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"Moreover, as Proposition 13 controls the taxation of commercial property as well as residential property, the regime greatly favors the commercial enterprises of the [wealthiest], placing new businesses at a substantial disadvantage." Supreme Court Justice John Stevens in dissent on Nordlinger v. Hahn (1992).

 

Isn't Prop. 13 just for homeowners?

No.  Most voters are unaware of this, but Prop. 13 applies to commercial property as well.  This aspect of the law has led to significant unintended consequences.  For example, Chevron alone is saving over $100 million a year by benefiting from Prop. 13's protections. Because homeowners move on average every ten years, and commercial property rarely, if ever, changes hands, the tax burden in California has shifted de…

Require Initiative Petitions Circulated by Paid Signature Gatherers to Disclose Their Top 3 Funders

SACRAMENTO, CA - A new bill to require that initiative petitions circulated by paid signature gatherers must clearly disclose their top 3 funders was launched with the introduction of SB 651 by Senator Ben Allen (D - Santa Monica).  SB 651 is sponsored by the California Clean Money Campaign.

"Every election season, voters are bombarded with requests to sign initiative petitions by paid signature gatherers who aren't required to disclose or even know who's paying for the initiatives they've been hired to qualify," said Senator Ben Allen, author of SB 651.  "SB 651 will make sure voters know who's behind the initiatives they're being asked to help put on the ballot."

 

A proposed initiative for California's November ballot would make a big change to Proposition 13, the landmark Constitutional amendment approved by the state's voters in 1978, limiting property taxes to 1 percent of a property's market value at the time it was purchased and capping annual increases at 2 percent, regardless of how much a property's value goes up. The new ballot initiative would establish a "split-roll" property tax system, allowing the state to assess commercial and industrial property at their current market value, while keeping the Prop. 13 limits in place for residential property.

According to a report from the state's nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office, the change would generate $6 billion to $10 billion more in property tax revenue for the sta…

By David C. Bohnett


California voters have an opportunity this November to correct decades-old legislation that has resulted in deteriorated public institutions and services throughout our state. It's time to challenge the divisive and widespread anti-tax sentiment promulgated by powerful interest groups bankrolled by wealthy donors.

The California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act is a proposed constitutional amendment that would update and improve Proposition 13, the 1978 tax law that fundamentally crippled local governments.

A contributing factor to Prop. 13's passage was the sentiment that older Californians should not be priced out of their homes through high property taxes. However, the proposition's underreported giveaways to big business and corporations have …


Promotes Majority Support

Too often, candidates can and do win election to offices like Mayor and Governor despite being opposed by most voters. With ranked choice voting, if no candidate has more than half the vote in first-choices, candidates finishing last are eliminated round-by-round in an instant runoff until two candidates are left. The winning candidate will be the one with majority support when matched against the other. In a multi-winner election, ranked choice voting promotes majority rule because the majority of voters will always be able to elect a majority of seats, without fear that an entrenched minority has used gerrymandered districts to ensure they stay in office.

Discourages Negative Campaigning

In non-ranked choice voting elections, candidates benefit from "m…



Would ranked choice voting in Santa Cruz make elections more fair?    or just more confusing?


Ranked choice voting supporters from left: Danielle Glynn, Manu Koenig, Cat Gunderson, Faisal Fazilat, and Pedro

In a political world where each party harps on the pet issues near and dear to their platform, topics like election reform remain relatively neutral ground. Perhaps that's because, as Santa Cruz's Manu Koenig suggests, both sides have a vested interest in the status quo.

That's why Koenig and Faisal Fazilat, the locals behind an effort to create "ranked choice voting," think of reform as a bipartisan issue.

