Election 2018: San Jose Voters to Decide Fate of Four Local Measures on November Ballot

Come Election Day, San Jose voters will vote on four citywide measures. Here’s a look at what local voters will see on their Nov. 6 ballots.

Measure T: Roads, Emergency Services

Measure T would put up to $650 million toward the city’s emergency preparedness, public safety and infrastructure, including upgrades of 911 communications and repairing bridges vulnerable to earthquake damage. At least $300 million of the money from the bonds would go to repaving potholes and fixing streets that are in the worst condition. Up to $50 million could be put toward conservation in Coyote Valley focused on preventing flooding and water contamination.

The average levy would be 11 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

The additional funds are vital because San Jose’s backlog of unmet and deferred repairs and rebuilding is at $1.4 billion, the city council notes in its resolution putting the measure on the November ballot.

The list of infrastructure that needs repair includes a 70-year-old storm sewer system, 32,000 storm drains and 1,100 miles of pipes in need of upgrades to prevent flooding and spillover issues, according to supporters.

These backers say it’s clearly time for a public safety boost after decades of underinvestment. The “Yes on T” coalition includes Mayor Sam Liccardo, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the League of Women Voters, Sierra Club, and La Raza Roundtable de California among others.

But opponents including the Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association and Libertarian Party of Santa Clara County say the bond is likely to cost $1.1 billion with interest. They fight back on a number of fronts, saying San Jose will require that contractors sign a “project labor agreement,” known as a PLA, with unions to work on infrastructure projects funded by bonds. That may be true in some cases under a city council action in April that authorized the director of Public Works to negotiate PLAs on capital projects of more than $3 million, but there are exemptions to that including street maintenance projects. The city is still finalizing what the final list will look like.

The Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association and Santa Clara County Libertarian Party argue that these labor agreements will prevent local workers from having a “fair shot at the work here in their backyard.”

“Please do not endorse this type of discrimination with your vote,” the opponents wrote in a letter filed with the city opposing Measure T. “Send the bond back to the drawing board and tell these politicians to fix it so all workers can work in their community.”

Measure V: Affordable Housing

Measure V would authorize $450 million in bonds to build below-market-rate housing in San Jose, with an average levy of 8 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The money could be used to buy land for housing developments, build new housing, and rehabilitate existing apartments or homes to create long-term affordable housing. While supporters say it’s a crucial step to ensuring affordable housing for the city that would help save money in the long run, opponents argue it is an additional burden on taxpayers.

The city resolution putting the measure on the ballot notes that almost half of San Jose renters and owners at or below the household area median income paid more than 30 percent of their income toward housing costs. The resolution also points to the homelessness crisis, which leaves 74 percent of San Jose’s 4,350 homeless residents unsheltered on any given night.

Given the frequent use by homeless people of public services such as 911 response and hospital emergency rooms, supporters of Measure V say its approval would save taxpayers more than $19,0000 per person annually.

“We need Measure V to help chronically homeless residents get back on their feet, off neighborhood streets, out of creeks and parks, and out from under local freeways, both to address issues of health, public safety, blight, and public nuisances, and because it's simply the right thing to do,” backers wrote in a letter filed with the city.

The “Yes on V” coalition includes Mayor Liccardo, eight city council members, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the League of Women Voters, and La Raza Roundtable de California among dozens of other local elected officials and organizations.

Groups opposing the initiative argue that “too much government” is what’s getting in the way of affordable housing in San Jose.

In a letter opposing the measure, the Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association and Libertarian Party of Santa Clara County cite a National Association of Home Builders statistic that 24.3 percent of the cost of new housing is “government red tape,” fees and permit costs.

Opponents have also pointed to Measure A, approved by Santa Clara County voters in 2016, saying people should wait longer to see how that money is spent before committing to additional taxes. The “Yes on V” coalition counters that Measure A wasn’t enough to address the housing crisis since it was focused on permanent housing for the homeless.

Measure S: Construction Procurement

This measure, a charter revision, would change the way the city handles large public works projects. Instead of awarding contracts to the “lowest responsible bidder,” the city would hire contractors determined to offer the “best value.”

That distinction would allow the city to prioritize contractors known for higher quality work and would give economically disadvantaged companies a better shot at winning government contracts.

Measure S would up the bidding threshold from $100,000 to $600,000, adjusted annually for inflation, lower the design-build contract threshold from $5 million to $1 million and allow the city to modernize public noticing.

Measure U: Salary Setting, Competing Initiatives

Measure U’s purpose is twofold. It would remove the City Council’s ability to set their own salaries. And it would allow the council to place competing ordinances on the same ballot in local elections.

28 Comments

    • > I would be for measure t if it wasn’t for the PLA scam.

      Measure T is a “bait and switch” Trojan horse.

      The PLA is the real purpose of the measure. Everything else is just fluffy, feel-good eyewash.

      Isn’t “democracy” wonderful. You can get voters to approve any stinky dog turd if you just wrap it in a nice lump of sugar candy.

  1. What is new? A bunch of smooth talking politicians want your money again. The use emotional blackmail and brand association with topics progressives love to just get their hands on more money which is the real measure of success and power any politician has achieved. And the voters will approve, some because it is not them who will shell out the money, others for reasons only they know.

  2. Basic city services should never be paid for via bonds. Maintaining infrastructure should be paid for via user fees – gasoline taxes for roads. Bonds are a very expensive way to pay for essential city services. Vote NO on all bond measures that are to pay for essential city services.

