Category Archives: Fiscal Responsibility

Council Endorses Alameda County Affordable Housing Bond (7/19)

On a 4-1 vote the Fremont City Council endorsed the Alameda County bond measure that will be on this November’s ballot. I was very much in favor of this.

Since I’ve been on the Council I’ve come to believe that affordable housing is one of the most important issues facing many local municipalities including the City of Fremont. Working people are having more and more trouble renting in Fremont let alone buying a home here. When affordable housing becomes available, the number of applicants is enormous.

In my position paper on affordable housing (, I note that Fremont has a ratio of 8.30 lower wage jobs to places that people with these jobs can afford to live. That means that for every lower wage job in Fremont, 7.30 people have to commute here in order to work. It’s estimated that this translates to 6,000 people who work in Fremont and have to commute from somewhere else. (The corresponding figure for the City of San Jose alone is over 21,000.) If you wonder why traffic is so bad in the Bay Area, this imbalance is a good part of the reason.

Given the current situation, one could easily argue that Fremont, and many other local cities, should have asked for more affordable housing fees on past development. Obviously there was a need for it. But the past is the past and we can’t go back and change it. We can’t go back and ask those developers to pay increased fees. We are stuck with the current situation. Even if we substantially increased fees on future development, that wouldn’t resolve the problem.

I don’t see any other immediate options available that will help resolve the huge affordability problem that we have in the Bay Area. This bond measure will be local money used to resolve a critical local issue.

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

We Need A More Inclusive Budget Process in Fremont

The budget is actually discussed in three separate Council meetings (5/17, 6/14 and 6/21). In the 5/17 meeting I made it a point to note that Fremont’s budget decision process is not an inclusive process. The budget notes that there is a hierarchy where the community is on top, followed by the Council and then by staff. I noted that in my experience this is not actually how the budget is prepared in Fremont.

My frustration with the budget process has not only been that there is virtually no input from the public. I also feel as a Council member that I have little say in the budget process. That the budget is simply presented by staff, there is little discussion, and then the budget is approved. As an example, there was a budget surplus last year. Instead of staff presenting to Council what options we had to spend this on, staff just presented a list of what they felt it should be spent on. This was simply approved by the Council with little discussion. I’ve complained about this a couple of times with no success.

My Referrals on Prop 13 Reform and Measure AA Passed

My Referrals on Prop 13 Reform and Measure AA Passed (5/10)

I had two referrals on the agenda. The first was a proposal from a group called Evolve to reform the commercial exemption from Proposition 13. Proposition 13 was designed to protect elderly people on a fixed income whose property values were increasing radically. While that’s nice, it does mean that your property taxes also raise radically. For people on a fixed income, this is quite a burden. Of course, I think Propostion 13 was a good measure as it does cap the amount that ones property tax can rise.


But there was no reason for this measure to cover commercial property as well. Commercial changes ownership less rarely than residential property, especially when owners see that changing owners could greatly increase their taxes. The application of Proposition 13 to commercial property should have never been done and needs to be reversed.


The second referral was to have our City Council formally endorse Measure AA. This is a $12 parcel tax that will raise money for San Francisco Bay restoration. This measure has been endorsed by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, environmental groups, and many others. As a member of the SF Bay Restoration Authority is overseeing this measure, I will undoubtedbly be promoting this more before the June election.

I support Fremont’s Measure I on the June 6 Ballot

After my post on the State bond measure I was asked about Measure I in Fremont. I am endorsing this measure.


Measure I is a local initiative that would extend and increase the existing parcel tax that Fremont residents pay from $53 to $73 per parcel.

I don’t think it’s a contradiction to support this measure and also be opposed to the State bond measure. Measure I will be Fremont residents paying to support Fremont schools. While some of the money may go to portables to accommodate increased demand due to new development, the money from this measure will go to the existing school needs in Fremont, which we all know are plentiful.