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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
San Mateo County, CA June 3, 2008 Election
Measure O
Sales Tax
County of San Mateo

Sales Tax Measure - 2/3 Majority Approval Required

Fail: 61,009 / 60.5% Yes votes ...... 39,804 / 39.5% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Jul 31 1:37pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (553/553)
28.9% Voter Turnout (104,160/360,018)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

To better support parks and recreation services provided by cities, special districts, and San Mateo County, including: Supporting after-school and summer programs for children and teens; providing overdue maintenance and repairs to parks, trails, and recreation areas; preserving natural open spaces; maintaining and improving park bathrooms and facilities; repairing and upgrading playgrounds and playing fields; Shall San Mateo County enact a one-eighth (1/8) cent sales tax, with annual audits and reports to the community?

Impartial Analysis
The California Constitution and state law authorizes the County of San Mateo Board of Supervisors, upon approval of two-thirds of the voting electorate, to levy a transactions and use tax ("sales tax") for specified purposes.

By this measure, the Board of Supervisors propose to levy a one-eighth (1/8) of a cent sales tax within the County of San Mateo for a period of twenty five years. This would increase the current sales tax from 8.250% (8 %) to 8.375% (83/8 %). It is anticipated that the collection of the additional tax will commence on October 1, 2008.

The stated purposes of the additional sales tax are to fund parks and recreation services provided by cities, the County and special districts including, but not limited to: maintaining and improving park bathrooms, picnic areas and athletic facilities; repairing and upgrading playgrounds and play structures; improving access to parks and playgrounds for the disabled; preserving natural open spaces; and maintaining hiking, walking and biking trails.

The proceeds of the tax will be placed into a special account. The funds will be distributed from this account to the County, special districts within the County and cities within the County pursuant to a formula specified in the measure. An annual report is required that accounts for the sales tax revenues collected and the manner in which they have been spent.

A "yes" vote on this measure would allow a 1/8 cent sales tax to be levied within the County of San Mateo for a period of twenty five years. The tax would be used to support parks and recreation services provided by cities, the County and special districts including, but not limited to: maintaining and improving park bathrooms, picnic areas and athletic facilities; repairing and upgrading playgrounds and play structures; improving access to parks and playgrounds for the disabled; preserving natural open spaces; and maintaining hiking, walking and biking trails.

A "no" vote on this measure would not allow the special tax to be levied.

This measure passes if two-thirds of those voting on the measure vote "yes."

  Partisan Information

Yes on O site - http://parksforthefuture.net/
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Arguments For Measure O Arguments Against Measure O
Vote YES on Measure O.

Parks and open space areas are an essential part of our communities and our quality of life in San Mateo County. Millions of dollars in budget cuts have already been made to local park budgets resulting in minimal basic maintenance at park facilities. And looming state and local cuts will have a devastating effect upon these important community spaces.

Limited funding has also resulted in program cuts and delayed repairs and upgrades totaling in the millions at parks in your neighborhood and throughout the County.

Well maintained parks, just like good schools, make our cities a more desirable place to live and are reflected in the value of our homes. Studies by the American Planning Association show that children do better in school and seniors are healthier if they use local parks and participate in recreation programs.

A YES vote on Measure O will fund:

  • After-school and summer programs for children and teens throughout the County, keeping at-risk youth off the streets, teaching teamwork, and building self-esteem;

  • Maintenance and improvement of picnic areas, playing fields, and park bathrooms;

  • Preservation of over 75,000 acres of open space;

  • Protection of our creeks, shoreline, forests, and wetlands.

Measure O guarantees more money for our parks. Measure O funds will stay in San Mateo County and provide millions in dedicated funding for our neighborhood, city, and county parks, open space preservation, and help maintain the value of our neighborhoods and homes.

Measure O will cost the average resident less than $2 a month and an independent Citizens' Oversight Committee will hold the County accountable with annual audits.

The League of Women Voters, San Mateo Area Chamber of Commerce, environmental organizations, neighborhood leaders, police officers, and business owners strongly support Measure O.

Join us + Vote YES on Measure O.

/s/ Patricia Boyle, Board Member + Local Action, League of Women Voters of South San Mateo County

/s/ Don Horsley, retired Sheriff, San Mateo County

/s/ Jackie Speier, former State Senator

/s/ Linda Asbury, CEO, San Mateo Area Chamber of Commerce

/s/ Lennie Roberts, Legislative Advocate, Committee for Green Foothills

Rebuttal to Arguments For
"Limited funding" is blamed for parks "program cuts". But total San Mateo County revenue is up over 9.2%, 2005 to 2007, well above inflation.