    • Something more to be aware of, all of the recent maintenance done in the city has been to create new Bike Lanes and congest traffic. So you pay the tax bill and get suck in the traffic while the new Bike Lanes service people who pay No gasoline tax and No registration tax.
      For the few at the expense of the many.

      • @WORK90. The majority of folks that choose to commute to work by bicycle and cycle for enjoyment and good health own at least 1 vehicle. We choose to avoid commute traffic while getting in some good exercise and cycle at other times rather than sit on the couch. I invite you to give it a try yourself after which you may look at cycling from a different light.

        • Thank you for the invitation Kendall, perhaps I will try it one day. But I still firmly believe what I wrote above, that this is “for the few at the expense of the many”.

      • Indeed, let’s get the thousands of folks who pedal in to work and school off their bikes and into thousands of cars. That will surely ease traffic congestion.

          • Believe what you want. But facts say that thousands commute by bicycle in Santa Clara county alone and that number is increasing. Nearly all of them are car owners, pay taxes, but leave the car at home. If not for the work being done to encourage and increase bicycling, motoring commutes would see an increase in traffic between 2 and 10% depending where you drive in the county.

    • Isn’t there a statewide proposition on the ballot which is in fact trying to prohibit gasoline taxes from being used for anything other than car related infrastructure?

      • No there is not. There is a Repeal of a previous proposition that was passed into law on the ballot that requires the most recent gasoline tax increase be used for road work.
        That is proposition 6. If you vote Yes on 6 it will repeal the last gas tax increase and road maintenance projects will be drastically reduced. If you vote No on 6 the gas tax would remain in place and the funds will continue to be used for road maintenance.

        • VOTE YES on Prop 6. Work90 above is not telling the true story. Shame on him/her. Prop 6 has not only raised fuel taxes but DMV Fees as well. Most of that money is being used to bail out moonbeam’s bullet train and public transportation. Little is going to the roads and infrastructure. In addition, a YES vote requires voter approval for any future gas tax increase. That alone is reason enough for a YES vote on Prop 6. The reason our roads are not being repaired is because the politicans you keep leaving in office took all our gas tax revenue and put it in the General Fund. To be used as they see fit. Spend, spend, spend. A no vote would allow more gas taxes to be raised, spending money where ever they see fit. Leaving you the voter at their mercy. Take California back.
          VOTE YES on PROP 6

          • I thought i was being neutral and fair in my description. I disagree that most of the money is being spent on the boondoggle train and I believe that most of the money IS going to the roads. I agree with you about the State taking all of the maintenance funds from the past and using them to fund their unwise prolific spending, and i agree with taking California back. But, i still think my description of Prop 6 above was fair, albeit brief.

          • Yes, my car registration was so expensive for my very inexpensive car that is ridiculous.

  3. Vote no on these bond measures that are a joke. If the government was fiscally response subtle we wouldn’t need them.

  4. Vote HELL NO on all bonds! The City makes a lot of money off of us taxpayers already! Where is that money going aside from being mismanaged? Also, why would I want to pay for people to get on their feet and get out of the creeks? The City is only pampering the homeless and accommodating them by giving them more protection than it’s taxpayers. SJ is going to hell fast.

    • Instead, turn all the bicyclists into car-driving commuters. This will certainly reduce congestion and make for shorter drives to and from work.

  5. This cannot be correct:

    “Given the frequent use by homeless people of public services such as 911 response and hospital emergency rooms, supporters of Measure V say its approval would save taxpayers more than $19,0000 per person annually.”

    The “$19,0000” appears to be a typo. But whether that is $19,000 or $190,000, either way it is an unbelievable number for the cost per person annually.

    • You’d be surprised. A study release din 2015 determined that the cost of homelessness in Santa Clara County comes to about $520 million a year. Source: https://www.sccgov.org/sites/opa/nr/Pages/Nation%E2%80%99s-Most-Comprehensive-Report-on-Homelessness.aspx

      “The study found that more than $3 billion of County services were used by 104,206 homeless residents between 2007 and 2012. This equated to a cost averaging $520 million per year. Medical diagnoses and the associated health care services were the largest component of homeless residents’ overall public costs. The second largest component of the overall cost of homelessness was associated with justice system involvement. The community in Santa Clara County has a significant opportunity to invest in preventative services that better serve the population and provide long term solutions to the homeless population.”

      • > The study found that more than $3 billion of County services were used by 104,206 homeless residents between 2007 and 2012. This equated to a cost averaging $520 million per year.

        The Homeless Industrial Complex.

        Totally, freaking absurd.

        • Well, I hope measure V passes then. I can finally retire and not have to work or demand money ever again. This measure is a start but, we need more in place to fully house my homeless community.

          I am thankful for the free internet at the library. I would rent or buy a house but, it costs too much and why would I when there is housing offered for people like myself?

          Thank you! Please vote!

  6. Shouldn’t we be doing more to prevent homelessness in the first place? The foster care/dependency court pipeline to homelessness is well documented. As soon as the child becomes an adult the foster family far too often disappears. In family courts, familial bonds are broken by restraining orders, supervised visitation orders, etc all in the name of reducing “conflict” but in reality to create lifelong conflict well into a child’s adulthood. It is a well documented fact that the family court attorneys and “mental health professionals” etc. rake in $50 billion a year. We are asking Santa Clara County Supervisors to fund a second study because the study itself stated “so that the causes can be better understood”. We believe that the second study will show that they lack of a jury option as a matter of rights has separated children from fit parents and now look at the consequences, its not just homelessness….. RaiseYourRights.org

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