Election 2012: Teachers Pony Up Against Prop 32; S. Bay Sales Taxes; Romneys Asked For Big Reduction on La Jolla Home Value

  • Primary Voters in California

    Flickr/Old Man Lee

    In San Francisco, odd-numbered district supervisors (as opposed to just odd supervisors) are up for election in November. The deadline to enter one of those races and “grab that City Hall office and that sweet $105,723 salary,” as the Chronicle puts it, is Friday. But the process can be perilous, the Chron reminds us:

    Benjamin Castaneda probably wasn’t going to be much of a challenge to Supervisor David Campos in District Nine, but he signed up to start raising campaign cash. Then the 24-year-old decided to use a Facebook post to threaten District Attorney George Gascón for charging him with violating a restraining order. Castaneda pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of making criminal threats, which to no one’s surprise took him out of the race.

    How do I get my donation back, I’d like to know…

  • The Chron also reports on the California Teachers Association ponying up $7.5 million for the campaign against Prop 32, the initiative that aims to limit both union and corporate donations to candidates through automatic payroll deductions, but which labor characterizes as a Trojan Horse due to an exemption for limited liability companies. Reporter Joe Garofoli runs through a brief history of recent attempts to hamper union funding of political activity:

    Prop. 32 is the third California ballot measure in 14 years designed to limit the ability of labor unions to fund their political activity through payroll deductions. In 2005, union-backed forces spent $54.1 million to defeat a similar “paycheck protection” measure that was the centerpiece of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan to reform state government. The “Yes on Proposition 75″ side spent only $5.8 million. In 1998, the similarly worded Prop. 226 was also defeated by a wide margin as unions outspent the supporters 4-1.

    Which raises the question: by getting unions to expend this kind of money, are these initiatives a win for anti-union forces even when they fail?

  • On Tuesday, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and the San Jose City Council will debate putting separate tax measures on the ballot. The county is looking at a 1/8 cent hike, San Jose at 1/2 cent, the San Jose Mercury News reports. That’s on top of the governor’s proposed 1/4 cent sales tax rise. One telling exchange from the Merc’s reporting:

    “I think we pay enough taxes as it is,” said [Shirley] Puentes, 49, who was shopping with three of her four children at the Costco store on Coleman Avenue last week. But what about the important priorities these tax increases would fund?

    “They always say that,” Puentes said, rolling her eyes.

  • Some of the chattering classes are chattering today about the Los Angeles Times report on Mitt and Ann Romney’s request for a 45 percent reduction in the assessment of a home they own in La Jolla. Initially assessed at $12 million, the San Diego County Assessment Appeals Board lowered the value to $8.7 million over three years, saving the Romneys about $109,000 in taxes.