http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2012/05/04/just-say-no-to-measure-b3


Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - May 4, 2012

Just say No to Measure B3

If you like higher taxes, stay here. You're in the right city, the right county and the right state for paying more, and probably forevermore.

The Pleasanton City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday to support a county-wide measure that would ask voters to reauthorize Measure B, a sales tax revenue-supported effort to improve transportation in the Tri-Valley. The 2012 Alameda County Transportation Expenditures Plan (TEP) offers a ballot measure as part of the Nov. 6 General Election asking voters to extend the half-cent sales tax for transportation in the county, to add another half-cent tax through 2022 and extend the tax in perpetuity to fund the transportation programs and projects being advanced by the TEP.

While the projects in the plan are good, including renewed promises to extend BART to Livermore and to widen Highway 84 across Pigeon Pass between I-580 and I-680, the ballot measure itself is not. If this measure qualifies for the ballot and passes, it'll be 20 years before Measure B3, as it's called, comes back to voters for renewal, presumably long after the projects Pleasanton wants are completed. Although a two-thirds vote is required for Measure B3 to pass, it also contains a provision that the next time around -- 20 years from now -- only a simple majority of votes would be required to extend it for another 20 years...and then another 20 years. That's where the "in perpetuity" comes in, which we don't like.

Nor do Pleasanton City Council members Cindy McGovern and Jerry Thorne, who voted against the proposed ballot measure last Tuesday. They like most of Measure B3's funding plans, as we do, but also want a sunset clause that would give voters a chance to review B3's accomplishments every five or 10 years and then decide if we want to extend it again. Theirs were gutsy votes that astonished Mayor Jennifer Hosterman, who helped draft the proposal, and Council members Cheryl Cook-Kallio and Matt Sullivan who endorse it. The new sales tax would by one of the highest in the state. Add to it another half-cent sales tax being proposed by Governor Jerry Brown and it would be the highest, hurting the poor and those with young families the most.

The first Measure B was approved by voters in 1986, becoming one of the first half-cent county transportation sales tax in the state. The vast majority of the money went for capital projects, with a small portion for AC Transit and paratransit. The measure ran from 1987-2002. The second Measure B was rejected by voters in 1998, no doubt influenced by a weak economy and anemic campaign, and also by strong opposition by the Sierra Club and then-Assemblyman Don Perata.

In 2000, the same measure came back as B2, considered to be a more favorable, politically-correct title for the ballot measure that would last until 2022 with $1.4 billion in funds to complete a myriad of projects. It passed, with 81% of those voting approving the measure.

In 2010, the Alameda County Transportation Commission began plans to put a new measure -- B3 -- on the 2012 ballot, raising the sales tax to 1% and extending this new tax in perpetuity. Take out the "in perpetuity" clause measure and it might gain our support. Until then, this is a tax without an end or adequate accountability that we urge voters to reject.

Comments

Posted by Andrew L. Jones, a resident of Las Positas
on May 20, 2012 at 8:54 pm

I certainly agree Pleasonton Weekly's May 4th opinion piece pointing out the dangers of Proposition B3. A permanent one cent sales tax in perpetuity?! From what planet did the drafters of this open check book Proposition come? Do they really believe that the voters of Alameda County would entrust their elected and appointed officials with billions of new tax dollars without recourse for 20 years, and then another 20 years, and another, and another? Measure B3 does not make officials accountable to the voters and therefore should be decisevly voted down.


Posted by Smokescreen, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 20, 2012 at 10:47 pm

As with most of these fees, taxes, measures, the supposed purpose is a covere of smokescreen that is easier to sell. They have lots of money, but often it goes to things voters would not vote for, so money is used for those, telling use money is 'needed' for what we would want. We just have to say no, work out the budget and do some shifting.


Posted by Bill, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 21, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Still waiting for Cheryl Cook-Kallio to identify which transportation projects were completed 10 years ahead of time.

How about the north bound carpool lane on I680? That is 10 years behind schedule! The MTC and Alameda County Transportation in all their wisdom instead gave us the I680 Express Lane which is a misuse of taxpayer money as well as a failure at mitigating traffic congestion. This 200 million dollar mistake is enough proof not to approve this measure.

At least 2 out of 5 Pleasanton council members can engage in critical thinking.


Posted by Travis, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Any plans to improve 580W to 680? That is one big mess in need of improvement that is way overdue.


Posted by Bill, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 21, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Travis - there is a flyover planned for 580WB to 680SB as Cheryl Cook-Kallio wrote in her opinion piece. What she failed to mention was that this flyover is only for HOV vehicles.

