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Should Hercules Censure Council Member Myrna de Vera?

The Hercules City Council is scheduled to discuss a possible censure of Council Member Myrna de Vera.

A Hercules City Council member will again be in the hot seat this week, with the rest of the council discussing her possible censure.

Council Member Myrna de Vera is facing a censure for allegedly contacting the Pinole-based employer of a contracter who posted a critical blog post on this site last summer. 

The council is scheduled to discuss the item at its meeting Tuesday, set for 7 p.m. at 111 Civic Drive.

The Hercules City Council initially discussed the possible censure in November, but found it did not have the authority to remove her as vice mayor or fine her $1,000 as was initially sought, according to the Contra Costa Times.

In a September email to Patch, de Vera denied the council's charges. She said she did not ask the contractor's employer to silence him, but said the incident showed poor judgment and "caused the perception of a concerted effort to stifle a citizen’s free speech rights."

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What do you think the city council should do? Who is in the wrong here? Tell us in the comments section below.

Dwayne Hoover January 11, 2013 at 05:32 PM
Carol, Sorry you felt I was condescending. It certainly was not how I felt. I meant "welcome back". A good debate is always entertaining. But I do think that it is an oxymoron. Bankruptcy is not something you choose. It is something that chooses you. In the end it does not cost money to the person that goes through the bankruptcy. But It may cost a reputation. The cost is to the creditors. Sure the lawyers get a cut too. But the whole matter is one of "no other way out". I do not believe that Hercules is at that crossroads. We may end up there but it will not be because of AMBAC. You are correct, inventory is thin. I have been looking too and talking with realtors. It is scarce because foreclosures and short sells have been gobbled up, fast, by syndicates with money looking for rental properties. Also because the bottom hopefully has hit and everyone with some spare income is looking for a deal, all a natural part of coming out of a serious recession. Odd thing is, there have been lots of sales even though the inventory does not reflect it. The realtors are quite busy. But the sales do not last long and the prices are still cheap. You just have to be in the front of the line with cash in hand and a realtor in your pocket. There have been far more units on the market than the inventory reflects. The bad/good news is that this trend will bring property values up and taxes will go back up for those that did not sell. Sorry to hear about you mother.
Dwayne Hoover January 11, 2013 at 05:45 PM
Carol and Giorgio, Here is how it will work. If you have a home that you stayed in during the recession and your taxes went down along with your property value, then your taxes will go back up. As you assessment goes up so will the taxes. Prop 13 will not protect you until you end up back at the highest tax rate you hit back in 2007. One the other hand if your neighbor bought a house exactly like yours at the low (say 2011) and it is assessed at exactly the same value as yours, while your taxes rise back to your old high, but your neighbor will be protected by Prop 13 and his taxes will not rise (except for the limited Prop13 allowance). THe recession has turn the entire reason for Prop 13 upside down. Granny stayed put and her taxes are going to go through the roof and force her out of her home. So, yes, you can expect to start seeing your taxes go up. The assessment are yearly. The smart thing to have done would have been to sell your house at the low, buy the house that was for sell next door that was exactly like yours. You end up in the same value home, in the same neighborhood. But over the years your tax bill ends up far lower. Of course if you bought long before the rise in prices then your tax rise will end at some point previous to the values of the high in 2007 because your taxes never went there anyway. opps, I did not take advantage of this tax dodge either.
Susan D.Keeffe January 11, 2013 at 07:13 PM
Property's values are based on values in January. Everyone who purchased in the last 7 years in Contra Costa County has seen losses- depending on where you live.the County Assessor has been readjusting down automatically and those notices arrive in July, if you did not receive a notice you can call them and write them for an adjustment. Hercules has taken a hit of about 48% since 2007. Those who purchased at the peak have lost hundreds of thousands. That means those who purchased in the Waterfront communities have been hit hard. If they live in the HMU area they have also been charged for the Municipal Bond loss resulting in electric rates that are 30% higher. Some feel that charging a small segment of the population for City bonds supposed to benefit all is wrong. I think it is. I don't think most Herculean know and understand what has been happening to those communities. It's been devastating.
Selina Williams January 11, 2013 at 09:44 PM
The home values in Bayside have not rebounded and will not rebound for a very long time, if ever. The average value lost in Bayside for 330 house homes is $350K, for each and every one. No exceptions! The total lost tax roles is $115 million from just Bayside. With a basis ~2% of that is $2.3 million lost to the state, county and city every year. The cities share of that loss is ~$80K per year at 3.4%. However, this neighborhood was developed as part of the RDA so the tax increment lost is much higher, 20% or $462K per year. Conclusion? Focusing on projects that will help restore these home values should be primary for the long-term health of Hercules. Will LED signs and Cell towers improve home values? Will strip mall and Quiznos improve home value? Will Sycamore 140 tiny rental apartments and no parking improve home values? Will the people who live in them care about our home values? Will exorbitant utility costs due to HMU bonds being dumped on us improve home values?
Dwayne Hoover January 11, 2013 at 10:32 PM
Selina, The answer to your questions would be ....... NO.

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