Polling Group Finds Support for Splitting Property Tax Rolls
The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) has been asking Californians what they think about issues and politics since 1998. Over time they’re work has become recognized as the gold standard for public opinion polling in the Golden State.
Yesterday they released the results of their 130th survey, taken shortly after the November elections, asking 2001 respondents about their outlook on the future, electoral reforms, potential fiscal, governance, and initiative reforms, the passage of Proposition 30, the state’s public higher education system, water policy, and elected officials’ handling of plans and policies for the state’s future.
And apparently voters are ready to consider a big change to Proposition 13, long considered a sacred cow in California politics.
The results of their current effort show that, in general, Californians have a brighter outlook on the future for the State; that concerns about the economy and government spending weigh heavily upon them. There are questions asked in a wide range of areas, and I strongly suggest that you look at the totality of PPIC’s effort. There’s something for everybody there.
What was of most interest to me was that, although respondents were generally against any measures that would raise taxes in the wake of measures approved by the voters this fall (Props 30 & 39), there was a surprising level of support splitting the property tax roll in California.
Proposition 13, a measure limiting property tax increases passed by the voters in 1978, lumped both commercial and personal properties together. While the initiative has been successful in keeping taxes reasonable on long inhabited residential properties, this bundling of assessments has resulted in gross inequities with commercial properties that are ‘high demand’ users of public services.
Disneyland, whose tax rates have remained largely the same even as their increased attendance has taxed local services and infrastructure is often cited as a prime example.
From political blog Calbuzz.com, here’s their assessment:
By a 57-36% margin, voters responded positively when asked this question: Under Proposition 13, residential and commercial property taxes are both strictly limited. What do you think about having commercial properties taxed according to their current market value? Do you favor or oppose this proposal?
Democrats favor the idea 66-26% and independents like the prospect 58-36%. Even Republicans are evenly divided 47-48%. Voters aged 18-34, who represent the future, favor the idea 65-28% but the idea is also popular among the most reliable voters, those 55 and older, by 56-39%.
Splitting the tax roll is a popular idea in every region of the state, among men and women equally and especially among Asians (65-26%) and Latinos (58-36%) but also among whites (56-38%).
In other words, there is a deep and wide mass base of support for modifying Proposition 13.
Lo-Go Says Go-Go, Will Run for Assembly
Lorena Gonzalez, chief executive of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council announced yesterday that she’s in the running for the 80th District Assembly seat currently occupied by Assemblyman Ben Hueso. His district includes Chula Vista, National City, Imperial Beachand the San Diego neighborhoods of San Ysidro, City Heights, Barrio Logan, Sherman Heights, Otay Mesa, Paradise Hills and other southern areas of the city.
This Assembly race is being triggered by Congressman Bob Filner’s decision to run for Mayor of San Diego. Gonzalez, according to a press release issued last night, will seek election as early as this year if Assemblyman Hueso is elected to the State Senate (replacing Juan Vargas, who is expected to replace Bob Filner) in a special election this spring or as late as 2016 if he vacates the seat because of term limits.
Her announcement was accompanied by a list of more than 25 endorsements, reflecting a wide range of support, ranging from Mayor Bob Filner thru Ace Parking executive Chairman Keith Jones.
Probable opponents include former Chula Vista City Councilman Steve Castaneda and Republican Derrick Roach, who garnered 38% of the vote in a previous race against Ben Hueso. Roach made the news last year when the UT-San Diego called him out for paying at least 50 people in Chula Vista to pack public hearing on proposed legislation allowing mobile-home-park owners to raise rents for new tenants.
Although I’m a firm believer in “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over”, I’d be surprised as hell if this race (which could be deferred until 2016, should Hueso lose, or the apocalypse occur) is anything less than a cakewalk for Gonzalez, or “LoGo”, as some wag called her on Twitter last night. (I’ve already received my first email asking for money.)
The bigger question concerns who will be tapped to fill her position on the Labor Council. Her leadership and her willingness to reach out way past the bubble that normally surrounds organized labor have been real facilitators for change in San Diego. Selection of a replacement is an internal union process, and the obvious choice, her long-time assistant Evan McLaughlin has announced that he’ll be running the Gonzalez campaign.
State Funding for City Projects Questioned
San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith has issued an advisory opinion to the mayor and city council saying last June’s voter approval of a measure (Proposition A) barring Project Labor Agreements (PLA) on city construction projects will not impact State funding.
This opinion comes as the January 1st deadline approaches for provisions of California Senate Bill 829 (signed by the Governor last spring) , which prohibits State funding or financial assistance for any city construction project, if a charter provision, initiative or ordinance “prohibits, limits, or constrains in any way” the use of PLAs for some or all of the city’s projects.
The November 30th memo says projects funded solely by the City are exempt because they are “municipal affairs” free from regulation by the State’s general laws. It says that jointly funded projects are not clear cut and the boundary between a “municipal affair” and a “matter of statewide concern” (which allows the State to override a Charter City ordinance) should be tested in the courts. And it concludes that there is an ‘exception clause’ in Proposition A that will protect the City’s access to State funding.
