Why I’m voting Yes on Measure BB

A couple of months ago, I had a conversation about Measure BB with a local good government advocate who I have a great deal of respect for. At that time, I was pretty sure I would be voting no on Measure BB. They were in favor of it.

What is Measure BB?

For those who aren’t aware, Measure BB would amend Measure Y, which voters passed in 2004. It collects an $88 per year parcel tax on single family homes, as well as an 8.5% tax on parking space rentals. The money goes to fund community policing, the fire department, and violence prevention programs.

In order to collect this tax, Measure Y mandated that the City funded 739 police officers from the General Fund. Due to budget shortfalls, the City had to lay off 80 police officers earlier this year, and because the number of police officers funded out of the General Fund was reduced to below the minimum required level, it is no longer collecting the Measure Y tax.

Measure BB would amend Measure Y so that the City can restart collecting the tax that had been in place over the last five years, providing desperately needed funding to public safety and violence prevention services, without funding 739 police officers from the General Fund.

Changing my mind about Measure BB

So, getting back to my little debate about Measure BB. Their argument boiled down to the fact that the consequences to the City of losing this money were simply too drastic, and that even if it was unpleasant, we had to support it.

I said that I was well aware of the City’s dire financial situation, and that I was not unsympathetic to the need for revenue, nor to the negative impacts of the loss of violence prevention, police department, and fire department funding that would inevitably happen should Measure BB fail. I said that I did not think the City had handled Measure Y well, or as promised, and I felt that a yes vote on Measure BB would be rewarding the City for not following their commitments to taxpayers.

And they were basically like “Yeah, it’s true. The City has not done a good job with Measure Y. But we can’t just blame them for it. We didn’t do anything to stop that. For good government to work, we have to be doing our job too. And we haven’t.”

And although I wasn’t persuaded on that day, I thought a lot about what they said over the next couple of weeks. And I decided that they were right. No, I don’t think the Council has handled Measure Y well. But I also don’t think that I did as much as I should have to make sure they did. And unless your name is Marleen Sacks, well, chances are pretty good that you haven’t either.

Citizen engagement is what makes democracy work. That is the responsibility of every citizen who cares about good government. And when the Council voted to use all the Measure Y reserves to fund a hiring program that we knew at the time was a bad idea, well, they did so under intense pressure from the public and the media to vote yes. They faced mockery and derision from local columnists for daring to even question whether it was a good idea. And while there were a small number of courageous people saying don’t do it, they were vastly outnumbered by the other side.

So I blame the public for the broken promises of Measure Y just as much as I blame the Council. And I acknowledge my own culpability for not speaking up to try to stop these mistakes from happening. And since I didn’t do my part, I am in no position to punish them, and myself, and everyone else in Oakland for their failure.

Oakland needs Measure BB

The fact is, the City’s financial situation is dire. And if Measure BB does not pass, we are going to either lose more police officers, or we are going to see what’s left of public services like libraries and parks and recreation completely decimated. Probably, both will happen.

It’s all well and good to say the Council should have done better, that there should have been more oversight, and so on. And I do think that people have legitimate reason to be angry. But no matter how angry you are, it is important to remember that your vote has consequences. And the consequences of a no vote on Measure BB will be a less safe city.

We can’t afford that. This is a city where sixty-nine people have been killed this year alone. This is a city where teenage children are being murdered. This is a city where nine people were shot across the street from my apartment on Saturday. This is a city that needs police officers, and it needs violence prevention programing for kids, and it needs money to pay for them.

Measure BB preserves this money, and if you care about making this city a safe place to live, I urge you to join me in voting Yes on Measure BB.

88 thoughts on “Why I’m voting Yes on Measure BB

  1. MarleenLee

    Of course, I completely disagree with your logic on this one. While I agree that most people have been largely apathetic about the countless of abuses of Measure Y, I hardly think that the punishment should be additional taxes and fewer police. To the public’s credit, they voted for Measure Y because it promised certain things. They did their part by paying the tax; City officials didn’t live up to their end of the bargain. They are the ones that didn’t increase police staffing; they are the ones that authorized the City to spent over $200,000 in legal expenses fighting me tooth and nail. They are the ones that came up with the concocted legal theories to try to defend their indefensible actions. Members of the public don’t share in that blame at all.

    I agree that the financial situation is dire. It is, in fact, so dire, that the $9 million of Measure Y funds that will go to the police is a drop in the bucket compared to the half a billion dollar pension deficit looming out there. Yes, half a billion dollars. The City’s focus on Measure BB is just a distraction from the fact that there is debt hanging out there that is so massive that they can’t even count the zeros! $90 won’t cut it.

    And don’t get me started on all the lies the City officials are telling to try to get you to vote for this trojan horse. We will NOT be getting back those 63 Measure Y officers. Where do you think they’re going to come from? The already decimated ranks? I hardly think so. Do you think they’ll hire back the laid-off officers? I hope so, but I’m not counting on it. Notice that all the literature talks about bringing back the “positions,” not the officers themselves. Try fighting crime with “positions” as opposed to human beings. Think that’s a silly argument? It’s the legal argument the City has been using for years to justify not filling the Measure Y positions for years.

    Do not reward City officials for their lies, deception and ineptitude by approving Mea

  2. MarleenLee

    Hmm – edit feature not working. Anyway, to finish my thought….Do not reward City officials for their lies, deception and ineptitude by approving Measure BB. There are other options! If we reject Measure BB, this will put real pressure on OPOA to start contributing 9% to their pensions NOW. This will come very close to equalling the $9 million that Measure Y generates fot eh police. And, it could put pressure on the City to come to the negotiating table with me for a new and different “Measure Y Fix” that I could support, that would give us actual staffing levels. For dozens of other good reasons to vote NO check out http://noonmeasurebb.blogspot.com and http://defendingmeasurey.blogspot.com.

  3. CitizenX

    A technical point — Measure Y did not require that the General Fund fund the 739 officers, only that:

    “No tax authorized by this Ordinance may be collected in any year that the appropriation for staffing of sworn uniformed police officers is at a level lower than the amount necessary to maintain the number of uniformed officers employed by the City of Oakland for the fiscal year 2003- 2004 (739).”

    At the time, a small number of the 739 officers were funded from other sources, including redevelopment funds. Since then, even more officer positions have been moved under redevelopment funding.

  4. Charles Pine

    V. writes: “I also don’t think that I did as much as I should have to make sure they [City officials] did [what Measure Y required]. And unless your name is Marleen Sacks, well, chances are pretty good that you haven’t either.”

    My name is not Marleen Sacks, and for years I and David Mix, whose name is also not Marleen Sacks, and a bunch of other folks with their own names too have been vigorous activists, demanding that the City honor its Measure Y contract with the residents of Oakland.

