News


Sequoia Healthcare District slate wants to stop tax

 

NOTE: The Sequoia Healthcare District board, by a simple majority vote, could decide to transfer district revenues to another agency, according to Martha Poyatos of LAFCo. The district would not be refusing the revenues, as originally stated in this story. Also, the county's deputy controller, Kanchan Charan, subsequently changed his opinion that was expressed here about whether a majority on the board could reduce the tax. Check this subsequent story.

By Dave Boyce

Almanac Staff Writer

If a trio of candidates for the governing board of the Sequoia Healthcare District are elected, they pledge to try to stop collection of about one-tenth of 1 percent of property tax revenues from Atherton, Woodside, Menlo Park and Portola Valley.

That's the amount being collected for the heath-care district.

Using a formula provided by the county agency that oversees special districts, incumbent board member and Libertarian Jack Hickey proposes to lower property taxes by about $100 out of the $7,000 paid annually for every $700,000 in property value.

Mr. Hickey says his plan would first need a like-minded majority on the five-member board. On Nov. 2, voters would have to re-elect him and choose his two tax-averse companion candidates: Frederick A. Graham and Michael G. Stogner. The three are running as a slate.

While these fellows may think they can cut property taxes -- and they have a May 2008 legal opinion from a lawyer for the district that says they can -- they, in fact, can't cut the tax, said the county's deputy controller, Kanchan Charan.

Proposition 13 sets the property tax rate at 1 percent of assessed value, and at 1 percent it must remain. No higher, and no lower, Mr. Charan told The Almanac.

If a majority of the Sequoia Healthcare District board agreed, a resolution could be crafted to transfer the district's revenues to other agencies, said Martha Poyatos, the executive officer of San Mateo County LAFCo, the Local Agency Formation Commission. But the tax would not be reduced and the money would be distributed to other agencies in the county, she said.

The other candidates for the health-care district board are licensed social worker Ruth West-Gorrin, small business owner Alpio Barbara, incumbent board member Arthur J. Faro, and physician and former district board member Jerry Shefren.

False philanthropy?

The Sequoia Healthcare District, like all health care districts in the state, used to oversee a public hospital. The state Legislature changed the missions of these districts in 1994 to reflect an evolution of medical practice away from hospital services and toward outpatient services.

The Sequoia Healthcare District now funds regional programs such as low-cost or free clinics in Redwood City and unincorporated North Fair Oaks, and a program to restore nurses to public high schools and fund school gardens, health education and walk-to-school programs, outgoing board President Don Horsley told The Almanac.

In addition to stopping tax collection, Mr. Hickey would like to dissolve this district and set a precedent for the other districts in the state. Why? Because the Legislature's actions in the mid 1990s do not square with voter intentions in forming the hospital districts in the mid 1940s, he said.

"The district is running illegitimately," Mr. Hickey told The Almanac. "They lost their credibility when they sold their hospital."

The distribution of property tax revenues to local nonprofits is "false philanthropy," he added. "This sort of giving money that isn't (the district's). This is taxpayers' money. Unfortunately, the government has gotten in the way of true philanthropy."

Dissolution of the district is possible, but not without the approval of a majority of seven-member governing panel of LAFCo and a vote of the people, Ms. Poyatos said. (The LAFCo panel includes two county supervisors, two city or town council members, two board members of special districts and one at-large public member.)

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Oct 19, 2010 at 4:47 pm

"While these fellows may think they can cut property taxes -- and they have a May 2008 legal opinion from a lawyer for the district that says they can -- they, in fact, can't cut the tax, said the county's deputy controller, Kanchan Charan."

This is nothing new for false statements being made about to collection of taxes by the Sequoia Healthcare District.

