News

Editorial: Our election recommendations

A sign guides voters to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters office in San Jose. Embarcadero Media file photo.

Here's a list of the Palo Alto Weekly's recommendations on local, regional and statewide candidates and measures, in addition to California propositions, on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

U.S. Congress

Anna Eshoo (D)(inc)

State Senate

Josh Becker (D)

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State Assembly

Marc Berman (D)(inc)

County Board of Education

Melissa Baten Caswell

Foothill-DeAnza College District Board

Peter Landsberger (inc)

Laura Casas (inc)

Gilbert Wong (inc)

Palo Alto City Council

Pat Burt

Ed Lauing

Greer Stone

Lydia Kou (inc)

Palo Alto Unified School District Board

Jennifer DiBrienza (inc)

Todd Collins (inc)

Jesse Ladomirak

Local and state ballot measures

Measure O - YES

Palo Alto Unified School District Parcel Tax (requires two-thirds vote)

Measure O extends a parcel tax that residents and businesses in the school district have been paying since 2001 to supplement the district's revenue from property taxes. With annual automatic 2% increases each year, and occasional large bumps when it has been renewed every five years, the parcel tax is now $836 per parcel and generates almost $16 million a year, or roughly 7% of the budget. It doesn't expire until next year, giving the district another chance to win voter approval if it should fail to win the needed two-thirds support.

The funds from this tax have, unfortunately, now become baked into the regular operating budget, so its defeat would mean cuts of $16 million. The tax helps to keep Palo Alto's per-pupil spending among the highest in the state at around $25,000. With the high property values in Palo Alto, an additional parcel tax shouldn't have become just another part of the district's revenue stream, but with voters repeatedly supporting it for almost 20 years there has been no effort to wean it from the budget during strong economic times. Seniors can obtain the usual exemption if they wish, making such a tax measure palatable to them.

The best reason for supporting Measure O is that its failure will force cuts to many of the strong programs that make this district so unique. At an uncertain time due to the COVID-19 crisis and the possibility of impacts on property tax revenues ahead, voters should approve the continuation of the parcel tax to ensure stability of our finances

Measure S - NO

Santa Clara Valley Water District Parcel Tax (requires two-thirds vote)

Measure S seeks to renew an existing parcel tax that isn't set to expire for eight years and modify it so it will continue indefinitely without any further voter approval. The current tax generates $45 million a year. The water district and supporters argue that passage of Measure S is needed in order to be able to plan for projects that will extend beyond the 2028 expiration date of the current tax. Some Palo Alto residents in the San Francisquito Creek flood zone are actively supporting it because they think its passage will increase the likelihood of there being sufficient funding to complete local flood control measures, including the replacement of the Pope-Chaucer bridge. But the measure contains no such commitment and is an attempt to permanently lock in a tax without any sunset date and therefore no accountability to the public. We strongly support flood control and clean water projects in the county, but this measure is not the answer. Let the district return with a new proposal that respects the voters by being more transparent and that is limited to a 15-year period, as the current tax provides.

Measure RR - YES

Caltrain Sales Tax Measure (requires two-thirds vote)

The system under which Caltrain is managed and funded is a complete mess and needs a massive overhaul. The pandemic has only added to the governance and financial problems. The system has never had a guaranteed source of funding and relies on voluntary contributions from San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties to supplement fare revenue, which is now a fraction of pre-pandemic levels. It's operated under a Joint Powers Agreement between the three counties but managed by the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans), and problems with this arrangement and the lack of accountability have been the source of conflict for decades.

Measure RR, which had to be approved by seven different agencies to get on the ballot, does nothing to fix the underlying governance problems, but it is necessary to ensure Caltrain's survival through and after the COVID-19 crisis. It will provide, for the first time, a secure source of funding through a 1/8 cent sales tax over the next 30 years. That's a huge step forward. We reluctantly recommend voters approve this measure, which requires approval by two-thirds of voters overall in the three affected counties.

State Propositions

Prop. 14 - No

Stem cell bonds

Sixteen years ago, when voters approved $3 billion in bonds for stem cell research, it was critical to the growth and development of a promising new field of research, largely because the Bush Administration had prohibited all federal funding. But there is now adequate federal government and private funding being invested in stem cell research. With all of the state's other needs there is no reason California should continue to fund the state's own program when there is ample national research being done.

Prop. 15 - Yes

Commercial property tax split roll

It's long past time to end the property tax break to commercial property owners in California, whose taxes don't increase with the value of their property. Since commercial real estate turns over much less frequently than homes, the current system is grossly unfair and amounts to a giant subsidy to real estate investors. The most common argument against the measure is that property tax increases are often passed along to tenants, which include small businesses. Economic studies have repeatedly shown, however, that commercial rents are driven by the market, not by tax rates. Owners of commercial buildings set rental rates based on what owners of similar space are charging and what tenants are willing to pay.