Koenig, a self-described "neo-libertarian," and Fazilat, a progressive Democrat, say the concept?endorsed by former President Barack Obama, Sen. John McCain …

 


Santa Cruz City Council Candidate Forum

   6:30 pm  Monday August 29
   Louden Nelson Community Center
      301 Center Street, Santa Cruz

School Board and Water Board Candidate Forum
   6:30 pm  Monday September 12

   Louden Nelson Community Center

      301 Center Street, Santa Cruz

Non-partisan forum, hosted by the PDC - Moderator, Nora Hochman
Co-sponsors
:
ACLU, Affordable Housing Now, 350.org, NAACP, Economic Justice Alliance, and the GLBT Alliance.   Questions will be submitted by sponsoring organizations with questions from the audience as time is available.

PDC members in good standing will cast their endorsement votes.
             …

Live Oak, California -  A proposed pay cut for Central firefighters has been delayed to August as contract negotiations continue, labor leaders said this week.

In May, the Central Fire Protection District Board of Directors voted to cut its firefighters' base pay 7 percent starting in July and require firefighters to pay back 7 percent of their base salary for the past 12 months. The decision came with a caveat: If Central Fire and its labor union could negotiate a new contract by mid-July, there would be no pay cut or retroactive pay cut.

Anthony Cefaloni, president of IAFF Local 3605, said Tuesday that the pay cut has been extended until Aug. 13 as contract talks continue.

"While nothing has been formally approved I would say we are cautiously optimistic…


Have we got candidates!!!!

Six important local races.

Monday Oct. 3 (see details below)

  • Capitola City Council - 2 seats
  • County Office of Education - 1 seat
  • Central Fire District - 4 seats (to replace incumbents who passed a retroactive pay cut!)
  • Live Oak School District - 2 seats
  • Santa Cruz Port District - 3 seats (challengers to replace incumbents)
  • Soquel Creek Water District 1 two-year seat

Where:  Center for Spiritual Living
               1818 Felt Street -
off 17th between Brommer and Portola

Time:  6:30 - 9:00pm
            Sponsors: Peoples Democratic Club, 350.org, Citizens Climate Lobby, and Santa Cruz for Bernie




Drew Glover, founder and executive director of environmental sustainability nonprofit Project Pollinate, will throw his hat into the ring for one of four Santa Cruz City Council seats in the Nov. 8 election.

Glover, 30, said the council and city government power structure's makeup do not fully represent the community's makeup, a point that spurred him to run. He cited in particular recent decisions made contrary to popular public opinion on the Police Department obtaining a BearCat vehicle, leasing the Beach Flats Community Garden and other issues.

"I think that it is time for change in local city government that represents the people and not special interest groups," Glover said.

Glover said as a co…

By Jessica York,
Santa Cruz Sentinel - August 1, 2016

Brown, an assistant professor whose courses have ranged from American politics to urban food policy at her previous University of San Francisco and current University of the Pacific, has lived in Santa Cruz since first attending UC Sa…

By Jessica A. York
Santa Cruz Sentinel;  June 30, 2016

Longtime The Bike Church mechanic and nonprofit director Steve Schnaar will make his first bid for a Santa Cruz City Council seat in November.

The 38-year-old Westside resident, who founded in 2010 and continues to run the Santa Cruz Fruit Tree Project, said he strongly considered running for a council seat two years ago, but ended up backing off and supporting candidate Leonie Sherman's campaign instead. Schnaar also served as treasurer on Councilman Micah Posner's 2012 council campaign.

This year, Schnaar said he is taking steps to seek his own council seat, after regularly seeing the public's will go unheeded in recent years.

"I've been dedicated to serving and improving our community for years, and I'm in…

Chris Krohn, a UC Santa Cruz environmental studies internship coordinator, will take a second go at city governance in November, after a 14-year gap.

Krohn, 58, is the only candidate besides incumbent Cynthia Mathews with a past political record, having served on the council from 1998 to 2002, with one year as mayor. He first pulled his candidacy paperwork on Aug. 9, after none of the approximately 10 people he encouraged to run stepped forward and Councilman Micah Posner's announced plans not to run for a second term, Krohn said.

