LAUSD’s punishing parcel tax proposal

By Jon Coupal | America’s most dysfunctional school district has stepped in it again. The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), apparently coming to the shocking realization that there was no way they could pay for the horrible deal they just cut with the unions, has hurriedly placed on the ballot for June a new property tax that leaves no Los Angeles taxpayer unscathed.

That grassroots taxpayer interests would be opposed to the new levy is no surprise. But several business organizations, usually more tolerant of higher government spending — particularly for education — have had enough. Groups as diverse as the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) and the L.A. County Business Federation (BizFed) have all announced their opposition. None of these organizations is anti-education. In fact, all are pro-education as long as there is demonstrable improvement in the education product we are all paying for. On this score, LAUSD falls way short.

At the core of the broad-based opposition is the abject lack of long overdue reforms at LAUSD.

A weekly column by Jon CoupalThe list of reasons to oppose the tax is long.

First, taxpayers would be wasting millions of dollars on a special election.

The LAUSD Board voted unanimously to put the tax increase before the voters in a special election to be held on June 4, 2019. The cost of the special election is $12.5 million.

The tax would add hundreds of dollars to tax bills and rents and would do so in a convoluted manner. Rather than a flat tax on every parcel — which would be bad enough — the proposed tax increase would be 16 cents per square foot of building improvements on properties within the district.

That’s $160 for every 1,000 square feet. Property owners (and tenants) should be sitting down when they do the math on this one.

Seniors are ostensibly exempt from the tax, but not from rent increases.

To read the entire column, please click here.

Posted in Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Jon Coupal, LAUSD, Property Taxes | Leave a comment

Fullerton City Hall is closed today for another three-day weekend

City Hall Closure Dates and
Observed Holidays

2019
January –1*, 11, 25
February – 8, 18*, 22
March – 8, 22
April – 5, 19
May – 3, 17, 27*,31
June – 14, 28
July – 4*, 12, 26
August – 9, 23
September – 2*, 6, 20
October – 4, 18
November – 1, 11*, 15, 28*, 29*
December – 13, 24*, 25*, 26^,27^, 31*

*Holiday observed
^Winter Closure

Fullerton City Hall

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Watch last night’s city council meeting

To watch the five-hour meeting, click here.

City Council Meeting 2019-02-05

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Tonight’s city council meeting agenda

The AgendaTo read or download tonight’s detailed council meeting agenda, please click here (pdf).

The public participation portion of the meeting begins at 6:30 with presentations and awards. Actual city business normally doesn’t start until 7:00 or 7:30 . . . or even later.

And you can also watch it at home on cable Channel 3 (Spectrum — formerly Time Warner Cable).

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Gavin Newsom’s threat to localities is extortion by any other name

By Jon Coupal | Shortly after his inauguration, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he would withhold funds designated for transportation from local governments that didn’t comply with his vision for affordable housing. His move could be characterized as either the height of hypocrisy or extortion. Take your pick.

A weekly column by Jon CoupalLet’s start with the hypocrisy. Our new governor has complained bitterly about how the federal government — i.e., the evil Trump administration — threatens to withhold funds from California. He has criticized the withholding of high-speed rail funds from the feds because of California’s failure to meet benchmarks imposed as a condition for the receipt of those funds and he complained about the withholding of law enforcement dollars because of the refusal of California to cooperate with ICE.

In his ongoing war with the federal government, Newsom has bragged about how many times he has sued the federal government, alleging that Trump is engaging in heavy-handed pressure against progressive states like California. It is apparently lost on the governor how hollow his protests appear when he threatens local governments in the same manner.

As for the extortive threat itself, it is little wonder that Newsom has received copious amounts of blowback from other elected officials across the political spectrum. Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, called the move “very unwise.” Likewise, the chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee, Jim Frazier, D-Discovery Bay, challenged the idea that new conditions should be placed on road maintenance funds. “It is not fair, or in good faith, to deny them the benefits of [gas tax money] after they have paid for it, based on local government decisions they have no control over.”

To read the entire column, please click here.

Posted in Gavin Newsom, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Jon Coupal | Comments Off

Tax myths

By John Stossel, Reason TV | Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez thinks taxing the rich at 70 percent will bring in lots of tax money. It won’t.

