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June 30, 2010     The Julian News
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June 30, 2010
 

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June 30, 2010 California Commentar Government Picking Winners And Losers At Taxpayers" Expense by Jan Coupal It generates few headlines, so many taxpayers are unaware that local governments continue to pump millions of dollars of tax increments -- property tax revenue usually withheld from schools and other essential services -- to fund pet projects that may not be in the public interest. This is all done under the guise of "Community Redevelopment." One of the most common misuses of redevelopment funds is to bribe businesses, like auto malls or big box stores, to relocate in a particular community. The result is often a bidding war between cities, each trying to outdo the others to provide the most generous subsidies and tax breaks to land a favored business. Reforms enacted in 1994 which permit tax sharing designed to address this "problem have only been partially successful. It is hard to find a taxpayer who thinks that government should be in the business of using taxpayer dollars to pick winners and losers in the private sector economy, and this is why local officials try to operate their redevelopment schemes with as little notice as possible. However, when the deals go sour, it is hard to keep these expensive failures under wraps. The city of Downey in Southern California represents just the most recent case of redevelopment gone haywire. Downey was attempting to lure Tesla, a green car manufacturer famous for an all-electric roadster, in the hopes of adding 1200 new jobs. The city wanted to add two parcels to a redevelopment project area, and then intended to use the tax increment revenue - the amount of the new higher property tax - generated by the. addition to subsidize Tesla's rent and site improvements. Downey had pledged $14.8 million of taxpayer dollars, some of which it had no doubt already spent on city staff time to prepare the project. Further, in a nod to good fiscal accountability practices, Downey allegedly committed some of its reserve fund to support the redevelopment expansion. At a time when local governments are dealing with declining sales and static property tax revenue, this was far from a wise move. The project also ignored the main point of a redevelopment project area, which is to eliminate blight, not subsidize private industry. The city was so anxious to get its redevelopment plan passed quickly in an effort to get millions worth of federal stimulus money, that it was willing to cut corners to do it. Downey counted on a bill by Assemblyman Charles Calderon that would have eliminated the mandatory hearing that cities must have in order to add parcels to redevelopment districts, and also would pro.hibit citizens from filing a referendum on a redevelopment project. By supporting legislation that would have stripped people of the right to vote, especially when $14.8 million is at stake, Downey's actions were an insult to its own citizens. Now that Downey has sacrificed city staff time, money and its dignity, it appears that the whole plan has collapsed. Tesla has found an even better deal. They have reached agreement with Toyota to form a joint collaboration 400 miles away in the Bay Area. The good news for taxpayers is that now that it's no longer needed to force the Downey deal down taxpayers' throats, the Calderon legislation appears dead. The bad news for Downey taxpayers is that at a time when nearly every community is short on funds, their city has already invested resources gambling on a project which is now defunct. Jan Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association - California's largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers' rights. R.ED. -rOBE. Iql "IOONEOF l'f,,,," r]/---" lil ,[.2kx...LC by Mike Marland IB TIlE Ir.CE90N  TI-IANK FOR B. UNC.-S 0% I I T4E RT4D The history of the worm is full of men who rose to leadership, by sheer force of self-confidence, bravery and tenacity. - Mahatma Gandhi Week y SUDOKU by Linda Thistle 5 7 9 8 1 8 7 5 9 4 6 1 6 5 2 4 4 1 1 2 6 4 5 3 6 8 4 3 9 8 5 7 7 8 9 2 Place a number in the empty boxes in such a way that each row across, each column down and each small 9-box square contains all of the numbers from one to nine. DIFFICULTY THIS WEEK: * * Moderate ** Challenging *** HOO BOY! 2010 King Features Synd., Inc. Tips For Saving Lives And Property From Wildfires (NAPSA)-Learning about the reality of wildfire danger can help save your home and those you love. According to experts, wildfires across the country are burning hotter and faster than ever before. After a severe 1985 fire season that saw 1,400 homes burned nationally, the National Fire Protection Association, through an agreement with the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Association of State Foresters, created the Firewise Program-to offer simple ways by which community members can work together to prevent their properties from becoming fuel for a wildfire. "By learning about how wildfires spread and taking simple steps to reduce damage, we can adapt to the inevitability of wildfire danger," said Michele Steinberg, Firewise Program Manager in Quincy, Mass. "Wildfires do not have to burn everything in their paths. You can prepare your home simply and effectively." Residents can reduce the risk of their home's ignition by simply modifying their homes and immediate surroundings. For example, to make a home's landscape Firewise, create space around the home to reduce wildfire threat. Reduce vegetation surrounding a home (30-100 feet, depending on the