CFAH

572 San Jose Avenue (www.SocketSite.com)
From the Chronicle:

A group of homeless people and housing activists took over a privately owned Mission District duplex on Sunday in what served as the climax of a protest designed to promote use of San Francisco’s vacant buildings as shelters for the needy.

But the owner of the property – who was targeted over his eviction of a tenant – said the demonstration was nothing more than breaking and entering.

The targeted duplex at 572 San Jose Avenue was purchased out of foreclosure for $180,000 in 1993 and then emptied via the Ellis Act in 2008.
Housing protest leads to takeover of duplex [SFGate]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by anon

    By the same way of thinking, I might as well take out my neighbor’s new Ferrari that he never drives. I mean, it’s not being used, so what the hell.

  2. Posted by Victoria Tucker

    This is not “civil disobedience”. This is breaking and entering, squatting or whatever ugly term fits it. It has no place in our City or our Country and the fact that the police did nothing speaks to our City government and the political will of the citizens of San Francisco. We ought to be ashamed of our collective selves for permitting this behavior!

  3. Posted by ex SF-er

    ROFL.
    SFers make me giggle with their silliness.
    Let’s see here:
    -Renter lives in rent controlled duplex for 43 years
    -An owner buys the place in 1993. Holds it for 25 years.
    -the owner gives the renter 1 year notice and relocation fees. The renter stays. thus the owner legally Ellises the renter.
    -protesters break in. the police watch and do nothing.
    hahahahahahaha.
    why on Earth do you all want to own in SF again? I really fail to see the advantages here.
    you get all the hassles of owning as well as special advantages like “I’m being protested because I don’t have a tenant in my building” and few to none of the advantages (except for asset appreciation if that happens).
    Of course, this sort of thing would be far less likely if
    1) we didn’t have rent control laws the way we do. Of COURSE the owner is going to leave the place vacant after the hassle he had the last time he had a tenant!
    and
    2) we didn’t have prop 13, that allows the owner to pay a pittance in property taxes. It’s a lot easier to leave a property vacant when you’re paying $1800/year as opposed to $8000/year or whatever.

  4. Posted by 45yo hipster

    Unbelievable SF police stood around like gutless lame turds. The minute these retards started walking up the stairs the police should have threatened to arrest their skanky butts if they did not retreat to public space. This is completely ridiculous, and I hope the owner presses charges- if anything to make a point.
    FYI- I retired the iPod touch for web surfing; using the new iPad I scored on Saturday. Socketsite rocks on iPad!

  5. Posted by Anon

    of course, the “Landed Gentry” are all up in arms over the “serfs” rebelling. RE boom speculation has wreaked havoc on lives… being evicted after 43 years for a property to sit vacant for 2 years waiting for the market to rebound??? There is a diferrence between blatently “illegal” behavior and civil disobedience. I say “BRAVO” to the SFPD for not overreacting to a political stunt!

  6. Posted by resp

    any lawyers out there? what prevents the (out of town?)owner from moving back into his own vacant building and putting a bullet through the head of anyone who enters his property and makes him feel threatened?

  7. Posted by 45yo hipster

    Unbelievable SF police stood around like gutless lame sheep. The minute these retards started walking up the stairs the police should have threatened to arrest their skanky butts if they did not retreat to public space. This is completely ridiculous, and I hope the owner presses charges- if anything to make a point.
    FYI- I retired the iPod touch for web surfing; using the new iPad I scored on Saturday. Socketsite rocks on iPad!

  8. Posted by Invented

    Let’s see how look-away, let-live SF handles this. We know how less ‘kewl’ places would respond.
    Anyone ‘home’?

  9. Posted by zzzzzzzz

    I remember when the same stunt was pulled on a vacant duplex on Page St. in the lower Haight sometime in the 90’s. The activists had their 15 minutes of fame, but the property was ultimately renovated and sold off as TIC’s. I wonder what the owner has in mind for the Guerrero duplex? Does he plan to sell, or re-rent at market after the Ellis waiting period expires?

  10. Posted by exsfr

    If a bunch of criminals broke in to my private property they would be welcomed with a double guage shotgun and a face full of buckshot.

  11. Posted by youpaytheyown

    Since when did you think you owned your property in SF? What ever gave you that silly notion? What rock have you been living under? The tenants own the city, the politicians, the mayor, the mayor wannabe’s, the supervisor’s, the supervisor wannabe’s , the DA, the school board, the SF Assembly members, Mark Leno, the courts, the…..the….the ad nausea.
    Hey, give it up folks….more rent control is just around the corner. Come the November 2010 election when the commies get a lock on the board and the mayors office. You GET WHAT YOU VOTE FOR!!! So live with it or get out.

  12. Posted by WOW

    by most of these responses I would think I was living in some redneck, cousin-humping, backwards, backwoods back-water… or maybe there are just a bunch more Republicans in SF than I thought. A peaceful protest, political stunt has you calling for blood…. talk about criminal!

  13. Posted by youpaytheyown

    WOW…is that you Ted Gullicksen, leader of the tenant organization?

  14. Posted by SFPropRights

    @WOW, what part of respecting property rights makes us “backwards, backwoods back-water…”? I cannot believe any intelligent person would actually be defending these “protesters”. They could have peacefully protested outside the home–by breaking into the house, they broke the law and their “peaceful protest” became criminal activity. The people participating in the criminal activity should be prosecuted in accordance with the law.

  15. Posted by Legacy Dude

    Already a lot of emotional responses here. I’m firmly ambivalent on this one.
    On one hand, they broke the law and invaded private property. Period. And I’m a believer in property rights even though, in this city, they’re sometimes treated like a community discussion item rather than legal doctrine. But that’s another topic.
    That said, this seems like a case of the masses, albeit unwittingly, voting with their feet in response to the unintended consequences of decades of bad economic policy. Specifically, we live in a city where – bubble effects notwithstanding – the cost of living is artificially inflated because 10 -20% of our housing stock sits vacant. And why does it sit vacant? As ex SF-er notes, the combined effects of Prop 13 and rent control, which make it 1) dirt cheap to hold on to a property that’s been in the family for decades, and 2) too risky to rent out given the protections afforded to tenants.
    So the remaining housing stock is expensive relative to incomes, and generally of low quality to boot. Developers see an arbitrage opportunity. But the long-time residents have come to view artificially low rents as an entitlement, and react accordingly. Yet similar elements ironically quash all attempts at new construction and increased density (high rises outside of Soma, anyone?), which would partially ameliorate some of these issues. And the wheel keeps spinning.
    Long story short, another case of San Franciscans wanting their cake and eating it, with the added nuance that someone else should also have to pay for it.