The Memorandum of Law, as it is formally titled, concludes:
Thus, under a broader interpretation of the exception clause, the City may meet this condition of the receipt of state funding, imposed by SB 829, by maintaining its discretion to adopt, require or utilize PLAs in City construction contracts, notwithstanding the operative language of Proposition A, which prohibits the City from requiring contractors to enter into PLAs.
In other words, this memo indicates Proposition A doesn’t apply if its conditions endanger State funding.
However, several State agencies, among them the Water Board, have already indicated the existence of Proposition A’s terms makes the City of San Diego ineligible for jointly funded projects.
Look for Proposition A’s aftershocks to eat up lots of taxpayer funded legal hours over the next several years. All this for a law banning something that didn’t exist: a City requirement for (or even utilization of) Project Labor Agreements. There weren’t any PLA’s in City projects. None were even proposed. But San Diego’s right wingers correctly guessed that voters wouldn’t know that part.
Maybe we should ask the Lincoln Club and the ABC Contractors group to reimburse us for the costs.
Time to Move on to Wine…
It’s been a good run for San Diego’s craft and micro-breweries. They’ve had a Mayor willing to serve as a pitchman and our region has been recognized among aficionados for the quality of the brews produced locally.
But the party’s over. Tourists are about to over-run the local bar scene, no doubt Yelping and Twittering nonsensical white trash opinions about local beer and ale. Time Magazine has an article up and it’s only a matter of time until the nattering nabobs of negativism follow. Money quote:
In recent years, San Diego has burst onto the international beer scene, emerging as America’s craft-beer capital. “From the very beginning, the emphasis was on quality from a technical perspective, which laid the foundation for our brewers to indulge their artistic passions,” says Chris Cramer, co-founder of the pioneering Karl Strauss Brewing Company (www.karlstrauss.com) that opened in 1989.
Today, 58 microbreweries are producing mostly barrel-aged beers (like the “double IPAs” or strong India pale ales that are such a feature of the U.S. brewing scene). Many more breweries are coming down the pipe. No wonder this southern Californian city has been described as the “hoppiest place on earth.”
Readers Rant at UT-SD Story on City Workers
The reader comments section following news stories published in the local daily fishwrap is almost always entertaining. I’ve even been known to lay a witticism or two in there. (And, unlike many of their more knuckle dragging commenters, I use my real name)
An online story published Wednesday by UT Watchdog Matt Clark about City employees goofing off in OB for about 15 minutes after finishing a paint job had readers howling, not about the public employees, but about the newsworthiness of the story itself.
First, an excerpt from the UT-SD story:
The Ocean Beach lifeguard tower got a lot brighter after a fresh coat of paint from two city workers — but that’s not what caught the eye of U-T San Diego reader Jim Grant.
It’s what the workers did afterwards.
Grant, a local photographer, began snapping pictures after he saw two of the workers move the boom lift they were using for the painting work about 20 feet away from the building.
“With a boom box blaring from the lift platform, they slowly raised the lift as high as it would go. Now I have spent my whole life in construction and I am thinking to myself, ‘what are they doing now?’” Grant said. “It then becomes crystal clear to me they are raising the platform to take photographs of the view! Must be nice to use the taxpayers’ dime to be a tourist and taxpayer’s dollars to have your own personal photography observation deck.”
Now, a few of the comments, of which there are many, mostly along the same train of thought (editor Ricky Young did jump in to defend the reportage):
Craig Collins • San Diego, California
Is this something we need to know? Be sure not to quit your real day job! Here is a quarter…use it call you mom and tell her you are not going to be a reporter very long!
Derek Twilliger · Seminarian at Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego
a couple of dudes taking pictures is news? Wow, San Diego must be a safer, better run, more financially secure city than I thought.
Larry Knowles · Top Commenter · San Diego, California
(Cue ticker tape sound) And in today’s top news, two city employees took photos and played loud music from atop their hydraulic lift….
A New Low for Faux News
The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences announced this year’s nominees for the Grammy Awards last night. Among those in contention is MSNBC host (and known liberal) Rachel Maddow.
On This Day: 1865 – The 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. The amendment abolished slavery in the U.S. 1896 – Lyricist Ira Gershwin was born in New York City. 1923 – Calvin Coolidge became the first president to give a speech that was broadcast on radio
Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmer’s Markets: Carmel Valley (Canyon Crest Academy 5951 Village Center Loop Road) 3:30 – 7:00 pm, Chula Vista(Downtown, Center St. & Third Ave.) 3 –7 pm, Linda Vista (6900 Linda Vista Road Between Comstock & Ulric) 2 – 7 pm, North Park (CVSPharmacy parking lot 3151 University & 32nd St.) 3 – 7 pm, Oceanside Market & Faire (Pier View Way & Coast Hwy. 101) 9 am – 1 pm,Oceanside Sunset (Tremont & Pier View Way) 5 –9 pm, San Carlos (Pershing Middle School 8204 San Carlos Drive) 4 – 7 pm, SDSU Farmers’ Market (Campanile Walkway btw Hepner Hall & Love Library) 10 – 3 pm, University Town Center (Genesee Ave. at UTC Westfield Shopping Plaza) 3 – 7 pm.
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