Saturday, May 8, 2010

Many Local Cities Exploring Tax Measures


AROUND THE EAST BAY BLOGOSPHERE The Island of Alameda blog has two excellent stories this week. The City of Alameda voted this week against medical marijuana dispensaries and comments made by the Alameda City Council bear an almost comical similarity to ones made by politicians in Hayward last March. In my story published in the East Bay Express, I detailed how the various interest sought to block pot clubs in the "progressive" city. Hayward's Mayor Michael Sweeney was vehement is his disapproval. The Island reports Alameda's Mayor Bev Johnson was also against the clubs and called them "legalized drug dealing." Coincidentally, Johnson is running for Alameda County supervisor as is Hayward Councilman Kevin Dowling who also sternly voiced opposition last March. In Hayward, the city staff hinted spending staff hours to study pot clubs was not worthwhile and described an unwillingness to lead on the burgeoning county and city issue. Alameda's  Planning Services Department said the same thing and, of course, both police chiefs said pot clubs bring an increase in crime.

San Leandro is not the only municipality looking to shore up its tax coffers through ballot referendum. Alameda's schools are banking on the passage of Measure E next month to bridge shortfalls in the district's budget. If the parcel tax is passed. Alameda property owners would pay $659 over an eight-year span. Commercial property owners, according to The Island, stand to contribute a maximum of $9,500. It is almost a certainty San Leandro will place a tax revenue initiative on the November ballot. A two-thirds approval of the tax may push the city's sales tax rate briefly to 10 percent. One of the highest in the state.

On the other hand, the Around Dublin blog reports the city will not seek a tax referendum this year. Such a tax was briefly discussed. Instead, Dublin will make do with budget cuts while dipping into its "rainy day fund" to balance the books.

NFL hall-of-famer Lawrence Taylor put the spotlight on the rise of youth sex trafficking this week when he was arrested for having sex with a 16-year-old girl in New York. Oakland Local's detailed and shocking investigative series shows just how this gruesome crime is becoming more prevalent in Oakland, especially as the economy sinks forcing already struggling individuals to further diminish their outlook for the future.

How about something for mom in advance of Mother's Day? The Berkeleyside blog has a feature on the only "bean-to-bar" chocolate factory in the East Bay. The company called Bittersweet is located on Fourth Street and until recently, the Bay Area possessed a once-vibrant chocolate cognoscenti with Ghirardelli, Guittard and the former Scharffen Berger, which recently closed shop in Berkeley. (By the way, that's Martha Stewart's favorite chocolate. How do I know that? I love Martha and so does my mom. Happy Mother's Day!)

Around the East Bay Blogosphere appears every Saturday in The Citizen.
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Here we go again. It's not that there is too little money going into government, it's that there's too much spending by government. The Governmnet doesn't produce any goods, it only takes from those who do produce goods.

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