Voters will elect representatives and decide state and local governments’ fiscal futures in this year’s election. Here are Metro‘s endorsements for the local measures on the Nov. 6 ballot.—Editor
No on Measure A
Santa Clara County wants to raise the sales tax by 1/8 of a cent, which could then be directed toward a number of services, such as law enforcement, health care, programs for low-income children and families and economic development. Unfortunately, what county officials haven’t admitted is that there is no obvious need for this regressive tax. The Board of Supervisors manage a $4 billion budget and sometimes have to conjure ways just to spend it all. Just this past spring, Supervisor Liz Kniss gave $47K to a non-county-operated animal shelter. Then there was the board’s decision to start building parks to connect neighborhoods in unincorporated areas. (Does this sound like a county in crisis?) One could argue that San Jose’s failed sales tax measure, which didn’t go to the ballot, deserved more serious consideration. Vote “no” on Measure A and see if the county’s needs continue to be met.
Yes on Measure B
It needs to be clear that Measure B is not a new tax; it simply extends the current parcel tax on property owners. Unfortunately, the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s management made so many mistakes in getting the measure on the ballot that voters can rightly question the competency of the agency, referred to by its critics as the Golden Spigot for its wastefulness. The truth is the county has very real issues when it comes to protecting creeks and watersheds and providing clean drinking water, and Measure B will ensure the county meets its obligations for the next 15 years.
Yes on Measure C
Palo Alto must decide if medical marijuana collectives can be allowed within city limits. Although many will look at San Jose and decry the lack of regulations and lawlessness, the truth is pot clubs have not killed the city. If anything, San Jose has proven to be a model to state and federal agencies. While people who need the medicine most can get access, the city brought in almost $4 million in tax revenue in its first year. Vote “yes” on Measure C.
No on Measure D
San Jose is already an enclave of compensation diktats—living wage, prevailing wage, sick time and vacation pay buyouts, pension fund investment return guarantees—for public employees and contractors that drive up the cost of doing business here. A proposed municipal minimum wage law may soon legislate wages paid by private employers, and the city will have to spend its citizens’ money to enforce this social experiment, just as, unbeknownst to most residents, its wage police currently enforce “living” and “prevailing” wage ordinances. The Bay Area boomlet that has Palo Alto and San Francisco awash in prosperity has somehow passed over San Jose. The city cannot afford another patchwork piece of public policy like the bag ordinance. Just as San Jose stores charge for shopping bags while retailers in Santa Clara, Milpitas and Campbell proudly give them away for free, Measure D will make San Jose a less desirable business environment than its immediate neighbors and cost the city jobs. Particularly hard hit will be small businesses, like theaters and restaurants. The ballot measure failed to take into account part-time jobs, internships, seasonal work or food servers who make tips. As a result, opportunities for people entering the workforce will decline. The only jobs that will be created as a result of Measure D will be to police the new minimum wage, paid for by the voters who passed it.
Yes on Measure E
If you want to risk your money at Casino M8trix or Bay 101 in San Jose, we can’t stop you. But Measure E would make it even easier by increasing the number of card tables at the city’s two casinos from 49 to 69 each. The city of San Jose has few options to increase revenue, so it better make sure it takes the extra money and puts it into a depleted police department. The unfortunate part of all this is the city will benefit in revenue while people who can’t control their gambling habits put themselves and their families at risk.
Yes on Measures G-L
If you want better public schools in your neighborhood and you’re willing to pay for it, more power to you.