Just go to the XSHCD website click on the 2001 Grand Jury Report and you will see that the County Counsel has submitted a legal opinion that the taxes can be reduced to ZERO with a majority vote....That will be Hickey Graham Stogner

Time for Honesty in San Mateo County

Lets VOTE


Like this comment
Posted by Sayitlikeitis
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 19, 2010 at 6:55 pm

The Almanac and all the MSM will always be on the side of higher taxes and bigger government. [Portion deleted. Please avoid personal attacks.]. The Gang of Three is RIGHT on this one. Taxpayers have been strung along, continuing to pay an unnecessary tax, only to justify the bureaucracy that continues beyond its legitimate lifespan. We admire Sequoia Hospital and the high quality services they perform. But we certainly do NOT need this invalid "Healthcare District" to continue. Mr. Hickey and his team are right. End it! Vote for Hickey-Graham-Stogner!


Like this comment
Posted by InformedVoter
a resident of Woodside High School
on Oct 20, 2010 at 8:10 am

Mr. Stogner and Sayitlikeitis are misinformed. Those three candidates would vote to close down schools if they could. Our property taxes will not be reduced by one penny by dissolving the district. Vote for Board Members who will insure that money is used to fund important health programs in our community for our children, elderly and the neediest residents. Ruth Gorrin, Art Faro, Jerry Shefren, and Alpio Barbara are intelligent and reasonable and will serve the residents in the Healthcare district very well.


Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2010 at 8:39 am


If it's illegal who cares how great it is.
read WAMP article on Smartvoter Stogner

Stogner loves schools, and the 2 Grand Jury reports dated 2000-01 & 02


Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2010 at 9:24 am

You be the judge, read both Grand Jury reports here:

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2010 at 12:19 pm

I have no idea were SMCDC Kanchan Charan got her legal opinion from.

This legal opinion would have come from Thomas Casey III San Mateo County Counsel at the time written.

Reported in the WAMP article titled Voters Being Denied Rights 10/8-14/2010

"In fact, the 2000-2001 Grand Jury published this statement: “The grand jury has received a legal opinion from San Mateo County Counsel to the effect that the California Taxation and Revenue Code §96.8 authorizes a hospital district such as Sequoia Healthcare District to request the county auditor make a tax reduction in any amount down to zero for the district's taxpayers on a yearly basis without reallocation of the reduced taxes to other agencies.” So, the election of the Hickey slate will allow the Board by majority vote to exercise this authority which the County Council is on record as declaring that they possess. While the power to dissolve the District appears by statute to lie solely with the LAFCo, this power could jumpstart a process that will result in a more representative, culpable and sanctioned Healthcare District."


Like this comment
Posted by BigJoeBunny
a resident of Woodside High School
on Oct 20, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Mr. Stogner claims the 2008 Report from the District's own counsel is another example of false statements. No, it is a thorough review of the relevant state law that was commissioned by the Sequoia Healthcare District because of Jack Hickey's request. He doesn't cite the results of that report because they don't fit his arguement.
Mr. Stogner claims that the Grand Jury report says that a simple majority of the District Board can eliminate the tax. What it actually says is that a simple majority of the Board can eliminate the tax for UP TO (but no longer than) one year! And then not again.
Mr. Stogner, Mr. Hickey and Mr. Frederick all cite the 2001 Civil Grand Jury report which fits their argument but they fail to mention that the 2004, 2006 and 2008 Civil Grand Jury reports come to a different conclusion and are in fact, quite outspoken about the need for the District's programs. They don't mention these reports because again, they don't support their argument.
It sure is tempting to support this trio...that is until you choose to actually educate yourself on the issues instead of just taking their word for what they say.


Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Dear BigJoeBunny,

"Mr. Stogner claims the 2008 Report from the District's own counsel is another example of false statements."

I have never made this claim. What i did was supply you with what the Grand Jury's report said.

I also supplied the link where anyone interested could read for themselves the reports.


Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Correction,

"I have no idea were SMCDC Kanchan Charan got her legal opinion from."

to I have no idea were SMCDC Kanchan Charan got his legal opinion from.


