In a new survey, all but one of the candidates for San Jose City Council approved of increasing the regional sales tax to fix potholes and improve public transit.
On Wednesday, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group released a poll it conducted with 19 candidates running in five council districts. The poll asked prospective council members to weigh in on four issues: transportation, housing, education and the environment.
Unlike many candidate questionnaires, which remain confidential, this one was posted online in its entirety for voters to review.
SVLG started each candidate off with a question about a 30-year half-cent transportation sales tax that may be placed on the November ballot by the Valley Transportation Authority or Santa Clara County. The measure would finish the BART line to downtown San Jose and Santa Clara, repair streets in 15 local cities, improve bike routes and walkways, increase Caltrain capacity and add lanes to expressways.
Only Myron Von Raesfeld, who’s running in District 6, objects to the tax hike. Three decades is too long for a “temporary” tax, he replied. He also opposes high-speed rail, a parcel tax to restore local waterways and a $2 billion statewide bond to pay for services for mentally ill and homeless people.
Helen Chapman, who’s also running for the D6 seat opening up when Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio terms out, said the region needs to invest in transportation but should exercise caution.
“I support the intent, but need the full details,” she answered. “With the proposed sales tax increases, San Jose may be reaching its state imposed local tax limit which puts us in a precarious position.”
While candidates were nearly unanimous on transportation, they split down the middle on whether the city needs more charter schools.
Many of the candidates endorsed a proposed nine-county, $12-a-year parcel tax that would raise $25 million over 20 years to prepare for floods and restore natural habitats for fish, birds and wildlife.
“Sea level rise is a reality and investing now to protect existing public and private parcels subject to flooding should be a priority,” District 2 candidate Joe Lopez wrote.
To read all of the candidates’ answers, click here.