The LLAD passed

And here I thought nobody would ever vote for another tax in this town ever again.

24 thoughts on “The LLAD passed

  1. Sue

    Does anyone know how the counting went? It seems not to be a one vote counts the same as another, type election. Votes seem to carry different weights. So how did the different sectors vote… I do wonder.

    From the booklet on LLAD

    “What determines majority support vs.
    majority protest?
    Majority support occurs if the number of
    returned ballots supporting the proposed
    assessment increase is greater than the
    number of ballots opposing the increase. By
    law, the ballots are weighted in proportion
    to each property owners’ proposed
    assessment increase. If the weighted “No”
    votes number more than the weighted “Yes”
    votes, the assessment increase cannot be
    imposed and the proceedings will be
    abandoned. If the weighted “Yes” votes
    number more than the weighted “No” votes,
    the assessment increase will be authorized
    and levied, beginning July 2008.”

  2. TheBoss

    Just wanted to be the first to express irritation over this. It’s a foregone conclusion, in my opinion, that the money will be misspent. The only thing that makes me personally feel better about these things is that I have a relatively low Prop-13 tax basis.

    But this stuff is terrible public policy. It pushes families to move to cities other than Oakland to avoid our outrageous property tax burden. It’s just more fuel on the fire of Oakland’s ghettoizing.

  3. Charles Pine

    Yes, the City rigs the vote by property categories. They hire a firm to make decisions about how much benefit a property supposedly gets from landscape and lighting. A single family home is one unit; the Port of Oakland is around a million units, hence a million votes, and the school district was given around 700,000 votes.

    In 2006 the Port voted yes but the state administrator cast the school district’s votes no. See This time around, the district may have abstained. Ordinary citizens will get the vote tallies in a week or two.

    On another note, the East Bay Express has a split endorsement for city council at-large, Charles Pine and Kerry Hamill, with a slight tilt to me as I read it.

    Charles Pine

  4. V Smoothe Post author

    So what I heard, but haven’t been able to confirm (I was holding onto this post, hoping I’d be able to do so today, but didn’t) is that OUSD, Peralta Colleges, and BART abstained from the LLAD vote. Last time around, OUSD was the deciding vote against. I’ll update if/when I get the info, but frankly, right now, the election is my priority, so I’m not likely to spend any time pursuing this until after next week, by which time one assumes other local newsmedia will have covered it.

  5. Max Allstadt

    Wait. How the hell do we have a vote in America that isn’t one man, one vote? How the hell is that even constitutional? Do we have a lawyer in the house? I gotta understand this.

  6. Jensen

    Personally, I did not vote for the LLAD. Like many residents, I too was concerned about how the past LLAD money was being spent or rather misspent. I was shocked that the City has installed landscaping in center medians, only to let them deteriorate and now they look absolutely horrible. Simply drive down San Pablo Avenue and look at the center medians in the City of Oakland and then continue into Emeryville and look at essentially the same center medians. It is appalling the difference between the two cities. The center median along auto row in Broadway is just as bad.

    As a property owner trying to green up my little corner of the City, I requested three street trees be installed by the City along my street. This were requested through Jane Brunner’s much touted tree planting program. It took approximately 8 months and repeated phone calls to both Brunner’s Office and the Street Tree Program before the City planted the trees. Jane Brunner’s Office was no help. But that’s a different issue.

    When the trees were finally planted they used trees that looked like they were never properly pruned, branches were snapped and left dangling, and the tree stakes were broken. When they left, they backfilled the holes with dirt that hardened like concrete and left dirt scattered along the sidewalk and the gutter. I will need to hire an arborist to reshape/prune the trees and I am removing and replacing the dirt that was backfilled by the City crews. What customer service.

    Oh, yeah I forgot. My bad. The LLAD money is not really used for landscaping, parks or trees. It’s simply diverted to the general fund for other pet programs. Why did people not see this as yet another bait and switch?

  7. Joanna/OnTheGoJo

    Why does the Port vote for the LADD? Anyone know what their reasoning is? And I wonder why the abstainers didn’t vote no.

    Actually, in general I get annoyed that instead of voting no, people tend to abstain. (thinking of City Council Members) Have some balls and vote no. Oh, yeah, you’re too afraid to be seen as negative by voting no. Sigh.

  8. josh abrams

    They get to vote because they have to pay. governmental agencies aren’t exempt from paying the assessment (BART, Port, OUSD, ect) so they get a vote. They pay based on how much ‘benefit’ they might get, and vote based on the same benefit.

  9. josh abrams

    Oh, I almost forgot – Mr. Pine, it would be hard to read the endorsement as a “tilt” to you, seeing as they don’t think you’ll make the runoff… I’m a bit surprised they didn’t just do a straight-up endorsement for Kaplan

  10. Max Allstadt


    I didn’t have to pay property taxes until this year, but I got to vote on those tax issues. What makes this different?

    As for the Express’ endorsements, I too was surprised by them not choosing Kaplan. And despite their endorsement of Greg Hodge, I was pleasantly surprised that they chose to dis Nadel in the way that they did. Did I say “dis”? I meant “accurately portray”.

  11. avis

    I can’t believe the LLAD passed, I don’t know one single neighbor who voted for this. I am so sick of paying exorbitant taxes here in Oakland, I paid less taxes to live in Marin County and I got services there I have never enjoyed here. Now my property taxes are going up yet again?

    Why should the Port’s vote carry so much more weight than mine or yours? Half those people that work at the Port don’t even live here in Oalkand.

