By Joe W. Bowers Jr. and Edward Henderson | California Black Media
Californians Living in Subsidized Housing May Get Hit with Unexpected Tax Bill
(CBM) – California lawmakers are scrambling to find ways to alleviate the housing crisis occurring in the state. Programs and subsidies are in constant development; however, under an obscure tax rule called possessory interest, individuals may be responsible for getting hit with an unexpected tax bill as a result.
In a move to aid the middle class, government agencies (known as joint power authorities) are buying luxury buildings and lowering rent for possible tenants. The discount is possible because these agencies do not need to pay property taxes. Instead of pocketing the extra cash, programs are being implemented to place middle income workers like police officers, teachers and construction workers in these buildings at a discounted rent price.
But, under the tax rule, tenants may need to pay some of the lost revenue in individual tax bills upwards of $1,000 a year. The rule states that if a government owned property leases to a private entity, then that entity can have a “possessory” interest that must be taxed.
Joint Power Authorities involved in these programs do not want to tax tenants. However, unless the Legislature gets involved, they are afraid they will have to abide by the rule. If taxes go unpaid, residents could face liens that would make it more difficult to quality for mortgages and other loans.
Sen. Steve Bradford Introduces Historic Reparations Legislation
Sen. Steven Bradford(D-Gardena) has proposed that the state should create a system of redress for injustices committed against Black Californians.
Senate Bill (SB) 490, introduced by Bradford on Aug. 21, would amend Title 2 of the state government code to establish a new state agency called the California American Freedman Affairs Agency (CAAFAA). The agency would be responsible for managing the reparations process for Black Californians, as determined by the Legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom.
“This historic legislation lays the groundwork for the future,” Bradford stated. “My fellow task force members and I have documented the harm, detailed its generational impact, and determined the way forward to right these wrongs. The Freedman Affairs Agency will establish the instrumental infrastructure California will need as our state takes responsibility for the historical harms that have been committed.”
The task force completed a two-year study and submitted its final, 1,075-page report to the legislature on June 28 and one of the recommendations was to create the CAFAA.
Assemblymembers Wilson and Gipson Present $3 Million Check to 40-Acre Conservation League for First Land Acquisition
On August 24th, Assemblymembers Lori D. Wilson (D-Suisun), Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, and Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson) presented a $3 million symbolic check to the 40-Acre Conservation League, California’s first and only Black-led conservation group.
This investment, provided by the Wildlife Conservation Board and the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, will help the league acquire its first land acquisition, a 650-acre plot 70 miles North of Sacramento.
“I am so thrilled that I was able to help secure $3 million dollars for 40-Acre Conservation League’s first land acquisition,” said Gipson. “This remarkable achievement is a gateway for more people of color to enter the conservancy space, and it demonstrates that when like-minded organizations unite for a common cause, they can achieve remarkable results.”
The 40 Acre Conservation League is a nonprofit land conservancy that aims to protect nature by connecting people to it, especially people of color. It also wants to acquire land for economic, environmental, and recreational justice.
“With the support and partnership of Assemblymembers Mike Gipson and Lori Wilson, we’re excited and humbled to make history as the first Black-led land conservancy in California,” said Jade Stevens, President of the 40 Acre Conservation League. “Today represents a strong step forward in rectifying historical wrongs, restoring dignity, and providing the foundation for economic empowerment and social equity. We look forward to what lies ahead.”
California Announces New Efforts to Fight Hate and Discrimination
As the rate of hate crimes continues to increase in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced additional funding, resources and guidance designed to protect impacted residents.
Allocations include $91.4 million to 173 local organizations across the state to support victims, provide resources, and facilitate anti-hate prevention measures. The first major statewide media campaign entitled “CA vs Hate” with print, radio, and digital ads will run in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Korean, Tongan, Mixtec, and Hmong. The campaign will focus on traditionally hard-to-reach communities. And a letter to all public-school leaders in California highlighting the legal responsibilities to ensure ethnic studies curricula are appropriate and do not reflect or promote bias, bigotry or discrimination.
“An attack on any of our communities is an attack on everything we stand for as Californians,” said Newsom in a press release. “As hate-fueled rhetoric drives increasing acts of bigotry and violence, California is taking action to protect those who are targeted just for being who they are. We’re bolstering our support for victims and anti-hate programs and tackling ignorance and intolerance through education to prevent hate from taking hold in our communities.”
The announcements come on the heels of a Southern California shop owner being shot and killed because a rainbow pride flag hung outside her clothing store. In the first month since the Governor launched the “CA vs Hate” hotline, there have been 180 reports of hate acts across California.
The Gardena Jazz Festival Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary with Thousands of Music Lovers
The 20th Annual Gardena Jazz Festival, one of the largest events for the city, took place at Rowley Memorial Park in Gardena on Sunday, August 27.
Sen. Bradford (D-Gardena) founded the Gardena Jazz Festival in 2003 and serves as Chair of the Gardena Jazz Festival Committee, which is responsible for putting this event together.
According to Bradford, “This festival began as a free event at a time when the city was struggling financially. As the city faced difficult cuts, the Gardena Jazz Festival signaled new hope. The festival brought Gardena together to enjoy great music and celebrate community pride; all at no cost to the city. Over the years, more than 100,000 people have attended.”
This year, about 7,500 people enjoyed the performances of Boney James, Damien Escobar, Family Stone Band, Brandee Younger, Ragan Whiteside, and The Fernando Pullum Community Arts Band.
On site, there were vendors selling a range of items, including food, clothing, hats, jewelry, and skin care products.
Joining the jazz lovers and local community members at the popular festival were Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, and U.S Congress women representing the Los Angeles area, Maxine Waters and Sydney Kamlager.