Measure C sales tax: The language, the arguments

Measure C sales tax: The language, the arguments

Michele Ellson

Measure C is a 30-year, half-cent sales tax increase to be considered by Alameda voters on June 5. Below are the text of the ballot measure, the ballot argument for the measure, and an argument against the measure.

Ballot language:

To maintain neighborhood crime patrols, fire protection and 911 emergency response; improve earthquake preparedness; replace an unsafe fire station; establish a citywide Emergency Operations Center, a joint police/fire training facility and other cultural and recreational facilities; replace outdated police/fire vehicles and equipment; and for other capital equipment and facilities shall the City of Alameda enact a one-half cent sales tax, with all revenue staying in the City, mandatory annual audits and public expenditure reports?

Ballot argument in favor:

Alameda’s unique quality of life comes from its long history as a family friendly place to live and work. Our quality of life depends on having a solid foundation of safety, and good access to cultural and recreational opportunities. Measure C preserves our history, while protecting our future.

When you call 911, lives depend on a reliable system and fast emergency response from police officers, firefighters and paramedics. Measure C will keep Alameda safe by modernizing 911 emergency response to maintain neighborhood crime patrols, fire protection, earthquake preparedness; replaces a condemned fire station in the heart of Alameda; repairs three aging fire stations, a citywide Emergency Operations Center, and constructs a training facility for our first responders and Citizens Emergency Response Teams. Measure C replaces outdated police and fire vehicles that have been used beyond their service life. These facilities are vital to protecting Alameda residents during an earthquake, or other disaster.

Cultural and recreational opportunities are important components to Alameda’s quality of life, for everyone, especially our youth. Measure C rebuilds unsafe facilities such as the Carnegie Library, Alameda’s Swim Center, and pays for the construction of an all-weather, lighted sports field for our community.

Measure C funds stay in Alameda and cannot be taken away by Sacramento politicians. The money must legally be used in Alameda to protect our safety and quality of life. All revenues will be scrutinized through mandatory, independent annual audits and public expenditure reports.

Alameda firefighters, police officers, business owners and taxpayers urge a YES vote on Measure C. During a fire, crime or medical emergency, we need our first responders fast and prepared. As island residents, we must be prepared to protect lives during an earthquake or other disaster.

Let’s preserve our history, and protect our future. Vote YES on Measure C.

Honora Murphy, Library Supporter
Dr. Barry Parker, Swimmer
Ellen "Jeannie" Graham Gilliat, Resident
Thomas Cobb, Police Officer
Domenick Weaver, Fire Captain

The argument against Measure C was not turned in to Alameda's City Clerk in time to be placed on the ballot, but we are including it for your reference:

With this measure, the City of Alameda aims to increase the sales tax to 9.25%, higher than neighboring cities. In return, they provide only vague promises. Take the promised swimming pool for example, the City admitted they don’t have a location set aside for it, nor an organization to work with to build it.

Look closely at the language of the law – it does not support all the goodies the City of Alameda is promising. Despite City promises, there is no timeline in this law, no commitment to renovate libraries or build swimming pools before giving gifts to the firefighters. The City is simply saying “trust us.” This is just like SunCal’s Measure B in 2010.

Further:

-This tax proposal is a grab-bag list of vague projects without cost, priority or timelines associated to them.
-Higher sales taxes will hurt local businesses as people shop elsewhere to save money.
-Sales taxes increases hurt lower income people and those that can’t shop elsewhere the most.
-Despite some Alameda Councilmembers preaching sunshine, transparency and public participation, this proposal was rushed to a vote in the span of only one week.

With public employees unwilling to adjust to the fact that their ever-growing high salaries and benefits are bankrupting the cities they “serve,” it is time to regionalize more services with Alameda County.

Alameda County already handles emergency dispatch for the Alameda Fire Department, as well as vector control, and environmental health. The County can provide the proposed training facilities and other services that ensure our safety while maintaining Alameda’s independence, and saving residents money.

Don’t lock-in a 30 year tax increase that promises more than it can deliver. Vote “no” on Measure C and let’s take time to look at better options.

Liz Williams, Local Business Owner
Karin Lucas, Former Alameda City Councilmember
Horst Breuer, Former Chair, City of Alameda Economic Development Commission
Leland Traiman, Registered Nurse
Barbara Thomas, Former Vice-Mayor of Alameda