Like this comment
Posted by BigJoeBunny
a resident of Woodside High School
on Oct 20, 2010 at 7:39 pm

Actually your exact words were "This is nothing new for false statements being made about to collection of taxes by the Sequoia Healthcare District." so in fact you did make this claim.

As for providing the link to where anyone could read the reports themselves, your link is actually to the very misleading slate website which again points only to the Grand Jury reports that fit your talking points. Why not let people make up their own minds by giving them the full text of the more recent Grand Jury reports? Sure, I'll do it for you.

2008- Web Link
2005- Web Link
2004- Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2010 at 8:35 pm

See Bunny Boy

"Mr. Stogner claims the 2008 Report from the District's own counsel is another example of false statements."

I never said the District's own counsel was another example of false statements.

The District itself has made false statements on its website and has ended up removing them, but not its counsel.

If you go back to the date it sold the Hospital and its reason for being that is the foundation, That's the time when 38 citizens who studied this in 2 grand juries.
That's a lot of people investing a lot of time.

I support those 2 Grand Jury's period. They were ignored by the Board, I will not ignore them.


The Grand Jury believes that the District misinformed District voters regarding the nature and the terms of the transaction whereby ownership of Sequoia Hospital was transferred to Sequoia Health Services, an affiliate of Catholic Healthcare West.



Like this comment
Posted by John J. "Jack" Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Oct 21, 2010 at 3:15 pm

I am attaching a link to the Dissolution Memorandum from District Counsel Mark Hudak, and a link to the minutes of the SHCD Board meeting at which it was presented. For those who trust my integrity, you will find links to copies of the documents on the TEAM website. (www.xshcd.com)

Web Link

Mr. Hudak states: "Under one theory, the increment of property taxes
that had been apportioned to the dissolved district would be redistributed among other public agencies within the tax rate area. A second theory holds that this increment would no longer be
collected, so that each property’s assessment would be lowered by that amount. There is no definitive case law or Attorney General opinion on this point."
He further states: A local district does have the power to decline its share of property tax revenues. Revenue & Taxation Code §96.8 allows the governing board of a district to decline some or all
of its share of the general tax rate on a one-year basis. When this occurs, the 1% general tax rateis reduced accordingly and each property’s taxes would be lower by that amount. The decision
to decline its share of the property must be made each year, prior to August 1. Section 96.8 does not allow a district to decline its taxes permanently or for a period longer than one fiscal year. If
a district were to dissolve, it would not be in a position to make this annual decision."

It is the intention of the Hickey, Graham and Stogner TEAM to request the annual tax reductions until an orderly shutdown of operations is completed. And, to seek legislative clarification to the end result of a dissolution, with benefit to the taxpayers our optimistic goal.


Like this comment
Posted by John J. "Jack" Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Oct 21, 2010 at 3:50 pm

I just got a vision of a future Measure to be submitted to the voters after dissolution of ANY district funded under the 1% property tax.

"Shall the taxes previously collected to support the dissolved District continue to be collected and then dispersed to other agencies within the former District's boundaries?
If YES the dissolution is revenue neutral. If NO the taxpayers win! Do I hear a second? Let the game begin!


Like this comment
Posted by Ano Nymous
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 21, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Hmmm, who to believe? Hard not to go with a "BigJoeBunny." (Personally, I was always partial to "Little Joe," but we digress.)

But if BigJoe is correct, then we should never again vote in favor of a parcel tax for ANYTHING, as there will be no way of assuring that the money will continue to be used for the purpose advertised, and nothing else.


Like this comment
Posted by Christopher Schmidt
a resident of another community
on Oct 22, 2010 at 12:07 am

Mr. Charan's claim that "Proposition 13 sets the property tax rate at 1 percent of assessed value, and at 1 percent it must remain. No higher, and no lower" is incorrect.

Prop. 13 said "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 original text can be found at the bottom of page 57 of the ballot pamphlet archived at:

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Oct 22, 2010 at 7:08 am

Voters Being Denied Rights article. This gives a historical background for this Special District.

Web Link


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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