The whole 580 680 intersection was poorly designed to begin with. It has ranked in the top tier troublespots for Bay Area freeways since it was built in the 1960s.

The new flyover just added insult to injury as all the commuters knew that a i580wb to i680 sb flyover was needed. But Alameda County transportation commission and Caltrans decided that there would be much more traffic headed northbound than southbound. Boy they really screwed that up. Another reason not to vote for this measure. People on these transportation boards and commissions have no clue as to what needs to be done to mitigate traffic congestion.


Posted by hmmm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2012 at 8:30 pm

@Bill

Why don't you call Cook-Kallio and ask her instead of cherry picking projects. That's what I do when I have a question of a council member.


Web Link


Posted by local, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2012 at 10:04 pm

The politicians just want more of our money. They are addicted to OPM (Other People's Money). They collect our taxes, some of the highest sales tax in the state with one of the highest state taxes in the country, and then tell us if we want any of our infrastructure projects completed, we need to pay more. No worthwhile projects were finished 10 years ahead of time. Just another lie from a local politician. If the projects were completed that far ahead of time, they would have saved a ton of money, enough to finish the rest of the projects on the list they want more money for.


Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Just say No to Measure B3

If you like higher taxes, stay here. You're in the right city, the right county and the right state for paying more, and probably forevermore.

Pleasanton City Council members Cindy McGovern and Jerry Thorne, voted against the proposed ballot measure last Tuesday. Theirs were gutsy votes that astonished Mayor Jennifer Hosterman, who helped draft the proposal, and Council members Cheryl Cook-Kallio and Matt Sullivan who endorse it.

No surprise here.


Posted by a reader , a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2012 at 10:48 pm

A parcel tax would be a better choice for a new tax. I already voluntarily pay far more than required. But that isn't enough. You need to pay more too.


Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2012 at 10:48 pm

I forgot the quotation marks.

"Just say No to Measure B3

If you like higher taxes, stay here. You're in the right city, the right county and the right state for paying more, and probably forevermore."

"Pleasanton City Council members Cindy McGovern and Jerry Thorne, voted against the proposed ballot measure last Tuesday… Theirs were gutsy votes that astonished Mayor Jennifer Hosterman, who helped draft the proposal, and Council members Cheryl Cook-Kallio and Matt Sullivan who endorse it."

No surprise here.

Web Link


Posted by annonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2012 at 8:53 am

Apparently none of you actually drive on any of the roads in this state or use any transit. . .

BTW 1/2 % tax is a continuation of a tax you already pay. 1/2% is a new tax to fix existing road and to replace infrastructure. Maintenance is cheaper than letting it all fail and then having to replace it.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2012 at 9:01 am

I will not support this measure until Pleasanton passes a substantial parcel tax. First things first.


Posted by annonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2012 at 9:24 am

Two different pots of money. . .one city and one county. . .


Posted by Smokescreen, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2012 at 11:31 am

Travis, it is truly amazing that the 580 - 680 interchange is allowed to exist as it is.
W580 to 680 has accidents every SUNday 3p - 7p. True, they are unfamiliar SUNday drivers, the very worst period (clueless everywhere + unfamiliar with 580-680). Mix BOATS, bigrigs, talking kids, and cheaters who think they'll speed on freeway to last inch and just cut-in when there is no merge left...no matter how congested.
If you listen, you'll here it live almost every Sun 3-7...often deadly.


Posted by Bill, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm

hmmm- why would I want to talk to a person who advocates a perpetual tax? Hopefully Cheryl isn't feeding this hogwash to her Civics students. It would be nice if she supported her statements with facts. Without facts her opinion is her opinion and is not worth a hill of beans.

As far as cherry picking projects - I do not care much about footpaths under freeways or bicycle trails along former railroads, and whether these projects are finished on time or not. What I do care about is not having to worry about my car being damaged driving on an interstate freeway. CalTrans has identified 56 slabs (not little potholes but entire freeway sections) that are in dire need of replacement between Bernal and Sunol exits on SB i680. Large trucks drive on the shoulder rather than risk damage to their undercarriage on lane 3.

How come the politicians can find 200 million dollars to install a worthless Express Toll Lane that is absolutely not needed but cannot find the money for upkeep on a freeway that is essential for commerce? Where is the accountability?


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2012 at 3:16 pm

It may go to different pots of money, but it all comes from my one pot of money -- my tax dollars. Not one penny from me to this measure or any other until we adequately fund Pleasanton schools.


Posted by hmmm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2012 at 7:46 pm

@ Bill. . .much more important to spout your opinion and accusations here rather than engage in a dialogue. . .must NOT want the answer to your questions!

I am worried about the perpetual pot holes in Alameda County!