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James V. Lacy

Dana Point threatens foreclosures to collect Mello-Roos taxes

Dana Point’s recent actions threatening to foreclose on four homeowners at The Strands beach development for failure to pay Mello-Roos taxes was predicted. By me! And that prediction and my opposition to those taxes in the first place probably cost me re-election to Dana Point’s City Council in 2006.

Howard Jarvis once told me that Mello-Roos fees were nothing more than a fancy legislative trick to get around the taxpayer protections of Proposition 13. I had worked for Jarvis as a young staff member during the passage of Prop. 13, a campaign where the politicians and the wealthy establishment pulled out all the stops to defeat the property tax reduction measure that has protected California homeowners from high taxation since 1978. But when Prop. 13 passed, the establishment didn’t just roll over. They sued all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And the Legislature started coming up with all sorts of cute illegalities to collect tax revenue otherwise lost. One of those cute deals was to start collecting “fees” rather than taxes. Another was to empower so-called “Mello-Roos” districts to collect money from homeowners right… Read More