Nearly 1 million signatures filed for initiative to strike Prop. 13’s ‘moving penalty’

Backers of a statewide initiative aimed at expanding Prop. 13 for senior homeowners have submitted almost a million signatures to election officials, more than enough to qualify the measure for next November’s ballot, the California Association of Realtors, the initiative’s principal backer, has announced.

Now election officials must verify the petitions to make sure they contain the required 585,000 voter signatures needed to place the measure on the November 2018 ballot.

If approved, the Prop. 13 “portability” measure would allow homeowners who are 55 or older to take their low property tax base with them after selling their home and buying a new home anywhere in the state. There would be no limit on how many times they can use the provision and no limit on home prices (although buying a more expensive home would result in a slightly higher “blended” tax assessment).

Under current law, senior homeowners can take their low Prop. 13 tax base with them only once, only to one of 11 California counties and only if the new home costs the same or less than the one sold.

Under Prop. 13, the landmark constitutional amendment passed by voters in 1978, property tax hikes are capped at 2 percent per year so long as a resident owns the home. But there’s a one-time reassessment for the new owner to market values after the home is sold. The measure has kept homeowners’ property taxes artificially low over the years, even as their home values have doubled or even quadrupled

Supporters say the initiative will ease the state’s housing crisis by freeing up more properties for sale. Many older homeowners who want to move have been staying put to avoid paying higher property taxes.

Although the initiative wouldn’t address capital gains taxes, another deterrent to home sales, it still will help the housing crisis “in a small way,” said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Prop. 13’s original backer.

“That will have an effect of opening up larger homes to younger families so older empty nesters aren’t trapped in bigger houses,” Coupal said.

The initiative’s expanded “portability” provisions also would apply to severely disabled homeowners and disaster victims.

“Voters believe that homeowners who are seniors, disabled or victims of disasters deserve the opportunity to move to safer, more practical homes without being penalized,” said state Realtor association President Steve White. “We are excited to have reached this milestone. … We have the resources and grassroots strength to eliminate the property tax moving penalty.”

Man Sues Tustin California Police – Alleges Assault and Battery – Negligence and False Arrest

Tustin, California –

A 20-year-old man is suing the city, Tustin police and one of its veteran officers, alleging that the officer “physically assaulted and tackled him” for no reason, leaving him with injuries to his face and an arrest record.

In the lawsuit, filed July 31 in Orange County Superior Court, Jose Francisco Franco of Tustin alleges assault and battery, negligence and false arrest. He also alleges three civil rights violations including unlawful seizure of person, excessive force and unconstitutional city policies.

“He had a clear record. He’s a nice, clean-cut kid,” said John Cogorno, an attorney representing Franco in the case. “The officer overreacted under the circumstances. And as a result, the kid was seriously damaged.”

The city, police department and Officer Rene Barraza, who was named in the lawsuit, did not comment on the case. The city hadn’t been served with the suit as of Tuesday, city attorney David Kendig said.

Barraza has been with the Tustin Police Department since 2007, according to an announcement when he won officer of the month in 2013. He’s currently a K-9 officer, and he and his dog, Bravo, are a common sight at community events like Tuesday’s National Night Out.

The incident happened around 11 p.m. June 2, 2014. Franco – who was 19 at the time – was by himself, sitting on the steps outside a medical building on Newport Avenue, listening to music on his cellphone, Cogorno said.

“He just wanted to get out of the house,” Cogorno said.

When Franco saw a police officer drive by, Cogorno said he got up and started walking. It wasn’t because he’d done anything wrong, Cogorno said. It was simply the knee-jerk reaction many people have to avoid the police, he said.

Officer Barraza then approached Franco from behind and tackled him, causing Franco to fall face-first into the sidewalk, the lawsuit alleges.

Franco’s two upper front teeth went through his lip, Cogorno said. His tooth was chipped, and he suffered bruising and swelling to the rest of his face.

Barraza arrested Franco at the scene, the lawsuit states. Paramedics took Franco to a hospital in Santa Ana to treat his injuries, then he was booked into county jail for a misdemeanor charge of willfully delaying, resisting or obstructing an officer.

Franco was ordered to appear in court July 1, 2014, according to the lawsuit. He did, and no charges were filed against him.

He filed a claim with the city in November. The City Council denied the claim in February, so Franco filed the lawsuit.

Franco is suing to cover his medical bills and loss of wages, plus he’s seeking compensation for mental distress and punitive damages.

He was working for a car wash at the time of the incident and had to take 30 days off work to recover from his injuries, Cogorno said. He lost his job during that time, Cogorno said, but found another and is employed now.

Franco’s teeth are still a bit loose and he has a scar on his lip, Cogorno said. But the most upsetting part, Cogorno said, is that Franco now has an arrest record that can potentially impact his chance at jobs, loans or housing.

Contact the writer: 714-796-7963 or

Dock Tax Campaign Reorganizes to Change Newport Beach California City Government

Dear Friend,

Residents for Reform was started for a simple reason – our local government has become too expensive.

Over the past decade we have sat back while well-intentioned politicians have encumbered 87,000 residents with almost $500 million in long-term debt

The city’s budget documents show in 2003 total revenues from all sources was $110 million. This year it’s $254 million, a 131% increase.

Just because Newport Beach is a wealthy community doesn’t mean city government has to gouge, overcharge, and over-tax.

We believe our city is profiting off taxpayers, hence its surplus of $140 million – larger than the entire budget of Costa Mesa.

Residents have been quiet for too long. It’s time for a change.

Bob McCaffrey
Volunteer Chairman