Measures A, B & C

Measure A Hospital Seismic Safety and Medical Facilities

The TV commercials may appear overly dramatic or even ironic, but this really is a matter of life and death. Passage of Measure A would result in an $840 million bond to perform a seismic retrofit on the Trauma Center at Valley Medical Center.

That’s a good and necessary thing, since Valley Med’s Trauma Unit is the go-to place for treatment of major injuries, such as those that happen in earthquakes. Besides, if we don’t make the place earthquake-proof, the state will close the hospital. This measure requires a two-thirds majority to pass, so it’s simple: vote yes or die.

Measure B BART Extension—Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority

If voters want a commute alternative through the South Bay, there’s really no other choice but to support BART. The community has been divided into two camps: those who are on the BART bandwagon and those who are frustrated that the BART project has been moving slower than traffic on the I-880. But let’s face it, what the South Bay needs now is a mass transit makeover, with BART as the first stop. If this one-eight-cent sales tax is going to get us an inch closer to a smoother commute, then vote yes on Measure B.

Measure C Valley Transportation Plan

Every six years the Valley Transportation Agency must put its transit program up for a vote. It’s that time again. The plan lays out the agency’s proposed improvements for buses, light rail and trains.

Opponents point out that a “yes” vote means essentially signing a blank check, given that the plan isn’t completed yet—the VTA board of directors is due to vote on it in December.

In reality, a yes vote on this advisory measure tells the VTA to keep going. Once the final plan is released, the public will have an opportunity to comment on it and you can bet we’ll take a close look at it. But voting against Measure C will send the wrong message. We need the VTA to make progress.

36 Comments

  1. Tom Clifton is right, there are alternatives to the overpriced, poorly-routed BART extension that VTA and SVLG refuse to consider.

    One such plan is Caltrain Metro East, proposed by Bay Rail Alliance here:
    http://www.bayrailalliance.org/caltrain_metro_east

    Building CME or some other alternative leaves money for VTA to deliver on its other promises to Santa Clara County voters.

    The No on B campaign has put together a handy Q&A on the BART projct that every voter needs to read before casting a ballot:
    http://www.novtatax.org/wordpress/2008/10/facts-about-measure-b/

  2. #1
      I went to the debate at the Hoover Autorium between the Legal Council of the Silicon Valley Leadersship Group and Greg Perry and found the time spent well worth it.
        Greg Perry raised a serious question several times which his opponent could not or would not answer. “Why is VTA refusing to release the financials on the proposed BART program which they have until December (after the November election),why, why won`t they release these numbers”.
        What does VTA and the SVLG have to lose? I can not and will not support Measures B, C or,D under these conditions.
        Greg Perry asked his opponent this question sever times and never got an answer.
        Another item I learned at the debate, Sam Licardo now says”the contract between VTA and BART is NO GOOD”.This is a big change for Sam.
        In an effort to silence opponents to Measure B,C,&D, the SVLG has two opponents, Greg Perry former Mt.View Mayor and Margret Okuzumi, execuative director of “Bay Rail Alliance”. SVLG has deep pockets and will do almost any person or group opposing SVLG`s position.
        What does VTA and SVLG have to hide?

  3. Questions for the VTA/SVLG team:

      There have been a tremendous amount of numbers thrown around about the actual cost of BART to San Jose. I would like to have VTA/SVLG furnish us with the most recent costs.Total construction costs and annual operating costs.

      VTA-BART in 2001 agreed that starting January 2009 VTA would pay BART about $45-$50 million a year. What is the status of that payment and what does VTA get for that money?

      The contract between VTA and BART says VTA will have to pay BART a perentage of the existing BART system rebuilds and a total operational costs,what are these yearly costs?These costs have nothing to do with Santa Clara County costs to build or operate BART?

      VTA recieves $250 million a year from 1 1/4 percent local sales taxes to fund public transit which is among the highest local transit taxes in the USA while recieving less than 10% of operating revenue from fare box which is one of the lowest fare box recovery`s in the USA, A recent state audit indicated that a fourth transit tax will be necessary to fund costs. Are these high taxes for an inefficent costly transit agency good public policy for about 2% of county communter trips since high taxes high taxes kill jobs.

      Why should voters approve Measures B,C,&,D on the bacic of ,“Trust Us” when VTA has not had a good record to accurately estimating sales tax revenues, construction cost estimates, transit passanger or fare box revenues?

      If VTA revenue, construction or operating costs estimates are not aqccurate does this mean that VTA will go back again to voters for more BART taxes?

