This article was posted on Saturday, Jun 01, 2013

Dear AOA:   

Many thanks for a great conference today! [Long Beach Million Dollar Trade Show and Landlording Conference]  We got so much useful information.

At Mr. Duringer’s presentation, I got a huge thrill when I was awarded a Cruise Certificate for Two – what a bonus! With gratitude for all the hard work and generosity,  Marlene B.

Dear AOA:

Like many, I understand the economic writers of our journal emphasize a conservative viewpoint. I would like to suggest another way to view the U.S. economy. A view that I believe would probably benefit most of the readers of our journal.

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During the last 20 years, the increase in wealth of America has principally gone to the top 1 to 5%. To illustrate, the top 50 managers of these low wage workers at Wal-Mart, Target, Pizza Hut, and McDonald’s have been paid an average salary of $9.4 million a year. These companies have returned $175 billion to stockholders since 2006.

In contrast, workers receiving the Earned Income Tax Credit have an adjusted gross income of $13,900 and this is where you will find the employees of these companies.  Since 2008, about 60% of new jobs created have been low-paying ones. The result is that now, one out of four Americans earns less than $10 an hour.

These people are our renters and what that means for us, as small landlords, is that we cannot raise rents as much as we would like, or in some cases, as much as we should in order to maintain our properties. Some of our renters with families are paying close to 50% in rent – an unhealthy figure. If some of the wealth had gone to the workers of these companies, that money would be spent and some of it would have gone to us, their landlords.

I doubt – no, I KNOW, that the stockholders of these corporations are not renting from us. Henry Ford knew that by paying his workers well, they could buy his cars and become economic consumers. This is a much wiser policy and one that we should encourage.      Fred J.     

Dear AOA:

With great interest I read your recent article in the February 2013 issue which discussed the legislature’s proposed increase in property taxes, including apartments.

The point I wish to make is that as an apartment owner, if my property taxes are raised, I’m going to pass that amount on to the tenants, therefore, in reality, the tax would be a tax on tenants.

Likewise, should the property be subject to rent control, because of the increase in expenses, the increased property tax can be passed on to the tenants.

Thank you for your very informative magazine. I am happy to receive it each month.

                                                                                        Very truly yours, Bernd S.

Dear Bernd:

Sure do wish our tax increases could be passed on to tenants.  I’m afraid that would very, very difficult in many rent controlled cities!     Regards, Dan Faller

Dear Dan:

Your excellent article inspired us to take action. Hence, these two letters to our useless reps!                  

To Assemblyman Bradford:

My wife and I are California taxpayers that you represent in Sacramento and we are writing to express our support of Proposition 13. Like millions of other California homeowners, we depend on Proposition 13 to protect us from drastic yearly increases in property taxes. Without Proposition 13, home ownership for many of us would be difficult, if not impossible.

As you are aware, every year, bills are introduced into the Legislature to alter, undermine and eliminate Proposition 13’s protections for California’s taxpayers. As one of your constituents, we urge you to support and defend Prop. 13 exactly as it is written. We specifically want you to oppose any effort to reduce the two-thirds vote needed to approve per parcel taxes on property. As you know, these are just property taxes with a slightly different name.

We are depending on you to keep faith with us. We will be watching your votes carefully on these and other important tax issues.      Sincerely, Peter and Carol G.

To Assembly Member Mansoor and Senator Mimi Walters:

I am writing to you because of a serious concern of mine and many others like me who see an erosion of the free enterprise system that has made this country great and allowed everyone and any one of the opportunity to be successful and positively contribute to society at large and the communities directly influenced by our activities.

You must understand that there is a large and growing population of real estate investors, like myself, that are alarmed by the continued alarmist sensationalizing of the American People that the “wealthy” should give to those less fortunate not at the discretion of the so-called wealthy, but by government. This is and continues to be the initial stages of a socialist society that is anti-American. We all know this but speak about it in terms of providing for those who do not have the financial means or the “opportunity” to realize the American Dream. This is a smoke screen to divert more tax money for government use and control – this is bigger government and that means less freedom and less opportunity.

Why do I say this? Because I came to this country as a legal immigrant – the son of poor Italian parents struggling to survive in post WWII Italy, desperate to leave the economic depressed European country for an “opportunity” and freedom. This program is not broken!

Through the years, I have received a public education and earned a B.S. in Engineering and Broker’s licenses in both real estate and insurance. I have improved small multifamily buildings and provided work for dozens of contractors and related trades as have many of my fellow investors, while providing fair market housing for many families – we enjoy a cooperative relationship. A real stimulus!

My message to you is to support Prop.13 and help to keep the incentive alive in free enterprise and the American Way.                                                          Sincerely, Ernesto C.

Dear AOA:

I am in protest over the proposed water/sewer rate increase. My water rates can and do exceed my PG&E bill. The vanishing middle-class cannot afford to flush their low-flow toilets. No joke! These upgrades should be funded by either the bankrupt state or federal government. The reason it’s being pushed off on us poor citizens, is because they have no idea how much “Monopoly” money there is in circulation. Due to the mortgage/bank/financial crisis and the threatened mega-multi-millionaires, how much cash, (besides illegal), is hidden around the world? Ask their lawyers …duh!  Any good valid business always puts money aside for upgrade improvements. They do not squander it on salaries and pension funds. Where is it and what happened?

Furthermore note – it’s time to reevaluate what parcel/property versus tax is. There are too many people beating the system. You live on a parcel and pay rent, or you live while paying off a mortgage or are struggling as a vulnerable homeowner. Either way, property is property; not everyone has children, which would make it fair that everyone funds the schools. This should at least stabilize a tax that everyone pays. You’re lucky that some of us “boomers” are too full of arthritis to come to the hearing to raise cane!

Note: On the topic of parcel-tax, AOA’s March’s article, “Rent Control Hurts Everyone” indicates a system that doesn’t work. How about changing parcel/property tax to a household tax thereby forcing every household head to just pay the same bill that comes in the mail? Years ago, I purchased something like a detached duplex. I found out recently that the smaller unit is illegal. Now I have to jump through so many expensive hoops to obtain a rental permit that it’s just not worth it. Too bad for someone who is out a nice little rental!

Before this computer age, when the IRS wasn’t entitled to every nickel and dime, people could count on granny units for a little extra money. Now, it’s the government and lawyers who are responsible for every problem you have. They should only be able to tax your first greatest source of income!  And the Civil Rights Act? – nothing but counter racism and chaos. Good work AOA – stick it to ‘em.         Sincerely, Rémond B.



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