Prop. 16 - Yes

Affirmative action

When voters approved Prop. 209 in 1996, they banned most affirmative action programs in public institutions, including the state college system. At a time when residents are awakening to the racial bias that still permeates our society, this proposed repeal of Prop. 209, adopted overwhelmingly by the legislature, will restore the ability for state and local agencies to consider race, sex, ethnicity and national origin in hiring decisions. Similarly, state universities will be able to consider these factors as part of their admissions process. Most private employers have active programs to diversify their workforce. It is wrong that public employers and schools are prevented from doing the same.

Prop. 17 - Yes

Parolees' right to vote

This simple proposal, placed on the ballot by the legislature, would give those who have completed their prison sentence but who are still on supervised parole the right to vote. Parole is a period during which offenders are expected to reenter society, find gainful employment and contribute to society. Providing them with the right to vote gives them a stake in their future and comes at no harm to anyone. It's an easy way to give agency to a person trying to move on from the mistakes they've made.

Prop. 18 - Yes

17-year-olds vote in primaries

This legislative proposal allows for a 17-year-old to register and vote in a primary or special election if they will turn 18 before the next general election. It makes good sense to allow a young person who desires to exercise his or her right to vote in a general election after turning 18 to be able to participate in the primary election that selects the top two candidates for that office. Anything that encourages interest in voting and the electoral process among young people is good for democracy.

Prop. 19 - Yes

Transfer of tax base

This measure would add new tax benefits to existing law for people 55 and older who sell their home and purchase a new one by enabling them to retain the property tax level of the home they sell. It's being pushed by Realtors and firefighters with $42 million in campaign donations (versus almost no expenditures against). For those who have been in their homes at protected Prop. 13 tax levels for a long time, this is yet another unfair benefit to what they have already been enjoying by paying property taxes that are a fraction of what a new homeowner is paying. But until we have the courage to reform the entire property tax system, this measure will make a decision to move easier, and thereby help to increase helpful turnover of the housing stock.

Prop. 20 - No

Criminal justice reform rollbacks

This initiative measure attempts to undo reforms in the criminal justice system that were passed in the last decade and were an important part of reducing the state's prison population in response to federal court orders. It would put more people back in prison, at great expense, and cut programs that are aimed at assisting offenders to successfully return to society. This measure would be a giant step backward and return us to a day when non-violent offenders were sentenced to long and unfair prison sentences.

Prop. 21 - Yes

Rent control at local level

Current state law prohibits cities from enacting any measures restricting rent increases for single family homes, or any housing built since 1995. Even so, about 20 percent of California residents are living in pre-1995 units that are subject to rent control laws. San Francisco, Los Angeles, Mountain View and many other cities are successfully using rent control measures to protect renters. Prop. 21 doesn't enact rent control, it simply gives cities back the ability to decide for themselves if some form of rent regulation is in the best interest of their community while addressing housing needs.

Prop. 22 - No

Gig workers as independent contractors

Pressured by unions, in 2019 the California legislature hurriedly passed AB 5 to virtually prohibit the use of independent contractors, including drivers for Uber, Lyft and other ride-share and delivery services, freelancers and an array of other workers. Ever since it has been struggling to fix all the problems and inequities in the law but has refused to budge on drivers and many other categories. In June a court ordered Uber and Lyft to treat their drivers as employees, but the ruling is on hold until the outcome of the election. AB 5 was a badly conceived and written law that needs a rewrite. But Prop. 22 is not the answer. It only addresses "app-based drivers" and amounts to a rescue of a few large companies. They should be working as part of a broad coalition to amend AB 5 to address its threat to all businesses impacted by it, not just solve their own needs.

Prop. 23 - No

Dialysis clinic requirements

This is the second attempt by unions to organize kidney dialysis workers through passage of a confusing ballot measure that doesn't belong on a state ballot. It was defeated two years ago and should be again.

Prop. 24 - Yes

Data privacy

Just two years ago the legislature passed a ground-breaking and controversial Consumer Privacy Act establishing rules allowing consumers to opt out from businesses with more than $25 million in revenue or possessing data on more than 50,000 people from sharing data they collect on them. Prop. 24 is intended to strengthen the 2018 law by clarifying some provisions and making enforcement easier through the creation of a new state agency, while reducing the number of businesses that are affected. Importantly, it will permit changes through the legislature (instead of voters) to further improve the law as long as they are consistent with the goal of increasing data privacy.