      David Casas, member of the VTA Board has recomended a NO vote on the BART Measures and says these sales taxes on the three measures are NOT the last sales taxes for BART.David Casas has a graduste degree in finance from Peperdine.

      Sam Liccardo says the BART/VTA contract has problems he does not agree with.Sam has a Harverd and Georgetown degree.

      Greg Perry former VTA board member and Vice Mayor of Mt View urges a NO vote on BART. Greg has a BA from Harvard and MBA in Finance from Berkley.

      Margreat Okazumi, Exec Director of Bay Rail Alliance and a VTA Watchdog, urges a NO vote on BART to San Jose Measures B,C,&D.

      Eugene Bradley of the VTA Riders Union urges a NO vote on BART to San Jose.

      COUNTY VOTERS SHOULD BE TOLD THE TRUE COSTS TO BUILD BART AND TRUE OPERATING COSTS OF BART TO SAN JOSE BEFORE THEY VOTE ON BART.
      VTA is witholding updated cost numbers for the project until after the election, per Margreat Okuzimi a VTA watchdog.

  4. High speed rail systems such as BART are needed in large cities with HIGH DENSITY rates of population. These are cities such as New York, Chicago, Boston, London, Paris and others.  Our area is “LOW DENSITY”.  Our
    population will not support BART in this area and it would be a drain on our taxes that we cannot justify.  Our tax money should be spent on needed projects such as schools, safety departments and other things.

  5. We need public transit. We don’t need BART. Our money could go a lot further with other systems.

    Beyond that, we need a consolidation of industry. The pocketed BART money would better be spent of incentives to move businesses to the downtown core, where public transit would be worth even more to us.

  6. Why didn’t I hear or read about the debate that Carl Anzelmo attended the other day? Could it be that the media doesn’t want to piss off the big money [SVLG] by giving exposure to the “no” point of view? Why can’t the media present both sides in an unbiased way?

  7. Would you purchase a home that needs to be remodeled or, a property to develop without knowing all the costs you are about to take on?

        The tax payers in Santa Clara County are being asked to do just that!!

          Why is VTA & the SVLG holding back current financials they have until December to release? The tax payers have a right to know all BART costs before they vote on Measure B,C, & D.

  8. The first two sentences of Measure B are most instructive…read it for yourself…(something about the high price of gas, etc).

    I’m voting NO on B because I think that there will never be enough money to do all three (buses, light-rail, and BART).  You could run BART to North San Jose for about 1/2 the cost.  I don’t think that BART should be built at the expense of the poor.

    Mayor Reed (who I support and greatly admire) mentioned in a recent op ed piece that BART ridership figures are based on Transportation Dept approved forecasts.  (I think) that these numbers are based on residents of future housing developments built in the transit corridors. In other words, they are including people that will live in housing that has not yet been built!!

    pete campbell

  9. Not to worry… I think Carl “Dr. Feel Good” Guardino’s disassociation with the measure portends a quick death for BART to SJ.

  10. 10: Not that I’m for the BART extension, but how will it cause traffic at intersections? BART is fully grade-separated. Is this referring to cars flooding into BART parking lots? Even then, 19 seems high for the amount of stations planned.

  11. “If voters want a commute alternative through the South Bay, there’s really no other choice but to support BART.”

    Excuse me? There is no other transit choice than BART?

    You could do all sorts of things with $6 billion, you might even be able to have direct transit to the Airport and existing jobs in north San Jose.

    You could electrify CalTrain and get to jobs in San Francisco in less than an hour. You can probably start a ACE train equivalent to Oakland that would serve more people than BART.

    How many bus lines could you run on $6 billion? How much expanded light rail service could you have? How many miles of bike trails could you have?

    So say that BART is the only commute alternative in the south bay is ridiculously short sighted.

    I expected more from SJ Inside.

  12. SteveO #17:

    Not that I’ve heard. I don’t believe Measure B, if it passes, will raise enough money.

    Remember the 2006 Measure A? That tax was a half percent tax that VTA was expected to split with the county. Therefore, VTA was counting on 1/4 percent on Measure A. Measure B is one-half of that. Therefore, expect VTA to come back to the voters soon to squeeze us for another tax, so they can get their full 1/4 percent that they wanted in 2006.

    Don’t believe me? Visit
    http://www.novtatax.org/wordpress/2008/09/measure-b-is-not-enough/

    Just weeks before the VTA board voted to place the tax on the ballot, VTA’s general manager Michael Burns admitted to the press that a 1/8-percent sales tax isn’t enough.