Where has this money gone?

The county's 2007 Annual Financial Report tells us: "Salaries and benefits have increased by approximately 28% since FY 2004-5 .... the County cannot sustain [this] growth rate". San Mateo County spent $588 million in salaries and benefits for 5,481 employees + over $107,000 per employee,on average.

San Mateo County has been using available revenue to inflate its payroll, rather than maintain and improve our parks.

Shall we punish the poor, by increasing the tax they pay on necessities such as children's clothing, the automobiles they buy to get to their minimum-wage jobs, and the gas for them, and send that money to the county, whose own employees are far better off?

Why should we tax the poor, to pay wealthy San Mateo County?


Voters don't want even higher sales taxes, especially in this recession.


Voters know the cost of living in San Mateo County is already too high.


Voters don't want to increase taxes on those who can least afford it.


Voters want the County and cities to budget responsibly, funding important priorities like parks with existing revenue, and to rein in out-of-control spending on public salaries and benefits.

Please, do the right thing -

Vote no on Measure O

These are hard times for many in San Mateo County; and now is NOT the time for any tax increase, no matter how well intentioned.

From the County Manager's report, County of San Mateo Board Meeting, February 5, 2008, comparing the last quarters of 2007 and 2006 for San Mateo County:

�� Number of unemployed + UP 12%

�� Mortgage Foreclosures + UP 84%

National economic news is no more comforting: " ... evidence mounts that the economy has entered a recession ..." (Reuters, March 9). Other local sources confirm: "Dealing with Recession : Despite relative wealth, coastside not immune from darkening economy" (Half Moon Bay Review, February 27).

A tax increase now is insane.

Worse yet, this sales tax increase falls hardest on the poor, who already suffer the most in economic downturns: "Sales taxes are among the most regressive forms of taxation. Consumers with moderate or low incomes have to sacrifice much larger portions of their incomes on sales taxes than do wealthy consumers". (according to Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under President Clinton, and presently Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, in an NPR interview) The San Mateo County sales tax rate of 8.25% is already high + only Alameda and San Francisco have higher county tax rates.

In 1960, sales tax was only 3%. Raising taxes never stopped politicians from claiming they need more money. But higher taxes make it harder for regular people to make ends meet.

As we enter this economic recession, the poorest among us need every single penny to get by.

Vote your conscience.

Vote for those hardest hit in these tough times.

VOTE NO ON MEASURE O

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Would you pay less than $2 per month to maintain and improve your neighborhood parks?

We would.

We support Measure O and urge you to join your friends, neighbors, coaches, and seniors in voting Yes on Measure O.

Like you, we carefully scrutinize all ballot measures. Measure O will offset years of deferred maintenance and cutbacks to your neighborhood parks, county parks, open space lands, and recreation programs.

Measure O will enable your city to address a backlog of deferred repairs and improvements to your neighborhood parks, while improving facilities, programs and protecting open space with dedicated local dollars.

Voting YES on Measure O will improve:

  • Your neighborhood and county parks;

  • After-school and summer programs for children and teens;

  • Park bathrooms, trails, soccer fields, and basketball courts;

  • Preserve over 75,000 acres of open space and maintain local creeks, shoreline, forests, and wetlands;

  • Senior health and wellness programs.

Measure O will cost the average person less than $2 per month and provide much needed funding to solve our problems locally. Every city, the county, and recreation district in San Mateo County will receive a guaranteed percentage of funding each year. Funds cannot be taken by the State and must be spent by each jurisdiction on local park maintenance and programs.

Annual audits will be conducted by an independent Citizen Oversight Committee. Full accountability and disclosure is mandated.

Measure O will support parks and recreation programs for you, your family, and your neighbors.

Please vote YES on Measure O.

  • Alpio A. Barbara, President, Redwood City Police Activities League (PAL)

  • Rosalyn Koo, Board Member, Self Help for the Elderly

  • James R. Madison, Coach, Youth Soccer League

  • Heidi Kuiper, Chairman of the Board, Half Moon Bay Coastside Chamber of Commerce & Visitors'Bureau

  • Memo Morantes, Trustee, San Mateo County Board of Education


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Created: July 31, 2008 13:37 PDT
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