Writer says the gloves are coming off in Antioch’s Measure O fight

Measure O, placed on the November ballot by an unanimous vote of the Antioch City Council, will levy annual business license fees on residential rental units of $250 for houses and $150 for apartments. The measure also will increase the minimum annual license fee for other businesses to $100 except for home-based small businesses, which will remain at $25. It is estimated the measure will increase Antioch revenues by $2.4 millon annually for restoration of City services.

The Friday Morning Breakfast Club citizens group has established a campaign committee, Residents for Fairness – Yes Measure O, to alert residents of the need and benefits of Measure O. The committee members have written a number of informational letters to local newspapers and will be posting signs about town and distributing brochures and mailers.

Opponents of Measure O have chosen to wage a campaign of misinformation to confuse voters and convince them to vote against the measure. They are well funded with indications they plan to spend between $50,000 and $100,000 to defeat the measure. The opponents are primarily residential landlords, many of which are large businesses located outside of Antioch, represented by the “California Apartment Association – Contra Costa Division” (CAA). They failed to reach agreement on the provisions of Measure O in a number of joint meetings with the City Staff, the Friday Morning Breakfast Club (FMBC), and other groups in 2013 and 2014. They are now attacking the ballot measure in an all-out effort to defeat it at the polls, claiming to be allied with seniors, homeowners and business owners. They falsely assert these groups will be substantially harmed if the measure passes.

The facts are that homeowners, including seniors and business owners not in the residential rental business would not be affected in any way if Measure O passes. Also, senior group housing and care facilities would be exempted from any fees under Measure O. Seniors living in rental housing that is not exempt could experience a minor increase in rent if Measure O fees are passed through by their landlords. However, most seniors own their homes rather than rent. Many others live with family members or in exempt senior housing, nursing homes, and other exempt care facilities. Therefore, the number of seniors affected at all by Measure O is believed to be only a very small fraction of all seniors.

The CAA and their allies have hired Media Associates, a high profile political campaign consultant from Sacramento to lead their campaign against Measure O. They have a reputation for winning at all costs – the truth be darned. Already the consultant has conducted a telephone survey of Antioch residents asking a series of questions designed to subtly convince people to vote no on O. Their callers do not identify who they represent and promptly hang-up when confronted by a knowledgeable resident in favor of Measure O. Media Associates’ President, Kevin Reikes, is scheduled as Guest Speaker to address Measure O at the September 26, 2014, Board Meeting of the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association in Concord. Members of the Yes Measure O committee plan to be there to refute any misstatement of the facts.

It is obvious why the CAA opposes Measure O; they don’t want to pay the new fees out of their profits or, in the alternative, to pass through the additional expenses to their tenants. However, it is observed that even if 100 percent of the fees are passed on, the impact on rents will be small, only $12.50 per month for apartments, and $20.83 monthly for single family houses. This would be only about a one percent increase of average rental rates. The fees will be a minor increase in business expenses that are tax deductible for the landlords, thereby reducing the impact on their profits.

The Yes on Measure O committee has minimal funds coming, so far from out-of pocket contributions by the committee members who want to do what is in the best interest of saving our community from crime, blight and bankruptcy. Your contributions are needed to help pay for large 4’ x 8’ signs, yard signs, brochures, mailers, and postage. This is truly a grass-roots effort by citizens, and no contribution is too small. Just $10 will buy five additional yard signs, but please give more if you can. Checks should be made out to “Residents for Fairness – Yes Measure O,” and mailed to 3036 South Apple Court, Antioch, CA, 94509. A website will soon be available to also make contributions online.
I urge all Antioch citizens to register and vote yes for Measure O.

Larry L. Harrison

Member, Residents for Fairness, Yes Measure O campaign committee

8 Comments to “Writer says the gloves are coming off in Antioch’s Measure O fight”

  1. Reginald Jamal Brown says:

    I’m voting YES on measure O. Every Bay Area city has much higher fees for rentals, why not Antioch. Let’s keep in mind the lack of police and code enforcement. Let’s keep in mind that assault incidents are steadily increasing. Let’s keep in kind that these greedy landlords who rent their homes to section 8 have been taking advantage of this loophole for decades.

    Let’s keep in mind these absentee landlords brought all of these renters to Antioch, which greatly reduced our qualifying of life such as safety, and peace of mind. Let’s keep in mind that these landlords don’t maintain their homes and devalues every homeowner in the city.

  2. skip says:

    Larry is being dishonest when he writes that “homeowners, including seniors and business owners not in the residential rental business would not be affected in any way if measure O passes” if you attach a tax to properties then investors will pay less for houses. This means that if you own your own home it will impair the value of it. All one has to do is look at the impact of melloroos houses in Antioch compared to non-mello.roos to see that this is true. Furthermore, the tax raises the cost of a business license to $100 This absolutely affects any business owner who is struggling to get by or who owns a part time business. This tax is designed to have the least impact on the wealthiest and the greatest impact on the poor. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want some secretive club coming up with a bunch of rules that harm those of us struggling to get by while enriching themselves in the process. If the city needs more money, they should start by looking at how much they pay their employees.