  16. Posted by rr

    @ex-SFer Since it’s only been 17 years since 1993, I think your math is a little off, but I didn’t RTFA to know if you added wrong, or listed the wrong date.
    @exsfr In California, you cannot legally shoot people who are trespassing on your property simply because they are there. As I understand it, you cannot shoot anyone unless you reasonably believe you are in immediate mortal danger and have no escape routes. (Meaning, if a guy invades your house, you come home and he points a gun at you, you legally have to run back out the door, if you can). I will leave the policy debate for someone else.
    Finally, I don’t think this qualifies as civil disobedience. Didn’t the term usually apply to people who broke what they considered were unjust laws but did so with the full expectation they may be arrested for breaking them (i.e. sitting at a white-only restaurant counter)?
    The idiots who do these sorts of things are usually people who like to imagine themselves as the leftist radical saviors of ‘the people’, but, when actually confronted with a real intellectual discussion of their own ideology, flail and then fall on their faces. They protest because it feels good to imagine they are doing something and not because it’s a component of a larger strategic movement. They are as naive and irritating as the ‘family values’ conservatives.

  17. Posted by SFRE

    Outrageous! To take over someone’s private property and have the police do nothing. Thank you Mr. Obama.
    Its sad to see that where the protests in the 60s actually may have meant something, today’s protests are committed by what people call “activists”, but are really just thugs.
    My vote is for severe punishment.
    I’m so tired of hearing about “shelter for the needy”. How about sanity/safety for the hard working folks.
    PS: Did anyone notice the guy holding the “Casas para la Raza” sign?

  18. Posted by rr

    As an addendum to my previous comment–
    if all of these protestors spent their time and energy organizing and education people instead, and insisting they speak to members of the board of supes, and creating a consist ideological framework with a specific list of goals and demands, they would be well on their way to accomplishing something meaningful.
    Instead we get these sophomoric spectacles instead. It’s as if people see footage of the FSM back in Berkeley during the 60s and think that the movement won because it was chaotic and noisy.

  19. Posted by Longtime-Reader

    Anybody even kinda/sorta defending this behavior is an idiot. Seriously…
    By this logic, anybody should be able to take whatever they want from you, based on the logic that “you’re not really using it”. Nice camera, wish I had it, you haven’t even used it since last fall’s vacation… I could get much better use out of it. So I’m going to take it.
    You have got to be a farking moron to think this type of “civil disobedience” has any merit what so ever.
    Poor, poor play by the Tenant’s Union.

  20. Posted by derrysf

    @SFRE
    >Thank you Mr. Obama
    Are you feckin’ serious? This is the president’s fault, there has not been a hopelessly inert legal system in SF for the last 30+ years…?!

  21. Posted by Rillion

    “To take over someone’s private property and have the police do nothing. Thank you Mr. Obama.”
    Yeah…
    So now every local dispute needs a phone call to the President and it should be his responsibility to deal with it. Cause we all know that if John McCain had won the election that as soon as he got wind of this vitally important event happening in SF he would have dispatched VP Sarah Palin to jet out to SF and personally shoot each of these ‘activists’. That darn Obama, this is all his fault!

  22. Posted by FormerAptBroker

    WOW wrote:
    > A peaceful protest, political stunt has you
    > calling for blood…. talk about criminal!
    The San Francisco “Progressive” dictionary has the following definitions:
    Peaceful Protest = Breaking in to a home owned by an Investor, burning parked SUVs, Smashing Bank windows (doing anything to stop the WTO).
    Political Stunt = Any violation of the law by a group with a cool name like “Vegan Donuts not Hummers”
    Criminal Activity = Anything that restricts free speech (with “speech “ covering actions such as breaking in to a home owned by an Investor, burning parked SUVs, Smashing Bank windows) or any eviction.

  23. Posted by location

    The idea that civil disobedience is not illegal makes no sense. It’s not civil disobedience if you don’t break the law is it? The whole point of civil disobedience is that you are saying you are willing to go to jail for what you believe. In fact you want to go to jail to bring attention to your cause. The idea that these people should not be prosecuted is preposterous.

  24. Posted by bernalkid

    Boy, get out the smelling salts because of some squats. I’m feeling faint, the thin blue line did not hold. Perhaps the police need to act upon some sort of complaint by the property owner, rather than blithely knocking heads?

  25. Posted by sf owner

    Not a complicated issue at all. Protest all you want on public property, but breaking and entering is breaking and entering. So, while they clearly should not “be shot” they should be arrested for trespassing, provided the property owner chooses to press charges. We have laws for a reason and there are channels to have them amended or repealed if you feel they are unfair.
    I am really tired of the extreme reactions to everything these days – both far left and far right. Where have all the (rational) moderates gone?

  26. Posted by SF Seal (aka Old timer)

    Welcome to SF. Land of entitlement.
    You own it. You have the right to protect it. Simple as that.
    SF PD sitting on the wayside doing nothing annoys me to no end.
    If the owner actually came down and did something to remove them, i’m pretty sure he would be the one in trouble.

  27. Posted by WOW

    I’m being attacked… really? Am I the only one that thinks advocating shooting people is a bit over the top?
    Again, this was by all accounts a very peaceful (there were no ‘burning SUVs’) political stunt to highlight a much broader issue. I was simply noting how incredilby uncivil the visceral responses were – ala “Tea Party”.
    Thank you rr for a reasoned, nuanced discussion of a very complex issue.

  28. Posted by sleepiguy

    Yawn – These type of protests have been going on for decades and, honestly, I’m kind of wondering if the owner gave clear instructions to the police not to arrest the protesters – no sense in making martyrs out of them. Rent control will be strengthened at some point in the future, but, as with the current policy, it will make SF even more expensive to live in as more and more properties are kept off the market while landlords become even more selective of potential tenants or try to get out of the rental game all together while development screeches to a halt.

  29. Posted by briefremarks

    A minor point on the headline–it’s Gandhi, not Ghandi. Also it is somewhat misleading to equate Gandhi’s satyagraha with civil disobedience. Satyagraha is better understood as non-violent resistance that insists on truth.

  30. Posted by WOW

    @bernalkid & sf owner: thank you.
    Lets all just simmer down and take a step toward the center.

  31. Posted by location

    sf owner,
    I’m pretty sure rational moderates don’t spend time posting political responses on blogs. They also don’t get much coverage from the media. But rest assured, they are out there shaking their heads in disbelief and shrugging their shoulders.

  32. Posted by dogboy

    I am really tired of the extreme reactions to everything these days – both far left and far right. Where have all the (rational) moderates gone?

    Totally agree. I consider myself one of the rational moderates and this overreaction by both left and right has gotten me so p!ssed off I feeling like punching someone!

  33. Posted by Bay Guardian Delivery Truck

    I am moving to my new apartment next month. I think I am going to take one of those Bay Guardian paper delivery trucks to move my stuff.

