Friday, September 19, 2008

Why I Support Oakland Measure NN

I blogged about this measure previously, so I'll keep today's missive short and sweet.

I saw today's Chronicle article from Chip Johnson opposing Measure NN. I obviously agree with nearly everything he said in terms of the city using the money well, but I do support NN for two reasons:

First, I think it's useful for the city to have money earmarked for public safety. I realize that it will be misspent terribly, but I do believe at least some of it will get to the desired destination. And, I believe public-safety spending has the potential to snowball by creating a virtuous circle of gentrification.

Which brings me to the far more important point.

I view gentrification as Oakland's only hope for improvement. In thinking about taxation, I believe that parcel taxes aid the cause of gentrification. This is because parcel taxes are regressive, so they punish the poorest in the community and encourage them to leave.

Oakland has too much poverty, and much of its crime stems from this. So, Measure NN is a good antidote to this in two ways. It may directly push out some crime through policing, and it will certainly encourage some people to move, as they will be unable to afford the parcel tax.


  1. Giving Oakland's city government more money (ostensibly for public safety) is like giving an alchoholic a gift certificate to BevMo. Oakland already has high tax rates: gross receipts, real estate transfer and sales. Most other localities have only one of the three. Although I agree in principle with pushing the loser culture out of town (where to I don't know), the problem is that those folks are renters, not owners. Any parcel tax increase will fall on the landlords who are restrained from passing it on to their tenants because of rent control.

  2. Higher parcel taxes do not aid gentrification; if anything, high taxes make it much harder for people to move to Oakland. Because of Prop 13, long-term residents don't pay nearly as much as newer residents. The regressive nature of the tax also punishes people who want to buy the most cost-effective form of housing, new condos.

    Additionally, more funds for popular police services only takes pressure off of the Mayor and Council to make city government smaller and leaner. I simply don't see how a conservative could support this (large) tax.

  3. I agree with the commentators rather than OP too. Hardly a conservative notion to support a tax EB conservative. But I understand you want to save your home so anfew hundred $ seems a small price to pay. However Oakland sees no shame in ripping off her citizenry time and time again. The first measure (Y?) to add taxes to add police was botched badly and it took years to get those additional officers- the police chief has even said that they cannot train anymore so a tax, a false hope are what's in store. The citizenry have to realize that the criminal element is costing them and citizens must demand repayment from the criminals- confiscate, punish, do anything and everything to disrupt, displace them is the answer but we don't see that resolve from the Mayor. In fact his crime fighting proposal should doom this tax- he is a Mayor who does what he says so you should listen to him very carefully. For some he makes you feel good (why else would you have voted for him?) He's like Osama b. L like that. The Mayor should be doing anything and everything to reduce crime including pink prison outfits, shaming billboards etc a full on assault of the rotten element is the only thing that would make Mayor Fuzz credible otherwise you know he's going to take the tax $ and spend it his feel good programs.

  4. Well I suppose I didn't do a very good job of reading your OP-the last paragraph on pushing poor owners out of Oakland. Now I think you're just mean. But the libs will probably find a way to fund the parcel tax for them. Why don't you just go down the street in the neighborhoods you don't like and try and get owners cited for infractions like sidewalks that are cracked- they would have to pay for the repairs.

    For the record I am for gentrification & revitalization of neighborhoods and like to have as much ownership as possible. I have witnessed several neighborhoods improve markedly thus raising the standard of living throught, raising, RE taxes (which the city has blown), lessening the need for police and increasing the value of the city.

  5. This blog is no fun at all- if people don't come here, congregate and comment then who are we talking to?

  6. I used to work in foreign aid and felt that more money should not be poured into leaky buckets. But when my own home security depends on putting more into leaky's tough deciding between consistency and security.