edited by Jodi Summers
You’re lucky to live in Santa Monica. We all are. 2011 estimates show that Santa Monica has 90,377 fortunate residents. Tourists, workers, and beachgoers can increase the city’s daytime population to between 250,000 and 450,000 people. That’s a lot of humanity in 8.3 square miles, which is why, in 2009, Santa Monica reported 106 accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians.
The Santa Monica Police Department would like to share these pedestrian safety tips with you.
* Stop, look and listen before crossing. Just like when you were a kid, look right and left over your shoulder before crossing, look for cars and bicycles, bicycles are required to obey the rules just like the cars.
* Allow vehicles enough time to stop. Don’t assert the right of way with a fast moving vehicle, you could lose.
* Make eye contact with drivers. But don’t assume they will yield.
*Cross at intersections. Crossing mid-block is unsafe; never cross from between two parked cars…drivers can’t see you and aren’t expecting you. When crossing at a signal controlled intersection, cross only on a green light OR when the “walk” sign is activated; the walk sign may change but the light is timed to give you enough time to continue on safely before opposing traffic approaches.
* Unplug from your IPod and listen to what’s going on.
* Use the same rules of caution in a parking lot. Parking lots can be just as dangerous as the street.
Santa Monica leads the state in pedestrian accidents, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). In 2009, Santa Monica ranked first for pedestrian accidents out of 104 California cities of similar size. The top 10 most dangerous Santa Monica intersections for pedestrians, according to the Santa Monica Police Department, based on collision statistics from February 2006 to February 2011 are:
- 1. Main St and Ocean Park Blvd
- 2. 4th St and Santa Monica Blvd
- 3. Lincoln Blvd and Pico Blvd
- 4. 28th St and Pico Blvd
- 5. 17th St and Pico Blvd
- 6. 4th St and Wilshire Blvd
- 7. 2nd St and Colorado Ave
- 8. 4th St and Broadway
- 9. 11th St and Pearl St
- 10. Main St and Pier Ave
The proportion of vehicle vs. pedestrian accidents resulting in injuries is 94%. The vehicle pedestrian accidents resulting in death has hovered between 2-4% between 2002 and 2009.
Stay safe. Be a defensive walker. Watch where you are going. Expect the unexpected. Don’t let cars surprise you… even if the motorist is wrong. Better to be safe than dead right.
by Jodi Summers
Proposition 13 limits annual tax increases on both commercial and residential properties at 2% each year after a sale takes place. The landmark 1978 California tax change was passed, in part, so that older Californians are not priced out of their homes through high taxes. Proposition 13 has been called the “third rail” (meaning “untouchable subject”) of California politics, and it is not popular politically for lawmakers to attempt to change it.
Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) wants voters to alter Proposition 13 to make it easier to pass local taxes for schools. Leno is introducing a constitutional amendment that would allow local parcel taxes for schools to pass with 55% of the vote, instead of the two-thirds currently required.
Proposition 13 (officially named the People’s Initiative to Limit Property Taxation) was an amendment of the Constitution of California enacted during 1978, by means of the initiative process. It was approved by California voters on June 6, 1978. It was declared constitutional by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Nordlinger v. Hahn, 505 U.S. 1 (1992). Proposition 13 is embodied in Article 13A of the Constitution of the State of California.
The proposition states:
Section 1. (a) The maximum amount of any ad valorem tax on real property shall not exceed one percent (1%) of the full cash value of such property. The one percent (1%) tax to be collected by the counties and apportioned according to law to the districts within the counties.
The proposition decreased property taxes by assessing property values at their 1975 value and restricted annual increases of assessed value of real property to an inflation factor, not to exceed 2% per year. It also prohibited reassessment of a new base year value except for (a) change in ownership or (b) completion of new construction.
In addition to decreasing property taxes, the initiative also contained language requiring a two-thirds majority in both legislative houses for future increases of any state tax rates or amounts of revenue collected, including income tax rates. It also requires a two-thirds vote majority in local elections for local governments wishing to increase special taxes. Proposition 13 received an enormous amount of publicity, not only in California, but throughout the United States.
The two-thirds majority is what Congressmen Leno wants to change, dropping the majority 11% to 55% of the vote.
“This change in law would give voters the power to make decisions about public education at the local level, allowing schools much-needed flexibility to improve instruction, fund libraries, music, the arts or other programs, or hire more teachers to reduce student-to-teacher ratios,” Leno justifies.
With new supermajorities in both legislative houses, Democrats now also have the power to place measures such as Leno’s on the ballot without GOP backing. In 2000, voters passed a measure changing the vote threshold for local school bonds from two-thirds to 55%.
HOW IMMINENT DOMAIN AT THE BELMAR TRIANGLE EVOLVED INTO THE NEW VILLAGE AT SANTA MONICA MIXED-USE REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENTApril 10, 2012 on 5:17 pm | In Fascinating Information, For Your Purchasing Pleasure, fUNNY...mONEY, Historic Properties, Legal, Of Local Importance, Santa Monica Landmarks, Uncategorized | 3 Comments
There is great irony in the Village at Santa Monica > the$350-million, 318-unit apartment / condo / retail development going up the 1700 block of Ocean Avenue. The low-rise Village at Santa Monica project will offer 158 luxury condominiums adjacent to 160 affordable apartments crowning 20,000 square feet of commercial space. The irony is that the 160 affordable housing units replace an African-American neighborhood that the City took by imminent domain back in the ‘50s.
Once upon a time the Belmar Triangle was an African-American neighborhood nestled between Pico Boulevard, Main and Fourth Streets. It was destroyed in the 1950s by the City of Santa Monica, which took to aggressive imminent domain action to condemn the area, burning now-landmarked shotgun houses to make room for the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.
