Surge in property tax bills spurs push to reform tax appraisal process (Austin Statesman link) On a recent evening, more than 300 homeowners who are worried about their rising property tax bills filled First Unitarian Universalist Church in North Austin for a town hall meeting. If something doesn’t change, many said, they will soon be priced out of their homes.
Two nights later, a similar discussion played out in South Austin, where homeowners gathered at Grace United Methodist Church in Travis Heights to talk about what can be done to slow escalating residential tax values.
“I’m at the breaking point,” said Gretchen Gardner, an Austin artist who bought a 1930s bungalow in the Bouldin neighborhood just south of downtown in 1991 and has watched her property tax bill soar to $8,500 this year.
“It’s not because I don’t like paying taxes,” said Gardner, who attended both meetings. “I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can’t afford to live here anymore. I’ll protest my appraisal notice, but that’s not enough. Someone needs to step in and address the big picture.”
(Mod: She probably thought all those taxes she voted for would only be the cost of a latte'. Hopefully Gretchen can still come back to her town from time to time and use public transportation and the Library.)
Voters can be idiots here, too. No, really!
(Mod: Last time we'd heard California State Senator Leland Yee had been arrested by the FBI for attempting to import semi-automatic weapons from Islamic Terrorists in the Philippines. The reason for this controversial move being he needed the money he'd realize from a resale of those weapons to help fund his run for California Secretary of State. His trip to the pokey forced him to drop his bid for higher office. But that hardly stopped people from voting for him, however.)
Indicted Yee gets a quarter-million votes for secretary of state (Los Angeles Times link) Democratic state Sen. Leland Yee faces federal gun trafficking and political corruption charges, but still collected more than a quarter-million votes for California secretary of state in Tuesday’s primary election.
Yee, out on bail, had filed a written notice to drop out of the race for the state’s top elections officer right after his arrest in March, but it came after the deadline for removing his name from the ballot.
The veteran lawmaker and child psychologist finished a distant third out of the eight candidates running for the office, according to preliminary totals. Late-arriving and provisional ballots are still being counted across California, so there’s a slight chance Yee's finish in the contest could slip lower.
As the vote count stood Wednesday morning, Yee finished ahead of ethics watchdog Dan Schnur, a former chairman of the state Fair Political Practices Commission, who framed his campaign around cleaning up Sacramento. Yee also finished ahead of Derek Cressman, a Democrat and former director of the good-government group Common Cause.
(Mod: In high information voter rich Sierra Madre international gun runner Leland Yee came in third place in the Sec'y of State tilt with 105 votes. Had he gotten the same Mountain Views News endorsement his fellow FBI target Paul Tanaka received in his race for Sheriff, Yee's vote total might have ballooned to as high as 200.)