Letters (Oct. 4, 2017)
by AVA News Service, October 4, 2017
We respectfully request that the Supervisors make a legal distinction between property owners who take an entire house off the rental market so that they can use it for "vacation rentals," and property owners who rent out a small cabin on the property they live on, or a room in the house in which they are living, to tourists. There is a huge difference — the first takes away a home someone could live in full time, the second gives a little extra income to help out in these tough financial times.
There is a serious lack of rental houses around here, as well as many other places in California. Much of it is due to "Vacation Rental" conversions. I have heard that St. Helena has 50% of their houses "vacant," so they can be rented out to tourists. I agree that this is wrong. In Vancouver they have a "vacant home tax" of 1% — this is levied once or twice a year on houses that are not rented out to full time residents or that property owners do not live in for a certain percentage of the year if they are not the property owners' primary residence. Perhaps this would be a good idea for our area.
We think it is arbitrarily punitive to 1: put a moratorium on ALL vacation rentals; and 2: to charge any kind of additional fee for owners who do not live on a county maintained road and want to rent out a tiny cabin or room in their primary residence.
I work in hospitality, at one of the older wine tasting rooms. Every week, at least through the non-rainy months, I have people tell me they wanted to stay in Anderson Valley, but all the lodging, including the campgrounds, was full so they had no choice but to stay in a soulless place all the way over in Ukiah, 30 or 40 minutes away from where they wanted to be for a wedding, or a family gathering, hiking or whatever. The air-BnB folks who are renting out rooms or cabins too small for full time living, are actually doing a service for the valley.
If the Supervisors are thinking about moratoriums, how about one on tasting rooms in the Valley? That's been needed for years. All the newer tasting rooms certainly take a cut on the flow of tourists spending money at the older ones!
Sincerely, Nancy MacLeod, William Allen
TAKE A KNEE, JER
Mr. Governor Brown is at it again trying to make this into a sanctuary state. Which means that every community, every town can have criminals in it and we can’t do nuthin’ about it. So that’s a pretty nice thing to look forward to. It takes someone like Jerry Brown to think of something like that.
As far as the 49ers and the rest of the NFL pieces of crap that wouldn’t stand up for the national anthem, maybe they should take a knee for the whole game! It would certainly improve their play! These people are sick.
A VERY BAD IDEA
To the Editor:
I’m responding to the Ukiah Daily Journal’s Aug. 27, 2017 endorsement of the new permanent part time 1045 South State Homeless Center. I’d like to add four words to your last sentence “If we let it become a hangout for people with problems, it’s doomed”, and so is Ukiah.
After observing local politics for two decades, I’ve grown accustomed to cheap fragrant promises morphing into smelly expensive realities. Once the permanent part time 1045 South State Homeless Center is up and running, it will be very difficult to uproot when blatantly attracting more homeless to Ukiah.
The permanent part time 1045 South State Homeless Center might be “worth trying” “to begin to separate the loafers from the needy,” only if there is an easy “fail-safe” to shut it down as soon as it proves a failure. This mechanism could be a simple majority of Ukiah citizens voting to rescind the Homeless Center’s use permit. If it’s not easy to pull the plug on a failing program, then the potential catastrophe to our hometown is too great to risk.
Did you know there is controversy within the Homeless-Industrial-Complex on whether day care shelters are even a good idea? Here is an article, by homeless expert Robert Marbut, stating that a day care shelter actually exacerbates the problem.
Ukiah citizens have been told by city authorities that there is nothing specifically causing the large numbers of homeless in our community. Over a year ago, on June 29, 2016, the San Francisco Examiner had this article about expanding the Homeward Bound program that had bussed over 10,000 of their homeless across the country for over a decade;
Ukiah citizens deserve to know more about this program. If SF officially plans to bus half their homeless out of town, then so can Ukiah. Our homeless crisis may be in part due to “if you build it they will come”, but they will come no matter what, courtesy of SF’s Homeward Bound program. There is a very good chance that our homeless numbers won’t decrease, regardless of how much or little assistance we provide.
