I am not going to set up my usual Christmas gift table for my tenants this year. I have been doing that for a long time, but this year I am going to do something different. Here’s why.

In 2017, Congress rewrote the income tax law. It is, in my opinion, a really terrible, terrible law. This law was promoted as a ‘middle class tax cut’, but in reality, most of the benefits went to big corporations. Congress cut the corporate income tax rate by 40%. That’s gigantic! It is the principle reason why the federal government is now running a $1 trillion dollar a year deficit. To make matters worse, Congress then voted to increase military spending by two hundred billion dollars a year. Republican politicians aren’t talking about this deficit. That’s predictable since they created it, but none of the 10 or 20 Democrats running for president are talking about the deficit either. Nobody seems to be concerned about this huge federal deficit – except me! Certain other types of businesses also got tax cuts. We landlords got something called a ‘20% pass-through.’ Essentially, that means that I now only have to pay income tax on 80% of the rent I receive. If, on the other hand, you have a job and get paid a salary, you still have to pay income tax on 100% of the wages you receive. That scarcely seems fair. I don’t believe that any of my tenants got any benefit from this law. When I complain about the injustice of this tax law, people say things like: “If you really feel that your tenants are more deserving of a tax cut than you are, then why don’t you give your tax savings to them?” That’s a good question, and that is what I am going to do. Besides, I believe in goodwill. As I have been telling Berkeley landlords for 30 years, any landlord in a place like Berkeley who spends nothing on goodwill is a fool. A Berkeley landlord I know looked me right in the eye and told me that he doesn’t send Christmas cards to his tenants because: “I can’t afford it.” This guy rents 1-bedroom apartments for $2,500 a month.

OK. Here are the rules for this year’s Christmas gifts: Every tenant can pick one item from the list below. That’s one gift per tenant, not one gift per rental unit. If you are named as a tenant on a current lease with me, you are entitled to a gift from the list below. Now please understand, I don’t have these items on hand. You tell me which item you want, and I will order it for you. Here are your choices.

1. Xioami M365 Electric Scooter. I have one of these myself. I am amazed at how much power this thing has. If you would like to look at my scooter before making your decision, come on over to my chocolate room. If you want one of these scooters, you may have to wait a few weeks for me to get it. There is often a shortage of this brand. Lime, Bird, Lyft and all the other electric scooter rental companies use Xioami scooters. (That’s pronounced ‘shall-me.’)

2. KitchenAid Professional 6 Quart Mixer. This comes with several accessories not pictured, including paddle and dough hook. Made in the United States. These things are virtually indestructible and become family heirlooms, passed from one generation to the next. I can get you the 5 quart mixer if you would prefer a smaller one.

3. Go Pro Camera Bundle. Waterproof. Bundle includes: 32SD card, floating hand grip, wi-fi and bluetooth.

4. iPad, 7th Generation. 10.2 inch screen. I just got one of these for myself. Boy! These things just keep getting better and better. The color and clarity is just amazing. I could only download 2 or 3 movies onto my old iPad before it ran out of storage space. It had 16GB. This one has 128GB.

5. Safari West. Admission for 2 with a private Wild Walk Behind the Scenes. Would you like to hand-feed a giraffe? I once did that. It was a lot of fun! Giraffes have big soulful eyes, long eyelashes, and really long purple tongues. They are very shy and gentle. I know someone who has a pet giraffe! It is at his parent’s home in South Africa. Safari West is located in Sonoma County. With this deal, you get an escorted tour through different parts of this safari-themed animal park.

6. Roomba iRobot Vacuum Cleaner. This model is wi-fi connected so you can turn it on and off from your cell phone or Alexa device. I saw one of these recently in my cousin’s home in Montana. They had 3 big dogs in the house, including a St. Bernard that weighed more than me! The St. Bernard didn’t like it when people left the house without taking him along, so he would plop down in the doorway preventing people from leaving the house without him, and because of his size, it was hard to walk around him. This robotic vacuum cleaner worked very well sucking up dog fur, and there was a lot of that in the house. The vacuum cleaner terrified the dogs. There is something about vacuum cleaners that seems to frighten all dogs. My stepmother had a dog that hid under her bed shivering in fear whenever the vacuum cleaner was turned on. I sometimes crawled under the bed with the dog to calm her down until the vacuuming was done. Dogs never seem to get used to and ignore vacuum cleaners. I wonder why.

7. Bose Noise Canceling Wireless Headphones. These have lithium batteries that deliver 20 hours of listening on a single charge. Includes microphones so you can make a receive phone calls using a Bluetooth device.

8. Fitbit Charge 3 and Fitbit Aria 2 Bathroom Scale. You probably already know more about what a Fitbit does than I do. You may not know about the Fitbit scale. The scale does a lot more than just tell you your weight. It also calculates your lean mass, body fat percentage, BMI (Body Mass Index), etc. The scale can recognize up to 8 different users and keeps records on all of them.

9. Napa Valley Wine Train with Gourmet Lunch for 2. You will travel through the Napa Valley on this beautifully restored antique train on a 3 hour trip. You will be served a gourmet meal prepared on board using locally produced seasonal ingredients by world class chefs, including local wines. This train does not stop at the wineries along the way, but several of them are near the station and you can visit them before or after the trip. Here is a brief video explaining the train: Wine Train.
Well, this list gives you an idea of just how generous Congress was in 2017 with small landlords like me. They were a lot more generous with big landlords, because most of them are corporations – like the people who own those big new apartment houses in downtown Berkeley and San Francisco. They got a 40% tax cut. Now – I have an alternative offer. If you don’t want any of the things listed above and would prefer to get a Christmas or Hanukkah card from me instead, just say so! I have very nice greeting cards on hand! Frankly, I am not expecting to get many requests for this alternative offer.