    So much for political casino and stating the “chances.” The practical point is this: whether OPD staffing goes up or down from its current life-endangering level depends more on who becomes the next mayor than on whether BB passes or goes down. Most likely, Tuman or Perata means more officers; Quan or Kaplan almost surely means fewer. Your vote on BB is simply about whether to encourage or reject City Hall’s endless push to collect taxes without honoring the service obligations it promises to deliver.

  5. Gregory McConnell

    V gets my vote for handicapper of the year. I agree with her analysis on BB and Perata. My associates in the Jobs and Housing Coalition and the Oakland Jobs PAC endorsed BB because safe streets trumps punishing Council for failures in Measure Y.

    Also, I want to thank the candidates who mostly ran positive campaigns with one glaring exception. When this is over, people will have to work together to solve Oakland’s problems and move the city forward.

    The trash talking about opponents is not good for the city. I much prefer if someone talks about why they should win, rather than why someone else should lose.

    Let’s take the high ground and improve the city without all the persaonl trash talking.

  6. MarleenLee

    If I thought Measure BB would make the streets safer, it would be a different story. But there’s no reason to believe that this is the case. Measure Y was sold to us saps by promising us a larger police force as well. And we paid $100 million in taxes and got the promised staffing for less than six months! What a rip-off! The reality is that regardless of whether BB passes or not, the size of the police force is still going to go down! The City is already planning additional layoffs if X fails (which it most certainly will) and has refused to schedule any police academies – meaning the loss of another 50-55 officers a year through attrition. So don’t think passing BB will actually increase the size of the force. It won’t.

    Charles Pine has been vigorously advocating for a larger police force for years – much longer than I have. If public safety advocates like he and I, who desperately want a larger police force, not a smaller one, are vehemently opposed to BB, you really need to consider that BB is the wrong path.

    The campaign to pass Measure BB has been filled with union money, lies and scare tactics. Please don’t buy it. Support real public safety, real accountability, and vote no.

  7. Jack B Dazzle

    Wow, I agree with everyone.

    I promised myself that after the Merritt Bakery incident, I would not give the city any more money. But we can’t lose more police. People will die. I feel like I have been mugged.

    If I end up voting for BB, I surely won’t vote for Libby or Jean, as I know they will squander the funds.

  8. Karen Bishop

    I’ve struggled mightily with this one. When I first found out BB was on the ballot, I immediately was thinking absolutely no way and for all the reasons already mentioned above. In addition I’ve talked to other homeowners and they feel that their property taxes should be going down, just like the value of their homes. But instead, they are underwater in their mortgages and yet there is little to no reprieve on property taxes because of all the special assessments. This sounds selfish but this is what many other property owners are thinking.

    But I’ve read many articles recently about all the groups that want BB to pass and the work they do because of the funding. So my heart strings have been pulled.

    But in the end, I feel it is not the right thing to do to vote for BB. The evidence is overwhelming that we’ve been duped into what Measure Y would do, what it never did do, all the money spent to fight Marleen in Court and the City’s legal rational (makes me sick), the lack of oversight.

    The City forgets that all the money going into their coffers are from hard working individuals who have sacrificed, saved, and scrimped to believe in the future. In the end they take our money and act like it is theirs to do what they please.

  9. mfraser

    Active paid lobbyists post here too? Wow, there is no limit here… too funny. Just in case folks don’t know, here’s a bit on Mr Mcconnell:

    Stu Flashman, environmental and land use attorney in Oakland, California

    “perhaps significant is that the executive director of Oakland Jobs PAC, Greg McConnell, is a lobbyist who lists Signature Properties (along with another big Oakland developer, Forest Cities) as among his chief clients. McConnell was also apparently instrumental in forming another group, the Better Housing Coalition, that organized Oakland’s large developers to oppose an inclusionary housing ordinance that was being considered by the city council. Based on this, my guess is that a Perata administration would not be very interested in pursuing inclusionary housing.

    Not having pored through the city clerk’s files, I can’t yet tell you where the “independent” money supporting Perata’s campaign is coming from, but if the past is any indication, there appears to be a strong likelihood that the dots will eventually connect to the major developers doing business in Oakland. As for why they would do that, well, again, if the past is any indication, it’s because they expect there to be a large pot of gold at the end of the rainbow with Don Perata’s name on it.”

    Love that the candidate with by far the most severe negative history and his paid lobbyists will want to keep it positive.

  10. MarleenLee

    Boss, as far as I know V doesn’t own property or a car. (Measure Y gets a significant amount of funding from the garage tax). Of course, I’m sure that makes it a lot easier for her and other non-property owners to support.

  11. ralph

    Not sure what difference it makes to you whether V owns a home or not. You weren’t going to vote for the the tax. I plan to vote yes on BB and have no problem paying.

    I have no interest in giving the schools another $200 on Measure L. They are taking something like $1000 from me. People are getting laid-off and the teachers want a raise when no one except Quan’s favorite Non-profit are getting one. (Expect more tax and spend if Quan becomes mayor) Thankfully, the teachers union does not support Measure L so they won’t mind when the tax does not pass.

  12. Patrick M. Mitchell

    It makes a difference because this tax is on property owners. If you don’t own property (and 60% of Oaklanders don’t) you don’t have to pay this tax.

    No, I plan on being engaged by voting NO on BB. I refuse to be an enabler for another 4.5 years.

  13. Mry

    Here is what I find amazing, the city spends 200k fighting Marleen, then they pay out tons of money to families of gangbangers who have been killed by the police????? If you happen to die because you pulled a gun on the police, while I am sorry for your family, but the city should not be paying you.

  14. The Boss

    My favorite thing about Measure Y is that they persisted in charging the tax on vacant residential lots year after year. The owners have to send in a form to get a refund each year. And, each year, the city sends around someone to “verify” that the lot is vacant. Apparently they are unable to look at their own property maps to determine that.

    Which reminds me, I need to get my $88 back from last year. Time to send in the form.

    Marleen, I wasn’t trying to accuse V Smoothe of anything. I was just curious if she’s paid the tax. I wonder how she would feel if the city instead enacted a $100 per-head tax.

  15. Chuck

    First, BS that “if you don’t own property you don’t have to pay the tax”. If you don’t own property and don’t live in Oakland, you don’t have to pay the tax. I think it’s pretty naive to assume this tax isn’t passed on to renters wherever possible. Most importantly, though, this is kind of a straw man, distracting discussion from, you know, the actual issue at hand.

    What’s this talk about not passing BB to teach someone (the Council?) a lesson? This seems like the very situation for which the phrase “cut off your nose to spite your face” was created. We don’t need stern, no-you-can’t-have-your-allowance parenting here to teach people a lesson. Folks are gonna die, shit’s gonna get stolen, and Oakland’s gonna be way worse off if we don’t pass BB.

