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Councilmember Albertson Calls Santa Barbara Primary Residence on Taxes

Is it a problem for a councilmember to claim a principal residence in another county while weighing in on Petaluma issues? You tell us.

Should a Petaluma city councilmember who owns a house in another county, which he claims is his primary place of residence on tax records, be allowed to weigh in on Petaluma issues?

According to the Bohemian blog, council member Chris Albertson owns a house in Santa Barbara, where he took a homeowner's property tax exemption in 2011. But he is registered to vote in Petaluma, where he retired as Fire Chief in 2008 and ran for public office in 2010.

The California Code of Regulations defines "domicile" as the place where an individual has his or her true, fixed, permanent home and principal establishment. 

So is it OK for Albertson to take a tax deduction for his “principal place of residence” in Santa Barbara while holding elective office in Petaluma? Can he have one property for tax purposes, and another for voting?

Albertson served with the Santa Barbara Fire Department for 28 years and still has a home there. He came to Petaluma in 2001 when he was hired as chief of the Petaluma Fire Department. 

Albertson did not return Petaluma Patch’s calls for comment, but told the Bohemian that he and his wife have a long distance relationship…“she lives in Santa Barbara, and I live in Petaluma, and it’s none of your business.”

To read more, click here.

Chad M. February 24, 2012 at 07:23 PM
He has two houses... what's the problem?
Sid Hartha February 24, 2012 at 07:56 PM
The "problem" is that state law does not countenance an officeholder living simultaneously at two "domiciles," one for voter registration, and a different one for home owner's tax exemption. It is much better explained in the Boho story.
Max February 24, 2012 at 10:08 PM
This is a really sad state of affairs with our local government. There seems to be a cycle of contradictions and misleading information coming from the city and certain members of the council. There is a complete lack of leadership and trustworthiness from this group on the council; and at such a pivotal time when making such important planning decisions for our city's future.
Hit job February 24, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Would Peter Byrne and the Bohemian, who curiously only raise "troubling questions" about one side of the political spectrum, have done a story on Pam Torliatt having two addresses, one in town and one in Liberty Valley? Where did she actually live as mayor?
M February 24, 2012 at 11:31 PM
In my opinion, if one does not live in town full time, then they cannot really have the best interests of the community at heart. In short, they do not have to live with the consequences of their actions.
pb February 25, 2012 at 04:24 PM
The Boho is an equal opportunity newspaper. So, please say more. What addresses? And where does she take her homeowners tax deduction?
Tracy Cathcart February 25, 2012 at 06:53 PM
This does seem contradictory to me. For example, I would like to be a trustee of the school district where my children attend school. But since we do not live within the boundaries of that school district, right here in Petaluma, I am not eligible, nor am I eligible to vote on ballot measures pertaining to our school district of attendance. If there is a loophole for this with City councils, perhaps there is a loophole for school districts. If anyone knows of such a loophole, let me know. I have yet to find one. Seems like the bigger the government gets, the more vague rules get.
Marshall West February 26, 2012 at 05:08 AM
We are making mountains out of molehills. This whole issue is a non-issue. I have residences both in Petaluma and in Mesa, AZ. Does that make me less of a Petaluman? I think not. Leave Chris alone, we have better things to do.

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