The Belmar Triangle was home to a vibrant community which was categorized as blighted by the City. The area became a target of “urban renewal” as the City used eminent domain to condemn black-owned properties.
Accordingly, local planners leveled homes and businesses to build what is now the Civic Auditorium and its parking lot. Back then, the grazing took place by fire, as the homes were burned to the ground as planners watched.
Santa Monica got their high profile venue. The Civic Auditorium hosted the Academy Awards from 1961 to 1967.
The Belmar neighborhood was a few blocks from Ink Well Beach, the 200-square-foot portion of Santa Monica State Beach that was once roped off and reserved only for African-Americans. The remnants of the Inkwell neighborhood were annihilated when the 10 Freeway was built on that location.
So those 160 affordable apartments came about because of Belmar Triangle politics.
Community Corporation of Santa Monica, the city’s largest affordable housing developer, made it happen. So, in an attempt to right past wrongs, the new Village at Santa Monica will bring back a mixed-income population to the area. A low income building will be named Belmar in its honor. That makes it better…lol….
“We cannot replace the deeds and misdeeds of the past, but we can help in some small way,” offers Andy Agle, director of housing and economic development for the City.
Community Corporation of Santa Monica has been the most aggressive developer of new housing units in the City of Santa Monica. It’s state counterpart, the redevelopment Agency, an entity funded through local taxes to fight blight and repair infrastructure, ceased to exist Feb. 1 after the California Supreme Court ruled that that the legislature could dissolve the 400 agencies in California as part of the state budget. It was the agency that spent $53 million on the 11-acre parcel in the Civic Center area that made it possible to create the affordable housing project on the site.
The Village is within walking distance of a diverse range of Santa Monica attractions and amenities, including the 3rd Street Promenade, public parks and beaches, Main Street, world-class restaurants, shopping, hotels and nightlife. Next door to the Village is the city’s $55-million seven-acre Palisades Garden Walk & Town Square designed by James Corner and expected to be an international landmark when it opens in 2013.
The whole neighborhood is under renovations. City Hall, as well as the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium (in a public/private partnership agreement with the Nederlander Organization) are each scheduled for close to a $50-million restoration and revitalization. Down the block we have the light rail coming in 2015, as well as the recently refurbished Santa Monica Place mall which received a $265-million open-air renovation.
“The Village will enhance the image of Santa Monica as a place of beauty, style and spirit,” observed Mayor Richard Bloom at the groundbreaking ceremony. “The City’s commitment to affordable housing is an integral part of this development. It will help ensure that Santa Monica is an accessible and welcoming community that fosters economic diversity.” Mayor Bloom always knows the right thing to say.
Edited by Jodi Summers
1. You are usually eligible to exclude much the gain from income if you have owned and used your home as your main home for two years out of the last five years prior to the date of sale.
2. If you have a gain from the sale of your primary residence, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of the gain from your income ($500,000 if you’re filing jointly, in most cases).
4. If you can exclude all of the gain, you do not need to report the sale on your tax return.
5. If you have a gain that cannot be excluded, it is taxable. You must report it on Form 1040, Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses.
6. You cannot deduct a loss from the sale of your main home.
7. Worksheets are included in Publication 523, Selling Your Home, to help you figure the adjusted basis of the home you sold, the gain (or loss) on the sale, and the gain that you can exclude.
8. If you have more than one home, you can exclude a gain only from the sale of your main home. You must pay tax on the gain from selling any other home. If you have two homes and live in both of them, your primary residence is the one you live in most of the time.
9. If you received the first-time homebuyer credit and within 36 months of the date of purchase the property is no longer used as your principal residence, you are required to repay the credit. Repayment of the full credit is due with the income tax return for the year the home ceased to be your principal residence, using Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit and Repayment of the Credit. The full amount of the credit is reflected as additional tax on that year’s tax return.
10. When you move, be sure to update your address with the IRS and the U.S. Postal Service to ensure you receive refunds or correspondence from the IRS. Use Form 8822, Change of Address, to notify the IRS of your address change.
For more information on the subject, refer to IRS Publication 523, Selling Your Home.
And please, confirm your intentions with your accountant.
Californians to Get Refunds From Kickback Suit
Hundreds of thousands of Californians are expected to share in a $35 million settlement of a lawsuit that accuses some of the nation’s largest real estate brokers of taking kickbacks.
A federal judge in Los Angeles still must sign the agreement.
The lawsuit accuses brokers from an array of major companies, including Coldwell Banker, Century 21, ERA and RE/MAX, of accepting kickbacks for referring business to Property I.D. Corp. Property I.D., is a Los Angeles-based company that provides fire, floods, earthquake, and landslide hazard reports.
The suit alleges that brokers received $25 for every client steered to straw companies set up to disguise the kickbacks.
Under the settlement terms announced Friday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the firms denied wrongdoing but agreed to give customers who bought the reports from 1996 to 2006 a full refund – typically about $100.
Source: The Associated Press (8/09/08)
GOV. SCHWARZENEGGAR MAKES THE CALIFORNIA DROUGHT OFFICIAL
SACRAMENTO, California (AP) — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a statewide drought after two years of below-average rainfall, low snow-melt runoff and a court-ordered restriction on water transfers.
“We must recognize the severity of the crisis that we face,” the Governor noted, signing an executive order directing the state’s response to unusually dry conditions that are damaging crops, harming water quality and causing extreme fire danger across California.
Schwarzenegger warned that residents and water managers must immediately cut their water use or face the possibility of rationing next year if there is another dry winter. Already, many communities require water conservation or rationing.
The statewide drought declaration is the first since 1991, when Gov. Pete Wilson acted in the fifth year of a drought that lasted into 1992.
Get the whole story @ http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/06/05/california.drought.ap/index.html
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