    This is NOT to say that the situations rosy if we do pass it; NOT to say that major reform isn’t in order; NOT to say OPD / OPOA need to do some major soul-searching on the matter. Or that the new mayor needs to be ready to drive a hard bargain. But the fix for the OPD is going to come that way, not by withholding funding and firing a whole bunch more officers. That just makes things worse for Oakland with zero givebacks or upshots when it comes to how we fund and staff our police department.

  16. James

    How often are parcel taxes really being passed on to renters? If the place being rented is under rent control, then the landlord is limited in how much rent can be charged. Also, with the rental market being as depressed as it is, many landlords are just happy to have tenants and will have to eat any tax increases on homeowners.

  17. MarleenLee

    In reality, what I have been told (by our local landlord association) is that landlords typically have not passed on whatever increase they are allowed to pass on for Measure Y because of the administrative headaches involved. How many landlords have you spoken to about this issue, Chuck?

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of Chucks out there. People who don’t realize that we have other options. The other options may be somewhat more complicated (as opposed to “throw money at the problem”) but they are BETTER options. The BETTER option is to get OPOA to make the necessary concessions (9% pension contribution etc.) so that the City has sufficient funding to appropriate for the 739 baseline. Then, the City can legally collect Measure Y taxes again. That will result in over $25 million of ongoing money, and much better police staffing, and much better public safety.

    The current police staffing is NOT sufficient. If BB passes, the staffing will be worse, not better, because there’s no incentive to get it back up to the 739 under the current language. I know this stuff is complicated and boring to most of you, but the real people who are biting off their noses to spite their faces are the BB supporters, not the BB opponents!

    The City is acting like the mafia. Better buy some protection or they’re gonna break your kneecaps. Enough is enough.

  18. Robert

    Oh V, I am so disappointed. Not by your decision to support BB, but by your blame the victim approach.

    Following the law on Y was not a political issue where demonstrations of support are needed. The city council and staff should have obeyed the Measure Y law without prompting, and once Marleen had pointed it out, there was absolutely no excuse for the city not to obey the law. Saying that we should have done more is nothing but blaming the residents for someone else’s failure.

    No on BB. The city has proved itself incapable of managing its money. You do not cure an addict by giving them more of what they are addicted to. You have to start withdrawal.

  19. CitizenX

    Measure Y was a loser, before the voters ever got around to approving it. There are simply not enough funds to recruit, hire, train, equip and maintain 63 officers. There is not enough funding to cover the overtime costs for firefighters to fully staff the firehouses (a backroom deal, which was approved by Council in public years after the deed was done). Finally, millions of dollars are being thrown at social programs with little accountability and dubious returns.

    So, is it time to “fix” a failed program (MY) or time for a clean slate rewrite with more effective, efficient and accountable use of funds? Measure BB is simply a B-Bad idea, I’m afraid.

  20. len raphael

    V, remember back a couple of years or so ago when the question came up about the city council likely to lay off cops and your response was to the effect that the council isn’t that stupid because they know they’ll lose more revenue than they’ll save by doing that.

    But that is precisely what the council did.

    Did they further seal our coffin by passing a resolution that they would lay off a bunch more cops if BB fails?

    The council turned this into a Measure X lite, to give them revenue in case X fails.

    That’s how they should have presented it if they wanted my vote.

    -len raphael

  21. Barry K

    From: Jean Quan: Ballot Measure 2010 – Measure Y Funding (Measure BB)
    “A Proposed Ordinance Amending Measure Y,…
    Which Established A Special Parcel And Parking Tax Funding Police Services, Fire Services And Violence Prevention Programs To, Among Other Things, Clarify That The City May Collect The Tax Whether Or Not It Appropriates Non-Measure Y Funds To Maintain Staffing At Fiscal Year 2003-2004 Levels.”

    THE CITY MAY COLLECT THE TAX WHETHER OR NOT!

    http://oakland.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=750371&GUID=A73D3B4A-72A3-41B0-B8B5-5F5E8ADF9127&Options=ID|Text|&Search=tax+ballot

    No taxation with Measure Y Castration.
    Say NO to Quan! Vote NO on BB.

  22. MarleenLee

    Len, there is nothing in Measure BB that says cops will be laid off if it doesn’t pass. That’s in Measure X. Not that this is stopping the pro-BB supporters from using the threat of more layoffs as a scare tactic.

    But let’s not forget that V herself went out of her way to say that even the violence prevention programs didn’t work. http://www.theoakbook.com/MoreDetail.aspx?Aid=2815&CatId=10

    I still don’t get the logic that because phony good government organizations like LWV feel they didn’t do enough to stop government abuse with Measure Y, the rest of Oakland should work against the true good government advocates by giving the City even more of our money to waste. As a lawyer, I am totally at a loss for how to counter such an argument.

  23. Mary Hollis

    V

    I am horribly disappointed in you for this volte-face. While I totally agree with you on the Perata nomination, this is an absolute sap to the cronies on the CC who misappropriated your money in the first place.

    Vote no on this prop, vote in Perata, and then support a new broom to take out the garbage.

    But don’t enable the parasites who caused this debacle.

  24. Quinn

    I’m angry that the taxes raised by Measure Y did not go towards hiring the police we were promised. However, I don’t think Oaklanders deserve to die over it and if we continue on this path of hemorrhaging police officers that is exactly what will happen. In fact, it’s already happening, week after week. Lives are literally on the line here.

    I’m voting Yes on BB and I’m voting for Perata. Public safety trumps all. We can never reach our potential if the perception persists that it is dangerous to live and do business in our city.

  25. ralph

    Measure Y was poorly written and should never have contained the “to appropriate for” language. The residents wanted 2 things 739 officers and community policing and violence prevention. Of the two some might argue that the community policing and violence prevention were the most important.

    I will never be one to tell the police chief how to deploy his staff but if cp is something that the people want, then provide the pot of gold to pay for the services. The people also wanted violence prevention programs. These items should have been the only components of MY and never contingent on the city appropriation.

    I wrote in another post that the prevention services have helped to reduce fights and teacher turnover and increase attendance in one West Oakland school. Yes MY was poorly written but this is an oppty to correct the problem and continue that which is good.

    The council and OPD are not crazy; they know we need more patrol officers. They are going to do what they can to get those officers. But we can not and should not ignore the value of the $20MM for Measure BB.

    Public safety does trump all. Measure BB and Perata. We get the safety the investment will follow.

  26. Max Allstadt

    Fundamentally, I see people who vote no on BB as deciding that they need to stick it to the man by voting to do something that actually screws everybody BUT the man.

    A no vote on BB doesn’t oust any of the dummies on the Council who voted to violate measure Y.

    A no vote on BB does screw over the citizens of Oakland by forcing massive budget cuts to programs we need.

  27. len raphael

    Quinn, get angry at the city council members who voted to lay off the 80 cops and to put BB on the ballot instead of insisting on more large pay cuts and pension contributions from all the city, and from the non-profit service providers.

    Then the CC should have come to the voters with a comprehensive plan to make ends meet, including tax rises.

