My husband Dave and I were putting up posters for a Wake Up Sonoma protest at the Springs Post Office building and the Lanning Structures site a couple of weeks ago. A man came up to us, looked at the poster and said, “You are doing this all wrong. You need to focus on the positive, not the negative, if you want to get anything done.”
He then proceeded to tell us that we needed to find investors for Lefever Mattson properties if we did not want these blighted, unfinished projects in the Springs. He told us that it was not their fault that these projects have been sitting for years in this state, government and people like us were to blame. At this point I knew this dialog was going nowhere.
The first thing that popped into my head was, why would we be running around looking for investors for someone who has spent over a quarter of a billion dollars to buy up over 120 properties in the Sonoma Valley? Common sense would tell you that if someone has access to that amount of money, they have way more access to investors than people like Dave and me.
Then I mistakenly asked the question, “If it is so hard to get things built in the county, how could the low income senior housing project at Siesta and the highway get completed in less than two years?” He then proceeded to tell me that our property taxes are going up and up to pay for these types of developments and the low income residents will be taking jobs away from workers who live in the Valley.
At this point I did open my mouth and state the property taxes are not affected by building low income housing. He insisted I knew nothing and to just wait and see what happens.
Facts would be meaningless to this man. I tried to explain, to no avail, that your property taxes are determined by state law, based on the value of your property at the time you bought it and increased by the percentage mandated by the state each year. Additionally there may be parcel taxes added that have been voted on, such as the for the hospital district.
In his condescending, know-it-all voice he told me this was not true.
Now I just wanted to get going and end this conversation, but he kept trying to talk to us. He then started trying to tell us that a huge amount of money, also coming out of our taxes, has been wasted by Homeless Action Sonoma.
I realized that nothing I could say would get this person to understand how property taxes are structured, that low income seniors would not be gobbling up all the jobs in the Valley or that Homeless Action Sonoma was not funded by the county government with our property taxes. Nor would telling him to get online and do some research and fact finding be of any use.
The first step to learning is admitting you don’t know. Only then can you research and find facts.