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Measure H settlement talks possible

Submitted by on 1, August 28, 2008 – 1:33 pmNo Comment

Folks, we’ve got an update on the latest lawsuit over the Measure H school parcel tax. Looks like both parties are hoping they can sit down and resolve issues over the four-year tax before heading into court.

“This can be a friendly situation,” said John Beery, the local landowner/developer/yacht broker who filed a suit against the tax Monday in Alameda County Superior Court saying it is levied inequitably. “I’m willing to sit down. My attorneys are always willing to sit down and sort out problems.”

Beery said his suit was motivated not by the huge tax bill he’s likely to get (he owns more than a dozen parcels of land across the West End, by our count). He said Measure H is illegal as written and that he’s concerned it could ultimately hurt the school district. He said the measure needs to be “rewritten or modified.”

Beery said businesses could step forward to help the district “offset expenses” that were to be paid with Measure H funds.

Beery said he had been involved with the folks responsible for the original anti-H suit filed Thursday by local property owner George Borikas but that they were “very negative.”

The deadline for filing suits over the measure was Monday.

School board president Bill Schaff said he was surprised by Beery’s suit but that he, too, is hopeful the district and Beery can resolve the matter out of court.

“I’ve talked to John in the past, and he’s a supporter of schools,” Schaff said. “I am hoping we can reach out to him and see if we can do something. Everyone knows it’s in our mutual interest to solve this thing.”

The parcel tax for homeowners and commercial property owners with less than 2,000 square feet $120 a year over four years. Those with more than 2,000 square feet would pay 15 cents a square foot up to $9,500 per parcel. It was expected to generate $4.6 million for the district in 2009.

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