area's risk of wildfire) and prune large trees so that the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet high to prevent a wildfire from spreading up to the treetops. When planting, choose low-growing, carefully placed shrubs and trees so the area can also be more easily maintained. Even something as simple as cleaning gutters and eaves of leaves and debris can prevent an ember from igniting a home. Also, when possible, choose Firewise construction materials for homes, decks, porches and fences. The most protective roofing materials will be rated "Class-A," including asphalt shingles and metal, cement and concrete products. Wall materials most resistant to heat and flames include brick, cement, plaster, stucco and concrete masonry. Double-paned or tempered glass windows also make a home more resistant to heat and flames. Our increasingly damaging wildfire seasons may be caused by rising temperatures that in turn create drier wildfire fuels such as scrub, grass and brush. Also, millions of people are moving into formerly rural and wild areas vulnerable to wildfire, which presents added challenges for firefighters. For more information on taking real action to reduce wildfire damage in your community, visit www.firewise.org The Julian News 13 HOMES. CABINS. LAND RENTALS. PROPERTY MANAGEMENT. VACATION RENTALS 2019 Main Street www.julian-realestate.com 760-765-0111 $259,000 Whispering Pines, 3 bedroom, 2 bath, fenced 1/2 acre, wrap-around deck with built-in play equipment, dual pane windows, FA/AC $ 710,000 - Julian Estates 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath, 2 car, 2460 sq.ft. 2 story, 4,32 acres, Large barn and corrals, $669,000 Truly custom in Julian Estates, 3br, 3ba, den, 2 car on 6.89 acres. 2 master suites, one handicap accessible. Mature forest plus orchard. Horse properly. Whispering Pines - $229,000 Income Opportunily, Live in top unit and help make your .payments with downstairs rented. Upstairs: 2 bedroom, 1 bath, large open floor plan with loft, wall of windows looking into the forest and large deck. Wood burning stove, all appliances including washer/dryer. Downstairs: 1 bedroom, 1 bath, full kitchen, large deck all appliances including washer/dryer. $159,000 Kentwood II- 2 bedroom, 1 bath 2 car garage, fireplace, hardwood, dual-glazed windows, FA/AC. Strange But True by Samantha Weaver It was Swiss journalist and commentator Esther Dyson who made the following sage observation: "The Internet is like alcohol in some sense. It accentuates what you would do anyway. If you want to be a loner, you can be more alone. If you want to connect, it makes it easier to connect." The world's'largest colony of ants reaches all the way from northern Italy to Spain's Atlantic coast. The first U.S. patent was issued in 1790 for a soap-making formula developed by Samuel Hopkins. In May of this year, Canadian chef Ted Reader attempted to break the Guinness record for the world's largest hamburger. The patty alone weighed more than 300 pounds, and the bun was 105 pounds. Once the burger was decked out with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, red onions, pickles and barbecue sauce, the grand total was a whopping 590 pounds. Guinness has not yet certified the giant hamburger, but it seems a shoe-in to beat the current record holder, which is a measly 158.8 pounds. ' King Cmmmro[d ACROSS 1 Grounded flock 5 Castle protection 9 Jazzy style 12 Spiraling motion 13 Part of a foot? 14 Carnival city 15 Small embellish ment 17 New England cape 18 Dell purchase 19 Role for Desi 21 "Forget it!" 22 Motif 24 Everything else 27 Street address? 28 Charitable donation 31 Matterhorn, for one 32 Cartesian conclusion 33 - de cologne 34 Dieter's target 36 Expert 37 Dance lesson 38 Hex 40 Greeting 41 "- Foolish Things" 1 2 3 12 15 18 lll 24 25 26 31 34 6 22 10 11 II 29 30 II 41 42 47 51 54 -- i i 43 Soda shoppe order 47 Massage 48 Gddiron 8 "Ta-da!" transport tactic using 9 It has its 37 Donut, a tee charms slangily 51 -- Khan 10 Sty cry 39 Copy, for 52 Latvia's 11 Shetland, for short capital one 40 Shade 53 Canal zone 16 Comic 41 Snare 54 Apiece Philips 42 Ginormous 55 Microwave 20 "- Little 43 Read quickly 56 Ohio team Teapot" 44 Catastrophic 22 Vestige 45 Litmus DOWN 23 Base reddener 1 Early birds? runner's goal 46 Supple- 2 "- Breckin- 24 U.K. fliers ments, ridge" 25 Right angle with "out" 30rsk's river 26 Neighbor of 49 Actress 4 Trig measure alt UIImann 5 Revealing 27 Prejudice 50 Epoch 2010 King Features Synd., Inc. 45 46 5O i __ __ fashion 29 West of 6 Lennon's Hollywood lady 30 Dine 7 Performance 35 Kramden's Hasbro's Easy-Bake oven was so popular when in was released in 1963 that it sold a half million of the toys within the first year. If getting out on the road these days is making you nervous, you have good reason: According to the 2010 GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test survey, approximately 38 million American drivers would fail a written drivers test -- that's 20 percent of licensed drivers. The nation's best drivers can be found in Kansas, while the worst drivers -- perhaps unsurprisingly -- are in New York. Thought for the Day: "As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality." -- Albert Einstein (c) 2010 King Features Synd., Inc. -'-.___. The stegosaurus was a large, plant-eating dinosaur that lived about 150 million years ago in what is now the western United States. It had two rows of bony plates shaped like huge arrowheads sticking out of its back and tail. I '00'ORST.PAYING College000000J egrees'00r L so,i. Educatmn  [ 3. 'Iheology So:; , 4. Music www.payscale.com h 6. ture 7. Education - 8. Hospitality  9. 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