Prop. 25 - Yes

Cash bail referendum

This measure seeks to uphold 2018 legislation that does away with the cash bail system so that poor defendants aren't forced to remain in jail pending their trial while wealthy defendants are released on bail. The implementation of the new law has been delayed due to the referendum. The bail system is highly discriminatory and should be replaced with the risk-assessment system contained in the 2018 law. A "yes" vote means you approve of the law passed to eliminate cash bail. A "no" vote means that law is stricken and cash bail will continue.

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Editorial: Our election recommendations

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Oct 16, 2020, 6:55 am

Here's a list of the Palo Alto Weekly's recommendations on local, regional and statewide candidates and measures, in addition to California propositions, on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

U.S. Congress

Anna Eshoo (D)(inc)

State Senate

Josh Becker (D)

State Assembly

Marc Berman (D)(inc)

County Board of Education

Melissa Baten Caswell

Foothill-DeAnza College District Board

Peter Landsberger (inc)

Laura Casas (inc)

Gilbert Wong (inc)

Palo Alto City Council

Pat Burt

Ed Lauing

Greer Stone

Lydia Kou (inc)

Palo Alto Unified School District Board

Jennifer DiBrienza (inc)

Todd Collins (inc)

Jesse Ladomirak

Measure O - YES

Palo Alto Unified School District Parcel Tax (requires two-thirds vote)

Measure O extends a parcel tax that residents and businesses in the school district have been paying since 2001 to supplement the district's revenue from property taxes. With annual automatic 2% increases each year, and occasional large bumps when it has been renewed every five years, the parcel tax is now $836 per parcel and generates almost $16 million a year, or roughly 7% of the budget. It doesn't expire until next year, giving the district another chance to win voter approval if it should fail to win the needed two-thirds support.

The funds from this tax have, unfortunately, now become baked into the regular operating budget, so its defeat would mean cuts of $16 million. The tax helps to keep Palo Alto's per-pupil spending among the highest in the state at around $25,000. With the high property values in Palo Alto, an additional parcel tax shouldn't have become just another part of the district's revenue stream, but with voters repeatedly supporting it for almost 20 years there has been no effort to wean it from the budget during strong economic times. Seniors can obtain the usual exemption if they wish, making such a tax measure palatable to them.

The best reason for supporting Measure O is that its failure will force cuts to many of the strong programs that make this district so unique. At an uncertain time due to the COVID-19 crisis and the possibility of impacts on property tax revenues ahead, voters should approve the continuation of the parcel tax to ensure stability of our finances

Measure S - NO

Santa Clara Valley Water District Parcel Tax (requires two-thirds vote)

Measure S seeks to renew an existing parcel tax that isn't set to expire for eight years and modify it so it will continue indefinitely without any further voter approval. The current tax generates $45 million a year. The water district and supporters argue that passage of Measure S is needed in order to be able to plan for projects that will extend beyond the 2028 expiration date of the current tax. Some Palo Alto residents in the San Francisquito Creek flood zone are actively supporting it because they think its passage will increase the likelihood of there being sufficient funding to complete local flood control measures, including the replacement of the Pope-Chaucer bridge. But the measure contains no such commitment and is an attempt to permanently lock in a tax without any sunset date and therefore no accountability to the public. We strongly support flood control and clean water projects in the county, but this measure is not the answer. Let the district return with a new proposal that respects the voters by being more transparent and that is limited to a 15-year period, as the current tax provides.

Measure RR - YES

Caltrain Sales Tax Measure (requires two-thirds vote)

The system under which Caltrain is managed and funded is a complete mess and needs a massive overhaul. The pandemic has only added to the governance and financial problems. The system has never had a guaranteed source of funding and relies on voluntary contributions from San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties to supplement fare revenue, which is now a fraction of pre-pandemic levels. It's operated under a Joint Powers Agreement between the three counties but managed by the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans), and problems with this arrangement and the lack of accountability have been the source of conflict for decades.

Measure RR, which had to be approved by seven different agencies to get on the ballot, does nothing to fix the underlying governance problems, but it is necessary to ensure Caltrain's survival through and after the COVID-19 crisis. It will provide, for the first time, a secure source of funding through a 1/8 cent sales tax over the next 30 years. That's a huge step forward. We reluctantly recommend voters approve this measure, which requires approval by two-thirds of voters overall in the three affected counties.

Prop. 14 - No

Stem cell bonds

Sixteen years ago, when voters approved $3 billion in bonds for stem cell research, it was critical to the growth and development of a promising new field of research, largely because the Bush Administration had prohibited all federal funding. But there is now adequate federal government and private funding being invested in stem cell research. With all of the state's other needs there is no reason California should continue to fund the state's own program when there is ample national research being done.

