I think we've done pretty well since selecting Tom Schwedhelm from our local police force to be the chief, followed by Hank Schreeder, soon-to-retire. I hope that the city of Santa Rosa keeps this in mind as they interview candidates for our next police chief.
I think our local management team has provided excellent leadership generally, and I strongly believe local experience matters in our community. Best wishes to the chief in his retirement, and I hope that promotion from within has become a trend that will continue.
We're Not So Bad
These days some people have a hard time recognizing anything good about our country. But the truth about the U.S. is complicated. Granted, the Trump years have brought us low, but for anyone coming from the global south, the U.S. still looks like paradise—at least, initially. Rule of law, due process, opportunity, democracy, as much as these have been diminished of late, they're still there, battered but breathing. In raising public awareness of all that is wrong in the U.S., we have been discounting all that's right.
Reform Prop. 13
Well timed to accompany the election to defeat Trump in November of next year, an initiative to "adjust" Proposition 13 in the form of a "split roll" tax will also be on the ballot.
A split roll tax enables commercial and residential properties to be valued, assessed, and taxed differently. In the campaign there will be almost as much B.S. produced to confuse and irritate voters as in the presidential version.
We will read desperate claims by the California Chamber of Commerce and others who will say another $11 billion or so of taxes on businesses will kill economic growth in the state for centuries.
On the other side, the unions, including the California Teachers Association, Mark Zuckerberg and many community groups will claim that the initiative will promote greater fairness in the tax system and reasonably benefit the schools and other precious causes.
Governor Newsom will stay out of the battle for now until he sees which way the wind is blowing, and will get away with that by telling us that any adjustment to Prop. 13, passed by 65 percent of voters in 1978, should be part of a general tax reform program.
No matter how you feel about Prop. 13, which took away many reasonable ways for municipalities to tax our citizens but not all of them, it is going to be tested, as it should be.
What would be nice is for all the interest groups involved, and our beloved and pretty useless state elected officials, to sit down now and once and for all hammer out a tax reform program that is fair and equitable for all Californians, businesses and individuals.
But it won't happen because democracy does not work in this state, nor in this country, at this time.
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