    The cc places a lower priority on saving lives than many of us do or as they would prefer to put, they think anti violence programs are more effecient at life saving than cops.

    They laid off cops, but did not cut funding to the non-violence programs.

    -len raphael

  28. Max Allstadt

    The Khadafy Foundation for Non-Violence is the first one that comes to mind. They help people after they lose a loved one to murder.

    There are others, particularly re-entry programs and outreach programs to sexually exploited minors, that I think are rather important.

    God. The comments on this particular thread read like a fucking Tea Party convention.

  29. ralph

    To add to Max’s comments the only people you are hurting by voting No on Measure BB are the children who are most in need and yourselves.

    In the 4 years I volunteered in a high school after-school program, it was apparent that a number of OUSD students need complete wrap-around services. The need for someone to address anger management and impulse control issues was unbelievably high. Thanks to Measure Y, almost 10K elementary students receive lessons focusing on empathy, impulse control/problem-solving, and emotion/anger management.

    Alameda County also uses MY money to operate OUR KIDS. The objective of the OUR KIDS program is to increase the number of students receiving school-based behavioral health services in up to twelve Oakland public middle schools. With the goal of reducing school-related violence and increasing pro-social behaviors of youth, the OUR KIDS program provides 520 high-risk students with psycho-social assessments, counseling, case management, referral and follow-up, and family support services. Programs like OUR KIDS make it easier for teachers to teach and students to learn.

    Restorative Justice programs have reduced the recidivism rate and kept youth out of the criminal justice system. Not only does this save money on incarceration but it does not permanently adversely affect the youth.

    Tuesday, before you vote ask yourself, who are you really hurting by voting no on BB.

    Yes on Measure BB.

  30. John Garrett

    Why I’m voting no on BB:

    1. The “people are gonna die unless you vote for this” argument is emotional blackmail and/or extortion. Read on for why people aren’t gonna die.

    2. Will only generate $9 million annually for police.

    3. An alternative is to negotiate police contributions to their pensions as with all other city employees. Per Marleen Sacks that will free up $7 million per year. The remaining $2 million per year shortfall could be cut elsewhere.

    3. Measure Y is badly constructed and negligently executed. It promised minimum police staffing, collected $100 million, but police staffing fell by 10%. It required multiple lawsuits to force the city to observe its legal obligations under the measure. It should stay dead. The good it offers could be repackaged in a better legal/policy structure.

    4. The scope of the police funding problem is vast and BB will make it worse. To wit:

    - Oakland owes $500 million to an older police and fire pension fund. Property owners may not realize that they are already paying an average of $419 per year in property taxes to prop up the fund. (If your house is valued above the Oakland average of $299,000, you pay even more, about $1,500 per year for a $1 million dollar house). Nonetheless, the funding is grossly inadequate, and will likely be refinanced/deferred for another decade or so, incurring hundreds of millions in additional interest costs. For only 1,100 pension recipients.

    - Measure BB will reinstate an $88 tax per year on Oakland single family homeowners. Measure X calls for $360 per single family parcel.

    - 75% of the city budget goes to police and fire departments, and 10% services current debt

    - Oakland police receive an average $188k salary and benefits (without any pension contribution). This is higher than New York or Los Angeles with less impactful results.

    - Oakland police officers can retire at age 50 (or continue to work) and receive as pension 3% of their final salary for each year of service

    - Only 240 of the 695 police officers actually patrol the city.

    5. Comments like this from Oakland police union representative Dominic Arotzarena:

    “Every time you lay us off, there’s a gun to the citizen’s head as well,” said Sgt. Dom Arotzarena, president of the Oakland Police Officers Association.

    He compared the slaying of four officers in the line of duty in March 2009 to Tuesday’s layoffs, saying the 80 were released “not by the hand of a gun, but by the hand of a pen.”

  31. John Garrett

    By the way, I’m generally pro-union. But the police and – to a lesser extent – fire obligations are hurting us.

    I think the solution should address both the expense and the revenue side.

  32. ralph

    Len,
    I believe that voters passing BB is part of the plan. City council may not have made a good case for why you should Vote Yes on BB.

    I agree that we need to make changes to the compensation model and my first use for those savings would be increased safety personnel and debt reduction.

    Use the money from BB to pay for the services that are desperately need. Trust me the money you think you are saving by voting no is no where near as much as you will be spending when you see the adverse impacts of a no on BB.

    Yes on BB

  33. Marleenlee

    A vote for Measure BB is a vote to take $90 out of your and my pocket and put it in the pocket of police officers whose salary and benefit package starts at $190k, not including overtime. Some make an extra $100k just in overtime. And Measure BB does nothing to address the pension problem… They currently contribute NOTHING to their pensions, and there is a half a billion!!! dollar pension liability for current retirees that the City doesn’t even want to acknowledge. When they put a $2000 annual parcel tax on the ballot next year with the same arguments, are you gonna vote for that too?

  34. ralph

    Marleen,
    None of the other taxes on the ballot pertain to the pension either. Can you at least stick to the issues that BB addresses?

    If you think you are better off by not paying $90 and eliminating programs for at-risk juveniles, sexually exploited minors, and re-entry programs for parolees, then vote no on measure BB.

    Personally, if $90 is the freight to buy psychologist for youth with behavioral issues, for services to help sexually exploited minors, to help youth avoid a life of crime and to help parolees get back on their feet, then I for one will pay it. Because even though I have not done the math, I know that the expense to me will be greater if I don’t, and more importantly these young people deserve a chance.

    Think about it this way, if you are willing to vote yes on L, then you should at least want to do all you can to make their conditions easier. Trust me the behavior issues these young people have at home carry over to the school.

    Yes on BB

  35. Patrick M. Mitchell

    Max stated: “Fundamentally, I see people who vote no on BB as deciding that they need to stick it to the man by voting to do something that actually screws everybody BUT the man.”

    As a taxpayer, I am the man. I have been screwed for years and refuse to lie back and continue to take it.

    Max says: “A no vote on BB doesn’t oust any of the dummies on the Council who voted to violate measure Y.”

    You’re right. But V. herself suggested we be engaged. Perhaps when headlines scream “220 POLICE LAID OFF” more Oaklanders will become engaged…and vote out the idiots who populate our City Council.

    Max says: “A no vote on BB does screw over the citizens of Oakland by forcing massive budget cuts to programs we need.”

    Sorry, joining the tea party here. Police, fire, infrastructure, parks, libraries…in that order. Anything else is fluff at this point. If this Council can’t figure that out, then perhaps ballot-box budgeting will help them.

  36. mfraser

    The original post says this city “needs the money to pay for [police and violence prevention].” We have one of the highest tax rates in the nation; even with the down economy there should be adequate funds. The point is we HAVE the money for all essential services, it has just been overspent by a factor of 1.5 to 1 or more. If the money were spent with more care and consideration, I might be willing to chip in a little more. But with the malfeasance by our City Council on all issues spending, I say no, no, no. I’m just not ok with funding any more police at these completely out of control levels of cost, or any more city services for that matter.