  34. Posted by chuckie

    “What Would Ghandi Have Done?”
    I see Gandhi turning in his grave.
    [Editor’s Note: And an editor being shown the door…]

  35. Posted by SFRE

    @Rillion: My point on the Obama reference, is that he, along with a long line of presidents before him, have given degenerates (such as the ones in the picture) a sense of entitlement. Its this sense of entitlement that makes them brave enough to (a) break into someone’s property because they weren’t using it, (b) make the police too afraid to crack some heads, and (c) allows one of the fools to hold a “Casa por la Raza” sign [which SS has now been replaced by a pic that doesn’t have that sign].
    My comments were not saying Obama alone is responsible, but he is the one in power now, and perpetuates the sense ‘entitlement’.
    Whaaahhh, I am lazy and don’t want to work, but I want what someone else worked hard for…Whaaahhhh I deserver it because I am here and was told I deserve things….Whaaahhhh its all about me, and I don’t care about anyone else….Whaaahhh…

  36. Posted by dogboy

    I am moving to my new apartment next month. I think I am going to take one of those Bay Guardian paper delivery trucks to move my stuff.

    How about a Comical truck instead. They’re not being used anymore.

  37. Posted by ex SF-er

    @ex-SFer Since it’s only been 17 years since 1993, I think your math is a little off, but I didn’t RTFA to know if you added wrong, or listed the wrong date.
    wow, I’m really smart.
    I meant 15 years, not 25.
    (bought in 1993, and Ellised the guy in 2008)
    gosh I hope 2008-1993 is 15 years or I’m REALLY in trouble! 🙂
    as others said, I’m all for people having their say on public property. I’m not at all for shooting them. but the police should have arrested them, and then the owner could decide if he wanted to press charges.
    for those of you defending the protestors:
    what would YOU do (or want done) if YOU came home one day and found a bunch of protestors inside of your house because they feel that you don’t need as much square footage as you have for your family, and that you should adopt a homeless person to share a bedroom with your daughter… and then you saw the police just standing there because you didn’t “authorize” them to arrest the protestors?

  38. Posted by tipster

    gHirardelli
    GandHi
    Mustn’t get them mixed up in SF.
    My understanding is that if you shoot an intruder in a home you legally occupy, and you call the police, the police won’t even arrest you. The fear of harm is presumed. You do not have to run out.
    I’ve been told this even works if you shoot the intruder while he is running away from you, as long as you shoot him in your home. I was told you can shoot him in the back as long as you drag him back inside and clean up the mess outside.
    People who have shot people in their homes, however, have almost always regretted it, right or wrong. Apparently, it’s very messy.
    My approach is simple, keep a shotgun, uncocked. Cocking a shotgun has a very distinct sound. No one is going to stick around very long when they hear that sound. It’s probably better than shooting them: you get rid of them much faster and there isn’t any mess. I seriously doubt they’d come back.
    When this really happens to someone (as opposed to a stunt like this), the cops take a very different stance. I heard from a friend of mine who is a cop that about two weeks ago, an owner of one of the condos on Berry street came home and interrupted a burglar while he was inside the guys home – apparently burglary happens a fair amount on streets where there are lots of apartments. The cops didn’t just stand there when the owner called.

  39. Posted by sacdomc

    @ rr,
    While you’re generally correct that there’s a duty to retreat rather than use deadly force (i.e. run from someone on the street unless you can’t get away), I don’t think that there’s a duty to retreat from your home in California. So if they’re in your house illegally and you feel threatened, fire away.

  40. Posted by anon

    “let’s all simmer down and take a step toward the center”
    It’s okay to break into someone’s property, but don’t stay too long, try not to break anything expensive, and leave a mint on the pillow.

  41. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    ex SF-er wrote:

    why on Earth do you all want to own in SF again? I really fail to see the advantages here…you get all the hassles of owning as well as special advantages like “I’m being protested because I don’t have a tenant in my building” and few to none of the advantages (except for asset appreciation if that happens).

    It should be noted that this all happened not because the owner was an owner, per se, but because he was a landlord. Not that the so-called “protestors” should have been able to take over the property with no consequences (they shouldn’t have), but trying to imply that every owner in The City is potentially the target of a squatter protest is a little much.

  42. Posted by dogboy

    It should be noted that this all happened not because the owner was an owner, per se, but because he was a landlord.

    I knew I wasn’t just an owner. In SF I’m an owner, per se! Now I can sleep at night.

  43. Posted by ex SF-er

    to answer a tangent:
    you can not shoot someone just because they are on your property. in fact, the location of the shooting is largely irrelevant
    you can only shoot someone if you have a reasonable suspician that they intend to do you or someone else harm.
    all you have to do is look at court cases. as example:
    booby trap shotguns. if it were legal to shoot intruders, then booby trap shotguns would be legal. (the shotgun and the perp are on your property).
    however, there have been several cases of people who set up booby trap shotguns who were successful at shooting the perp who then were convicted of it.
    for instance Don Louis Ceballos, San Anselmo, CA, 1971.
    set up booby trap shotgun, a 15 year old got shot in the throat (recovered) and Ceballos was tried/convicted of assault with a deadly weapon.

  44. Posted by ex SF-er

    because he was a landlord.
    there, fixed that for you.
    correct. he was a landlord. but as of 2008 after 1 year’s notice and also renumeration of the tenant, he is not a landlord. I hadn’t realized the fact that one needed to remain a landlord until death.

  45. Posted by steve

    One thing for sure, Gullikson got a lot of attention. Too bad for him, most all of it is negative.

  46. Posted by Shza

    I’m a patent litigator, not a criminal attorney, but here’s what I recall from law school, confirmed by a quick google search:
    On the law, CA has codified a modified version of the “castle doctrine”:
    Any person using force intended or likely to cause death or
    great bodily injury within his or her residence shall be presumed to
    have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great
    bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household when that
    force is used against another person, not a member of the family or
    household, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and
    forcibly entered the residence and the person using the force knew or
    had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred.
    As used in this section, great bodily injury means a significant
    or substantial physical injury.
    (Cal. Penal Code section 198.5).
    Case law has clarified, however, that burglaries which “do not reasonably create a fear of great bodily harm” are not sufficient “cause for exaction of human life.” This is why trap guns are illegal — they will fire even in those cases where the presumption is rebutted by evidence that there was no reasonable threat.

  47. Posted by Lori

    Well call me a conservative on this one, but I also don’t think it’s EVER okay to squat in someone else’s property. Regardless if you’re making a point or not. After I gave my tenant notice with an owner move-in he threatened to squat because he had an eviction notice on his record. That’s not something I want to go through again.

  48. Posted by Mole man

    If you can’t defend something, then you don’t own it. If you are relying on the police for defense, then good luck. These basic rules have been in play for a very long time, not only in San Francisco.
    Entitlement being driven by politicians who dare empathy is just a feeling some conservatives get because of their outlook on life and society. There is much psychological research about that. Real entitlement is what the prison guard union feels when heavy punishments are endorsed without ever having been proven effective. Once again prudes turn out to be pushers also.