Krohn said it was "is a huge decision" to run while holding down a full-time job and being a parent to his two daughters. However, Krohn said he wanted voters to be able to vote f…



On August 29, with 55 members voting, each of the four candidates reached the 60% required for endorsement. 

Note of interest:  Santa Cruz for Bernie and the Montery Bay Labor Council endorsed the same four candidates affirming the strong political/ideological alignment between the three groups - social justice, labor rights, human rights, economic justice.

 

Last fall, Gov. Brown signed into law major changes to California's initiative process.  The following changes are cited in an article on KQED blog by John Myers.
  1. a new month long public review of initiatives in which backers can make changes;
  2. a process for legislators and initiative proponents to craft a compromise in the state Capitol and avoid an election altogether;and
  3. a new, continually updated online list of top initiative donors.

Read the full article at: http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2014/09/27/big-changes-to-california-initiative-process-signed-by-jerry-brown/

In 1988, when Bernie Sanders was first running for the U.S. House, he made a cassette recording. One side was a revealing explanation of what socialism means to him.


It starts with a vision for a much better world....


"You really can almost take it seriously that you live in a world where it is considered normal that people go around killing each other. You turn on the television, there they are shooting each other. . . you have people who are living out on the streets or in some places on this planet starving to death, while at the same time you have other people who have billions and billions of dollars. More wealth that they're going to be able to use in a million lifetimes."

 "The basic insanity of that, the immorality of that to me is so abhorrent …


By Gary Patton, Special to the Sentinel-Posted: 07/02/16

Bernie Sanders has been getting a lot of advice, lately. Advice like, "why don't you admit you lost; sit down; get out of here; shut up."

Stephen Kessler, a regular contributor to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, pretty much says all that in his "Open letter to Bernie Sanders" published last Saturday, accusing Sanders of being "deluded" and "caught in the bubble of (his) fans' adulation." Kessler paints Sanders as an "intransigent nag and a sore loser."

As an alternate delegate pledged to Bernie Sanders, who plans to be at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia, I would like to offer a different view.

"Hard" delegate votes are the votes of delegates who are obligated to vote for a candidate. Neither Senator Sanders nor…


News Flash!

PDC endorses Panetta, Leopold, Friend

First ever electronic endorsement balloting with 54% of eligible members voting.

  • California 20th Congressional District:           Jimmy Panetta   
  • Santa Cruz County Supervisor 1st  District:   John Leopold      
  • Santa Cruz County Supervisor 2nd District:    Zach Friend        



Now Collecting Signatures


(15-0068)  Voters Right to Know Act:  Donor Disclosure. Initiative Constitutional Amendment And Statute. Creates a constitutional right to public disclosure of money used to finance campaign activity and influence government actions. (Similar to California Disclose Act)

  • Requires corporations and nonprofit organizations that spend $50,000 or more on political activities in California to disclose their $10,000 donors, including where donations passed through other entities.
  • Requires that a political campaign's advertisements disclose its top three donors contributing $50,000 or more.
  • Expands Secretary of State's online campaign finance database.
  • Extends bar against former legislators lobbying Legislature or state agencies to 24 months.
  • Requires disclosure of lobbying…



Members are encouraged to sign petitions for the following ballot measures which were endorsed by the membership 1/21/16.

Tax Extension to Fund Education (15-0065)   - Extends by twelve years the temporary personal income tax increases enacted in 2012 on earnings over $250,000 [for single filers; over $500,000 for joint filers; over $340,000 for heads of household].     More Information:  www.ballotpedia.org/California_$15_Minimum_Wage_Initiative_(2016) ; www.cabinetreport.com/politics-education/school-advocates-look-to-extend-tax-hike-on-wealth

Campaign Finance. "Voters Right to Know" (15-0068)  - Requires corporations and nonprofit organizations that spend $50,000 or more on political activities in California to disclose their $10,000 donors, including where donatio…


If you value protecting the quality of local schools - whether to prepare students for college and successful careers, keep kids safe and engaged in school, or simply to protect your property values - Measure O deserves your YES VOTE.