Prop. 15 - Yes

Commercial property tax split roll

It's long past time to end the property tax break to commercial property owners in California, whose taxes don't increase with the value of their property. Since commercial real estate turns over much less frequently than homes, the current system is grossly unfair and amounts to a giant subsidy to real estate investors. The most common argument against the measure is that property tax increases are often passed along to tenants, which include small businesses. Economic studies have repeatedly shown, however, that commercial rents are driven by the market, not by tax rates. Owners of commercial buildings set rental rates based on what owners of similar space are charging and what tenants are willing to pay.

Prop. 16 - Yes

Affirmative action

When voters approved Prop. 209 in 1996, they banned most affirmative action programs in public institutions, including the state college system. At a time when residents are awakening to the racial bias that still permeates our society, this proposed repeal of Prop. 209, adopted overwhelmingly by the legislature, will restore the ability for state and local agencies to consider race, sex, ethnicity and national origin in hiring decisions. Similarly, state universities will be able to consider these factors as part of their admissions process. Most private employers have active programs to diversify their workforce. It is wrong that public employers and schools are prevented from doing the same.

Prop. 17 - Yes

Parolees' right to vote

This simple proposal, placed on the ballot by the legislature, would give those who have completed their prison sentence but who are still on supervised parole the right to vote. Parole is a period during which offenders are expected to reenter society, find gainful employment and contribute to society. Providing them with the right to vote gives them a stake in their future and comes at no harm to anyone. It's an easy way to give agency to a person trying to move on from the mistakes they've made.

Prop. 18 - Yes

17-year-olds vote in primaries

This legislative proposal allows for a 17-year-old to register and vote in a primary or special election if they will turn 18 before the next general election. It makes good sense to allow a young person who desires to exercise his or her right to vote in a general election after turning 18 to be able to participate in the primary election that selects the top two candidates for that office. Anything that encourages interest in voting and the electoral process among young people is good for democracy.

Prop. 19 - Yes

Transfer of tax base

This measure would add new tax benefits to existing law for people 55 and older who sell their home and purchase a new one by enabling them to retain the property tax level of the home they sell. It's being pushed by Realtors and firefighters with $42 million in campaign donations (versus almost no expenditures against). For those who have been in their homes at protected Prop. 13 tax levels for a long time, this is yet another unfair benefit to what they have already been enjoying by paying property taxes that are a fraction of what a new homeowner is paying. But until we have the courage to reform the entire property tax system, this measure will make a decision to move easier, and thereby help to increase helpful turnover of the housing stock.

Prop. 20 - No

Criminal justice reform rollbacks

This initiative measure attempts to undo reforms in the criminal justice system that were passed in the last decade and were an important part of reducing the state's prison population in response to federal court orders. It would put more people back in prison, at great expense, and cut programs that are aimed at assisting offenders to successfully return to society. This measure would be a giant step backward and return us to a day when non-violent offenders were sentenced to long and unfair prison sentences.

Prop. 21 - Yes

Rent control at local level

Current state law prohibits cities from enacting any measures restricting rent increases for single family homes, or any housing built since 1995. Even so, about 20 percent of California residents are living in pre-1995 units that are subject to rent control laws. San Francisco, Los Angeles, Mountain View and many other cities are successfully using rent control measures to protect renters. Prop. 21 doesn't enact rent control, it simply gives cities back the ability to decide for themselves if some form of rent regulation is in the best interest of their community while addressing housing needs.

Prop. 22 - No

Gig workers as independent contractors

Pressured by unions, in 2019 the California legislature hurriedly passed AB 5 to virtually prohibit the use of independent contractors, including drivers for Uber, Lyft and other ride-share and delivery services, freelancers and an array of other workers. Ever since it has been struggling to fix all the problems and inequities in the law but has refused to budge on drivers and many other categories. In June a court ordered Uber and Lyft to treat their drivers as employees, but the ruling is on hold until the outcome of the election. AB 5 was a badly conceived and written law that needs a rewrite. But Prop. 22 is not the answer. It only addresses "app-based drivers" and amounts to a rescue of a few large companies. They should be working as part of a broad coalition to amend AB 5 to address its threat to all businesses impacted by it, not just solve their own needs.

Prop. 23 - No

Dialysis clinic requirements

This is the second attempt by unions to organize kidney dialysis workers through passage of a confusing ballot measure that doesn't belong on a state ballot. It was defeated two years ago and should be again.

Prop. 24 - Yes

Data privacy

Just two years ago the legislature passed a ground-breaking and controversial Consumer Privacy Act establishing rules allowing consumers to opt out from businesses with more than $25 million in revenue or possessing data on more than 50,000 people from sharing data they collect on them. Prop. 24 is intended to strengthen the 2018 law by clarifying some provisions and making enforcement easier through the creation of a new state agency, while reducing the number of businesses that are affected. Importantly, it will permit changes through the legislature (instead of voters) to further improve the law as long as they are consistent with the goal of increasing data privacy.