Regarding your dispute of Mendocino County’s per capita rate of homeless; the latest figure (140/10,000) is easy to calculate. Divide the January 2017 PIT count (1,238) by the population of Mendocino County (87,841) then multiply by 10,000. The UDJ published an article on June 21, 2017 citing the 140 rate as reported by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Our local Homeless Services Action Group also reports that Mendocino County per capita rate is the highest in the nation.
If Mendocino County isn’t number one in the USA, then please tell us who the dubious winner is. Why is this per capita homeless number important? Mendocino County ranks near the bottom third in per capita income in California. If Ukiah had the average homeless per capita rate in the USA (around 20/10K), our town of 16K citizens would have just 32 homeless individuals to manage. We simply don’t have the resources to address more than our fair share of this problem, nor should we be expected to.
Did you know that RCS will likely be spending around $2M in taxpayer funds to buy, renovate, and facelift the 1045 South State building? As planned, it will serve a maximum of 60 people at a time. There are roughly 600 homeless in the greater Ukiah Valley. Environmentally it does not make sense, as that still leaves around 500 pounds of people poop per day polluting our local creeks, flowing to the Russian River, and then bobbing merrily downstream. Nor does it make economic sense to spend around $2M on a part time Homeless Center, unless there is a permanent source of new homeless flocking here. Note; SF’s Homeward Bound program requires only “friends, case managers and the like” with a phone to get a free bus ride to Ukiah.
Ukiah citizens should read the UDJ opinion on August 30, 2017 by Mendocino County’s Carmel Angelo and RCS’s Camille Schraeder, titled “AB 1250 bad news for Mendocino County” for their insights, since both Mendocino County and RCS are behind Ukiah’s permanent part time 1045 South State Homeless Center. Compare their concerns with Ukiah resident’s fears that the Homeless Center project will further decrease our quality of life, crater property values, depress local business income, jeopardize our local hospital’s finances, and likely result in another city sales tax increase.
Solutions; First; do no harm. Do not make the current crisis worse. Second; there must be a fail-safe shut-down mechanism permanently imbedded in the 1045 South State Homeless Center’s use permit. Third; pass Sherriff Allman’s Measure B. Fourth, craft a plan to stop further homeless influx, then bus, treat, house, and find a way to pay for the entire 600 homeless here in Ukiah. Fifth; since elected representatives have difficulty shutting down social programs, let Ukiah and Mendocino County voters decide via simple majority which homeless programs to keep or cull at each general election.
Don’t double down on decades of failure. The future of our hometown is at stake.
Edward Haynes, Ukiah
My suggestion to all taxpayers who feel they are paying too much and are sick of tax cuts for the rich is to go exempt. File a new W-4 and either claim 10 exemptions or mark exempt. Save your tax payments in your savings account so that in April you can pay your taxes as required. This will withhold current taxes from, and hopefully get the attention of, a government that wants to tax the poor to death to give tax breaks to the rich.
BART’S TRAVELING CIRCUS
On a recent BART ride from Berkeley to Colma, I was “entertained” by the breakdancers who turned their music up to full volume and then performed in the doorway, by two panhandlers walking the aisle, the skateboarder who seemed to think we’d reached the Embarcadero already and was showing his stuff, four people sleeping across two or more seats, a pizza box (and its contents) spilled on the floor and the two large dogs (and their masters, without any obvious service dog markings).
Having used public transportation all over the world, I can state that I never see such things outside our wonderful Bay Area. I don’t need more noise and dirt on the trains, and I certainly don’t need the chaos, however colorful it might be. I also can’t imagine what a visitor to the area might think about this scene. BART needs to pick up its game and give us a safe, clean and orderly transportation system. Let’s leave the circus for somewhere else please.
Bruce Klafter, San Mateo