The San Francisco Bay Guardian's Tim Redmond today called us with some spirited criticism of an item we ran last week stating the paper's editors would personally benefit from Prop. 13 legislation they endorsed.
In the item, we noted that the paper had endorsed Assemblyman Tom Ammiano's AB 2492, which would preserve Prop 13's tax breaks to residential property
owners, while eliminating certain breaks for owners of commercial
property. Longtime city homeowners, Ammiano, along with endorsers Guardian editor Redmond and owner Bruce Bruggmann benefit handsomely from the 1978 tax-limiting measure.
Redmond described the item as unfair, noting that he's long supported higher taxes, even when increases hit his own pocketbook. Redmond didn't take issue with specific facts, or with our citation of the Guardian item -- those, it would seem, were right on the money. But he was outraged we would brand him a tax-cutter.
"There are a lot of things it's fair to criticize me about. But the
one thing you can't go after me for is not wanting to pay higher
taxes," Redmond said. "I'm the one who consistently is for higher
property taxes for all homeowners, including me. And I have written
about this, and I have said it."
Redmond notes that The Guardian railed against Proposition 13 in 1978, and has periodically complained about the measure's school, road, and park-ruining effects ever since.
"How dare you say we are trying to personally benefit from this when we have always advocated higher taxes. We have consistently supported legislation that causes us individually, and the Guardian as an institution, to pay higher taxes" -- though not this time; quite the contrary. "God, I wish we could repeal Proposition 13," he said.
In fact, Redmond said, he donates money to McKinley Elementary
School, where his son attends. He wouldn't share precisely how much, but Redmond said his family donations are in the ballpark of the $3,000 or so he saves on taxes thanks to Proposition 13 provisions Ammiano's measure will do nothing to alter.
"I give a lot of money to our public school," Redmond said. "But I don't think charity is the solution to the public school problem. I think taxes are the solution to the public schools problem."