Despite Proposition 13, the tiny northern California towns of Marysville, Oliverhurst and Linda will have fire departments in the coming year.
And the local senior citizen group in Yuba County will still be funded, along with a program designed to aide the handicapped.
All the programs were scheduled to fold because their county funding was about to be cut away by the Proposition 13 ax.
But last week a Las Vegas businessman named Marvin Kratter changed all that. As the owner of Yuba Goldfields Inc.> in Marysville (35 minutes northeast of Sacramento) Kratter saved $26,000 in county tax monies because of the property tax cuts mandated by the recently passed proposition.
Since it wasn't expected, Kratter decided the community needed it more than he did for his ambitious mining, dredging and home-building projects, so he gave it back in the form of contributions to many of the organizations that were going to lose county funding - and he promised to do the same thing again next year.
"We feel a strong attachment and a community spirit commitment to the Yuba-Marysville community," Kratter said. "Although we are in favor of county government operated on an economical basis, we do not wish to benefit at this time by taking advantage of the unexpected savings from Proposition 13 to the serious detriment of many worthy community programs and organizations."
Meanwhile, in other Proposition 13 news, the Bank of America said it would cut the rents to its California tenants to reflect its tax savings from the initiative.
The bank, which owns four buildings in California - its 52-story headquarters in San Francisco, two buildings in Los Angeles and one in San Diego - said it would pass along an estimated $11 million saving because of property tax reductions to its tenants, not its shareholders.
That was the good news. But thousands of renters around the state were not as lucky. In Los Angeles, for example, hundreds of landlords began raising rents immediately after Proposition 13 passed, despite a public condemnation of such actions from proposition author Howard Jarvis.
The increases are "horrendous and unconscionable," Jarvis said in a television interview. "We'll get on them," he added.
But the situation has become so critical that L.A. City Councilman Joel Wachs last week introduced legislation that would rollback rents to pre-June 1 levels and require landlords to pass on 80 percent of their new property tax savings to renters.
And Wachs, who has been fighting unsuccessfully for rent-control legislation, found new allies in Mayor Tom Bradley and Councilman Ernani Bernardi, who had fought Wachss' earlier efforts.
"As of June 6 (when Proposition 13 passed) there has been no justification for any rent increases," Bernardi said in his endorsement of Wachs' actions. He pointed out that he had received phone calls from some tenants who said their rent had just been raised from $165 to $285 a month.
While similer state action to force pass-along savings to renters is tied up in committee, the situation is worsening, according to Wachs' aide Toby Shor.
"We are getting well over 100 calls and 50 letters a day about rent increases in the L.A. area alone," she said. "The saddest part is when we hear from senior citizens on fixed incomes who get huge increases. We have an incredibly low 27 vacancy rate here, and they just don't have anywhere to go."
One of the more disturbing trends in Los Angeles has been a notable increase in the use of special management services companies that will, for a fee, provide background on potential tenants. This background information includes any court actions they have brought against landlords, whether their children are noisy, or if they have paid their rent promptly in the past.