Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Council's Seven-Year Itch

San Leandro takes step closer to Nov. sales tax measure, but disagrees on length
By Steven Tavares
The San Leandro City Council is supporting a bid to place a quarter-cent sales tax measure on the November ballot, but how long it should be maintained appears open for debate. The council approved 6-1 Monday to direct city staff to formulate a draft of the measure for discussion July 19.

"Our intent here is to weather the storm and it is questionable whether it's two years or three years or seven years," said Councilman Michael Gregory. "It's something we should discuss."

The proposal calls for an increase in the city's sales by one-quarter of a cent. If approved, it would raise the sales tax to 10 percent--one of the highest in the state. A citizens oversight committee would be formed to monitor the increase and a sunset clause of seven years would be included in the measure. The addition of the sunset provision would limit the length of the possible tax increase, an aspect supported by polling done by the city earlier this year.

The exact number of years, though, is subject to debate by the council. Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak, Councilman Jim Prola and Gregory voiced concern and called for clarification before the matter returns to the council next month. Prola said he would favor between five and seven years and cautioned legislators in Sacramento are not done with deeply unpopular raids on local tax dollars. "It's the only way we can be sure we can weather this severe, severe recession, some might call a depression," said Prola.

As Gregory noted Monday night, a survey of residents showed favorable backing for a revenue enhancement measure along with strong but typical support for public safety. Whether the potential measure can muster a two-thirds majority of voters during a lingering recession remains to be seen. Councilman Bill Stephens was the lone vote against the possible measure.

Mayor Tony Santos, who is up for re-election this November, and City Manager Stephen Hollister also urged the council to recognize the city's main lifeline during this budget crisis--its once-formidable $20 million reserve fund now hovering just above $1 million--is causing concern as the economy continues to pose uncertain prospects in the next year and beyond.  "Reserves are at a dangerous low and we need to replenish them," said Hollister.

In an email to supporters last week, Santos highlighted the city's foresight in putting aside funds in 2005 to combat rough economic times like today. Every year since Santos' election to mayor in 2007, though, has resulted in using reserve funds to balance the city budget that has been racked by a precipitous  drop in property and sales tax revenue.


Why doen't the city council propose fee increases like SF did recently (examples: 20 cents a pack on cigarettes and a possible fee on Fast Food packaging). Easier to pass than tax increases on all general merchandise and can be targeted to things that create direct city costs. Just a thought. A general sales tax increase is not likely to get approved by the electorate and fees can target areas that cost the city money to provide services.

If you keep this tax increase for 7 years I guarantee you it will never go away. This council will be long gone and it will just get renewed without any discussion. Make it two years and force these guys to have the guts to ask again.

Did the city of San Francisco pass it or the county of San Francisco? Just curious, wondering if a fee on cigarettes/fast food packaging can be done on a city basis.

All insanity. There is no need for a tax increase. The City Council needs to CUT SPENDING! Plain and simple. But the simple-minded don't want that; ergo that toothless fool Prola; "oh we have a tax problem". @$$hole!

The city would have the funds if the state would keep away. The state took 7 million from San Leandro this year.

And what can they cut? police and fire take up 60% of the budget. Fire helped out but the police insist on their 3% at 50 and wont give wage concessions. And they all live out of town.

Police and city mangagers and police chiefs should live in the towns they work and take tax dollars from also. As far as I know we have the first city manager and first police chief who don't live in San Leandro

"As Gregory noted Monday night, a survey of residents showed favorable backing for a revenue enhancement measure along with strong but typical support for public safety." Yeah--when put in terms of, do you want to liver in an even more dangerous city than you do now, or fork over more dough for cops--people will fork over more dough for cops.

The "citizen oversight committee" would be a joke--comprised of insider political hacks on the take--people like Gordan Galvan who already suck from the gub'mint teat who'd have a vested interest in keeping and even raising the sales tax more.

What a joke of a city. If Tony and Joyce can raise taxes in an election year during one of the worst recessions on record; and if God forbid, one of those losers wins; then San Leandro will truly have the "leadership" it deserves.

Frank Lynn

Tony or Joyce wouldnt be raising taxes. The people who live in town would have to agree to it, sounds fair. The people of San Leandro also elected the people you rail against and in November they will have that right again.

Since you live in Pleasanton Frank what you thnk about San Leandro doesnt matter. In fact why don't you haunt a blog site that deals with Pleasanton.

This site would be a hell of a lot better if Frank and Manuel lost their internet connections.


I still own property in San Leandro, so what happens in San Leandro affects my property values. I wish I could sell my property in San Leandro, but thanks to Tony and Joyce it's worse less than I paid for it in 2002.

For anyone who is able, I highly recommend leaving San Leandro. It's going downhill quickly; and if Tony or Joyce get elected mayor, it's going to get even worse!

Frank Lynn

Your property is worth less due to the financial cris caused by George Bush. Bush put us into a second depression but if it makes you feel better to blame someone who had nothing to do with it go ahead.
If you can show me a city in California that hasn't had its property values decline show me. San Leandro's property values were at their peak prior to the nationwide financial disaster.
If you are going to whine blame the correct people.