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What the state Supreme Court’s pension ruling means for California’s taxpayers

By Jon Coupal | Last week, the California Supreme Court issued a ruling in Cal Fire Local 2881 v. CalPERS, a case involving public employee pensions. For taxpayers, the decision was a mixed bag. On the plus side, the court refused to find a contractual right to retain an option to purchase “air time,” a perk that allowed employees with at least five years of service to purchase up to five years of additional credits before they retire. Under this plan, a 20-year employee could receive a pension based on 25 years of contributions.

A weekly column by Jon CoupalOn the negative side, the high court left intact, for now, the so-called California Rule, which has been interpreted as an impediment to government entities seeking to reduce their pension costs. The rule, unique to California, provides that no pension benefit provided to public employees via a statute can be withdrawn without replacement of a “comparable” benefit, even as deferred compensation for services not yet provided.

The unanimous 54-page opinion by the Supreme Court resulted in a wide variance of headlines and social media posts. The Associated Press read “California’s Supreme Court upholds pension rollback.” Ironically, a conservative reform group sharply criticized the decision for failing to repeal the California rule outright while another conservative policy organization called it a “victory for taxpayers.”

So what was it?

To read the entire column, please click here.

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Watch bald eagles on nest duty LIVE in the mountains near Big Bear

Due to hatch around April 10, the eagle chick’s incubation can be watched here on a live camera:

A bald eagle has laid an egg at a nest on the north side of Big Bear Lake. Located in the Fawnskin area, the nest is closed to the public, but available for live viewing via webcam. The chick is expected to hatch around April 10.

“Now, for the next 35 or so days, we will see the parents share incubation duties,” said Forest Service biologist Robin Eliason. “This regulates the temperature of the egg so the embryo can develop. If all goes well, we should see a hatchling around April 10. And if things go like last year, we may see a second egg laid later this week.”

Closing the nest area gives the eagles the protection they need to take care of the egg. If eagles feel threatened, they might abandon the nest.

The live camera in the San Bernardino National Forest was installed by the group Friends of Big Bear Valley. This new camera, installed last summer has better resolution, zooming and 360-degree panning capabilities.

Viewers will see nesting habits, including feeding times, and sometimes the unexpected. In April of last year, eagle enthusiasts watching the live feed were alarmed when a 10-week-old eagle named Stormy appeared to fall from a nest. The chick was okay after landing on a branch about 20 feet below the nest.

The San Bernardino Mountains have the largest winter population of eagles in Southern California, where mountain lakes and streams offer prime hunting grounds. Ten to 20 eagles can be found in the region during a typical winter. Many migrate north in spring to nest.

Eagles typically share incubation duties, but the male usually does most of the hunting and scavenging. The female handles most of the feeding and brooding.

Newborn eagles are typically about 4 to 5 inches and weigh just a few ounces. But they eat a lot, scarfing down as much food as they can from the adult’s beak. By nine weeks, the eagle is nearly full grown and developing the muscles it needs to fly.

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OpenTheBooks.com founder talks about a new report on America’s debt and spending habits.

It’s called use-it-or-lose-it spending. Federal agencies spent $97 billion in the last month of the fiscal year — September 2018. These agencies rush to spend down their budgets at year’s end so they don’t lose it for the next year.

In fact, $1 of every $10 spent by federal agencies on contracts during the year was spent in the last week. That’s $53 billion out the door — all in one week.

Yesterday, OpenTheBooks.com founder Adam Andrzejewski discussed America’s debt and spending on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal.

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Fullerton City Hall is closed today for another three-day weekend

City Hall Closure Dates and
Observed Holidays

2019
January –1*, 11, 25
February – 8, 18*, 22
March8, 22
April – 5, 19
May – 3, 17, 27*,31
June – 14, 28
July – 4*, 12, 26
August – 9, 23
September – 2*, 6, 20
October – 4, 18
November – 1, 11*, 15, 28*, 29*
December – 13, 24*, 25*, 26^,27^, 31*

*Holiday observed
^Winter Closure

Fullerton City Hall

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