    • Reginald Jamal Brown says:

      Whoa Skip. Way to mis-inform the public and a bunch of scare tactics to boot. Please allow me to provide some common sense and logic to your lies:

      1) “if you attach a tax to properties then investors will pay less for houses”
      -Sorry Skip, but the prices of homes are not dictated by investors. And allow me to clarify that investors are NOT a God-send of people who will make our lives better. You write as if investors make our lives better. THE MARKET DICTATES THE PRICES OF HOMES NOT INVESTORS. These investors, or rather, LANDLORDS, look for the cheapest prices and then rent out homes, further DECREASING home values in the neighborhood. If our home values increased, investors would look somewhere else to buy, which is great news for Antioch. We need more OWNER OCCUPIED properties who take care of their homes instead of profit making greedy investors who rent to ghetto section 8 tenants and INCREASE OUR CRIME.

      2) “All one has to do is look at the impact of melloroos houses in Antioch compared to non-mello.roos to see that this is true. ”
      -Sorry skip. The houses with M.Roos are increasing in value at a higher rate compared to the rest of Antioch. Please do a search for home values in the 94531 area code. You can use http://www.zillow.com M.Roos has no relevance to home values. The only relevance to increase in home values is QUALITY OF LIFE! for example, safety, great schools, restaurants, and the like. You must be blind to the crime in Antioch! Measure O funds will be used DIRECTLY to reduce crime and blight, which will increse our home values.

      3) “Furthermore, the tax raises the cost of a business license to $100 This absolutely affects any business owner who is struggling to get by or who owns a part time business. ”
      -Sorry skip, this is another flawed argument. Businesses in Antioch are struggling because most people would rather shop in a town that is SAFE. Antioch is NOT SAFE. Why do you ask? Well it’s because these investors, aka landlords, keep buying houses and renting them out to ghetto section 8 scum and increasing our crime, while reducing our quality of life. See question 2.

      4) “This tax is designed to have the least impact on the wealthiest and the greatest impact on the poor.”
      -Sorry skip. Now you’re back tracking. First you argued that investors are the buyers, hence the people with money. Now you’re saying they will not be impacted. Essentially, you are arguing yourself. THIS FEE ONLY AFFECTS GREEDY PROFIT ORIENTED INVESTORS. Owner occupied homes that are owned by families and professionals who live in their house will NOT pay a rental fee.

      5) ” I don’t know about you, but I don’t want some secretive club coming up with a bunch of rules that harm those of us struggling to get by while enriching themselves in the process.”
      -Sorry Skip. Yet another lie. If the Friday Morning Breakfast Club was so secretive, then why would then publish articles TO THE PUBLIC regarding their intetions with Measure O? If this was a secret how are you so privy to the information?

      Skip, if I may add, I don’t know what school of economics and real estate you went to, but I ask you to PLEASE stop with the lies. I ask you to please educate yourself and those around you with your IGNORANT rants. I ask you to use common sense and open your eyes to the problems we have in Antioch. I.e. crime, section 8, blight, assaults, burgaries, robberies, dangerous traffic, and the like.

      Moreover, Skip, if you don’t want to live in a town where the good citizens spend their time and energy to make it a safer place, then I suggest you move out or keep your mouth shut.

      • skip says:

        We’re all entitled to our own opinion. Just because someone disagrees with your viewpoint doesn’t make it a “scare tactic” It’s the pro side of this arguement that is posting misleading information, don’t get upset at me for pointing out what is obvious to anyone with a high school education.

        To respond to a couple of you points.

        1.) The market dictates the price of homes. This we can agree on. Your assumption that this “market” is only made up of homeowners is false. It’s made up of owners, investors, banks and even speculators. It’s undeniable that investors are a big part of the market. Here is a Bloomberg article about one hedge fund in particular who has focused their investments on our community. We can argue about whether or not this investment improves our community or hurts it, but it’s undeniable that it impacts the value of our homes. By making it less attractive for investors like these, it removes participants from “the market” and thus hurts the value of our homes. Without the hedge funds bottom feeding the lows would have been lower. I care about the value of my home and don’t want to see it hurt because a few people want to punish investors for making an honest living. To try and pretend that penalizing these investors has “zero” impact on the market is foolish or dishonest, you take your pick.


        2.) Mello Roos taxes absolutely impacted the value of Antioch homes. Here’s an article from earlier this year in the Contra Costa times where they discuss the fact that realtors used to advertsie Mello Roos free on their listings as a way to fetch a higher bid. Why would the professionals point this out, if being in a mello roos district was such a huge advantage? The outsized gains that we’re now seeing are because mello roos is expiring and is no longer artificially depressing the market. Don’t take my opinion on this matter, believe the real estate professionals who made a point of advertising this distinction for years and years and years . . .