Prop. 25 - Yes

Cash bail referendum

This measure seeks to uphold 2018 legislation that does away with the cash bail system so that poor defendants aren't forced to remain in jail pending their trial while wealthy defendants are released on bail. The implementation of the new law has been delayed due to the referendum. The bail system is highly discriminatory and should be replaced with the risk-assessment system contained in the 2018 law. A "yes" vote means you approve of the law passed to eliminate cash bail. A "no" vote means that law is stricken and cash bail will continue.

Comments

Rick Callender
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2020 at 10:53 am
Rick Callender, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 16, 2020 at 10:53 am
12 people like this

The editorial on MeasureS in completely incorrect. San Francquito is fully funded if Measure S is passed. If it doesn't pass it not funded. See the true facts at safecleanwater.org. yes on S for safe clean water, homeless abatements in a humane way, and flood protection.


Chris
Registered user
University South
on Oct 16, 2020 at 11:16 am
Chris, University South
Registered user
on Oct 16, 2020 at 11:16 am
24 people like this

It’s good to see somebody hasn’t been snowed by Uber and Lyft’s massive spending on advertising. Despite the education level in Palo Alto, it is surprising that so many people have bought into giving special breaks to a few private companies with unsustainable business models.


Measure S is critical for flood control
Registered user
Community Center
on Oct 16, 2020 at 11:45 am
Measure S is critical for flood control, Community Center
Registered user
on Oct 16, 2020 at 11:45 am
10 people like this

In order for San Francisquito Creek to complete our flood control projects we need measure S. It does not raise taxes but simply extends the existing tax to continue after 2028.


Menlo Park Resident
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Oct 16, 2020 at 12:09 pm
Menlo Park Resident, Menlo Park
Registered user
on Oct 16, 2020 at 12:09 pm
14 people like this

The Prop 15 editorial is also misleading (probably copied from the biased and misleading language in the ballot that calls this a tax "change" and refuses to call it an "increase")

"whose taxes don't increase with the value of their property". The assessed values go up 2% per year and also the cost of improvements made to the property.

"The most common argument against the measure is that property tax increases are often passed along to tenants, which include small businesses." This increase is passed on to tenants for the remainder of their existing lease terms and in most cases any renewal option terms. One scenario that is always left out of the discussion is that a large percentage of the properties that are not sold very often are owned by the businesses that occupy them and therefore will be responsible for the entire increase at a time most are already struggling.


Taxpayer
Registered user
Barron Park
on Oct 16, 2020 at 2:08 pm
Taxpayer, Barron Park
Registered user
on Oct 16, 2020 at 2:08 pm
19 people like this

The PAUSD 14th Day Enrollment Report, 2020-21 came out on October 9. Enrollment is down 8% this year, continuing a declining trend (6 years in a row).

What's the need for a parcel tax that represents 6% of the PAUSD budget when PAUSD has lost 8% of its enrollment just this year? ($15.6 million projected revenue from the parcel tax/$267 million 2020-21 projected annual budget)

Also, PAUSD just netted $10 million due to school closure savings, and emergency relief funds.

BTW, why is PAUSD announcing its enrollment in a parents only email on a Friday (Oct 9) night rather than as an agenda item at a public board meeting, as it has done every year for the past 5 consecutive years?

Vote No on Measure O!

Below are the PAUSD enrollment reports:
Web Link
Web Link


Norman Beamer
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Oct 16, 2020 at 6:55 pm
Norman Beamer, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Oct 16, 2020 at 6:55 pm
10 people like this

Please vote "YES" for Measure S in order to ensure finds for the flood control of San Francisquito Creek.


In the Details
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 17, 2020 at 3:28 am
In the Details, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2020 at 3:28 am
23 people like this

Thanks for the recommendations.

Unfortunately, the analysis of Prop 19 is inadequate and frankly a little glib.

The law is complicated and not very well thought through.

There are 3 main areas it affects:
1) It purports (and is advertised as) allowing the disabled and those who lose a home in a wildfire to transfer their tax basis. This is already allowed under existing law if the county your are moving to allows it, and most (if not all) major CA counties already allow it. I have yet to see any discussion of which counties already do under existing law, and why any that don't yet (if so) haven't chosen to. They can still choose to, also. This Prop 19 is an unnecessary bludgeon to fix a problem that doesn't exist in this regard, but it uses fire victims in a misleading way. That should be reason enough to be suspicious of this proposition.

2) Prop 19 allows seniors to move their tax basis up to 3 times instead of the current 1 time. I agree with the Weekly that this is probably a good thing to do to free up housing stock, however, the existing law already allows this transfer once. This is a sweetener for a poison pill #3 that will hurt the most vulnerable homeowners who have already been hurt in California by the Trump tax increases on California homeowners.

