Home » Columns, Decision 2010

Decision 2010: The tax, man

Submitted by on 1, March 26, 2010 – 5:00 am6 Comments

The campaign for a school parcel tax to replace existing taxes under Measure A and Measure H kicks off this Saturday, March 27 with an event in the cafeteria at Encinal High School, 210 Central Avenue. Start time is 10 a.m.

The proposed, split-roll tax would come to $659 a year for eight years to homeowners, condominium owners and owners of multi-unit buildings with four units or less, and 13 cents per square foot of lot per parcel for commercial property owners.

Proponents have said the $14 million a year the tax would generate is desperately needed to cover ongoing losses of state revenue, while opponents have said they believe a tax that is the same for everyone would be more fair. (If you haven’t yet registered your opinion about whether you’ll vote for or against the tax, please check out our poll to the right and down a bit.)

The mail-only ballot goes out in late May and is due June 22.

Over the past few weeks, two mayoral candidates – Frank Matarrese and Tony Daysog – have voiced support for the tax, with Matarrese declaring his support on his campaign blog and Daysog in an e-mail to reporters and bloggers (which he reposted here).

Point positions: Daysog, incidentally, also sent an e-mail out to reporters and bloggers urging city officials to accept SunCal’s modified plan for Alameda Point, which the developer submitted to the city on Monday. Said Daysog:

I encourage city officials to take a significant step forward with respect to redeveloping the former military base by accepting SunCal’s revised plan for Alameda Point, which, among other things, seeks to comply with Measure A.

It is my firm belief that there is still time to build on SunCal’s latest plan to engage the public in the benefits of modifying Measure A for Alameda Point, to allow stylish condos, townhouses, and lofts, along with upscale Bayport-style single-family homes.

I prefer a greater mix of stylish housing types at Alameda Point, not just a repeat of the Bayport-style development that I championed when on City Council, but for now it is more important that we move forward by getting the developer, city officials, and residents back on the same page, so to speak.

Matarrese, for his part, is holding a town hall event titled “Moving Ahead at Alameda Point” from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday, March 27 at Hampton Inn Suites, 1700 Harbor Bay Parkway. The event is free and open to the public, and if you’ve got a question for Matarrese, you can leave it on his website (click the Events tab and take it from there).

In the running: In case you missed it last week, Hospital Board member Rob Bonta told the Alameda Sun that he is planning to run for City Council. The Sacramento native and Yale grad is a deputy city attorney in San Francisco, the Sun reports. They said that Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker, City Councilwoman Lena Tam and Board of Education trustees Ron Mooney, Mike McMahon and Nielsen Tam have all endorsed Bonta.

Separately, the race for Alice Lai-Bitker’s soon-to-be-vacated Supervisors seat is set: Mayor Beverly Johnson will run against Wilma Chan and Harold Lowe (check out the East Bay Citizen’s fun take on the race, here). That ballot will be cast June 8.


  • All three County Supervisor candidates will be at the Alameda Democratic Club on April 14 (7pm at Alameda Hospital). All are welcome to attend and ask questions.

  • Keith Nealy says:

    If they had just had everyone pay by lot square footage I’d pay more than a third less.

  • Keith, what are you assuming is the rate per sf?

  • Hey John,

    I hate to leave this one hanging out there, so I thought I might plug in my own home as an example. Based on the school district’s numbers, my understanding is that you all felt you’d need to charge 13.7 cents per square foot of lot per parcel. I live on a 4,800 square foot lot, so I would be paying about the same, $657.

    That said, I know district officials said they were concerned about charging that was was that less wealthy folks with small homes on big lots would end up paying outsize bills as compared to wealthier neighbors who had bigger homes on smaller lots. So if the district had opted to charge a building square foot rate, I think the number that shook out of that was 28.6 cents a square foot. My home is a little less than 1,700 square feet. So under that scenario, I’d pay about $486.

    If the school board had voted to charge a flat rate for everyone, the number there was
    $809 a parcel, according to the district’s numbers.

    I should probably also add that a local property owner who came forward with a different uniform tax proposal had a different numbers, which was 4 cents per square foot, and that was based on a different taxable square footage count than the district is using (I believe there is an issue with the way condominiums are counted, and am hoping to have the chance to check in with the county assessor’s office on this next week).

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