From Funding Schools to Buying a Cup of Coffee: Beware of New Taxes

RANTZ & RAVEZ-As we leave January and enter February, we are blessed with lots of water in our lakes and reservoirs and huge amounts of snow in the mountains throughout California. Unlike the many dry years we have experienced for long periods of time in the past, the heavy rains and snow that have caused numerous winter storm alerts and warnings will provide us with plenty of water for the upcoming summer months. We are reminded that our fragile natural resources are not constant and that we must not waste what God has sent from above for us to enjoy throughout the year. 

Want a cup of coffee in the bastion of Liberalism? Save .25 cents and bring your own drinking cup to Berkeley, California. 

On January 22, 2019, the Berkeley City Council passed an ordinance, taking effect in January 2020, that will require anyone purchasing a disposable cup of coffee to pay a fee of .25 cents for the luxury of having a cup. That is correct. A fee for a disposable cup to drink the coffee you are purchasing. 

The goal is to have a Zero Waste Berkeley by 2020. For those of you who enjoy your multiple cups of coffee during the day, just think how much money you will pay in the years to come when visiting Berkeley. In addition, the ordinance requires all dine-in foodware to be reusable, and takeout foodware to be compostable by January 2020. Will this become a trend for other cities in California and throughout America? Anyone want to bet that it will in the near future?     

Along the same line, straws are being restricted and banned in Los Angeles and other cities. What is the next target for our political leaders who continue to think of “Great Ideas” and ways to improve the quality of our lives and environment? I know. More and higher taxes to pay for more government to improve our quality of life? 

I predict that a Prop 13 modification will be coming as a future ballot measure to pay for schools and other municipal expenses. 

Now that the Los Angeles Unified School District teacher’s strike has been settled and school operations are back on track, word is that the money is running out and the contract will face major funding problems in a couple of years. With the hiring of hundreds of nurses and other additional school staff, in addition to the 6% salary increase for LAUSD teachers as part of the settled contract, where is that money going to come from to pay for everything that was approved in the contract?  

People ask me about the California Lottery that was sold to us as a way to generate money for public schools. It was promoted and approved under Proposition 37 in 1984 and the first ticket was sold in 1985. That is a total of 34 years. With Lottery tickets now selling for many more dollars than the original $1 ticket, where has all that money been going? Good question, right? And I have no idea what the answer is. This might be a good topic for an investigative reporter or the Los Angeles City Controller who has the resources to track things down. 

Austin Beutner, the Superintendent of the LAUSD, stated many times during the school strike and in his public appearances that the school district did not have the funds to cover the contract in future years. The County Board of Education has also stated that the funds are not available to cover the settled contract in the future.  

So, where will that money come from? Here we go with another TAX! This time it will be a State tax on all NON-Residential parcels. In other words, the push will be to split the Prop 13 Property Tax into two portions. Residential will remain under the traditional and current tax structure while the other -- commercial and investment property -- will be reviewed and increased for the purpose of finding funds to cover the LAUSD and other school districts as well as pet projects promoted by our elected officials on the State and Local levels. It will create be a bonanza of spending! 

This is all based on my observations and knowledge how the system works. 

Now a word of caution for YOU, the Voters – Don’t Buy it! 

You supported the continuation of the Gas and Car Tax and the Measures H and HHH that were pushed to raise money for the homeless. Now we find that we have been paying a 20 cent a gallon tax and no one knows where the money is going. We are being taxed to death. But don’t let the political system scare you. Just believe me and vote NO on any and all tax increases. Enough is enough! 

The roads are worse and getting more so every day. The homeless are not going away but are increasing in number and spreading into more and more communities. Just look around your neighborhood. 

One thing about RantZ and RaveZ is that the truth will always be told. So, let me remind you to vote NO on any and all tax increases. 

Now we have LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and his showdown with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. 

The new Los Angeles County Sheriff is Alex Villanueva. He has already clashed with the media and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. What will come next in his mission as leader of the dedicated members of the Sheriff’s Department? What tone will he set as he attempts to serve the millions of residents of Los Angeles County?  

To say that former Sheriff Jim McDonald did a terrible job campaigning for re-election is an understatement. While Jim McDonald had many supporters and more than abundant funds to run his campaign in the primary, he failed to win. History will show what we will have to live with now.  

While Sheriff Villanueva moves forward, managing by elimination and selecting by impulse, the Sheriff’s Department will be in the news like never before. I will be preparing articles on the current Sheriff’s Department and how it will impact residents in LA County.               

My recent parking citation. 

The matter is now resolved. Did I pay the $68 or fight it and win, knowing the law? The story is coming soon. 

If you have a question or concern, I invite you to email me at Zman8910@aol.com.


(Dennis P. Zine is a former and retired LAPD Supervisor, former and retired 12-year Los Angeles City Councilman and current General Manager at Bell Canyon in Ventura County.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.