Los Angeles is ready to close the loophole and “Make It Fair”

Last weekend 350 community members from across LA came together at Los Angeles Trade Tech College. They joined community leaders and local elected officials to talk about how we can use the power the community has built to close the commercial property tax loophole in Prop 13.

Speaking at last weekend’s event were State Sen. Holly Mitchell; Torie Osborn, Office of Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Principal Deputy for Policy and Strategy; John Kim, Executive Director, Advancement Project; Clarissa Woo Hermosillo, ACLU of Southern California, Director of Economic Justice: Dr. Manuel Pastor, University of Southern California, Professor; Arlene Inouye, UTLA, Union Officer and Bargaining Co-Chair; and Alberto Retana, Community Coalition, President & CEO. Guests answered questions and provided more context about how over $3 billion a year designated locally for education and services could transform Los Angeles County.

State Senator Holly Mitchell (SD-30), a champion of the Make It Fair campaign since 2015, told the crowd “This is about making it fair. Corporations use our public infrastructure just like you and I. So, why shouldn’t they pay to help fix our streets?” and called the Make it Fair proposal an opportunity to correct a wrong.

The community college campus provided the perfect background to discuss the impact of $2.9 billion for education and services in Los Angeles. When Prop 13 passed Community Colleges in California were free, but now LATTC President Larry Frank pointed out after decades of increasing tuitions and housing cost a staggering 65% of Los Angeles’s community college students can’t afford balanced meals.

Alberto Retana, President & CEO of Community Coalition announced that after the years of working to pass state and local initiatives to fund education, housing, and reform the next big fight is reforming Prop 13, “There is one fight left that we’ve got to get together on” he said, “and that’s the fight to make sure that our schools and our communities get the money and resources we deserve to live like human beings in a community that treats us like human beings.”

The town hall was hosted by ACCE LA, California Partnership, Community Coalition, InnerCity Struggle, LA Forward, League of Women Voters, SCOPE, UTLA, California Calls, CTA, CFT, PICO California, and SEIU CA

Up next, Make it Fair will host community town halls in Chula Vista on October 18, San Diego on November 1, and Bakersfield on November 9.

San Bernardino Town Hall Ignites New Commitment to Reform Prop 13

Last Saturday nearly 200 community members packed into a small San Bernardino church to talk about closing the commercial property tax loophole in Prop 13 and raising $288 million a year for education and local services. The Town Hall – opened with a spoken word performance by local high school sophomore Sakinah Storks – focused heavily on the impacts of decades of disinvestment in San Bernardino and the grassroots power needed to reverse the damage.

Local elected officials and community leaders State Senator Connie Leyva, San Bernardino City Unified Board Member Abigail Medina, and Riverside Community College Board Member Bill Hedrick, Associate Director of Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement Pastor Benjamin Briggs, and California Calls Policy and Campaign Development Director Veronica Carrizales spoke passionately about why San Bernardino can’t afford to continue to let big corporations and the wealthy get away with not paying their fair share.

Board Member Hedrick noted that the impacts of Prop 13 were no accident and contributed to wealth inequality in the state. He called closing the loophole a good first step to addressing California having more poor people than any other place in the country. “It is immoral that we have people wandering the streets without a home, people unable to find a clinic or healthcare, schools that are inadequately funded and all of this is going on in the wealthiest state in the wealthiest country.”

State Senator Connie Leyva announced her support of closing the commercial property tax loophole saying “I absolutely stand shoulder to shoulder with you in closing this loophole. It is absolutely disgraceful what has happened in our communities. I am with you, I am here, let’s make this happen together.”

Community leader and Executive Director of COPE, Rev. Samuel Casey called on several elected officials and their representatives to stand up and commit to meet with COPE and the Make it Fair campaign about the proposal. San Bernardino City Unified School Board Members Gwendolyn Rogers and Abigail Media, staffer for San Bernardino County Board Supervisor Josie Gonzales, Rialto Unified School Board District President Dina Walker, and a staffer for Republican Assembly Member Marc Steinorth all committed to meet with local groups to learn more.

The town hall meeting was hosted by Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement, California Partnership, SEIU 2015, Evolve, Inland Empire for Our Revolution, San Bernardino County Young Democrats, League of Women Voters -San Bernardino Chapter, Inland Congregations United for Change, ACLU, ACCE, Progressive Alliance of the Inland Empire and California Calls.

Chanting “Make It Fair” throughout the event, participants joined the nearly 100,000 people that have signed petitions supporting the Make It Fair Campaign and left the town hall with resources to spread the word in their communities and join future actions including talking with local leaders.

Six town halls are scheduled for September and October in communities across the state. RSVP for the next stop for Make it Fair this Saturday, October 7th in Los Angeles from 10am to 12pm.

Bay Area Leaders Join Oakland Residents: Now is the time to fix Prop 13

Last Saturday morning over 300 community members, local organizations and elected officials convened at a packed Town Hall in Oakland calling for reform to Prop 13’s commercial property loophole.

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The event, organized by the Make it Fair Coalition, called for a reform that would assess commercial real estate at its full and current market value, while keeping Proposition 13 for residential real estate.

At the event, State Senator Nancy Skinner, State Senator Scott Weiner, and Assemblyman Rob Bonta spoke about the need to reform Proposition 13’s commercial property tax loophole, which currently deprives California of over $9 billion per year in revenue. Richmond City Councilmember Melvin Willis and Alameda Board of Supervisors Member Keith Carson also spoke to the impact that the $369 million in annual revenue to Alameda County would have on local schools and critical services.

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In her remarks, Skinner argued that the Prop 13 commercial loophole “has denied our schools significant funding. Prop 13, from day one, was designed as a corporate giveaway, but it was sold as a protection for homeowners.”

Prop 13 has been at the center of damage, where California has gone from one of the best school systems to one of the lowest” said State Senator Scott Wiener illuminating one of the most significant impacts of decades of disinvestment due to the proposition.

Asm. Rob Bonta delivered a compelling call to action. “The time is now.  We’re in a special place in California. We are able to move an agenda that supports people, but we’re also fighting a federal government that does not.  We need to seize this moment.  A vote of the people will decide – do we want $9 billion to help with our affordable housing crisis, our health care crisis, to fund our schools and help everyone meet their dream of going to college? I think the resounding answer is yes.”

The town hall meeting was hosted by Evolve, League of Women Voters, Policy Link, Oakland Rising, ACCE, SEIU CA, CFT, CTA and California Calls.

View More: http://oneworldjournalist.pass.us/californiacallsParticipants signed up to collect petitions in support of Make It Fair and recruit organizational and small business endorsers. The energy was electric in the room, with many declaring excitement about the growing movement to finally tackle what is seen as the third rail of California politics. So far, nearly 100,000 people have signed petitions supporting the reform of the Prop 13 commercial loophole.

You can watch a recording of the town hall here.

Six town halls are scheduled for September and October in communities across the state. The next two town hall meetings are on September 30th in San Bernardino and October 7th in Los Angeles.