  49. Posted by justme

    RE: booby trap shotguns.
    IIRC, the rationale behind making them illegal is that they are non-discriminatory. If there were a house fire, let’s say, and firemen legitimately entered, they would be at risk. Similarly, police with a warrant would be in danger, as would a three year old who bumbled in accidentally. I don’t believe they are legal anywhere in the country, so it’s hardly a useful issue in regards to CA laws regarding property defense.
    That said, I don’t know off the top off my head what the laws are about this. I do know that those of you who really want to shoot people need to move to Florida. They recently made it legal to shoot someone if you “feel threatened” regardless of whether you are in your home or not. Good times, eh?
    [Editor’s Note: And now back to the demonstration and topic at hand…]

  50. Posted by marko1332

    What if you were a Restaurant Owner-Per Se, could they come into your establishment and demand the lowering of food and wine prices to serve the masses?

  51. Posted by justme

    Hmm. Note to self. Refresh before posting.
    Thanks Shza.
    Also, I am in agreement with the people appalled that the police did nothing here. B&E is a crime. Period. I understand that there are logistical issues when there are a few cops for a mob, but really. They could have pulled the leaders out and sent them downtown at the very least.
    Oh, and SFRE, your Obama comment was idiocy, and the lame explanation was even worse. Sounds like you are the one in need of the waaahmbulance.

  52. Posted by lol

    My prediction: A media-hungry Stupidvisor will come into the discussion (Chiu?) then push for a ridiculous resolution:
    Option 1 – Use eminent domains on recently Ellised buildings and convert them to SROs
    Option 2 – Force the property back into the rental pool at 2/3 the pre-Ellis rent
    Option 3 – Expand blight laws to automatically include recently Ellised buildings and punish landlords with $1000s in fines
    San Francisco, land of the fleeced.

  53. Posted by anon

    Plenty of non-lethal options for a homeowner….a facefull of pepper spray would be a fine way to begin.

  54. Posted by Whaaahh

    @SFRE – I think we know who the cry baby is here. Obama to blame for previous Presidencies. Previous Presidencies to blame for local politics. My guess is SF is the only place in the U.S. where this would happen. NYC is a distant second. In Texas juries would acquit a homeowner in almost any scenario where an intruder got shot. Interestingly in 12 of the past 22 years we had Texas presidents. So your point is ridiculous. This is a local, only in SF, issue and you definitely don’t sound like a local.
    As for these protesters, I equate them with Critical Mass. Break the law under the banner of “protest” and the police in SF let you get away with it. One reason may be that it cost more man power, time and money to arrest than to not. Did you ever think of that?
    I hate Critical Mass with a passion. But I don’t run them down with my car because that too is against the law. Two wrongs don’t make a right. To propose it so is to only prove you are no better than the break and enter crowd.
    Finally, if the owner was on the property, or even showed up, I guarantee the police would have at least kicked the intruders out. It seems pretty obvious the owner got interviewed for this story and that was probably the first he heard of it. So how you might have reacted if someone broke into your home is simply a different issue. No one was home, and there was a 99.9% probabilty that no one would be home. And a 100% probability that if someone were home they would have simply gathered outside as they do at other Ellis Act protests.
    For the record, the above is not an endorsement of their illegal behavior. They should have been arrested, but this is par for the course in SF.

  55. Posted by lol

    One of the signs says: “Casa para la raza”
    Now we know what this is about…

  56. Posted by lefty

    Oh, and SFRE, your Obama comment was idiocy, and the lame explanation was even worse. Sounds like you are the one in need of the waaahmbulance.
    he’s right. we san franciscans never blame a sitting president for all that is wrong in the world.

  57. Posted by OA

    i live north of california st, nice-ish building, nice-ish neighborhood. i am well, well armed. i will shoot first and ask questions later, given the street element that is more and more present in my neighborhood. stay out of apartment 3!

  58. Posted by Rillion

    “what would YOU do (or want done) if YOU came home one day and found a bunch of protestors inside of your house because they feel that you don’t need as much square footage as you have for your family, and that you should adopt a homeless person to share a bedroom with your daughter… and then you saw the police just standing there because you didn’t ‘authorize’ them to arrest the protestors?”
    Huh, I thought this protest/illegal break in involved an unoccupied piece of property. I didn’t realize that the owner and his family were currently living there. Oh wait, upon further review, you are asking a hypothetical that is of a completely different order of magnitude then this example with the only thing in common being people illegally entering a house.
    So to answer your question: I would leave the house cause it would be clear that I have entered the wrong house since I do not have a daughter and my household has three people sharing 800 square feet so it would not be something that would be worth protesting over. So there is your answer to the hypothetical.

  59. Posted by justme

    OA,
    Move to Florida.
    Please.

  60. Posted by ex SF-er

    IIRC, the rationale behind making them illegal is that they are non-discriminatory. [snip] I don’t believe they are legal anywhere in the country, so it’s hardly a useful issue in regards to CA laws regarding property defense.
    Fine. let’s go to the source itself, shall we. it seems pretty clear to me.
    I can’t cut and paste so I’ll snip: (excuse typing errors)
    “A person may defend his or her home against anyone who attempts to enter in a violent manner intending violence to any person in the home. The amount of force that may be used in resisting such entry is limited to that which would appear necessary to a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances to resist the violent entry.
    [snip]
    The occupant may use a firearm when resisting the intruder’s attempt to commit a forcible and life threatening crime against anyone in the home provided that a reasonable person in the same or similar situation would believe that (a) the intruder intends to commit a forcible and life threatening crime (b) there is imminent danger of such a crime being accomplished and (c) the occupant acts under the belief htat the use of a firearm is necessary to save himself or herself or another from death or great bodily injury. Murder, mayhem, rape, and robbery are examples of forcible and life threatening crimes.
    any person using force intended or liekly to cause dath or great bodily harm within his or her residence shall be presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household hwen that force is used against another person, not a member of the family or household, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence and the person using the force knew or had reason to believe that a forcible entry had occurred.
    NOTE: if the presumption is rebutted by contrary evidence, the occupant may be criminally liable for an unlawful assault or homicide.
    (emphasis mine)
    warning: PDF. page 27
    http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/forms/pdf/Cfl2007.pdf#xml=http://search.doj.ca.gov:8004/AGSearch/isysquery/2f09f221-74e1-460f-bc29-8be8f500b6de/2/hilite/

  61. Posted by passerby

    Did they take anything?

  62. Posted by justme

    we san franciscans never blame a sitting president for all that is wrong in the world.

    LOL
    Though I will say that I don’t remember too many folks blaming Bush for all the DFHs. Even if everything was ALL HIS FAULT!!!
    heh

  63. Posted by abc

    Note that in New York City, unruly crowds are arrested:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/06/nyregion/06shootweb.html?hp
    In San Francisco, they apparently receive tacit approval from the police to move into your unoccupied property.

  64. Posted by SocketSite

    Did they take anything?
    As of this morning the house remained occupied by the demonstrators.

