Letters to the editor: Measure L | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Letters to the editor: Measure L

Tahoe Daily Tribune Staff Reports

To the editor:

Are we, the locals, going to give outside interests control over our children’s education? Are we, the locals, going to be swayed by misleading, slick and expensive ad campaigns run by those who have unlimited funds and no interest in the future of our kids? I hope not. I urge our caring community to ignore these tactics and vote overwhelmingly in favor of Measure L.

For little more than $1 per week per parcel, we, the locals, can guarantee that our students receive the finest of educational opportunities. And for those of you who own more than one parcel, consider yourselves blessed. You may also want to give some, if not most, of the credit for your success to your own educational backgrounds.

My $1+ per week will help to secure the full-time reopening of elementary school libraries, retain the 20 to 1 student/teacher ratio in K-3, reinstate support staff (nurse, psychologist, counselor, etc.), maintain the music program, reinstate the elementary P.E. program, to name just a few – a small price to pay for the students in our community. We owe it to our children to provide them with nothing but the best, especially when so many are faced with challenges never imagined 30, 20, or even 10 years ago.

There are no guarantees that a school (or schools) won’t be closed in the future. But that decision should be determined by educational necessity, not fiscal crisis.

I urge every local to vote Yes on Measure L.

Joy Rothschild

South Lake Tahoe

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To the editor:

I am expressing my dissatisfaction with Measure L.

This is an unfair tax based upon the fact that a partial owner of a time share would have to pay a full parcel tax on the one, two or numerous weeks of ownership they own.

I understand the need of more dollars for the schools, but this is unfair to those of us who participate in the ownership on a very limited basis.

The Lake Tahoe Unified School District is still insisting on the $60-per-year parcel tax locally, even though the state of California passed a bond act that provides school districts with money that makes solutions for a parcel tax no longer necessary.

Measure L is badly flawed, carelessly conceived and terribly unfair to many property owners. The designers of the measure have also factored in a cost of living increase with their stated belief they will have to come back for more in six more years.

For fairness to all, this parcel tax should be handled fairly and not in a manner to punish the owners of time shares, which is specifically what the authors of this measure are doing.

I would hope you can help in setting the record straight about the unfairness of this Measure L. The real facts are that these type of out-of-control parcel taxes are failing in many California communities at a higher rate than not! We cannot let this one pass either. It’s unjust and unfair. Please vote no on Measure L. This parcel tax must be denied due to its unfair formula.

Melvyn and Faye Dumas

Tracy

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To the editor:

In response to the naysayers and evil doers opposing Measure L: Let’s get real here. If you were lucky enough to have purchased real estate in this town more than five years ago, we all know how much your property values have increased and if you are fortunate enough to buy in this staggering market you absolutely can afford to supplement our schools with $60 a year.

As for the time-share situation, maybe the formula is not perfect but there are casualties in every war. Yes people. this is war. War against ignorance and uncultured human beings. Let’s not forget how many millions of dollars were borrowed from our fine city’s general fund and not repaid for redevelopment where many of these time-shares are located, monies which could be used to subsidize our schools.

Those from out of town, imagine this was happening in your city to your kids – what would you do? And how many people write off some portion of their time shares and second homes on their federal tax returns? Our children are the most important asset we have. We were lucky enough to build the house of our dreams in this beautiful area after working here for 13 years, and it is now turning into a nightmare if our children cannot receive a descent public education.

I am from a Connecticut city back east whose first priority was always its kids. Music, art, libraries and sports were offered from kindergarten! It is one of the only cities in the black in the state. That’s right, profitable! Coincidentally’ its mayor for the last eight years I went to high school with!

Be warned, folks, that any roots this town may have are about to be augmented; no one wants to live in a town with people like the incredulous Bill Crawford, with his conspiracy theories and cries of racism, and others who put business before their children. Federal and state funding may be depleting, but that is when a community should take care of its own.

Tracy Wood

South Lake Tahoe

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To the editor:

I have just received notice from my time-share company that I will be liable for a $60-per-year assessment if Measure L is passed. I support the school system in the county in which I live. My wife is an employee of the school district here.

To say that I should have my time share property tax go from $30 a year to $90 seems totally unacceptable.

I have the benefit of one week a year for which I paid much more than the listed prices now on Bidshares.com, as quoted by one of your local residents. She, as well as others in your area, seem to think it’s OK to tax us (taxation without representation since we can’t vote there) at the same rate as someone who owns property and has full use of that property year-round.

From my point of view, I own 1/4368 of the rights to a week which works out to an equivalent rate of a little over a penny a year. I’ll gladly round that up to two cents. Please let me know of the local school district address so I can get my first payment in the mail as soon as possible!

Our neighboring county recently had a school bond measure fail twice. It had been put on the ballot the second time virtually unchanged from the first. It was rewritten to address the specific needs of the school district, and guess what. It passed.

If you really need the money from Measure L, I suggest you don’t let the school district push you into a flawed tax. It will be tied up in court, before the court finally points out it is illegal in its present form. Do the right thing and vote no on Measure L.

Bruce Johnson

Marysville

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To the editor:

I am a senior citizen who has lived at South Lake Tahoe for 40 years. There have been many changes in our community since I moved here and I am writing this letter to urge everyone who lives here now to vote for Measure L to support our local children and their education. Our children are our most precious resource and we need to help them to become the best educated they can be. They will eventually direct the future for all of us and our community.