    If the Council does their job and gets more reasonable city labor contracts, and better monitor and control the funds they do spend, I would consider voting yes on such a measure next time – but with this Council’s dismal record of the last several years, not this time.

    In the discussions on the police and fire, people still seem to think that the base pay is the fundamental issue, when if you look at the actual stats and how some officers make $250k, the issue is overtime. We need a much more aggressive enforcement of regular working hours, and that would largely solve the issue.

    Overtime is also the issue to focus on in contract negotiations in the future, as that is they key to bringing the budget back in line with available funds.

  37. Johathan Livingston

    Rewarding our corrupt and incompetent politicians with even more of our tax dollars defies all logic. Vote No on BB, X, L and the rest of the alphabet soup extortion measures. Next year, our corrupt politicians will want more tax increases with measures F,C,K, & U. If you vote for them, you’ll deserve what you get.

  38. Hayden

    I don’t believe it’s correct to say we have one of the highest tax rates in the nation.

    At least with respect to property taxes, California has one of the lowest tax rates in the nation, with a median real estate tax of $4.77 per $1,000 of home value, according to NAHB (2005 numbers)(http://retirementliving.com/RLpropertytaxrate.html).

    By comparison, Texas has a median rate of $18.17 per $1,000, and Illinois a median rate of $15.79 per $1,000. Illinois also has a relatively high sales tax and a state income tax.

    Of course, in general Californians live in more expensive homes than in Illinois or Texas, and can obtain an effectively reduced tax rate by remaining in a residence (minimizing reassessment), but government services are also more expensive due to the higher cost of living.

    My recollection is that communities in suburban Chicago that have some of the best schools also have some of the highest property taxes–typically exceeding 2% of home value, with regular periodic reassessments.

    The Sept. 2010 median home sale price in Oakland was $280,000. I wonder how many homeowners are paying $6,720 in annual property taxes (using the 2.4% for LaGrange, a Chicago suburb) on their homes? For that matter, the median in Alamo was $1.2 million. Are those homeowners paying about $29,000 per year in property taxes? This is an honest question–I don’t know the answer. But I suspect the relatively low property taxes help increase home prices.

  39. len raphael

    Hayden, the comparative tax burden question is not simple. You also have to include state income tax and sales taxes, many of which don’t go to local govts. eg. California has a higher personal income tax rate schedule than NJ and probably Ill, but lower than the combined NYS/NYC rate. On the other hand, NYC has a very low real estate rate on owner occupied old homes.

    Re BB, while personally I would say even if most of the MY anti violence money is spent effectively (which would probably make Oakland the only city in the country to do so), it is a valid question whether a city as poor as ours can afford to fund what the State and Feds do not.

    Proponents like Quan and Kaplan would say those are cheaper than cops. I would guess that the cost per crime averted is very high compared to policing, but the reality is no one knows.

    The other issue is that the council runs around like headless chickens, patching holes in the bursting budget dike, by laying off cops instead of taking credible good faith efforts forcing big compensation, and concessions, and proposing parcel taxes and utility taxes that either wont’ pass or gain the council maybe 6 months time for their fervent hope that there will either be a Federal bail out or Real Estate Boom II will start.

    -len raphael, oakland

  40. Dax

    Sales tax in Oakland in 1966 = 4%

    Guess what, Oakland was not running deficits in 1966 and the streets were paved.

    In 1966 a Oakland city employee got a 60% pension after 30 years.

    In 2010 a Oakland city employee gets a 81% pension after 30 years.

    Please note, that when you use percents, inflation should take care of all revenue needs and pension needs.

    But Oakland has increased the sales tax rate from 4% to 9.75% which is a 144% hike in the rate.

    The pension rate was hiked 35% just in 2004.

    I suppose the money grows on trees.
    Perhaps that is why the city now requires a $55 fee to cut down any tree of 8 inches or more in diameter.

    Wouldn’t want to cut down a tree that was growing money.

  41. mfraser

    Hayden – I assume you are joking? The transfer tax in Oakland is close to 2% on buying / selling a home, and almost no one else has anything like that.

    We also have huge penalties and fines on the parking, as well as the increasingly discussed punitive ‘fines’ (taxes) of CEDA for pretense of blight and the like.

    I don’t know where you come up with your stats on Cali / Oakland property taxes, but I’m assuming you don’t have to pay any since what you report is about 1/3 of what is on the actual bill. Here’s a more detailed accounting from CC Times, which seems roughly accurate to me, but remember this doesn’t even account for the 2% highly irregular transfer tax!

    “Homeowners wouldn’t know from looking at their property tax bills that they have been paying extra for the Police and Fire Retirement System. A typical California bill includes a base fee of 1 percent of the assessed value of the structure and land.

    On top of that, homeowners must pay their share of voter-approved debt issued by cities, schools, transit and park districts and other agencies. For Oakland property owners, that adds another 0.4 percent. Of that, slightly more than half goes to the city.

    The money for the Police and Fire Retirement System comes out of the city share. Specifically, the system costs each homeowner an additional 0.1575 percent each year. On an average Oakland home, with an assessed value of $266,267, that works out to $419 a year. For the pricier $1 million homes in the hills, that’s $1,575 a year.

    The unusual extra charge to fund pensions for this relatively small group of retirees is more than Oakland residents pay for school bonds and far more than they pay for bonds issued by BART, the regional park district or the community college district.”

    Homes in Texas and these other areas are far less expensive for comparable homes, so gloss over that crucial point as well, suggesting only that government services are higher b/c the cost of living is higher. But you have the causal direction wrong; at this point, the higher cost of living is largely being driven by outsize state worker costs and the tax burdens being imposed to try to finance a nearly bankrupt system. Some estimates now put the statewide pension shortfall at $500B or more, 5x the total state budget, and steadily growing.

    Not even factoring those things in:

    “When you include welfare spending and the like, California ranks 47th of 50 in economic freedom, according to a study by the Pacific Research Institute (PRI) – up a couple of ranks from the prior years.”

    “The overall tax burden in California, taking into account taxes paid by individuals, results in a ranking as 6th most-tax burdened state in the country, according to Tax Foundation. This is a couple of steps down from its 4th place status in 2007.” [source: taxgirl website]

    Again, these stats don’t account for Oakland’s huge and regressive parking efforts, nor the nearly 2% transfer taxes on buying / selling homes.

    Given the additional taxes and fees I’m pointing out that are not included in any comparative analysis I’ve been able to find (as those are mostly statewide), these provide strong reason to believe Oakland is already in the top 1% to 2% of tax jurisdictions in the nation. Certainly we are in the top 5% – to suggest otherwise is to ignore many layers of punitive fees we impose and collect.