    The following was reported in July 23’s issue of Metro, in an article the editors forgot when they endorsed Measure B:

    http://www.metroactive.com/metro/07.23.08/news-0830.html

    “But what that proposed one-eighth-cent sales tax would really get them is an estimated $42 million annually, which is still $8 million short of what it’s expected to cost to operate BART—$50 million.

    But where would the VTA get the remaining funds to pay for the trains? Even the general manager for VTA says the cost to run BART through the South Bay is a moving target.

    ‘That could go up, that could go down,’ said Michael Burns, general manager of VTA.’”

  13. Napper #6,
    I didn’t realize that San Jose’s population will forever remain 990,000.  Or that our density will always be “suburban” in character and our current transportation system will suffice forever.  That’s nice to know; thanks.

    Yes to Measure B, Prop.1A!!

  14. Have any of the BART leaders (Chuck, Carl, Sam, etc…) made any promise of no more VTA taxes until after BART is up and running if measure B passes?

  15. I’ve been talking with the clever Americans at ACORN and they’ve shown me how I can vote NO 12 times!
    A lot of “consultants” and other bloodsuckers have been making a good living off the proceeds of the 2006 Measure A. They would all be quite happy to see their easy lifestyle prolonged with the passage of Measure B and a brand new pile of money that they can waste.

    NO on 1A & B!
    Instead, let’s all chip in and buy Tony D a little engineers cap.

  16. Thanks, Hugh, for the link to the debate on Measure B on October 24th. It came down to Greg Perry saying we can’t really assess the issue without seeing VTA’s financial plan and Bob Hine’s refusal to even consider that point. It reminded me of Sarah Palin deciding not to answer some questions during the VP candidates debate.

  17. Pete #11,
    ALL local Government is geared for FUTURE residents. They don’t give a damn about us. And that includes the mayor.

  18. #4″I went to the debate at the Hoover Autorium between the Legal Council of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Greg Perry and found the time spent well worth it. “
    Thank you for attending as VP of the Shasta Hanchett Park Neighborhood Assoc – we were happy to co sponsor the event and to be able to provide information to our community.  I agree, it would have been nice if we had received more publicity…….

  19. RZ #24,
    So maybe the residents of Morgan Hill and Gilroy should have payed for the widening of 101 between Bernal and Cochrane Roads; this didn’t benefit residents in Palo Alto or Los Gatos!  You know what Rich, WE ALL PAYED FOR THAT PROJECT!  In fact, we payed for a lot of transportation projects that we don’t personally use.  I have no problem paying a little in taxes to help others in our county and region.  And helping to bring Alameda County residents, and well as Milpitas and NE San Jose, to our downtown will help immensely (see downtown San Francisco/Market Street).  And you forget (or don’t know) that BART will become part of the larger transportation picture: high-speed rail/Caltrain service from Palo Alto to Gilroy, intersecting with BART in Santa Clara and downtown San Jose, taking a large amount of motorists off 101, 880, and 680.  It could happen if we stop being so shortsighted and selfish.  Yes to Measure B and Prop. 1A!

  20. “But voting against Measure C will send the wrong message.” You have got to be kidding me. A yes vote on C is the equivalent of “Sure, treat me like a brainless prat who’ll rubber stamp whatever you come up with.”

    “We need the VTA to make progress.” Darn straight. A “NO” vote on C sends the message to VTA that they need to get the job done instead of perpetually coming up with excuses. Instead of working to figure out a comprehensive transit plan, the VTA cancelled their September and October board workshops. What is that about?

    There is no way that the VTA board is going to have a completed plan together to vote on this December. Whoever thinks otherwise is a too gullible, too quick to buy the official party line. Let’s see this plan that VTA is supposedly going to vote on in December. It doesn’t exist, and that’s why they’re trying to take the voters for fools. oh yes, and vote NO on Measure D also. Else we will not be able to hold VTA accountable in the future.

  21. Judging from the blog responses, it’s clear that most of us would have to undergo a lobotamy to believe the BART to SJ hype. 

    By the way, has anybody seen Carl G. lately?

  22. Our resident BART shill said “And helping to bring Alameda County residents, and well as Milpitas and NE San Jose, to our downtown will help immensely (see downtown San Francisco/Market Street).”

    You won’t see Downtown SJ looking like Downtown SF in our lifetimes, no matter how many 15 story buildings they build there. Fact is, the airport flight path prevents buildings taller than the existing ones to be built there.

    The BART line that VTA is proposing misses the County’s real job centers, along SR 237, 101 and central expressway. That’s where the jobs are and where BART won’t go.

    No on B, C, D.

