“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.
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.