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Warren Buffet responds to Peninsula mom

Original post made on Apr 26, 2010

Jennifer Bestor didn't know what to expect last month when she mailed a rather whimsical letter to billionaire Warren Buffet about her research on Prop. 13. His response, though, has left the Menlo Park mother smiling — and energized.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, April 26, 2010, 10:42 AM

Comments (11)

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Posted by dsoldit
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 26, 2010 at 2:46 pm

I'm excited to hear interaction between two people passionate about something.
An activist is not something of which to be ashamed. Once our public officials get into office, based on a platform they outlined in their campaigns, they still need our input for current affairs. They have so much that passes across their desks in a day that they need to know what constituents feel on a current basis, not what they needed a year or two ago when they ran for office. Although "activist" can have a negative connotation from the way some media show violent activists, or impolite activists, the word and deed are good things.
One thing that is worth being embarrassed about is how unfit everyone has gotten. I say we all do some sit-ups, the pick up our phones and talk to our public officials. How about we start today? I am.

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Posted by Lee Marie Michals
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 26, 2010 at 2:57 pm

I support Jennifer Bestor in her efforts to have changes in the Commercial Property provisions of Proposition 13, as I do believe it was not intended for their benefit. However as a homeowner living in my home for the past 56 years I could not stay in it without proposition 13 so that part must be left alone. We, homeowners, as then young energetic individuals, are the ones that helped form all our city governments to build the cities we now live in and enjoy. We deserve the benefit as we grow older.

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Posted by Dale Dunlap
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 26, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Jennifer, I have been following your story, thanks to the Almanac's spirited articles.
I will join you with the crunches. I have a fitness studio in downtown Mountain View and have raised 3 children in Mountain View. We have felt the effects of Prop. 13 and share your pain, pun intended!

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Posted by Riley's Mom
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 26, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Bestor, although you do not have policital aspirations you should and you not only my vote and support, but I will also contribute to the Sit-up effort. For years I have been frustrated with the limitations prop 13 has put on our education system. I commend you for the action you have taken to date. There has to be a better way to level out the economic issues our state and resources face.

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Posted by Carl Hagen
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Some elaboration on just what Prop 13 is and what the Commercial Property provisions are would be helpful. It's been a long time since it was passed and put into effect. It's not all bad. It's not all good. More details are needed so that people can make informed opinions.

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Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 26, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Carl and others, if you haven't read the original MV Voice article that outlined Ms Bestor's findings, it's a great place to get up to speed on the issue: Web Link

Below the article are were many well written comments from both sides of the issue submitted by readers.

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Posted by John Cooper
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 26, 2010 at 4:32 pm

.... Although she claims she's "not an activist, in any sense of the word" -- including on an exercise mat.

SMOKE SCREEN ALERT - this woman is a stealthy Cloward–Piven strategist.

What ever she claims the taking apart of prop 13 would harm California. Has anyone bothered to notice the companies that are leaving California?

So let's see, you raise the tax obligations on commercial properties. How much more will that latte, apple sause or bucket of chicken you buy go up in price? Seems like more taxation to me, just what California does not need.

Bestor suggests capping Proposition 13 benefits for commercial property owners at 20 years. "Every 20 years, non-residential property is reassessed at market value, then gets to enjoy another 20 years of tax relief," she writes.

Hey how about a green choice - less government and less taxation a byproduct like this would reduced the need for my hard earned money.

We are the worst run state in the nation, outside of perhaps New York, California has the highest taxes in the nation in all categories. And worst economic environment for business of any state in the nation. Why would you want to add to the burden of the taxpayer - in time all properties will change hands and the taxman will be paid. An this woman claims to have an MBA.

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Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 26, 2010 at 11:15 pm

John Cooper sounds like a corporate shill to me. This corporatist fascism has to end, it's unwholesome. Prop 13 was supposed to help homeowners, not commercial real estate developers.

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Posted by Steve Schramm
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 26, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Hey John, your statement that, "in time all properties will change hands and the taxman will be paid" is not true, which is the point. These commercial properties can be held in family trusts pretty much forever. People die, but the trust lives on. This creates an unfair business environment where one business can crush its competition by constantly underpricing them because they are 1978 property valuations (with 1% annual increases) against new businesses that come it at 2010 values. The difference is enormous, as detailed in the article.

The hole needs to be plugged -- I was here in 1978 and the entire rationale of prop 13 was to prevent people on fixed incomes from being unable to pay the spiraling property taxes. Commercial properties should be assessed annually, as they are elsewhere.

I agree with you that taxes are too high here, so reduce sales taxes, or income taxes to balance it out. But this absurd and dangerous hole needs to be plugged now.

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Posted by libby
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 27, 2010 at 10:02 pm

As a native Californian educated in public schools in the 70's-80's, I experienced directly the negative impact of Prop 13. If the facts that we went from one of the best funded school systems in the country to the least, that there are an alarming number of California students who cannot pass the minimum standards, and the incredible stress of poorly paid teachers are not enough to convince you, I don't know what would be. Ammending Prop 13 as it relates to commercial property could potentially have no impact on homeowners.

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Posted by Seldon
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 28, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Great stuff....improve Prop 13, increase funding for schools, AND get fit. That's a win-win solution if I ever saw one. Where do I sign up?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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