3) Prop 19 says you can only transfer the tax basis of your home to your children if you die IF the children live in the home. Unfortunately, thought, Prop 19 has no exceptions for those who inherit the home, want to live in it, but can't immediately move in, or have to rent it out for a few years until they can afford to live in it themselves. It picks off people on the lowest ends of home ownership, and thus will hit people of color and those for whom the home is their most important (probably only ) asset the hardest.

If you die and your child is in college, this law means they can't transfer the tax basis and rent out the house until they finish college and move in. After losing their parents, they'll have to deal with selling a home and making other major decisions instead of just being able to rent out the home until they can afford to stay. If you are away on sabbatical, you won't be able to rent out your home and keep your tax basis. If you lose your job and have to move into a small rental while renting out the house so you can keep it, your basis will be reassessed and you won't be able to afford it anyway.

Yes, it's unfair when people like Jeff Bridges can rent out their parents' beach house for oodles of money. The law should have focused on fixing that. Unfortunately, instead it mostly hurts people on the lowest rungs of home ownership who are already holding onto their only asset by the skin of their teeth.

What if people need to rent out half the house temporarily in order to get by to keep it? According to a radio show I listened to, the home would be reassessed.

Prop 19 is a mishmash of poorly thought out provisions that will unfairly hurt people who are most vulnerable and will end up being yet another hurdle for homeownership and transfer of wealth for people of color.

Vote NO on Prop 19.


The Voice of Palo Alto
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Oct 17, 2020 at 12:19 pm
The Voice of Palo Alto, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2020 at 12:19 pm
11 people like this

“The best reason for supporting Measure O is that its failure will force cuts to many of the strong programs that make this district so unique.”

I will be voting “YES” on Measure O and YES on Measure S and I EXPECT everyone else to vote YES also. Measure S isn’t the greatest plan but I am looking forward to an increase in parcel taxes for all! As far as Measure O, it’s time Palo Altans quiet down, stop complaining, pay those taxes, and most importantly support our great teachers, students, and schools. Time to pay up and enjoy the tax increase. It’s a small price to pay to be able to live in our great city. Again, please vote YES on Measure O and YES on Measure S.

I’m so tired of seeing “No on Measure O” because it rhymes although “Yes on Measure S” also rhymes and I like it because it makes it easy to remember. Just remember to vote YES on both. Thanks.

Finally, that was a long post about Prop 19. I will be voting YES on Prop 19 just like this great article recommends. I don’t understand why Jeff Bridges got named dropped there...it was a little too much.


Voting Against Marc Berman - Mr. Upzoner
Registered user
Community Center
on Oct 17, 2020 at 12:56 pm
Voting Against Marc Berman - Mr. Upzoner, Community Center
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2020 at 12:56 pm
37 people like this

I'm voting against Marc Berman because he consistently votes to upzone. In particular he has been voting to eliminate R-1 housing in Palo Alto so your neighbors could all build multi-unit buildings without parking next to you. While, I'm sure he'll still win, I am casting a protest vote.


Voting Yes on Prop 16 will lower Asian UC / CalState Admissions
Registered user
Community Center
on Oct 17, 2020 at 1:03 pm
Voting Yes on Prop 16 will lower Asian UC / CalState Admissions, Community Center
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2020 at 1:03 pm
28 people like this

While Prop 16 sounds good, the reality is quite different. Prop 209 ended discrimination against Asians in the UC system and without race as a factor, the percentage of Asian's attending the UC's increased dramatically because it was now merit and income based.

While I support affirmative action for folks whose ancestors were brought over as slaves, the vast majority of folks in California who benefit from affirmative action immigrated to this country by choice. For those folks, income & merit (e.g. academics) should be the criteria not their race.


Mary NOonMeasureS
Registered user
Downtown North
on Oct 17, 2020 at 1:42 pm
Mary NOonMeasureS, Downtown North
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2020 at 1:42 pm
17 people like this

Not surprising that the first comment on this thread comes from Mr. Callender, the CEO of Valley Water (AKA the golden spigot). He is paid $326,352 a year, along with a $600 monthly car allowance to make sure you vote for this forever tax.
Thank you for your research Weekly. Vote no on S.


trish mulvey
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 17, 2020 at 3:23 pm
trish mulvey, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2020 at 3:23 pm
11 people like this

It's nice to know Mr. Callender considers himself a local resident, but statement about Measure S is in error. According to Valley Water's 2020 Safe Clean Water draft report there is still $25 million unspent (the report is available in the reference material section at VoteNoOnMeasureS.org/resources, appendix A, page A-2) for the project from 101 to Middlefield Road. Also the project still has "currently unknown design elements” (page 132 of the same report), hence it is unknown whether measure S would fully fund a project that could include upstream detention. As the Weekly Election Guide says: “the measure contains no such commitment and is an attempt to permanently lock in a tax without any sunset date and therefore no accountability to the public.” Please Vote NO now, and ask Valley Water to bring back a measure for the next general election that includes an updated project description. A measure we can all support.


iSez
Registered user
Palo Alto High School
on Oct 17, 2020 at 5:22 pm
iSez, Palo Alto High School
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2020 at 5:22 pm
11 people like this

[Post removed.]


