whatever.

    Comment by MI — May 26, 2014 @ 9:26 pm

  34. whoops…the link….

    Comment by MI — May 26, 2014 @ 10:53 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Create a free website or blog at