    Think the parks will look great this time next year from all the money poured into them from this new tax? Yeah, right!

    Time for a Regime Change is you ask me.

  12. josh abrams

    max – the difference is that this is an assessment district, while many of the other measures you are thinking of are bonds and parcel taxes. An assessment district means that property owners pay based upon their assessed value, by law (prop 13) these can only be approved by a mail ballot to all property owners who would be paying into the district and their votes are weighted based upon their assessed value, the folks who would pay more get a bigger vote. Bond measures (gov’t borrowing lots of money and then property owners paying it back at the same payment per-parcel) and parcel taxes (property owners paying the same per parcel into a fund for something specific, like mosquito abatement) are eligible to be voted upon by all voters in the district/area the tax would impact.

    Blame Prop. 13 if you want, but I for one don’t have a problem with only the people who would be paying a tax getting to vote on the tax.

  13. scottpark

    Right. Let’s vote against the LLAD, a legally dedicated source of funds for lighting, landscaping and the attendant maintenance. How is raising funds for these functions leading to Oakland’s gheottoization? I would say that the fact that the city looks like shit is leading to its ghettoization, and the LLAD is a fund that at least in letter is supposed to help spruce the city up. We were already paying the LLAD, but it was, foolishly, passed without a COLA. The increase, I think I can confidentially say, is negligible to most Oakland homeowners.

    Oh, and I don;t like all taxes, for sure. I will vote and campaign against any property tax for police until I get what I’m already paying for in my Measure Y assessment. But complaining about a tax for improving landscaping and paying the City’s electrical bill seems a little too much for me.

  14. PaulineZ

    I am new to this blog and how people are using it. Are you using this blog just to share information and to vent or, are you using this information to get a community of people to express opinions and suggest actions to the council/mayor, etc.

    I was against the LLAD and in talking with people find they didn’t take the time to read the material and to act. I am working to take the lead in knowing something about what is going on in the city politics and to suggest action to neighbors and contacts and to get them to pay attention. I am upset that the city rigged the vote and that this vote included an automatic annual increase. The vote weighting is supposed to be based on benefit from Landscape, Lighting, etc and I do not see the Port benefitting from the Recreation centers, from landscape in my neighborhood, etc. How does one complain even after the city claims the vote is over?

  15. V Smoothe Post author

    PaulineZ –

    The LLAD vote was not “rigged,” it was weighted in accordance with State law governing assessment districts. If you think the state law is unfair, I suggest contacting your representatives in Sacramento.

  16. Joanna/OnTheGoJo

    From PaulineZ – “to suggest action to neighbors and contacts and to get them to pay attention”. That’s the heart of much of the problem in Oakland. Not enough people read the fine print and not enough people get involved. I’m sorry to sound so cynical – I certainly didn’t used to be this way, but it’s been pounded into me over and over again over the last six years. I wish you the best of luck, but V is right. First contact your representative in Sacramento. Good luck.

    But for the record, I totally agree that the LLAD sucks since it goes into the general fund and it appears that the accounting for the uses of these funds is lost. (hmm, another Courtney Ruby question mark.)

  17. John N

    FYI – Charles Pine throws out B.S. information and and it takes me so long to track down what is real an what is not that I’ve don’t even try anymore and I disregard his posts. I’m sure any newspaper would be picking this up if were true.

  18. Max Allstadt

    John N -

    If you follow the link on Charles Pine’s last post, to his organization’s page, and look at the chart of the LLAD vote at the bottom, specifically which part of that chart is BS?

    Please source your evidence that his information is inaccurate.

    V – is there anything to this? And why does the port get 1,405,336 votes?

  19. V Smoothe Post author

    The way the LLAD votes are weighted is determined by State law governing assessment districts. Just because people don’t like the outcome of the election doesn’t mean it was rigged. If people think the tally is unfair, they need to take it up with Sandre Swanson, not accuse the City of corruption.

  20. John Nordstrom

    V Smoothe –

    Pine has been on our neighborhood yahoo group for a couple of years and I just thought I’d give everybody a heads up you I’ve tracked down many stories he’s written that found them to be misleading and some flat out untrue. Sensationalism… It’s easy to make something up but it take a lot of time and research and I prove it wrong. I encourage you to do it yourself.

    For the record – I’m against this tax too as I think the city is not spending the funds correctly now. I look at medians in some neighborhoods and they look like they haven’t tended to in years. Seems the city has just given up in some areas.

    BTW – Pine is basically anti-tax thats what it boils down to.

  21. Charles Pine

    There are two distinct outrages here. Three weeks ago Oakland Residents for Peaceful Neighborhoods reported how the City rigged the LLAD vote. That was a matter of taking totally undemocratic leeway with the provisions of State law to assign how much “benefit” the LLAD provides each property.

    Yesterday ORPN reported that the City simply tampered with the LLAD vote. This has nothing to do with “benefit.” It is simply stuffing the ballot box. The City gave homeowners votes weighted by the proposed increase in their LLAD assessment, but it gave the Port votes weighted by its TOTAL LLAD assessment. The City simply manufactured votes for its Port out of thin air. See

  22. John N

    Another B.S. article. Notice how Pine never cites any sources other then his own. It’s shell game. All the articles are from his own website.

  23. Charles Pine

    “John N(ordstrom)” – apparently a pseudonym – thinks the readers here are lazy. Anyone who checks out the ORPN report will see direct evidence from Port minutes, the engineer contracted to run the LLAD vote, and newspaper citations.