The Voice of Palo Alto
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Oct 17, 2020 at 7:23 pm
The Voice of Palo Alto, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2020 at 7:23 pm
13 people like this

[Post removed.]


Citizen
Registered user
College Terrace
on Oct 17, 2020 at 8:15 pm
Citizen , College Terrace
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2020 at 8:15 pm
10 people like this

No on Measure O. Give to PIE if you want, but No on O.


Pat Burt
Registered user
Community Center
on Oct 17, 2020 at 8:59 pm
Pat Burt, Community Center
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2020 at 8:59 pm
13 people like this

@The Voice
When you see scurrilous information on PAO, just hit the “Report Objectionable Content” button at the bottom of the posting. The Weekly staff will review it and remove it if it is factually inaccurate or a personal attack. That is what I just did to the posting above from iSez.


chris
Registered user
University South
on Oct 18, 2020 at 11:45 am
chris, University South
Registered user
on Oct 18, 2020 at 11:45 am
11 people like this

The number of students in Palo Alto schools is dropping rapidly. PAUSD needs to come back with a new proposal for a lower parcel tax that reflects the new reality. Vote NO on Measure O.


Pat
Registered user
Los Altos
on Oct 18, 2020 at 5:01 pm
Pat, Los Altos
Registered user
on Oct 18, 2020 at 5:01 pm
17 people like this

I really need to leave this state. The commentary you use to justify Prop 15 is ignorant at best.

"The most common argument against the measure is that property tax increases are often passed along to tenants, which include small businesses. Economic studies have repeatedly shown, however, that commercial rents are driven by the market, not by tax rates. Owners of commercial buildings set rental rates based on what owners of similar space are charging and what tenants are willing to pay."

It's amazing that no one at this paper even knows how commercial rent is calculated or how property taxes are built into leases. Commercial rent is almost always charged per sq/ft which is determined by the market, but you also have CAM (Common Area Maintenance charges which should be direct costs passed along to the tenant) and NNN (triple net) charges, which are taxes, maintenance, and insurance. I wish residential was leased the same way. Another words, this measure hurts small "working class" businesses that can't absorb high cost increases like Tech companies can. And we all know Prop 15 is the first step of a full repeal of Prop 13 .


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 19, 2020 at 10:50 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Oct 19, 2020 at 10:50 am
8 people like this

Did you all get your Santa Clara County Property Tax Bill? Read what is in it. the 2% is specific to the value of the property and house. In addition is the other taxes. Page 2 lists the "Special Assessments" which include the school assessment, vector control, safe water, flood control debt, Measure AA Bay Restoration Authority. The largest of those - other than the school tax for Palo Alto Schools, is the Santa Clara Valley Water District.

Included in the actual property tax are the Bond issues, both county and city.

AS to comments about Mr. Berman - his opponent is the former Mayor of Menlo Park. Note that is in San Mateo County which appears to manage their overall government responsibilities far better than Santa Clara County. SMC seems to get things done while we just TALK, and Google takes over the whole place.


Nayeli
Registered user
Midtown
on Oct 20, 2020 at 12:53 pm
Nayeli, Midtown
Registered user
on Oct 20, 2020 at 12:53 pm
22 people like this

If passed, Prop 16 is a lawsuit waiting to happen.


Jennifer Bestor
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Oct 22, 2020 at 11:42 am
Jennifer Bestor, Menlo Park
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2020 at 11:42 am
4 people like this

Proposition 15 will slowly strip funding OUT of local schools -- Palo Alto Unified, Mountain View Whisman, Sequoia Union HSD, Menlo Park City School District and Las Lomitas. What is the value of local journalism if it doesn't make local conditions explicit to voters? And, if the Weekly chooses to endorse a proposition, why not pay your readers the consideration of explaining what other rationale factors should outweigh local damage?

Of course, it doesn't help that your stated rationale also ignores local conditions. Commercial-industrial property does NOT turn over "much less frequently" than homes. The Santa Clara County Assessor produces a superb annual report -- annually -- that you should be reading. For 2020, page 12 shows 45% of commercial parcels changing hands in the last decade vs. 42% of single-family homes. 65% for both in the past two decades. The difference finally shows up in pre-1979: 14% vs. 11% for homes -- definitely a loophole worth closing, but not a wholesale justification for stripping hundreds of millions of dollars of taxes out of the area without mentioning it. (Kindly review my Aug 21st Viewpoint, "Where Did The Other $713 Million Go?" linked below.)