  65. Posted by ex SF-er

    my household has three people sharing 800 square feet so it would not be something that would be worth protesting over.
    a few thoughts
    1)
    why do you get to decide what is and what isn’t worth protesting over? There are many people in the world who would look at your lifestyle as decadent. over 250sq ft of living space per person… running water, electricity… all while other people have to go without. (FWIW: we grew up with 7 people in about the same amount of space…). I’m sure there is SOMEONE on Earth who could protest your lifestyle. Should they be allowed in your home by the police if you are not there?
    2)
    once you’ve decided for us that it’s worth it to protest, then are all the rest of the laws governing the land moot, or do you get to decide again which ones are or are not applicable?
    these people had a right to protest. On the street outside this man’s property. or in front of the Capitol. Or outside Arnold Schwartzenegger’s home. But not IN this man’s house. Or in your 800 sq ft place. Or in my bathroom.
    if they choose to break the law to protest, then they can be arrested. Just like many civil rights movement people have gone to jail. just as I expected to be arrested for civil disobedience in my checkered past (I wasn’t arrested but coulda/shoulda been).

  66. Posted by Jae

    A case of anti-Aremianism?

  67. Posted by joh

    As of this morning the house remained occupied by the demonstrators.
    I’m surprised at the response from those who said that this was nothing more than a protest. The sfgate article read like the activists were planning to stay indefinitely, and the editor’s comment above supports this. These people are clearly squatting on the owner’s property. I really doubt that they’ll leave of their own free will.

  68. Posted by justme

    As of this morning the house remained occupied by the demonstrators.

    Yah. At this point the bus needs to pull up to the door, and the cops need to shovel them in. Has the owner not made a formal complaint? How many are still there? Ugh.
    For me, it was the “Take what you need” sign that was the kicker. Jeebus. These people have no clue.

  69. Posted by joh

    Found a link an article about the evicted tenant in one of the sfgate comments:
    http://www.beyondchron.org/news/index.php?itemid=969

  70. Posted by joh

    Has the owner not made a formal complaint?
    I’m wondering the same thing. Perhaps the owner chose not to have them removed by SFPD because he fears retaliation.

  71. Posted by zzzzzzzz

    I wonder if the house is being vandalized? That would be par for the course.

  72. Posted by lol

    From the beyondchron article, the tenant had been fighting a long time to stay in the place. 40 years means he had a pretty sweet deal, probably paying a small fraction of market rate.
    There a new job for you:
    Professional Renter.
    – Duties: fighting off eviction and rent increase
    – Salary: $1000+/month in rent saved compared to market rates.
    – Hours: a few hours a week, allowing you to fight for other causes in your free time.
    Only in SF.

  73. Posted by geekgrrl

    Adding this article to the already huge pile of information to remind me and my husband to NEVER rent our second unit (studio) longterm.
    Never. Ever.
    And maybe it’s just me but who rents the same place for 43 years at dirt cheap rent and doesn’t have enough saved to buy a place? Maybe they can’t afford a place in the city but they certainly could afford to buy a place outside the city. Actually, since the former tenant is 80, he could buy a way below market condo in a seniors only building in a nice SF neighborhood – I know of a couple in prime areas of noe valley.
    My grandparents immigrated to the US with nothing, spoke no english, little education, met, got married, and rented until they could afford to buy a home. It took them under 25 years.
    This was in Boston on the east coast when there were no special social programs available to them, no city protection against eviction, no below market housing, yet they still managed to do it.
    I just don’t get it.
    Is this a west coast thing?

  74. Posted by Rillion

    Ex-SF’er: “why do you get to decide what is and what isn’t worth protesting over?”
    I didn’t decide what is and what isn’t worth protesting over. You did in your silly hyperbolic hypothetical. You specifically said they were protesting that I didn’t need so much square footage for my family.
    Sure someone could be protesting me but it would be like people protesting high gas prices at a station charging $2 a gallon when the gas stations across the street are charging $5 a gallon. Sure it “could” happen but let’s be realistic, it would just make the protesters look even more stupid then they are.

  75. Posted by Rillion

    Oh by the way Ex-SF’er just in case I haven’t been clear, nothing I have said is in support of the protesters. I do not agree with them and I would support their being arrested. I just took exception to your escalated hypothetical, it was unhelpful to the discussion and not up to the standard of your usual contributions.

  76. Posted by ex SF-er

    I didn’t decide what is and what isn’t worth protesting over. You did
    no I didn’t… I just used a silly hyperbolic example, and the example WAS SPECIFICALLY ABOUT THE POLICE DOING NOTHING.
    NOWHERE above did I say that this wasn’t “worth” protesting. I think the entire SF situation is stupid, not the protestors. I fully understand why the protestors protested… I don’t fully understand why the police did nothing when something illegal happened. I never once “valued” their protest.
    You brought in what was “worth” protesting and what wasn’t worth protesting in your above quote… read again. regardless, it doesn’t matter… I think we’re two ships passing in the night Rillion.
    the case as it stands is that people broke into private property during a protest, and the police did nothing.
    some on here feel this is ok (like you I’m guessing). I do not.
    I feel it is especially egregious that the POLICE OFFICERS THERE did not arrest anybody. They watched a crime happen and did nothing.
    it doesn’t matter to me how justified the protest is or was… it doesn’t matter to me if people protest:
    – a vacant building
    – your 250 sq ft of space,
    – the fact that oranges are orange
    – the temperature on June 1st
    – the war in Iraq or the atrocities of Guantanamo Bay
    – the bailout to the bankers
    the police should enforce the laws. they did not. That is laughable at best. tragic is more like it.

  77. Posted by ex SF-er

    I just took exception to your escalated hypothetical, it was unhelpful to the discussion and not up to the standard of your usual contributions.
    that is a better point. I would have retracted the statement if you would have simply said that.
    the now-admittedly-poor analogy crept to my mind because in my own nabe here in the midwest we had protests against houses/condos that were “too big” going up around us. (yes-protests). obviously, there was no “let a homeless person move into your daughter’s room” but there were protests based only on the size of the house.
    I added the homeless person to make it topical, but now see that it was indeed too hyperbolic. but how else to make people see that a person does have the right to do what s/he wants with their property, and they don’t just magically lose that right because someone ELSE thinks they don’t “need” that space?
    Peace. I withdraw my hyperbole.

  78. Posted by aidan

    looks like the squatters got cited for trespassing.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/04/05/BAP21CQ2SJ.DTL

  79. Posted by SFRE

    Citation? How weak…they should have gotten more of a punishment. They likely won”t pay the fine anyway.

  80. Posted by Toady

    Can I forcibly take Ted Gullicksen’s brain and serve it to the homeless? He’s not using it, and it’s clear that the homeless need more protein in their diet.

  81. Posted by SFRE

    Did anyone notice the other sign hanging up in one of the photos: “Take what you need; Live by what you desire”. That about sums it up.

  82. Posted by flaneur

    OA
    I wish I could change your mind. However, if you shoot, shoot twice – at the guy first, at the ceiling next. Then say you gave a warning shot, but the guy kept advancing at you.

  83. Posted by justme

    if you shoot, shoot twice – at the guy first, at the ceiling next.

    Further note to self: Do not move in above apt. 3.