Those seniors who cannot afford the $60 each year for six years can apply for an exemption on an easy, one-page form indicating your age and ownership of your property. It doesn’t matter what your income is, it’s up to you to decide to apply for the exemption. This simple exemption process has been used successfully in other school districts for many years.

As a past senior legislator I know the importance of voting to support our children. Please join me in voting yes on Measure L for the good of our children and our community.

Evenly Grau

South Lake Tahoe

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To the editor:

Fellow citizens: After serving for 20 years as a Navy and Coast Guard surface warfare officer and maritime lawyer, I made the decision to forgo the opportunities of corporate law in order to positively influence teenagers and attempt to mold them into better American citizens.

I am fortunate in having been able to teach and mentor young adults since 1995, when I started the South Tahoe High School naval JROTC program. I am well aware of the high quality of instruction and exceptional commitment of my fellow teachers and am proud to be part of a group that has helped many of our students advance their education at esteemed institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA and the nation’s service academies.

I am also honored to be associated with so many high school students who have generously donated their time over the years to various service projects to help improve the quality of life in this wonderful community of ours.

I, like my associates, have devoted myself to this profession because I believe that there are few things more important than developing the potential of our children and, in return, securing the future of our great nation. I ask that each of you support Measure L in order to maintain the programs now offered within the Lake Tahoe Unified School District – programs designed to help our children blossom and flourish.

Matt Williams

South Lake Tahoe

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To the editor:

This letter intends to respond to Mr. Peter Butler’s letter to the editor on April 2 , within which, he disparages Bruce Grego, my daughter, Jan, and myself, for our views opposing Measure L.

First, it should be said, I have known Bruce Grego for 34 years, and he is first, a friend, and second, a fine attorney. More, his ethics through all those years are truly beyond reproach.

Mr. Butler appears to find something sinister about our involvement in opposing the ill-conceived Measure L, just because he supports it. My daughter, Jan McCarthy, and I, have always strived for high ethics and treating others with integrity; let other’s be the judge.

It would be impossible to respond to all of Mr. Butler’s allegations and inferences in a letter to the editor, so I’d like to rebut several conclusions made by Mr. Butler, because he obviously hasn’t understood the impact it imposes on the local time share resorts.

We manage two time-share properties. The Americana and the Stardust resorts together would have a yearly property tax increase of $489,590, or almost $3 million over the six-year tax period. That’s just the increase! How can you possibly believe this to be fair? Two motels of comparable size (same number of units) would only pay $120 increase per year or $720 over the 6-year period. Fair?

Measure L targets only property owners. Fair? Isn’t it a fact that renters use the schools too? Isn’t it totally unfair when $60 is levied against a vacant lot, an average- or modest- priced home, and then a supermarket on one parcel and a $3 million mansion on the lake are levied at the same amount? Mr. Butler, isn’t it unfair when a time share owner who has use for only seven days a year (2 percent of a year) must pay the same $60?

Mr. Butler, there are no villains here, only victims. We believe the school district needs to go back to the drawing board for a more fair formula.

Ed McCarthy

South Lake Tahoe

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To the editor:

After my letter was published, I received various calls regarding Measure L. One call was from a prominent time-share owner who argued that it’s unfair to tax the owner of a one-week time share unit the full tax for only a 2 percent ownership (1 week out of 52 weeks). However, when those owners come up to enjoy their one-week vacation, they depend on our “community” to provide them with services and amenities. And shouldn’t we all pay our fair share for keeping our community viable? Of course. Let’s face it, we need tourism to support our community and without a community there would be no tourism. We are inter-connected.

But let’s see if Measure L is really unfair to time-share owners. Visitors who stay in a hotel pay TOT (transient occupancy tax) to support community services. Time-share owners avoid that tax because they “own property” even though they are still “transient.” TOT is currently 10 percent + $1 and 12 percent + $1 in the redevelopment area (where most of the time shares are located).

To compare TOT to Measure L taxes, assume a visitor stays in a $100 hotel room for 7 days and pays 12 percent +$1 = $13 x 7 days or $91 in taxes that support our community. A time-share owner stays seven days and pays $60 in Measure L taxes that support our community. Now, granted, the two taxes support different services: TOT supports police, fire, snow removal, etc., while Measure L supports better schools which are the core of a healthy community. Both taxes contribute to the quality of life in our community that the visitor enjoys during their seven-day stay.

The time share owner I spoke to said he wasn’t against schools, just against a tax that’s unfair. I guess fairness is relative. Measure L looks pretty good when compared to TOT ($60 vs $91). In the end it’s about supporting the community that supports us. We all need to do our part without too much whining.

Jeff Miner

Meyers

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To the editor:

I would like to urge the Yes on L campaign to please refrain from picketing any more citizens over the way they may vote or choose to take a position on the current controversy surrounding measure L.

I don’t think we want to send a message to our community that if you don’t vote a certain way that you will be picketed or be retaliated against in any way.

We are all Americans and have a right to vote any way we choose. Please do not try to divide our city by the use of such tactics. As a sign of good faith I would like Mr. Terry Price to make a public apology for organizing this event and showing the students involved such a bad civics lesson.

Though he had a right to orchestrate such an event, I believe he used poor judgment. Let’s set a good example for our kids and let everyone vote the way they think will be best for the long-term interests of South Lake Tahoe.

James Wilder

South Lake Tahoe


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