Meeting Preview

Tuesday, July 28 6:00 p.m

Zion Presbyterian Church 545 Ashbury Ave.

The next Club meeting will be on Tuesday, July 28.

Our guest speaker will be Joshua Simon, who is going to speak on affordable housing issues and a presentation from the Writers Coach Connection. The Club will also be considering a resolution to support closing the commercial property tax loophole created by Prop 13.

About our speaker:

Joshua Simon leads the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC) to build healthy, vibrant neighborhoods by working in coalition with other organizations to coordinate efforts and build community assets. He served as EBALDC’s Senior Project Manager and Director of Real Estate

Development from 1994 to 2006 and has been Executive Director since April 2013, where he developed mixed use affordable housing complexes and nonprofit community complexes.

His past work includes seven years as Director of Real Estate Consulting at the Northern California Community Loan Fund (NCCLF), where he worked with community organizations throughout Northern California to provide strategic planning for their facility needs. One of his consulting assignments was to facilitate the formation of the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST). He has continued to work with CAST as Treasurer of the Board. His past work includes the development of co-housing, community facilities for arts and social service organizations, artists’ live/work studios and community projects that achieved historic preservation goal.

Throughout his career, he has been an active civic leader, serving for over 12 years as an elected school board member for the Emery Unified School District in Emeryville, California. His involvement has continued as a member of the Bond Oversight Committee for Emeryville’s Center for Community Life.

Joshua holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Science in Real Estate Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Babysitters are available free to parents for ECDC meetings, if we are given notice that they are needed.

Message from the President

Happy summer to all. The Club was well represented at the July 4th World One Celebration in El Cerrito. Thank you to all the volunteers who set up and took down as well as staffed the booth. We had many visitors and folks interested in the Club.

The Club’s annual dinner and fundraiser is scheduled for October 10. We are excited to announce former State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano as our keynote speaker! A big thank you to VP of Programs Gabe Quinto.

Tickets are available to purchase online at . More details will follow as the date gets closer. If you would like to volunteer at the dinner please contact

The Club’s minimum wage campaign is successfully moving forward. The minimum wage committee (Nick Arzio, Nick Galloro, Carla Hansen Al Miller, Ronnie Polonsky, Arlin Robins) has gained the support of many business owners, community groups, boards and commissions within El Cerrito as well as a number of elected representatives. Check out the Club’s facebook page for updates on endorsements from Nick Arzio.

The Committee and many Club members have lobbied at City Council meetings and Board and Commission meetings. Our active engagement on this issue  has not gone unnoticed. The City Council put a work session/discussion of a local minimum wage on the agenda for Tuesday. August 18 at 7:00 p.m. The minimum wage committee asks Club members to join us at that meeting to show support for this important issue.


July 4th Booth 1 July 4th Booth 2 July 4th Booth 3 July 4th Booth 4 July 4th Booth 5

Close the Commercial Property Loophole Resolution

For Club consideration at the next meeting.

WHEREAS, voters in the state of California approved Proposition 13 in 1978; and

WHEREAS, Proposition 13 created limits on the property taxes paid by residential and commercial properties;

WHEREAS, residential and commercial property values in California are reassessed upon change of ownership;

WHEREAS, on average, California residential property changes hands frequently while change of ownership for commercial property is far more complicated and therefore generates reassessments less often; and

WHEREAS, commercial property owners are able to avoid reassessment of their property by limiting the portion of ownership that changes hands to ensure that no single party owns more than 50 percent; and

WHEREAS, prior to 1978, property taxes represented the single largest source of funding for public schools;

WHEREAS, Proposition 13 resulted in an over 50% percent drop in property tax collections and since its passage, the state has assumed a greater role in funding of schools; and

WHEREAS, since the State of California has assumed a greater role in the funding of public schools, per-pupil support has declined from the top 10 in the nation to the bottom 10; and

WHEREAS, Proposition 13 is anti-competitive in that new entrepreneurs and businesses must pay fair market value for their property, while commercial property owners who have owned their property for a longer time pay disproportionately lower property taxes;

WHEREAS, public schools in California face challenges in providing an equitable and fair education for a student population with vast differences in language, poverty, parental education level, and other social, educational, and economic factors; and

WHEREAS, regularly reassessing non-residential commercial property would, according to an analysis of data by researchers at USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, generate $9 billion in additional revenue for public schools and other public services by 2019-20; therefore

BE IT RESOLVED, that the El Cerrito Democratic Club supports SCA 5 (Hancock, Mitchell) currently in the State Legislature, that will establish the regular and fair reassessment of commercial and industrial property to market value while protecting small businesses and maintaining Proposition 13 protections for residential properties including homeowners and renters; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that tax revenues generated by modernizing how commercial property is reassessed benefit local schools and essential social services; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that accountability measures be enacted so new funds are spent appropriately;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the El Cerrito Democratic Club will communicate this position in a letter to the State Senate Governance and Finance Committee, to local elected officials including members of the name of county Board of Supervisors, the name of El Cerrito City Council, as well as Senator Hancock, and Assemblymember Thurmond.

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