Uh ... Atascadero, we have a problem. While great progress has been made in the past years, in bringing in new businesses, stores, offices, restaurants, and hotels to Atascadero, and with our economic future looking bright, we have a candidate for our City Council election who proposes a change in how property owners of vacant land and commercial establishments will manage their properties. That is the creation of a "vacancy tax."
This punitive tax, contrary to sound and rational economic and legal principles, will punish a landowner for not developing or ensuring occupancy of his or her commercial property, by imposing a tax on its vacancy.
As a former city attorney, I have observed the cautious approach our past councils have taken in structuring our general plan to ensure the siting of proper development, encouraging development in appropriate areas, and not enacting restrictive ordinances that would unduly and improperly impede the rights of landowners to develop and manage their commercial properties.
The grandiosity and absurdity of this proposal should not merit comment, but for the fact that it is proposed by a candidate for City Council.
In contrast, the other two candidates, Mark Dariz, an architect, and Heather Newsome, an accountant, appear to understand the council position to which they seek to be elected. Their reasoned and measured positions reflect years of service to our community and city commissions, and reflect well on their good character and demeanor.
Let us avoid the unwise, and political theater atmosphere that the other candidate appears to want bring to our City Council chambers.
Robert M. "Grigger" Jones