        3.) Businesses aren’t suffering because of the crime. That’s a very small component of our problems. Most of the retail businesses won’t even be impacted by this tax because they’re making enough money to justify the cost of a commercial rent to begin with. You know who will be impacted? People who run home businesses. How can you pin the blame on their success or failure on visitors not showing up because of crime, when they’re not allowed to receive visitors at their home businesses to begin with? Costco and Savmart won’t pay a dime more if this tax passes, but small mom and pop and family owned businesses absolutely will. It’s black and white, business owners will pay more if it passes whether they are in real estate or not. Again, it’s either dishonest or foolish to say that this tax has “no impact” on a business owner whose not involved in real estate when it absolutely does. The rate goes up to $100 whether you make a profit or not. If anything, it will discourage residents from starting up businesses and penalize the small home based businesses that have dared to try and innovate, while never touching the large companies that cause the biggest drain on city resources.

        The tax may be well intentioned, but it has some pretty incredible flaws. Penalizing the renters, home owners and small business owners(Antioch’s disadvantaged) for the sake of a few overpaid government employees makes Antioch a hostile place to invest. Discouraging investment in our community will only make things worse. To try and argue that these funds will be earmarked for more police is a red herring. The sales tax that we passed was more than adequate to fund more officers and more code enforcement and yet they still haven’t even managed to hire their target number of officers? Why should we budget even more when they aren’t spending the money we set aside via a sales tax? They already have the budget to increase staffing, but they haven’t, so to try and argue that the community will all of a sudden be better policed by giving the city employees (not the police dept) access to an additional $2.5 million per year, doesn’t pass the smell test. It won’t, plain and simple, the money goes to the general fund where it will be used for non-police and non-code enforcement activities at the expense of the poorest members of our community. That’s not the type of Antioch that I want to live in. I want to live in a community that rewards those who use their capital to make the city better. Call me crazy but having a hedge fund come in and buy a foreclosure and then fix it up seems like a better alternative to letting squatters sit in our empty houses and turn them into drug dens. Hopefully, enough voters will see through this smokescreen and will realize that passing measure O will only make the city worse.

        • Reginald Jamal Brown says:

          You know what they say, Skip, it’s not use trying to argue with bafoons…
          Let me shed some light (common sense) to your featherweight arguments..

          1) Yes I am correct about the market dictating home values. Your INITIAL post read as if you were only concerend about investors. Simply, you are WRONG and I am RIGHT.

          2) Real estate home values fluctuate dramatically, especially in this economy where short sales can impact true appraisal values, more often than not maybe used as subjective comparables at that point in time. The article you cited was posted 8/22 and updated 8/25 of this year which renders it a moot point. I’ve already given you a link to Zillow, which is a good resoure for those who do not have access to the MLS system. Furthermore, that article only enhances the fact that the M.Roos taxes will expire very soon only to point out the obvious of higher values. Ever read an appraisal? What I mean is ever read one and fully understood it? It is a snapshot of that value at that point in time. And guess what? the overall trend for the 94531 zip code (mainly M. Roos area(s) is going UP.

          3) Businesses aren’t suffering because of the crime???? I take it you’ve never been to the city council meetings when 99% of business owners on that podium are talking about how crime has impacted their bottom line! Or maybe you were just not listening, but humming a happy tune in your head.

          In regards to your red herring analogy… please look up the “straw man” fallacy of logical debates. Stick to the subject. Or maybe you can’t because you simply don’t have the understanding.

          Here’s another piece of advice. COLLEGE education trumps high school education. And about real estate? Your dealing with a veteran who’s been there and done it for decades my friend.

          • Reginald Jamal Brown says:

            Another thing Skip, if you google for things such as, “Ghe color blue is the best color” you will find all sorts of BS why it is. Same thing for any color. So, please, you don’t need to show off your google search skill to impress anyone.

            I really can’t understand why you are a crime supporter. Perhaps you’re one of these slumlords? Perhaps you have a personal vendetta against the Friday Morning Breakfast Club? Whatever it is, you really come off as an uneducated childish whiner.

            The real problems with Antioch are crime, blight, drugs, rude people, and deadly traffic. And guess what? The majority of the people that fall into this category are RENTERS, not all, but most. And the enablers are these investors/landlords who don’t give a dang about Antioch. Until you can admit at least half of what I’ve said, arguing with you is like talking to a parrot who keeps repeating the same thing over and over…

            ——-YES ON MEASURE O——-

  3. Mark Sochor says:

    My problem with any raising of taxes is the politicians need to spend them. I would like to see the budget reduced for anything other than public safety and let people keep their money. Combine city, state and federal tax burdens on everything we use to live and it becomes obvious ….We are Taxed Enough Already.
    These proposals always seem to hit “someone else”, but the dirty little secret is that it all comes back to the consumer in some way shape or form. And the consumers are, my friends, all of us. Vote no on “O”.

  4. James says:

    I am a investor and own two homes and two apartments in Antioch and I would gladly pay the tax on all my investment properties. If the funds are used appropriately (big if) then my properties would be more attractive to renters thus increase future rental income as well as increase the value of the homes. And while I know it is an issue in Antioch I only rent to responsible citizens and therefore not cause problems as so many other renters have.

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