  84. Posted by lol

    Surprise, surprise…
    One of the 4 people cited wants to be a Supervisor:
    http://elihu-hernandez.webs.com/
    Looks like a case of Media-whorus Syndrome. Get some attention and earn your stripes with the hope of becoming one of the nut jobs that make City Hall a dead end of crazy ideas.
    When he gets elected he’ll move his family to the suburbs like Daly. In the mean time, the people that make SF live and thrive have to put up with the results of these stunts: rent injustice (where’s MY cheap rent?), desperate landlords (so desperate they’re blasting away buildings with Ellis evictions and nothing will ever grow back), ballooning deficits and other prop 13/rent control Whocooodanone side effects.

  85. Posted by Property is Theft

    Just another day in Sanctuary City…

  86. Posted by lol

    “property is theft”, the computer you are using is owned by someone or was constructed by people who own something for the sake of corporations owned by people that extracted non-renewable resources to build this computer. Be true to your cause: Please stop using a computer. Please.
    Idiot trustafarians never had to worry about a thing in their lives and they go on whining forever. Where would he be without daddy’s “stolen” condo, wearing hipster “stolen” pants and eating food from an eatery “thief”?

  87. Posted by SFRE

    @lol: What’s your issue with Prop 13? I think its one of the smartest things CA has ever done.
    If a state government can not run on some of the highest property taxes in the country, it has a major problem. Increases at 2%/year, sounds extremely reasonable.
    Ending Prop 13 doesn’t solve anything. People in NJ have the highest property taxes in the country, and I imagine that doesn’t make it a better place to live at all.

  88. Posted by lol

    SFRE,
    Don’t get me started on this prop 13 idiocy.
    1 – Older owners will stay in homes way bigger than their needs. Younger folks with kids and real needs just have to suck it up, right?
    2 – Less turnover creates higher prices
    3 – Higher prices cause higher taxes for home buyers
    4 – Go to #1. No sane elderly person would want to scale down and see its property taxes soar
    This cycle is one of the reasons for higher prices in CA.
    Also, prop 13 starves the state of much needed revenue. A chunk of the population is not paying its share of taxes but is using the resources nonetheless.
    Last, but not least, prop 13 came with its evil twin in SF: rent control.
    30 years later and we have this big entangled mess of soaring deficits, generation inequality, broad entitlement.

  89. Posted by lol

    SFRE,
    Last comment on your post:
    Sure NJ has a high tax rate. But it doesn’t have anything to do with the situation in CA. The current rates are fine in CA. But the valuations are what matters most.
    In CA, only the last buyers are actually paying the property tax rates. The others are paying a tax rate on an incorrect property valuation. The 2010 1M house buyer is paying 13K/Y. The 2000 buyer of the same house is probably paying 7K. same house, different taxes, 6K not going into the state budget.

  90. Posted by SFRE

    @lol: Its always good to hear your perspective on this stuff.
    I guess my response to your bullet points are:
    1. Who determines what someone else needs? Also in terms of older people staying in bigger homes, in many more families, especially foreign families kids stay with their parents until they are much older. And I see families in big houses all the time, so people can afford it. Finally, I think point #1 addresses such a small percentage of what really happens out there.
    2. I think point #1 addresses such a small percentage of what is happening out there, especially in the city. Hence it doesn’t really make sense that in those few cases less turnover creates higher prices. And people do not live indefinitely, eventually it gets reset.
    3. You can always choose to rent if the calculations do not support buying in light of higher property taxes. This will theoretically make prices fall.
    4. I would ammend your point #4 to read “No person would want to scale…”. Who wants to pay higher taxes?
    I always though that one of the biggest reasons for higher prices in CA was climate, beauty, etc.
    I do agree about rent control. I always felt it creates a disincentive for people.
    Finally with regards to your “30 years later and we have this big…”, which states don’t? Big cities, without Prop 13, have soaring deficits, generation inequality, broad entitlement, etc.
    By not having Prop 13, that would only mean more government spending – money in the hands of the people who create deficits, espouse entitlement, and cause the messes. In my estimation the less money they have the better (we probably agree here). Without Prop 13, taxes would be WAY higher, there would be no change in services, and the state government would still have the same problems it does today, just checkout the problems in the Northeast, where property taxes are some of the highest in the country.

  91. Posted by SFRE

    lol, I see your point, but what is the average “hold” time for property? I have no idea, but lets say 10 years. After 10 years, everything is reset.
    Over the past 5 years, when the state govt was raking in money with these artificially high valuations, they didn’t say “no thank you”. They took it. And spent it. They didn’t save any for a rainy day, like the current environment we are in.
    My point with NJ, was that even with the highest property taxes in the nation, even being the most dense state in the union, it still has all the same problems as CA. And if any state were to go bankrupt, it will be them before CA.
    Once you give the state the right to raise taxes, like always they will.
    And one could argue the money people are saving in taxes, they are spending elsewhwere, which is good for the state.

  92. Posted by Shza

    SFRE, you do realize that CA is the only state with a version of Prop 13 and that it now has the worst public education system in the entire country, right? This is in addition to all of the points lol makes, which your conclusory and anecdotal response doesn’t nearly rebut. Seriously, education spending in Mississipi is now higher on a per student basis than in CA (and COL in Mississipi is a fraction of what it is here).
    I honestly can’t believe someone is actually trying to defend Prop 13 as reasonable. It is a total wealth grab and subsidy to a certain class of people (long-term owners) and serves no productive purpose. If you’re going to subsidize something through a tax break, you should cut income taxes and incentivize productive labor — not camping out on a plot of land for decades.
    Also, your bit about people eventually dying is largely mooted by the fact that the inaccurately low tax base can be passed on to heirs. As renters, we are currently benefiting from just this ridiculous windfall subsidy (our landlords are paying property taxes on their great-grandparents’ tax base of nearly a century ago so they can afford to rent to us at a significantly below-market rate because their profit margin is enormous regardless).

  93. Posted by Shza

    Ahem, “Mississippi.” And I’m not even a product of CA public schools.

  94. Posted by SFRE

    Its just my opinion. I realize that CA is the only state with a version of Prop 13.
    But I don’t believe CA has the worst education in the country, despite Prop 13. Money into an education system has little to do with the quality of education. States like Utah (least $$ spent per student) rank higher then Vermont (most $$ spent per student) in terms of quality of education (for example). So I don’t buy that removing Prop 13 will improve education.
    I think there are better ways of solving the state problems which do not include repealing Prop 13. If however, you were going to lower the income tax rate and hold it constant going forward (similar to Prop 13), and repeal Prop 13, I would be all for that. Unlikely that will happen, and both will continue to rise.
    Spending money is an addiction that politicians have, and I’m all for limiting the amount they can spend.

