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Alameda Sales Tax Increase June 2012 (Measure C)

“Measure C,” June 5th, 2012

What is the sales tax increase proposal?

The measure will raise the sales tax in Alameda by one-half of one percent, to 9.25 percent, for thirty years. The City of Alameda says the funds will be used to pay for a long list of items:

  • A new public safety Emergency Operations Center.
  • A new Fire Station #3 to replace the seismically unsafe station on Grand Street.
  • A standard public safety training facility for joint use by police and fire.
  • Upgrades to Fire Stations 1, 2 and 4.
  • A new fleet of police vehicles.
  • Replacement of antiquated fire engines, trucks, ambulances and tow vehicles.
  • Upgrades and renovations to the Carnegie Library.
  • A new 50 meter swimming pool and locker rooms to be located at an as-yet unidentified site in Alameda.

Read coverage.

Tax Proponents: Preserving Alameda

Tax Opponents: Milking Alameda

Our Editorial Stance

Action Alameda News recommends that you vote “no” on the tax, for the following reasons:

  • Sales taxes are regressive – lower income people will be hurt by this tax increase.
  • Local businesses are likely to be hurt by the increased sales tax.
  • Look closely at the language of the ordinance – it does not commit the City of Alameda to build what is being promised in any time frame, or any order, and gives Alameda City Council the ability to change the projects at whim. This is just like SunCal’s Measure B all over again – promises not backed up by the language of the law.

The City Council may choose not to pursue any particular project listed among those examples, may substitute unidentified but similar projects for those listed, and may decide the order in which projects are initiated and completed

  • At the time of the City Council vote to put the tax on the ballot, the City of Alameda could not document estimated expenses for the vast majority of the items on the list, and admitted that the city can’t predict if or when the public-private partnership he wants to build the new swimming pool will ever materialize, and that the city can’t, “determine a specific location for such a swim center.”
  • The lack of a detailed timeline for the projects is a fatal flaw in a tax that will run for 30 years. Inflation will steadily erode the buying power of the taxes raised, increasing the likelihood that not all promises will be fulfilled.
  • Despite Alameda City Council’s professed commitment to “public participation, transparency, sunshine and openness,” the resolution that put this on the ballot was rushed to council in a special meeting, in one week by City Manager John Russo.
  • In any event, it’s not an honest tax. Action Alameda News published photographs of City Manager John Russo, before he was officially hired by the City of Alameda, celebrating on election night 2010 with Mayor Marie Gilmore and Councilmembers Lena Tam and Rob Bonta, and representatives of the Alameda Firefighters Union, IAFF Local 689. This tax amounts to political payola for the firefighters union in return for getting those three officials elected.
  • Given the coziness between these three councilmembers, Mr. Russo, and the firefighters union, voters not expect items like the Carnegie Hall Library renovations or 50-meter swimming pool to be built any time soon.

IAFF Political Director Jeff Delbono (back to camera), Oakland City Attorney John Russo, UFCW 5's Mike Henneberry (background), Rodney Gilmore, Unidentified children

UFCW Local 5 Mike Henneberry, IAFF Local 689 President Domenick Weaver, Lena Tam, IAFF Local 689 Political Director Jeff Delbono, Alameda Mayor Marie Gilmore, Unidentified

6 comments to Alameda Sales Tax Increase June 2012 (Measure C)

  • DHL

    AGREED. and WHO DOES THIS? No timeline with budgets for any of the equipment and capital improvements? Huh?

  • DHL

    They are asking for a freaking blank check….right? No thank you!

  • Liz Williams

    Nice picture of Russo yukking it up with Jeff DelBono, political president of the firefighter’s union at the now-infamous Otaez party. The pictures from that party are the Rosetta stone for politics and payback in Alameda.

    This is an astonishing tax boondoggle on so many levels it’s hard to know where to begin.

    THE DURATION: 30 years? Really? That’s insane. REmonds me of the hospital district parcel tax without an end date.w Alamedan homeowners will pay that $600/year tax for the rest of their lives, all for a hospital that has never been in the black and never will be.

    This is a slush fund for payola. If it were really a tax for infrastructure maintenance, it would designate a percentage of the total for each category. And, if this were really about better maintenance of our current infrastructure we have now, why is it adding to that infrastructure (Carnegie library, swim center) rather than restoring what has been cut back (library hours)? Methinks I smell a rat.

    I can eliminate the need for this sales tax and our current budget deficit – not to mention rising pension costs for firefighters – with a single decision: Move our fire and ambulance to Alameda County. San Leandro did it and saved 4-5 millions dollars. They are VERY satisfied with their fire and ambulance service. The kneejerk response is “we’re an island” and “they wouldn’t station ambulance or fire trucks here.” But those don’t hold up to critical scrutiny.

    Of course, Mr. Russo knows this very proposal is what got Anne Marie Gallant thrown out of city hall. It’s the obvious solution, the smart solution, the long-overdue solution. Instead, Mr Russo chooses to tie Alamedans to a bad solution with a tax that lasts 30 years.

    Ii won’t buy us what is promised, it will only buy the fire department time at our expense. The next sales tax will be higher. It’s the wrong idea, the wrong direction, and evidence of the corruption at City Hall and in the AFD.

  • jack

    Reform the tax code have large corporation like Apple pay taxes , vote no on C . it’s a 30 years farce

  • Barbara

    No on C!!!

  • jack

    Good News thwe Fuirefighhters will enter competition for business with the private sector , reaaaaallyyyy , does anyone know any indepedent frirefighting unit in Alameda , does anyone know any Private ambulance unit in Alameda aside of the one at the Alameda Hospital ?????
    Bonus points:
    1 they will have to purchase their own equipment
    2 they will have to staff it accordingly
    3 they will have to maintain payroll
    4 they will have to talk with the bank for financing
    5 they will have to evaluate benefits
    6 they will have to maintain their own facility
    7 they will have to work , no kidding

    Based on all these and anyone cant refine and elaborate they will be faced by the fact they are a bunch of reckless hog , they will understand the cost of their exorbitant pension plan which is why measure has been put on this ballot by the pet city manager they keep on short leash.

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