Our local secondary schools work hard to prepare students from Santa Cruz, Soquel, Live Oak, Capitola, Bonnie Doon, Happy Valley and surrounding communities for college and career success. The high quality education at Branciforte and Mission Hill Middle Schools, and Harbor, Santa Cruz, and Soquel High Schools includes advanced courses and enrichment in math, science, technology, the arts, and career training. 

But State and County budget cuts are taking their toll, eliminating funding for secondary programs that contribute to a well-­?rounded…



WITHOUT RAISING YOUR TAX RATE, VOTE YES on Measure P to protect the outstanding quality of education provided in Santa Cruz elementary (K-­?6)   schools.

Santa Cruz has a tradition of supporting its local schools. Exceptional teachers, small class sizes, challenging instructional programs, dedicated parent volunteers, and outstanding science, art and music curricula have prepared generations of local children to succeed in middle and high school, college, and 21st Century careers.

But years of state budget cuts and now, the State's new funding formula, continue to threaten our local schools.

Fortunately, in 2008 over 80% of Santa Cruz voters approved a modest school parcel tax that today provides a stable funding source to maintain educational excellence and protect neig…




Campaign Committee Training and first phone night:

Tuesday, September 8, 5 to 8pm                                                                                                                       Campaign Headquarters - Santa Cruz Democratic Headquarters                                             …

November 14, 2104

First of all, I want to acknowledge both Bruce and Leonie for running as smart, honest, and caring candidates. Furthermore, I want to express how much I respect all of us who enthusiastically supported and contributed to their noble campaigns.

To my mind it is now of great importance to agree that the lessons of this election couldn't be clearer, no matter how we might try to spin it otherwise, for example:

1.    Sweeping the election with nearly 60% of the vote last Tuesday, the busine$$-as-usual conservative city council majority (http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/Opinion/ci_26704232/Editorial-Oct-12-2014:-Chase-Noroyan-and-Terrazas-for-Santa-Cruz-City-Council) remains firmly in charge.

This trend would seem to raise serious questions about the state …

You are invited!

Final campaign event for Jeremy Shonick, candidate for Santa Cruz City School Board.

Sunday October 19th, 1.30pm - 3.30pm

At the beautiful Darling House

overlooking the Monterey Bay 

314 Westcliff Drive

Wine, soft drinks and light hors d'oeuvres will be provided.

A $20 contribution per person to complete our fundraising drive is suggested.

Let's end it on a high note!

Over 60 PDC members voted last night to endorse Alisun Thompson (Area 2- at large) and Jeremy Shonick (Area 1- inside the city) for the Santa Cruz City School Board.

At a forum sponsored by the PDC and the GLBT Alliance of Santa Cruz County, and attended by approximately 100 interested people, the five candidates answered questions for over an hour. The panel was moderated Sandra Nichols, Santa Cruz County Schools Trustee, with questions written by the sponsoring groups and from the audience. 

Members of the GLBT Alliance will vote on their endorsements at their September meeting: 6:30pm Thursday September 11 at the Santa Cruz Democratic Party headquarters in the Gallleria  (groundfloor, Suite #165) - 740 Front Street, Santa Cruz.

 

Hosted by the People's D…

The People's Democratic Club is proud to announce endorsements for seats on the Santa Cruz City Council:

  • Bruce Van Allen                                                         
  • Leonie Sherman
  • Cynthia Chase

Members of the PDC (People's Democratic Club) voted their endorsement Monday night after hearing from seven of the eight candidates for Santa Cruz City Council at a forum sponsored by the PDC, the GLBT Alliance, DeSal Alternatives, the Glass Ballot, and the Greater Santa Cruz Federation of Teachers.   The forum attracted a …

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