  42. mfraser

    If you think we are badly off now, be aware that our able city legislators are about to slam us with an additional $50M in unfunded liabilities. We aven’t even heard much about this in the public discourse yet, have we? But it’s coming straight at us like a tidal wave that won’t be stopped:

    (this is the same Borenstein article from CC Times):

    “The story of the Police and Fire Retirement System tax dates to its formation in 1951, when two existing retirement funds were combined to form the new system for sworn personnel. But the system ran into deep trouble. By 1976, an actuarial analysis showed the system so short of funds that the city would have needed to spend more than half its annual budget to correct the situation.

    Instead, the city responded by closing off the PFRS to new employees and sending future workers into the state retirement system. The city also obtained voter approval to pay off over 40 years the pension liability for those remaining in the Police and Fire Retirement System. That would have resolved the debt by 2016. In 1988, the city went back to voters and obtained permission to spread out the repayment until 2026. Now, it looks questionable whether they will make that date.

    What voters were never told when they went to the polls in 1976 or 1988 is that they would be paying an additional property tax to cover the pension costs.

    In 1981, the city started levying the tax. In 1983, the state Court of Appeal upheld it. In 1985, the Legislature placed a cap on the tax at the 0.1575 rate.

    And then, in 1997, the city issued bonds to raise money for the pension fund. In exchange for that large contribution to the retirement system, the city was given a “holiday” from making payments until 2011. Instead, the tax revenues would be used to pay off the bonds.

    In essence, the city was betting that the money raised by the bond sale would earn more investment income than the interest the city would have to pay on the bonds. It didn’t work out that way. The stock market tanked and the city is left with the bond payment obligation and a badly underfunded pension system.

    In 2001, the city refinanced the bonds, pushing the repayment dates further into the future. As a result, come next year, the city will have to start making payments to the pension system again, while it still has outstanding bonds to repay stretching through 2023. The property tax revenues won’t cover both. The city will be about $53 million short, money that would have to come out of the general fund at a time when the city is already strapped for cash.”

    I’m not even sure if this is $5m per year or more than that, but it’s like another Raider’s style debacle on top of everything else. Quite a challenge!

  43. Max Allstadt

    @Patrick M.

    Have you lost a family member to a murderer? I have.

    I am fortunate to come from a family where we have a tradition of believing in therapy, we have a strong unified support network, and we have some family members who are wealthy enough to help others out in times of desperate need.

    In 2007 when my aunt was shot dead by a crystal meth addict, even with all the advantages my family had, we were shattered and needed assistance to recover.

    Scores of families in East Oakland and West Oakland lose boys to bullets every year. Many of these families are nowhere near as unified, affluent, or open to psychological treatment as my family was. If you think that what the Khadafy Foundation does is fluff, you’re just fucking wrong.

  44. ralph

    I am goingto ignore mfraser’s fees discussion because fees are not taxes and when it comes to parking they are avoidable.

    But on the real estate tax, I agree; hayden do the math. The CA base rate is 1%. The study you cited and one I found on Forbes have some serious flaws. The calculated rate is not even close to the 1%.

  45. len raphael

    Max, the question isn’t whether Khadafy does good stuff, from what little i’ve read it seems to run on very low overhead. Question is strictly priorities.

    For every Khadafy worker, how many ill trained ineffectual “anti-violence” counselors are on the payroll of other non profits paid by MY?

    We don’t know but based on human nature and public funding, there’s reason to expect the worst until proven otherwise.

  46. ralph

    Len,
    It is probably true that some programs are not as effective. We should require audits to ensure that programs are meeting stated objectives. But what we can not and should not do is let a one or two bad actors ruin effective services for those people who are most in need.

  47. mfraser

    On what basis you distinguish parking I don’t understand. When you are charging something to cover the cost of enforcement I can see some small distinction, but this money is fungible; for all intents and purposes this is a tax. It is decided upon by the a specific entity and imposed for revenue generating purposes. Using this logic we could increase traffic fines 10x, then get rid of all other taxes and by your definition we’d be ‘tax free!’

    “According to a study in this month’s Journal of Law and Economics, local governments like Malden use traffic citations to bridge budget shortfalls. Researchers Thomas Garrett and Gary Wagner examined revenue and traffic citation data from 1990 to 2003 in 96 counties in North Carolina, and they discovered that the number of citations issued increases in years that follow a drop in revenue.

    They got the idea for the study when Garrett, assistant vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, got an exorbitant ticket for speeding in Pennsylvania.

    Garrett likened traffic violations to a “hidden tax,” like hotel occupancy taxes, that can easily be passed on to to out-of-state tourists.” (Feb, 2009)

  48. mfraser

    Here’s a good piece on this from the LAT in 1993:

    “Parking Fines and Official Exemptions
    March 11, 1993
    The Feb. 25 story on plans for Santa Monica to raise its parking fines confirmed what many have long suspected: Parking fines have become just another form of taxation, a way for local governments to avoid having to endure the pain of cutting their budgets.

    Santa Monica’s annual $4-million parking swag, now slated for more than a 50% increase, is only one of many sad examples. The City of Los Angeles rakes in more than $100 million.

    The victims are not just “scofflaws,” as your headline writer would have it, but anyone who drives a car in this fair city–except for its government officials. They of course have carefully exempted themselves, apparently on the theory that where taxation is concerned, it is enough for them to be on the receiving end.

    This tax is not only punitive; it is regressive. The burden falls most heavily on the poor, who often live and work where the parking restrictions are at their most Draconian.

    It is abhorrent for people to be treated like criminals just so the city can squeeze more money out of them. What if violations should decrease? The city’s perverse incentive is then to crack down even more to maintain the revenue flow.”

    To maintain that this isn’t a tax is the classic flaw of ‘distinction without a difference.’ Or as Bill S said, “a rose by any other name…”

  49. mfraser

    Ralph, what about the transfer TAX? I believe they actually admit on face that is in fact a tax. Would you discount that as well?

  50. ralph

    The transfer tax is what it is. A number of municipalities impose it. Because most people aren’t buying and selling a house a year, I tend not to spend a lot of time thinking about it. I forget what the Oakland rate is but it did not factor into my purchase decision as much as the annual tax burden did.

  51. CitizenX

    Parking fines are meant to be punative and to have the effect of changing people’s behavior. They are not meant to cover the cost of enforcement, as a fee would.

    On the other hand, City Council and the City’s administration lost sight of the original intent long ago, when they discovered that the fines are easily increased, as is the level of enforcement. Parking enforcement is a very ugly cash cow for the City and highly resented.

  52. Karen Bishop

    And a business killer. Ralph dismisses parking tickets as avoidable. Obviously it isn’t that easy or millions wouldn’t be coming into the city coffers. On Columbus Day, a city recognized holiday, I received a $55.00 ticket. In Oakland, you have to read those stupid metal boxes every time to make sure you know exactly which holiday is a meter free holiday and which ones aren’t. Its nut’s.

