I’d rather tax the realtors



I’d rather tax the realtors.

That’s my post under Steve Levy column in the Palo Alto Weekly. Steve usually deletes my posts, in whole or in part. Sometimes he neuters them and then goes “sissy!”.

The topic is Measure A — should we — and I’m am paraphrasing which might be an ironically bad idea here — carry forward and increase the parcel tax which amounts to about 7 percent of our school budget.camilleish

I am a renter and hope Garson Bakar would not take the opportunity to use Measure A’s success to raise my rent again (He’s already bumped me 40 percent in five years, or twice the CPI).

I am a Gunn grad and active in alumni affairs.

If Camille Townsend’s photo was more prominent on the glossy brochure I was sent, maybe my vote would get to the post office quicker.

I’m on the fence.

And yes I did react strongly to the Mayor of LAH when I read that he accused PAUSD of “bleeding” him and his people. His name is Radford. He’s got a business that both promotes furthers and profits from the phenomenon of executive pay outpacing worker pay, yet he does not have the $750 for public schools.

I’m a litte uneasy with gimmicks to replace more basic and traditional social welfare commitments. I felt the brochure I was sent was a little short on facts, like the exact amount of the bump and the historical context. Maybe I support this even so.

It’s a bit of a regressive tax but most people can probably handle it.

Yet it’s not slam dunk to me.

I will report back to see if Dr. Levy deletes or attacks me.

edit to add, the next day: sitting at Peet’s or Peet’s #4, or #5 and carrying the sample ballot and a brochure; no one wrote an argument against A; I think someone should, just for the dialectic opportunity; note to self: “origin of ‘devil’s advocate’ trope”??; maybe if I can find just one fellow traveler or “second” here, we can get some traction on this. It would be interesting to take credit for knocking six points off of the proposal and making The Machine work harder in 2016 and not be so arrogant and presumptive to extend the tax. I think it is wrong to not discuss this in context of The Elephant in the room, which is some type of relief or just airing for the middle class and working class Palo Altans who are worried, beyond the $750 being significant or a burden but that their rent has gone up $750 or so, as mine has, EVERY MONTH. What does it mean as Palo Alto eats its middle class? Or what does it mean to America with no middle class. The Elephant is not merely in the room, he is sitting on my chest.

Do the Math: how many houses do we have to sell such that a 6 percent on residential real estate transfer matches or I suggest substitutes for the $750 regressive parcel tax??? I am saying “tax the realtors” because it is catchy and pithy, but probably more realistic (!) is to add a tariff to the transfer. Who benefits, besides realtors, from the irrational exuberance in that market? (okay, leaving members). If the real east

edit to add, May 6:
I’ll go on record as saying I voted “No” here.

I feel that this discussion should have happened in the context of a broader discussion about the changing economics here and whether, beyond the extreme and atypical example of Buena Vista is there a significant number of lower and middle class families being displaced by rising rents? Is there anything we as a communinity can do for tenants rights and for the least among us, so to speak? Are there many Palo Alto families who, say between 2009 and 2014 were pushed out by rent increases? I met a few on the campaign trail.

That and a nagging feeling that the political machine is too efficient, that a non-electable entity has too much say on policy and influence on elections. Good point a poster made about the switch to even years for PAUSD board. I felt the marketing brochure for this was a little too slick.

Don’t get me wrong: I supported all five of the current board members, and like Max McGee.

But I felt there was still time to recalibrate our parcel tax within the existing timeframe and some of these issues deserve a wider consideration.

We can do better.

edit to add the next day, or day four of my cold medicine regimen: one of the biggest ding-aling (as Ms. Glass my GSH composition teacher would call it) errors, I made a unsound point about voter turnout by not noticing that the website from the county includes Campbell and Palo Alto voters:

My math says that 13,358 YES out of 85,914 (and remember the district includes 60,000 population Palo Alto voters plus Stanford and parts of LAH) registered voters is about 16 percent and hardly a mandate (and thank you Hinders, Musgrave, Hawkinson, Steinhauser, Struthers and Holmes belatedly for the gift that keeps on giving –they were my Gunn and Terman math teachers, plus Olive Borgsteadt fifth grade and Chris Creighton sixth grade).

It’s also true that so far only 5 of the 78 comments here are signed by name, which to me is a troubling sign about the quality of the discourse. Less than 10 percent (did that one in my head).

I support the schools, as an alumnus and community member but in terms of the big picture and what has changed here in my 40 plus years, I would rather be in the Monkey Wrench Gang than the Palo Alto 300. So I dissent here.

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+ Like this comment Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
0 hours ago
Mark Weiss is a registered user.
Well, ok, back out the Campbell votes…anybody?

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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