  95. Posted by lol

    I’m all for caps in spending. But I’d prefer reallocation, like taking money from overpaid to the underpaid. What do you prefer most? A 90K/Y Bart janitor or a 50K/Y school teacher?
    10 years is not the average hold time I think. SF is more and more an old timer town. Shza’s point that you can give the tax benefits to your heirs is a good one as well. I know at least 5 friends who will never ever sell because of the tax resets. I recently saw a house go from granny to mom to son in 2 years. Really sad chain of events. The son doesn’t need the house, but he’ll keep it and is renting it out because the taxes are based on a ridiculous valuation. Why give up a lifetime entitlement? Anywhere else in the US, he’d have sold the extra house and it could have been the next home for a young family. But no, prop 13 stopped this cycle.

  96. Posted by Legacy Dude

    Sorry SFRE, I think you’re making a few logical errors in your assessment.
    To begin, one’s ability to benefit from an incongruous or inequitable economic construct does not justify its existence. Beware of rationalization. Shza and lol are completely right – Prop 13 is a generational wealth transfer mechanism and a case study for the law of unintended consequences. I have yet to hear a rational or logical argument in its defense other than, “My taxes would go up without it so it must be good.” Sorry. It’s a bad policy, one of many that have financially crippled this state and elevated the cost of living for all of us because our shelter is not utilized efficiently.
    Secondly, sources and uses of tax dollars are not always causal. Pretend California’s spending is a water balloon. You can make the argument that the state spends too much, or spends in the wrong places, so the balloon should be smaller. Most people would agree with that. But Prop 13 squeezes the balloon on one end, which makes the other end larger. It hasn’t shrunk the balloon. In other words, “Sacramento will just waste the money” is another false defense of Prop 13. They’ll waste money anyway; you’ll just pay for it through higher sales, state and city taxes rather than property taxes, and have bad public schools to boot.
    Long story short, taxation systems should be designed to burden all members of society equitably rather than splitting a society into cohorts and benefitting one cohort at the expense of another. Prop 13 clearly falls into the latter category.

  97. Posted by ex SF-er

    worse than grandpa to mom to son is:
    the corporation loophole
    the corporations set up trusts and put their RE in the trust. Then they can sell the trust repeatedly without ever actually selling the RE. thus the RE valuation tax basis remains low.
    this can be done FOREVER.
    (I may have used the wrong word, it might not be a true “trust” that they use, it may be some other trust-like legal entity)

  98. Posted by SFRE

    @Legacy Dude: I see your point about them getting money from other tax vehicles.
    If there was a way to develop a new sound tax policy, and then hold it constant the way that Prop 13 does, then I would support it. In your example, confining the balloon to the same shape would solve that problem. But that will never happen, at least Prop 13 is a step in that direction.
    I am all in favor of repealing the portion that lets you transfer the tax base to family members after death. I agree that is stupid.
    I disagree that the bad CA schools are a result of Prop 13. Money does not equal better schools.

  99. Posted by SFRE

    I also agree the corporation loophole is stupid. What ever happened to common sense in law making and tax code?

  100. Posted by Shza

    I think “loophole” is a misnomer. The whole reason we have Prop 13 is so the corporations could benefit. This wasn’t some kind of grassroots “tea party” -type initiative. The prop was drafted, sponsored, and marketed by corporations. They just sold it to the public as avoidance of the horror story where grandma is forced onto the street (again, despite the fact this subsidy does not exist in any other state).

  101. Posted by Legacy Dude

    A few steps in the right direction, IMO, would include:
    – At the corporate level, phasing the provision out over time, and potentially offsetting it with a different structure to ensure companies/jobs don’t flee the state.
    – For individuals, limiting the benefits only to primary, occupied residence, and for only the original purchaser. No Prop 13 benefits to progeny or for 2nd and 3rd homes, which is a ridiculous construct. You create a rentier class of societal leeches which, combined with rent control, help ensure the cost of all shelter rises while the quality generally declines over time. And then you end up with people who live on the margins of society squatting in underutilized shelter as a means of protest.
    These changes will NEVER happen, though. The state would have to go bankrupt first.

  102. Posted by SFRE

    @LD: I 100% agree with your steps, definitely makes sense.
    Unfortunately, I also agree that the changes will never happen, thanks to lobbies/greedy politicians/compromise.

  103. Posted by grumpy

    given them an inch and they’ll take a mile. That’s why the balloon keeps getting bigger, it’s not squeezing on one end, the size is actually increasing, and prop 13 has nothing to do with that.

  104. Posted by lol

    SFRE,
    Let me comment on your bullet point comments:
    1. Who determines what someone else needs? Also in terms of older people staying in bigger homes, in many more families, especially foreign families kids stay with their parents until they are much older. And I see families in big houses all the time, so people can afford it. Finally, I think point #1 addresses such a small percentage of what really happens out there.
    This kind of behavior is very local. The old folks I was talking about have very independent kids who moved out before or after college.But I know at least one family in NB that works the way you describe. 3 generations under one roof taking advantage of the taxpayers’ self-inflicted budget foolishness.
    2. I think point #1 addresses such a small percentage of what is happening out there, especially in the city. Hence it doesn’t really make sense that in those few cases less turnover creates higher prices. And people do not live indefinitely, eventually it gets reset.
    True in a way. There are 2 comments to that. 1) the fact that people can inherit the benefits of prop 13 (your tax base can “live” forever at least if you have kids). 2) Our current situation is the result of the aging of the relatively affluent boomers. They came to purchase in the 60s or 70s, had kids. The kids moved out. The typical American schema is the parents sell after 30-40 years of holding. This won’t happen and the next generation is SOL as the boomers have a good 20-30 years ahead of them.
    3. You can always choose to rent if the calculations do not support buying in light of higher property taxes. This will theoretically make prices fall.
    Yes, except that the combination of prop 13 and rent control keeps rents way higher than they should be. Landlords are stuck with low-paying renters but can afford it somehow thx to prop 13. Low turnover in rentals creates more or less the same “newcomers pay my rent” effect. A landlord with 3 units, including 2 very low paying and one available will make it up with a higher expectation. Often he can do it thanks to lack of supply.
    4. I would ammend your point #4 to read “No person would want to scale…”. Who wants to pay higher taxes?
    True. But if older folks were paying their fair share of property taxes there would be a real incentive to move out. Without prop 13, your 1M house that you own in full costs you 12K/Y in taxes. You sell and buy a 500K condo. You will save 6K/Y. Great deal and a good idea to make that Social Security check stretch further.
    Because of prop 13, people who purchased in say, 1970 probably pay 2K/Y or less. Selling to move into a 500K condo would multiply their taxes by 3. Talk about disincentive!
    What we have now is a retirement benefit that can be inherited! An Orwellian situation where some people are more equal than others and a state is slowly sliding into insolvency.

  105. Posted by r caser

    When I see how the government is propping up absurd real estate prices through tax breaks, GSE subsidies, central bank subsidies, and artificially low interest rates, i just want to give up…..you people on this board make me physically and mentally ill.

  106. Posted by Rillion

    Shza: “As renters, we are currently benefiting from just this ridiculous windfall subsidy (our landlords are paying property taxes on their great-grandparents’ tax base of nearly a century ago”
    35 years is NOT “nearly a century”. Prop 13 only rolled back valuations to the mid’70’s (75 I think). Prop 13 has issues but 100 year old valuations are not one of them yet.

