Library Parcel Tax Wins with Overwhelming Voter Support

Measure B supporters popped the champagne moments after the first returns registered for the library parcel tax extension. Early counts remained true in what was a landslide victory.

“It’s too soon to say, but as of now this is very exciting,” said Jane Light, retired head of the San Jose Library System, while nursing a clear plastic cup of sparkling wine.

Light and a cohort of about 20 other supporters met in a second-floor break room of the library headquarter on The Alameda. Attendees wearing “Measure B” stickers on their shirts snacked on crackers and cheese, chips and dip and a platter of veggies laid out on fold-out banquet tables. Soon as the polls closed, they whipped out their smartphones to pore over the results. Eighty-one percent in favor to start, which remained true as of Tuesday morning.

Mayor Chuck Reed, clad in a navy pinstriped suit, joined the quiet celebration with his chief of staff Michelle McGurk and ex-City Manager Deb Figone and chatted with volunteers.

The win means San Jose libraries were spared millions of dollars in cuts for another 25 years. Proponents leading up to the election cautioned that the San Jose Library System, which fields more than 6 million visitors a year, would lose $8 million annually if results went the other way. City libraries already bore the brunt of budget cuts over the past decade, forcing them to close a few days a week and nix reading programs.

“People were much more willing to support this, it seemed,” said Light.

Mary Tucker, another campaign volunteer, joked that they had a tough name to work with, considering the most notable Measure B brought much-criticized pension reform.

“This is the good Measure B,” Tucker said with a laugh.

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