  23. #28,
    Then I’m thankful these blog responses from the BART naysayers aren’t representative of the greater SJ/SCCo. populace.  By the way #27 M.O., why did you lie in the Mercury News today; stating the “VTA hopes to hide the fact that it can’t deliver projects.”  Hmm, let’s see: widening 101 to eight-lanes, building Hwy’s 85/87, upgrading Hwy. 237, new freeway interchanges, various light-rail lines, expressway carpool lanes, streamlining bus service, etc. etc.  Shame on you!

  24. Hugh.
      I attended the Hoover debate too.
      If the financials were good,I believe we would have seen them.
      VTA,the SVLG are just to close on this issue, the residents are being blind sided on this issue. Mr. Roadshow, Gary Richards articles in the San Jose Mercury read like “paid political adds”. Richards and the SVLG too are very close.
        Why hasn`t the Merc gone to experts on the NO side of this issue to write a published argument on this issue, consider Greg Perry, Margret Okuzumi or David Casas, all well informed people?

  25. #19
        I agree with you but, the benefeciary of Measure B is NOT Santa Clara County Tax payers. The benefit goes mostly to Southern Alameda County.
        We are projected to grow by 500,000 in population by 2040 in Santa Clara County but,“we do not have the infrastructure in place in 2008 to handle our traffic conditions in Santa Clara County”.
        Tony,we need to get busy and solve our local traffic problems here! BART does not solve our local problems.

  26. Last night at City Hall the VTA gave a presentation at the Envision 2040 General Plan Task Force meeting.  VTA presented a slide listing nearly 1,000 miles of Lanes, Arterials, Trails and Corridors (County-wide).

    Another slide showed VTA Program Allocations in the 2035 Plan of $14.1 Billion (half of that needed according to another slide).

    $9.2 Billion of the $14.1B is for BART, L/R & Bus.

    If BART construction is $5.1B after State and Fed contribution, and current bond costs and debt service fees push that to $12 Billion to build 16.4 miles of BART… 

    1) what does that leave for the nearly 1,000 miles of other lanes, arterials, trails and corridors throughout the County?

    2) and how will that 16.4 miles and 6-7 stations relieve congestion, improve infrastructure and move people throughout the rest of Santa Clara County?

    3) and what happens after the election if we learn that the real cost to build BART is more like $7, $8, or $9 Billion plus debt service and fees?

    Then what?

  27. #25 Helen Chapman,

        I ggree with your question about media coverage of the debate at Hoover Theatre but, remember” Political Truth—An OXYMORON.The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, what we don`t get from the mainstream media”.” It`s not their misinformation, it`s what they don`t tell us!!
      Gary Richards (Mr Roadshow) and the Editorials in the SJ Merc on BART read like”paid political announcements”.
      I think SVLG and VTA are a little too close for comfort.
      I think the County and the city of SJ would be ahead if they moved the VTA into the Hayes Mansion.Too small,not at all, make it work, squeze.

  28. #30 Tony,

        Seriously,I agree, the Envision 2040 report told us that attended their presentation that San Jose/Santa Clara County would grow by 500,000 residents by the year 2040.
        Tony, please focus on the problem in San Jose/Santa Clara County.Simply said, we have a serious infrastructure problem here in 2008. All our freeways 101,85,87,237,280 and yes(your correct)interstate 880 are seriously conjested.
      (1)How would you solve our problems today? (2)How would you solve our infracture problems coming up in 2040? (3)Don`t you think we should begin soon building a public transportation system today that focuses on our present and future grid lock problems?(4) Shouldn`t we address our infrastructure problems here in San Jose first before we build a BART system to Alameda County?(5) Don`t you believe VTA could not build the answer to our local traffic problems and build BART at the same time without VTA going bankrupt? (6) Seriously and honestly what do you think the tax payers in our county believe is more important building BART or, building a comprehensive transportation system here in the City and County first?
      Please think before you answer but, please answer.
      Thanks Tony.

  29. To think the push for BART by our legislators is based on their sudden amazing awakening to the carbon footprint problem is so naïve. Let’s face it! It is all about creating “Transit Corridors”, the key to rationalizing more rampant unbridled housing with disproportionate provision for jobs. Mark my words, when Bart to Diridon is finished, all of the commuting gains in traffic reduction will be long lost to the huge non-transit using residents of the housing located at the very same transit line! Just as the clandestine purpose for our New City Hall was in reality the big push for Swensonville down Santa Clara Street to 101,  BART will disrupt life and enable the further subjugation of our populace to mindless residential expansion. Why? Who is it that is holding all the cash from the sub-prime mess? That’s who.