  107. Posted by Shza

    Fine, but you get the point. 35 year-old valuations are obviously still easily low enough to create huge market distortions. Thanks for the clarification but your first overly-provocative sentence is really gratuitous.

  108. Posted by grumpy

    Renter lives in rent controlled duplex for 43 years. (from above post at 9:13, 4/5)
    This old person lived in a unit valued at around at $400,000 by today’s real estate prices, paid rent controlled rent for at least 30 years of that, and probably about the same rent, say $600 per month or $5,000 per year. Just about the value of property tax if this was a unit sold today.
    True. But if older folks were paying their fair share of property taxes there would be a real incentive to move out. Without prop 13, your 1M house that you own in full costs you 12K/Y in taxes. You sell and buy a 500K condo. You will save 6K/Y. Great deal and a good idea to make that Social Security check stretch further”
    As for the renter, he should be entitled to pay max $6,000 per year to live someplace indefinetly. That apparently is a fair share. For the old owner, they should have to pay the same in property taxes just for the priveledge of living in SF in a small condo that they should have to also buy at $500,000, and give up their home they bought with their own money because it could be sold for $1,000,000 to some rich person.
    Long story short, taxation systems should be designed to burden all members of society equitably rather than splitting a society into cohorts and benefitting one cohort at the expense of another. Prop 13 clearly falls into the latter category.
    Looks like rent control does the same thing.

  109. Posted by lol

    Yeah, rent control and Prop 13 are a bit like the Olsen twins:
    – Very cute at first
    – Great in their teens
    – Freakish when they turned 20
    – Probably ugly in their 30s
    – And still keeping a big enough fan base to be kept around for a long time

  110. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Overall tax revenues in the State of California have pretty much been constant, as a percentage of overall GDP basis, for a long time. It is just some crazy right-winger meme that carrys on the myth contrarywise.

  111. Posted by grumpy

    Why does the state budget need to be correlated to the GDP? Just because there is more production does not mean that a certain percent needs to be allocated for government spending. That’s really the problem with the extreme left, entitled to the resources that others produce.

  112. Posted by SFRE

    I agree, the state budget does not need to be correlated with GDP. They should just add up how much money is needed for services (police, sanitation, roads, etc.), and cap the growth by the inflation rate. My salary does not increase by the rate of GDP growth. Other expenses do not grow at the GDP rate (cost of food, cost of computers, etc.).
    That is why the state/country is in the problem that it is. Its easier to spend than to save, especially when it comes to being elected.

  113. Posted by Rillion

    “cap the growth by the inflation rate.”
    So if the state population were to double but inflation were to only to have been a cumulative 25%, then services should only have increased by 25%? More people + zero real dollar budget growth = less services per person. Then on the flip side you could end up having the budget grow in years were the population decreased.
    Rather then make arbitrary caps or arbitrary increases (increasing the budget by inflation even if population were to decrease) it would be better if we were periodically (at least every few years if its unrealistic to do it every year) doing a bottom up review on what the needs were for government services. With today’s technology though I think we could a much better job of matching the actual need for services with the funding of them rather then just inflating or deflating the prior year budget.

  114. Posted by SFRE

    In the times where the population decreases, they could bank some of the revenue for times where the population fluctuates and increases.
    My premise being that money would have to be used more efficiently and smarter over the long-run, and avoid the waste that we have seen.
    Most people live on raises that are inline with the inflation rate, why shouldnt the government.

  115. Posted by R

    “they could bank some of the revenue”
    hahahahahaha. good one.

  116. Posted by SFRE

    My point exactly. If they can not be responsible with the money they shouldn’t get more and more of it.

  117. Posted by Shza

    In the times where the population decreases, they could bank some of the revenue for times where the population fluctuates and increases.
    Remind me how many times in the last 50 years we’ve seen CA’s population decrease year over year. Yeah, that’s why this is an asinine idea.

  118. Posted by Rillion

    Cause governments are not people and since they shouldn’t construct a budget the same way a household should. Generally a household will start by seeing how much income they have, then fit a budget around that income. I think we seem to be in agreement that the government should start by determining what it actually needs to spend to provided the needed services.
    To try to treat a government like a family is silly and breaks down if you spend more then two minutes thinking about. How does a government get a second job? Can the government go back to school and get training to qualify for a better paying position? Should the government get a vasectomy cause it can’t afford the expense of another child?
    While I agree that the government needs to be more efficient, just putting in arbitrary caps doesn’t do that.

  119. Posted by Rillion

    “Remind me how many times in the last 50 years we’ve seen CA’s population decrease year over year.”
    How many times in the past has California lost a seat in the House of Representatives as a result of the Census? Never, so therefore I can safely assume we will never lose a seat in the future right? Past performance is no guarantee of future performance. One reason why overly simple solutions sound good in theory but are often not the best solutions in practice.

  120. Posted by Shza

    I don’t know who you’re arguing with there, Rillion. Of course past performance is no guarantee of future performance. My point was that if SFRE’s system had been put in place, i.e., budget caps, with the idea that it’s fine because we’d have roughly *stable* population as a result of equally-offsetting population increases and decreases, that system would have been a total failure based on a grossly incorrect premise over the last half-century (or history of CA for that matter). And sure, it’s theoretically possible that CA’s population will be exactly the same in 100 years as it is now but that seems like a pretty stupid prediction to base budget policy off of. Surely you don’t disagree?

  121. Posted by SFRE

    Yeah, the population hasn’t decreased. Then grow the tax revenue by the rate of population increase. Still tie it to something. Tie it to inflation during the years in between the census, then adjust it based on the population increase/decrease in the years of the census. In this case its still tied to population increases.
    As for the fact that governments are not people and they shouldn’t construct a budget in that way. I think if governments behaved more like a family in terms of setting budgets and expenditures, then it wouldn’t be in the mess that it is. Continually increasing the amount that is spent is no way to run a budget. For a family, a business, or anything else.

  122. Posted by Legacy Dude

    grumpy: per my comments above, I completely agree that rent control is also an economic distortion which basically enables underutilization of shelter and increases cost of living across the board. I’d be ecstatic to see both Prop 13 and rent control disappear. Neither will ever happen.
    Also agreed that tying government spending to GDP is an absolutely ludicrous idea. That’s analogous to saying, “Go ahead and spend every dollar you can.” Bad advice for individuals, families, companies, and governments. Provision of basic services has no causal correlation to productivity of the private sector that I’m aware of.

  123. Posted by grumpy

    “Go ahead and spend every dollar you can.”
    That’s pretty much the idea. Budgets get set so that you have at least the same level or more than the previous year so that way no ground is lost.
    Except it really doesn’t work out very well when the private sector suffers and the feeding bin runs a little low. The fat pigs still need to feed their overgrown bellies and they get nasty when hungry, they don’t care where the food comes from, they just demand it, and we have huge deficits as a result. Got to keep the pig happy.

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