Category Archives: Economic Development

Proposition 13 Reform Support Not Considered by Council

Proposition 13 was designed to help retired homeowners on a fixed income whose property taxes were rapidly rising. It limited the amount one’s property tax can increase annually even if their property values go way up. This was a laudable effort.

However, the rules of Proposition 13 apply to commercial and residential property. Of course, applying Proposition 13 to commercial properties does nothing to help homeowners. It’s estimated that this costs California nine billion dollars a year!

California used to be one of the leaders in how much we contributed to our public schools. Now we’re near the bottom of the list. Many have attributed this to Proposition 13. That’s why many school districts including Fremont’s, Hayward’s and Alameda County’s have signed on to a petition developed by Evolve to reform Proposition 13. A number of local cities and over 900 elected officials have signed on to this.

I made a referral to have the Fremont City Council sign on as well. Staff analyzed this and suggested that we simply monitor the situation. Despite this, I made a motion that the Fremont City Council sign on as well. My motion failed for a lack of a second.

Read more about the petition at

Connolly's Shopping Center Allowed to Apply for Residential Conversion

This shopping center is located on Fremont Avenue in Irvington – a major commercial thoroughfare. The owner of the center wants to convert Connolly’s (a furniture store) and several surrounding businesses to residential.

I don’t believe it is a good idea to allow residential development on a retail shopping thoroughfare simply because the owner believes he can make more money that way. Instead, the City should promote investment in our retail shopping areas to make them more attractive and viable. Unfortunately, Council ended up voting 4-1 to allow the applicant to move forward.  (I cast the sole dissenting vote.)  Fortunately, this was not a final approval of the project but it is a step in that direction.

I believe this decision sends a message to commercial property owners that if they let their properties deteriorate enough that the City will reward them by allowing them to convert the use to housing. This sets a dangerous precedent and could lead to even fewer viable retail areas in a City that is already sorely lacking in attractive places to spend time.