  53. ralph

    Yes, Karen. Parking fines are avoidable and punitive. I do not believe that they should be used for revenue generation. They should be used to discourage behavior such as running red lights. They should be used to support business – parking policy should encourage turnover and discourage parking squattors.

    If people are park squatting, then others become discouraged, maybe they drive around for some time looking for a park, increasing pollutants in the process. Maybe they avoid a shopping district all together. Maybe they forego a purchase.

    From the business perspective, you have a lost buyer(s). Maybe the additional buyers would have created enough revenue for the owner to hire another person.

    As for reading the boxes, you do they everywhere. Last Thursday, I was in SF during the morning commute hrs. I guy was ticketed and about to be towed for being parked on Montgomery. There are 5 different signs to explain when you can park in that one block.

    If you earned a license, then you have a responsibility to be familiar with the rules of the road and this includes parking.

  54. Karen Bishop

    A better way to support business in Oakland is to get rid of the meter all together. There are still ways to prevent people from being parking squatters. I realize you have to read signs no matter what city you live in, but $55.00 is ridiculous. I can take my business elsewhere and not pay a dime for parking.

  55. Hayden

    mfraser, thanks for your thoughts.

    I’m still a bit confused–the taxes you cite add up to about 1.6% of assessed value. That is well below the >2% I cited for communities I know of with good schools in Chicago.

    The issue of assessed value likely explains at least some of the difference in the survey numbers. A house on my block in Oakland has not changed hands for some time, and is assessed at about $65,000–although comparable sales this year would put its value at perhaps $300,000. In the Chicago suburbs, the house would be subject to periodic reassessment. Here, it’s not. Also, it’s subject to parcel taxes that have, percentage-wise, a disproportionately high impact on low-assessed properties. This property has taxes of about $1750/year–or almost 2.7% of the *assessed* valuation! However, this is an effective tax rate of less than 0.6% of current value. I suspect that’s why the California number in the article looks much lower than one would otherwise expect (as an additional example, a property nearby that recently sold is assessed at $352,000 and has taxes of about $5,450, or 1.5%–already well below Illinois rates).

  56. annoyed

    More crying over parking fines. I have no sympathy whatsoever. Just based on the comments, people are cheapskates. People will short the meter to save a lousy buck in quarters then go ballistic when they get a ticket. It’s about being cheap, people.

    Every year we go through the same drama. Look at the parking meter, people. It will tell you which holidays are meter free. Columbus Day and Veteran’s Day are not meter free. Neither is the day after Thanksgiving. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember. Pull your eyes away from your electronic toys long enough to pay attention to what is going on around you and you won’t have to embarass yourself by acting like someone victimized you because you got a ticket. See that big post in the ground with a sign on it? Read the sign, it’s trying to tell you you can’t park there.

    By the way, the meter rates in SF are specifically intended to raise revenues. They are very high and are in effect in some areas seven days a week. I am so sick of the whining in this city about parking.

    Gawd I love Parking Wars on A&E. The worst hysterics in the world are people who bring absolutely no sense of responsibility when it comes to car ownership.

    Could these be the same people who got trophies for stinking at little league or vollyball because it would damage their self esteem not to get recognized for something? Here, you got a parking ticket because you are special. Go and enjoy.

  57. Oaklandlifer

    I think we are very fortunate to live in such a wonderful place and so I think the taxes are a small price to pay! Life is not all about the money. I would guess those complaining the most can probably afford to pay easier than most people can. Just a guess! Reminds me of that book The Millionaire Next Door.

  58. Patrick M. Mitchell

    Max, I am truly sorry that you lost a family member to a murderer. I have not.

    Truthfully, I have never even heard of the Khadafy foundation; however, I agree with Len. What I have heard/read about most anti-violence programs is that their results are questionable at best.

    The primary point of Measure Y was cops – violence prevention programs were integral, but lesser. And the City didn’t keep their part of the bargain regarding police. More police – as has been shown time and time again – do not prevent crime, they only react to it. So, though losing more police is unappetizing, it is a price I am willing to pay. Anti-violence programs will lose out because our government lied yet again.

    As stated by another commenter, our fair City has plenty of money to do everything a City is supposed to do – but they don’t. Or more pointedly won’t. We’ve discussed the reasons ad nauseum. Place a measure on the ballot that rescinds Kid’s First and puts that money towards violence prevention and I’d be all over it.

    I voted NO on BB and I don’t regret it.

  59. mfraser

    Hayden, in midst of work but briefly:

    Yes, Chicago is amongst the highest taxed as well. You must include property taxes, sales tax, transfer tax over that average purchase holding time of 5 to 10 years, and I would also include hidden taxes such as excessive parking fines, abatement fees, etc. If those who are tracking that are correct abatement fines are huge, and probably on par with parking. One post said $24M a year, with most going to the contractors?

    While I agree with your comparison about Chicago on total costs, or SF, the point is our services are NOTHING like the services of those cities or suburbs. We are paying top dollar and getting very little in return. I would guess that if we are in the top 5% on a percentage of income basis, we are in the bottom 1 or 2% on quality of services receives for total funds collected and expended. That is why so many here are feeling ripped off. As I’ve mentioned before, coming from Richmond (CA) recently, the difference is services and the constant grab for money seems palpably different. It might surprise you, but I really didn’t have any complaint about these issues out there, even though many regard the city as imperfectly run. I actually think they do a lot within the very challenged budget situation they are dealing with.

  60. MarleenLee

    Here’s my favorite quote of the day from today’s Trib: “Moore… did, however, vote for more police through a parcel tax, and he hopes it goes some way toward improving safety for Oakland’s children.” Too bad there was nothing on the ballot that actually provided for “more police.” It just goes to show how slimy our City officials are in misleading the public, and how ignorant many voters are. Too ignorant to wade throught the lies and deception to figure out what the measure actually means. This poor slob actually thinks if one of the measures pass, we’ll have “more police.” Sad.

  61. ralph

    Hayden,
    I think I see the flaw. Amazing what a good run will do. The surveys cited are looking at the median which probably differs significantly from the mean.

  62. Barry K

    Marleen, I can top your quote of the day with: Fields Supports BB

    Arnie Fields supports Measure BB because he says “We need more education.”

    **
    Seems like Arnie needed the education on this one.

  63. len raphael

    Mf, gotta agree with you that if the services delivered to all residents were decent, we wouldn’t fight every parcel tax and parking meter hike. Would even be more willing to support some of the social programming that only wealthy cities can afford.

    Part of the reason lousy service delivery was prevalent here, is that historically it was fine in the hills with the high voter turnout and the presidential source of mayors. Poorer or at least less politically cohesive people in the flats got the shaft, except for the “programs” which were often disguised pork.

    In the sense that the hills are still quite safe and still have decent schools, nothing has changed as much as i thought they would with the gentrification of the flats. But they are changing and even the hills will be shocked when their streets collapse.

