Letters to the Editor
Appraisals are what we do in today’s world; appraisal for your jewelry, appraisals for your car, your home and other items of value. So why is our school district avoiding appraisals for the land that they wish to swap with the city? Avoiding this process almost seems illegal. Wouldn’t you think our school board should want to know the market value of the lands in question? It’s called accountability.
Avoiding this step is very irresponsible and an abdication of the board’s financial duties. Is this the same board that is going to come forth very soon with a multi-million dollar bond and expect to win the vote of the community?
If this school board wants to convince the community it needs a bond, it first needs to convince the community that it knows how to manage its finances. Blowing off appraisals is a very bad idea and demonstrates a lack of sound financial practices. Do the right thing, slow down the process; do appraisals and involve the community.
The Alameda Sun received a copy of this letter addressed to Debbie Potter, the city’s director of community development.
Dear Ms. Potter:
This letter is coming from a longtime Alameda family regarding the recent taxes and fines being levied by the city in the name of business licenses. In my opinion, the method of collection and the stance that the city has taken against its own residents are astonishing.
My family established Justin Realty and Insurance back in the 1930s. Over the years, my father and my uncles purchased many Alameda properties. When they retired, they divided the properties among themselves and closed their business office on Park Street. They then simply managed and paid the business licenses on those properties.
When my father and my uncles passed away I took over managing the rental properties. We have formed family limited partnerships to keep the properties in the children’s and grandchildren’s names.
Registering our limited partnerships with the state of California required our street address, not our post office box number. Waterview Isle Partners II, LP and H.W. Justin LP both gave a family member’s name and street address in Alameda.
Our renters send payments to our post office box. I do not live in Alameda, but I pick up the mail once a week. When we have a vacancy, we have a real estate office in Alameda set the rent amount, show the unit and draw up a lease. No business is actually being conducted at the Alameda street addresses of our family members.
I was shocked and insulted when I was contacted by some auditing service in Fresno insinuating that we were not paying for our business licenses. No matter whom I spoke to at the auditing company or in the city’s finance or planning departments I was told I owed five years of back taxes and fines.
The city also wanted a "one-time fee" for a home occupation permit. Supposedly no exception can be made. However, we now know that the city has sent letters to some of those audited, saying that the program has been "discontinued," bringing those cases to a "no-obligation conclusion."
Now what was good for the goose should be good for the gander. We look forward to receiving a refund for the money we paid into the city’s disastrous business license tax fiasco.
The Alameda Homeless Network on behalf of the Midway Shelter for abused women and their children extends it heartfelt thanks to those individuals and groups who have contributed to the shelter during the month of February. A number of these generous donors have contributed several times during this period. One donor wished to remain
We’d like to thank Barbara Anderson; Linda Clerkson and Girish Balachandran; A. Louise and Carl Champion; and Robert McBride. Mary Scott donated in memory of Mary Kennedy. Paula Patillo-Dupree showed her generosity as did Sothera Sang; Tim and Rose Leaphart; the Women’s Fellowship at First Congregational Church; and Betty Sanderson.
The Isle City Institute #51 YLI opened their wallets and their hearts, as did Penny Cozad; Marilyn Appezzato; Louis and Susan Freeman; Joanne Robinson and Virginia Krutilek. The women and children at Midway Shelter would also like to thank Barbara Wildman; Mary Ruth Tarpley; Juelle-Ann Boyer; Susan and Richard Osanna; and Diane Coler-Dark. Bev Moore’s gift to the center honored Krutilek and Robinson.
Mary Lee Kieffer and Audrey Aljoe gave generously to the shelter in February, as did Maryle Eade; Linda and Bruce Tripp; Ann Walker and Patricia Sahadi. The firm of Hewitt, Jones & Fitch; the Bank of Marin; Dolores Bartalini; Jan Ortner; Suzanne Martin; and Beverly Church all gave in February, as did Dorie Behrstock; Rich and Susan Sherratt; an Lois Pryor.
If you would like to join this list of generous people send your donation to Alameda Homeless Network, P.O. Box 951, Alameda, CA 94501. To learn more call 523-2377 or visit www.midwayshelter.org.