Frank, How do you figure you lost out? I bet your property was worth was more than you paid in 2002 for the years after you purchased it. You can't blame the city. Blame Sacramento or blame George Bush.

Oh, yeah, go and blame Bush for San Leandro's crimes, corruption and incompetence. How idiotic can that be? Oh wait we have a city full of idiots who vote for Tony Santos because;
A. He has a Portuguese last name and some people are too stupid to vote otherwise.
B. He brings lots of linquisa and bacalao to the parties; see A.
C. He promises lots of freebies to people too cheap to spend their own money and want to freeload off of the government; see A and B.

Frank Lynn has every right to comment on this town since he does own a piece of property and unlike some scumbag Realtors, Non-Profiteers, and City Employees didn't fleece the town by running taxes and regulations up, take his money and then move out of town.

This site would be a hell of a lot better if some people would pull their heads out of the @$$es.

Manuel your just bitter because you got blown away when you ran for city council,

Nice to see San Leandro's "enlightened" still cannot tolerate different opinions and feel any city critics should be silenced.

Frank Lynn

It's ok to have a different opinion, just be reasonably truthfull. To blame elected officials in a city of 70000 for bringing on the greatest calamity since 1929 is just stupid.
To say San Leandro officials caused your home value to go down is boorish and wrong.
Did you celebrate San Leandro officials when your home reached a peak in 2005-2006 or was that your brilliance in purchasing that home?
You are basically a one note wonder, actually 2, you blame minorities and elected officials. And when you blame minorities you couch it in inuendo, like "gangster apparel".
You call Councilmember Gregory "Faggory" and then wonder why people assume you are a bigot. As far as I am concerned San Leandro's gain is Pleasanton's loss, that being the day you moved. I think the sun was at its brightest in San Leandro on that day.

Why don't you take a play out of your right wing playbook and blame yourself. After all right wingers tell us everyday that everything is just up to the individual.

Coincidentally, I'm having bacalhau for dinner tonight. My grandmother is having us over. I don't know if she got the fish from Tony Santos. I'll ask.

At least Tavares has a sense of humor. How is your Grandma preparing it?


If you think "gangster" or "thug" is "innuendo" for racial minorities, you're the racist bigot, not me.

And my property went down in value not just because of the economy, but in part because it is located next to the low-income housing site--the San Leandro Crossings--which was indeed approved by Tony and Joyce. I talked to a realtor who lost a sale in my building once it was disclosed the low-income housing project was underway.

But again, thanks for reinforcing the fact that I made the right decision by moving. I'll be enjoying a crime-free atmosphere, 10-rated schools, a thriving business community, a thriving downtown, and an atmosphere relatively void of liberal facists with limited intellect who can only insult and attempt to silence those with whom they don't agree.

Frank Lynn

It's not racist to look at the test scores of a school, then look at those students who go there and come up with a correlation. Especially, when the dropout rate is in double digits. The schools are bad because there are just too many ignorant, lazy people who breed ignorance, and they are brought into San Leandro by the City.

Frank, another reason why property values are dropping in San Leandro is the high number of foreclosures, the City actively used sub-prime mortgages as a tool to put "first time" buyers into over inflated homes. Why were these homes overly inlfated?; restrictions on building new homes which were placed over 40 years ago and continued to be added upon in the ensuing years. How many times do you have some ignornant fool complain about a business coming into town, only to have that same fool want more "social" services to help the "poor"????

The prices of homes in the Bay Area have been over inflated since 1979, but for the majority of high school graduates and drop outs who bought their homes for say under $50,000 pre-1975 and then they see their homes were selling for $500,000 plus, their greed told them that everything was good, so they continued to blindly follow that pig Maltester and vote for whomever he told these idiots to vote for, vote for Bill Lockyer, Pete Stark, Johan Klehs. Hell, these simpletons thought that their home values were high because of their "briliance". bahahahahhahaha

It is said that even the most simple high school student can explain what happens with supply and demand, but that doesn't apply to the simpletons around here, they're the ones who think it's caused by their brilliance. I think it's cultural and genetic amongst them.

Frank, I thought you previously lived in Estudillo Estates, please don't tell me you actually own and previously lived in a condo in that condo buidling (Pacific Plaza?)next to the BART parking lot across from St Leander's, off of West Juana? If so, ugh, that building has been sliding downhill for years. I looked at them in 1990 and decided even then it was an iffy location next to SL Blvd., the gateway to the ghetto!

Pacific Plaza was really nice when they first built them in 1979, but because of HUD during the Clinton administration moving low-income Section 8 people into condo's, it's been going down hill since around 1990, as the previous commented noted.

Hey, Estudillo/Broadmoor is right next to Oakland. Hell, I wouldn't live there. Back in 1975 my 75 year old Portuguese female neighbor was walking on Dutton Avenue and two black guys came up behind her, pushed her down, stole her purse and ran down Beverley Avenue. That area has been a feeding ground for East Oakland criminals for 40 years.

Manuel, my grandmother is from Madeira. She doesn't usually make bacalao but she did last night. She prepares it cold with a garlic, pepper flake, parsley vinaigrette. Pretty good.

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