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Alameda’s Measure P

Measure P, which Alamedans will vote on in a few short weeks, would increase the city’s property transfer tax, the tax paid to the city when a property is bought or sold. Currently the tax is $5.40 per $1,000 property value. Measure P would raise it to $12 per $1,000. Alameda Mayor Beverly Johnson has a pro-P opinion piece in today’s Alameda Journal.

The Mayor’s argument is pretty straight-forward: The city has already been cutting, police and fire costs are two thirds of the city’s budget, and without a cash infusion the city may have to begin trimming those areas nearest and dearest to people’s hearts…in addition to the cuts that have already been made, the maintenance that has already been deferred and the library hours that have already been cut. Those who oppose P have a pretty well-funded campaign against (with chart and graphs and everything).

Back story: Before putting P on the ballot, the city did some polling to see what was most likely to win approval from the voters, and this transfer tax increase is what was seen as most likely to pass. Really, it’s the same old story: if you want services, they must be paid for.

[Ed. note: The Journal also has this editorial about P.]

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Alameda real estate not immune from national crisis

With the federal government in the midst of hashing out the details of a massive rescue of country’s largest financial institutions, the news on the local front, in terms of falling home values and foreclosures, is bleak, too. In her September 11 blog post, real estate agent Pacita Dimacali, calculated that 14 percent of the 166 homes on the market in Alameda are either short sales (when they’re selling for less than is owed) or ‘bank owned.” Scary. And for always-edgy take on the local housing market, check out Knife Catchers, a blog dedicated to Alameda real estate. Anyone willing to talk about their home ownership problems with me, please send me an email, I’d like to hear your story. Anonymous is fine.