Alameda Should be Proud of the Bontas

Alameda Should be Proud of the Bontas

Allan Michaan

In the April 22 edition of Alameda Sun one of your readers accused Rob and Mia Bonta of using Alameda as a “stepping stone” in their pursuit of higher office (“Family Use Alameda as Stepping Stones”). In actuality the Bontas chose our city as their place of residence and subsequently decided to enter the ranks of public service. I have to ask the writer of that letter where are our elected officials to come from if not from our own communities?

Rob Bonta served our City, sitting on the City Council as Vice-Mayor (an often thankless task). He has also honorably represented Alameda as a member of the California State Assembly. I have met Mia Bonta and heartily support her effort to take her husband’s place in the Assembly.

Few Alameda residents know that his active involvement in a legislative problem that I brought to him in 2015 saved the Alameda Point Antique Faire and the ability for people all over our state to be allowed to sell antiques and, in fact, anything used! A very misguided piece of legislation that was snuck through the state’s lawmaking process in 2014 by special interests placed draconian restrictions on the resale of any used object.

That law required anyone who purchases second-hand goods for resale to electronically file a verbal description of every item they purchase regardless of value or quantity along with the legal name, ID number and fingerprint of the seller by the next business day.

It also would have required that those purchases be held for 30 days before they could be resold. It also required that sellers of used items submit a list of every item to be sold to local law enforcement prior to offering them for sale. Prior to that new law the requirement of submittal of those lists could be waived by local Police Departments.

The new law spelled doom not just for my Antique Faire, but for flea markets, garage sales, auctions and second-hand shops all over the state! Wanting to resolve this terrible problem, I went to Rob Bonta and explained the situation.

He was amazing in his immediate desire to help. He authored AB 1182 and worked with me and the lobbyist I had hired to save the Antique Faire. After numerous trips to Sacramento and under his guidance through the various committees and many hearings AB 1182 was passed into law and the world of secondhand sales in California was rescued thanks to then-Assemblyman Rob Bonta.

Besides the rescue of the livelihoods of the hundreds of antique vendors who depend on the Antique Faire here in Alameda, our city budget has been assisted by the over $5 million in rent that the Faire and Michaan’s Auctions has paid to the City since AB 1182 allowed our show to continue to exist. Alameda has also benefited from sales-tax revenues generated by the thousands of shoppers at our monthly event.

In addition, it should be noted that reselling is the most efficient form of recycling that exists and sales of used merchandise of every sort reduces the need to strain our natural resources. Rob Bonta saved our right to buy and sell used goods in California!

Today he is our newly appointed Attorney General, and every Alameda resident should be proud of Rob Bonta.

Allen Michaan is president of Antiques by the Bay, Inc.