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Real public servants are free enterprising individuals who, inspired, embrace challenge, take risks, and create, sometimes big, and often, they create jobs in the process, all out of their ideas, and self initiative...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

California finance system suffers from unintended consequences

by Dan Walters, SacBee, 5-5-2009
Redevelopment agencies are authorized, under a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 1952 and subsequent legislation, to retain the additional property taxes that are generated by their projects, which generally involve repackaging supposedly "blighted" urban land for developers, often with lavish subsidies.

At that time, nearly 60 years ago, local governments and school boards had the power to set property tax rates, so when redevelopment agencies kept property taxes, there was no net impact on other local government agencies.

However, in 1978, voters adopted Proposition 13, which put a hard cap on property taxes, so revenues retained by redevelopment agencies were lost to other governments. And 10 years later, voters adopted Proposition 98, which set minimum support levels for schools and, among other things, required the state to make up any gap between those levels and local property taxes.

The net effect of those three decrees is that redevelopment agencies annually retain some $4 billion in property taxes, about $2 billion of which the state must repay to schools. Counties or other local governments must eat the other $2 billion.

Read the article here

To understand Redevelopment check out Redevelopment--The Unknown Government It's a short easy way to learn about and to unravel the myth of economic development and to see how taxpayer funds are transferred to the well connected, courtesy of willing members among our privelidged political class.
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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database


Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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