    -len raphael

  64. Marleenlee

    Next time I’ll know better. I should have pitched the opposition by saying: “Vote against Measure BB to stop the war in Afghanistan, lower class sizes, stop police brutality and lose 20 pounds without exercise or diet!”

  65. livegreen

    Saying that anti-BB voters are voting for the Tea Party is totally dismissive of the criticism over the City Council’s management of the measure. I’ve yet to see BB supporters address this matter.

    I agree with BB supporters that some of the Measure Y programs are productive. However by advocating support for the Measure based only on these programs (since M-BB guts the minimum # of Officers) ignores the entire history of Measure Y & why it came about: it combined two previous failed measures by bringing together both support for social programs AND police officers.

    To support the City Council’s effort to spend money on only one (as they’ve done) is to ignore how & why M-Y got passed in the first place.

    Answer that criticism directly. Side-step the issue by ignoring it and name calling (or bringing up a separate point) is NOT an answer to that criticism.

  66. Patrick M. Mitchell

    Marleen: I want to buy you a drink at Forbidden Island. Yes, I know it bleeds potential sales tax.

  67. livegreen

    I agree with Max about the Khadafy Foundation. Good organization. I feel for those who have lost family members. I can only imagine the pain they suffer.

  68. Karen Bishop

    well I’m so glad some people here are perfect, always reading the meter signs correctly, totally understanding every parking sign. Getting ticked about a parking ticket isn’t about being a cheapskate. If I was a cheapskate I wouldn’t be living in Oakland, I would have gone the way of suburbia long ago. Yes parking tickets are meant to change behavior but isn’t meant to mug you.

    Ralph, red light runners are putting people at risk and I can’t say the same for someone overstaying their welcome in the parking spot.

    @oaklandlifer – I don’t think you can assume that b/c someone complains about a ticket they are someone who can afford it. Not sure where the Millionaire Next Door comes in, that is a book about people who are frugal and save money and are quietly building their wealth. It isn’t about rich people whining about the price of goods.

  69. Chuck

    Marleen, there are indeed headaches to passing along the fees to existing tenants, I agree completely, however it is not a headache at all to pass along parcel taxes to new tenants. Fees as small as $90 a year are not complicated to pass along with new rentals, or by increasing rent as allowed by the renting policies in Oakland. Pity the landlord losing $7 / month on account of measure Y. Pity them for not figuring out how to raise rent by $7 a month next year. They’re not stupid, Marleen. The landlord sympathy movement is a hard sell, and I ain’t buying.

    And speaking of stupid, I really don’t appreciate your dismissing my remarks by calling me ignorant. In the closing paragraph of my earlier comment, I absolutely allowed / called for OPOA give-backs and the city to drive a hard bargain on the matter. We agree on those particular points, so your condescension was unnecessary.

    I’m glad BB won so we can keep the city safe enough to continue discussing how we’re going to fix OPD and the crime issues the city faces.

  70. len raphael

    Chuck, except for a certain number of below market rate rent controlled units, market rents are the ultimate limit on passing thru parcel tax increases to tennants. in a flat to down rental market, parcel taxes are one more reason not to own.

    or look at it as the city taxing those of us stupid enough to make house payments.

  71. Chuck

    Len, at least in our part of Oakland, the market is more than able to sustain rental rates that can cover MY parcel taxes.

    I understand and agree they’re dangerously regressive, but that was not the point of the discussion above, which was the argument about whether a no vote on BB was cutting off your nose to spite your face. I still believe it would have been.

  72. len raphael

    Chuck, I was thinking more of Measure X than MY. MX explicity allowed a passthru of was it half? of the tax in rent controlled units.

    My point is that most units are not rent controlled, so presumedly the owners are renting them for the most the market will bear now, subject to all the usual reasons like keeping turnover down, responsible tennants etc.

    Rasing someones’ rent by $30 on say a 1,200 unit is enough to make many renters consider moving. It’s also 30/month that the owner might have planned to increase but now can’t. That might not bother you but the point is its not as if tennants don’t have neighboring cities, competing landlords available that prevent a passthru of parcel taxes.

  73. len raphael

    Would be funny if unions and tea partyers found common ground on upholding the rights of states to bleed their residents dry to pay for pension obligations.

    but then a teapartyer would say, the residents have every right to move to a state or city which didn’t make promises it couldn’t keep. whereas the unions would prefer a federal bailout at 100% on the dollars owed to retirees.

  74. MarleenLee

    Thanks to the passage of Measure BB, the citizens have given up the only bargaining chip they had to get staffing back to where it should be. The City has power – they hold the purse strings. The OPOA has power – they have a closed contract. And they care more about preserving existing jobs, benefits and salaries than they do about actual staffing levels. The citizens, on the other hand, are the ones who really hurt when staffing goes down. And yesterday, the City announced that with the passage of Measure BB, staffing was going to go DOWN by another 35 officers. And it can continue to go down with impunity now, thanks to Measure BB. If it had failed, the City would have had to go back to the drawing board with OPOA and a better “fix” to Measure Y that would have had a less draconian impact on the actual citizens, or had an incentive to bring the force back up to 739, which Perata was promising to do anyway. I still believe most voters were duped into supporting BB because they actually thought it would expand the size of the force.

  75. Dax

    Lets all write to the police chief and to Don Perata, asking them to force Dom Arotzarena to actually go out on the street and be a visible officer.

    That would add at least one officer to the actual street force.

    Any reason why Dom is full time union rep on the city’s tab?

    Or do I have a misunderstanding about how his position and pay is handled?
    I may not understand how he is paid and what his duties are.

    Anyone know?

    BTW, Dom’s blog has the following …

    “Most recently I heard Mayoral Candidate Quan say that we need to get more desk officers out onto the street. Wake up Mrs. Quan there are no desk officer positions!!! Maybe she wants to pull from some of the few detectives that OPD has left. They are only investigating Homicides, Robberies, Rapes and Domestic Violence, not really important things!!!!”

    Does that include Dom’s position?

  76. MarleenLee

    My guess is that OPOA pays for most, if not all of Dom’s salary while he is released for union duties. If that is not the case, then the City negotiated a lousy contract with OPOA.

  77. livegreen

    Dax, you’ve asked that question before and, as i already mentioned, he’s in charge of recruitment for OPD. But its a good question, if he needs to do both while on the job.
    I’d imagine this isn’t the first time this issue has come up…

  78. Dax

    LG, how much recruiting is being done when you are laying off dozens of officers.

    And when positions come open, I’m thinking they’ll mostly be hiring those laid off.

    Hence it may be a year or two before new recruiting is needed.
    What is Dom doing for those two years?

    How many hours on recruitment and how many doing OPOA duties?

    The reality is that, as is obvious, Dom probably cannot do actual patrol duty.
    Aren’t their some basic requirements?

    That officer, Mike, use to come here and tell us how tough the job is. I believe him.