In fact, if slow turnover really incites you, it is commercial residential that is the real laggard -- 58% in the last two decades and 15% pre-1979. Why not accuse them? Ah, because it might raise rents. Now why would that be damaging, given your dismissal of the same effect on commercial-industrial tenants?

Because it is one thing to "close a loophole" by forcing the laggards to catch up periodically -- and another to put an entire market segment on a much tougher tax revenue schedule. Tightening up the rules would have produced less than half of the revenue projected -- according to proponents' own documentation. That means over $6 billion comes from changing the game. Forcing one segment up to market value all the time, while all other property owners enjoy a different, more stable assessment mechanism will not be absorbed the way individual reassessments have in the past. This is a leap upwards and will either increase rents or decrease property values.

Proponents' published revenue breakdown (also linked below) details the $12 billion they promise from the measure. Less than 50% came from properties that last changed hands 20+ years ago. (Only 25% from pre-1990 base years.) 30% comes from properties that have ALREADY changed hands in the last decade.

Which is a heads up. And where the pain will steadily materialize for local school districts. This isn't new-new revenue as a result of the measure.

A big chunk of the $12 billion -- about 20% of the total -- is the existing steady growth in commercial-industrial property tax that they enjoy now. PAUSD students now receive $1850 a year of funding solely as a result of commercial-industrial growth over the past decade. Elementary school students in Las Lomitas and MPCSD receive $600. High school students in the Sequoia Unified HSD receive $1700. Handing each of them $100 may seem like in win in year 1 ... but by year 4 or 5, it will be clear that they are being paid with money taken out of their own pockets. And that a growing number of hundreds more have also gone missing.

You have endorsed making local schoolchildren unwitting donors to a new statewide fund. The first time property tax has ever left the county in which it was raised. If the proposition passes in November, the Weekly will have contributed to the long chain of property tax manipulations that, since 1978, have harmed any hopes of adequacy in California education.


Web Link
Web Link


In the Details
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2020 at 8:31 pm
In the Details, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2020 at 8:31 pm
2 people like this

What about this judicial "race" - unopposed judge of the superior court. I don't know what to believe. He seems to have a solid background but the California Commission on Judicial Performance rendered a Decision and Order Imposing Admonishment that would give me pause:
Web Link

Does the Weekly have further information/recommendations about this position? Even though it's unopposed, I'm not going to fill in the circle unless I support this person.


In the Details
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2020 at 9:00 pm
In the Details, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2020 at 9:00 pm
4 people like this

Prop 24 - I am very big on privacy, but I'm going to go with the Mercury News recommendation to vote NO on Prop 24.

California Privacy Rights Clearinghouse gives an in-depth analysis much deeper than any I've seen. They don't give a recommendation, but they give the good, the bad, and the ugly. Based on the information, I have decided to Vote no, and hope for better next time.
Web Link


In the Details
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2020 at 9:08 pm
In the Details, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2020 at 9:08 pm
2 people like this

I still don't know what to do about Measure RR. I support the trains, but will this measure mean they'll put up an elevated berm in Palo Alto? I definitely do NOT support that.


Alex
Registered user
Barron Park
on Oct 27, 2020 at 2:42 pm
Alex, Barron Park
Registered user
on Oct 27, 2020 at 2:42 pm
1 person likes this

Why are you supporting a clown like Lydia Kou? She is unprepared in meetings and can't handle the slightest bit of criticism from her constituents. She's happy to remove and block their messages from her public pages [portion removed.] She's a public official and her constituents should have the right to contact her through any means they want to use. [Portion removed.]


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 27, 2020 at 3:10 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 27, 2020 at 3:10 pm
12 people like this

@Alex, that's not at all my experience with Lydia Kuo. She's very responsive. She and one other were the only CC members to dig into the hard issues with ADUs. She, unlike the rest of the council, created a detailed study on budget priorities because she wanted to reflect back community priorities. She does her homework.

I have disagreed with her on a few issues and her responses were always well-reasoned. Unlike others who've been quoted being openly hostile and dismissive to other cc members and constituents, she's always been polite and respectful while still pushing what she thinks is right.


Concerned Resident
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
5 hours ago
Concerned Resident, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
5 hours ago
Like this comment

After watching all the debates and reading online articles, I ended up voting for Varma. He's the only one who really supports small businesses and also has concrete proposals on how to help us now and in the future. It's important to have someone intelligent with new ideas and fresh blood in Palo Alto. I'd encourage everyone to read up on the candidates in this important election. Don't vote for the person who spent the most money and sent you the most mailers. Money shouldn't play a part in our election. Thank you.


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