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Smart Voter
Marin County, CA November 6, 2012 Election
Measure A
Sales Tax Increase
County of Marin

Sales Tax - 2/3 Approval Required

Pass: 96122 / 74.37% Yes votes ...... 33130 / 25.63% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Dec 17 1:45pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (194/194)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

To preserve quality of life and maintain open space, parks, and farmland, with funds that cannot be taken by the State, shall Marin County: * Protect streams, baylands, natural areas, and wildlife habitat; * Manage vegetation to preserve biodiversity and reduce wildfire risk; * Repair and replace deteriorating park facilities; and * Maintain and enhance walking, hiking, biking, and equestrian trails; by enacting a one-quarter cent sales tax, with a citizens' oversight committee, annual audits, with all funds spent only in Marin County.

Impartial Analysis from Acting County Counsel
This Measure, if approved by a two-thirds majority of the electors voting thereon, would authorize the enacting of a one-quarter of one percent transactions (sales) and use tax, automatically expiring in nine years, unless extended by the voters, to preserve quality of life and maintain open space, parks, and farmland, with funds that cannot be taken by the State. The measure also includes an Expenditure Plan, which governs how the funds raised by the sales tax can be spent. Since this is a special purpose tax, monies collected will be placed in a special fund and can be spent only for the purposes set out in the Measure and the Expenditure Plan. The Measure requires the formation of a Community Oversight Committee whose responsibilities shall be to review Plan expenditures on an annual basis to ensure they conform to the Expenditure Plan and oversee an annual audit and prepare an annual report describing how funds were spent. The Measure also requires that the County Department of Finance prepare annual reports for the Board of Supervisors stating the amount of money collected, the amount spent that year, and the status of any projects funded by the tax.

s/JACK F. GOVI Acting County Counsel

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Arguments For Measure A Arguments Against Measure A
Measure A will protect the open space, parks and farmland that are essential to making Marin County an extraordinary and healthy place to live, work and play. Funding shortfalls and dwindling resources have led to the deterioration of county parks and preserves, and placed unprotected natural places and farmland at risk. Without this essential funding, there will be further reductions in services, access to parks, and protection of our natural resources. Measure A will:
  • Protect streams, baylands, natural areas and wildlife habitat
  • Manage vegetation to preserve biodiversity and reduce wildfire risk
  • Protect water quality by managing and protecting the land around lakes, streams, lagoons and baylands
  • Protect and preserve Marin County farms and ranches
  • Improve public access and recreational opportunities by maintaining and enhancing walking, hiking, biking and equestrian trails Everyone will benefit. Measure A will maintain and enhance parks and open space in every city and community in Marin County, including repairing and replacing deteriorating park facilities at Stafford Lake, McInnis Park, McNears Beach and Paradise Beach. Fiscal accountability will be ensured:
  • Every penny will stay in Marin; funds cannot be taken away by the state government
  • Measure A requires independent citizens' oversight, mandatory financial audits and annual reports
  • Funds cannot be spent on administrator salaries or pensions Under Measure A, visitors from outside Marin County will pay their fair share to fund the park and open space services they enjoy. Measure A will help protect Marin's rolling hills, shorelines, wetlands, natural lands, forests and family farms throughout the county. It has taken decades to build the system of parks, open space and protected farmland we have today. These lands are a living legacy and it's essential that we renew our investment in them.

We need to act now. Vote YES on Measure A.
s/SUSAN STOMPE President, Marin Conservation League
s/LYNN GIACOMINI STRAY Vice-President and Co-Founder, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese
s/JASON WEBER Interim Fire Chief, Marin County Fire Department
s/SUE HOLLAND Seventh-grade science teacher at Miller Creek Middle School and 2005 Marin County Teacher of the Year
s/LARRY MEREDITH, Ph.D. Director, Marin County Department of Health & Human Services

Rebuttal to Arguments For
"$54 million hidden by State Parks and Recreation in Secret Accounts". This game of hide and seek of public funds recalls a Civil War era children's game popular when Marin County was founded called "Button, button: who's got the button?".

YOU, the voter, `got the button'. You got the vote to put an end to governmental cronyism and wasteful taxing and spending.

Just ask yourself, `How does the public benefit?'

There is no public access to ranch lands. `Protected' parcels are taken off the tax rolls and many are of marginal importance. These are just pay-offs to key supporters.

With the 2nd smallest county in California (after SF), and one of the most bloated county budgets in the state, they ask for more?

More Waste,

More Consultants,

More Favoritism?

With most of the county in Open Space, Federal and State parks, or underwater, why vote for phantom spending objectives that only benefit the well-connected while ignoring the elderly, the ill and the needy?

Vote `NO' on Measure `A'

Increasing the Marin County Sales Tax by 1/4% will raise about $10 million a year for 10 years without targeting any specific projects or lands to be acquired. This will be money `looking for ways to be spent' at a time when critical services to the ill, the elderly and the poor are being cut by the supervisors.

Special interests close to the supervisors, including bicyclist and certain ranchers, will be lining up to fund their special projects. Not content to be continuing recipients of taxpayer money through the supervisors' Discretionary Fund, a slush fund criticized by the Marin civil grand jury as "political patronage" designed to buy political favor, these special interests now want to feed off of a regressive sales tax hike that hits the poor the hardest.

Marin County already pays 33 parks department employees over $3.8 million which comes to about $116,000 per employee. With approximately 80% of Marin already protected in some way, how much more acreage do 250,000 people really need?

At a time when Marin County faces a serious pension crisis, when the supervisors spend on average a quarter million dollars on each one of themselves for what is essentially a part-time job, isn't it time they start to live within their means and get their priorities straight?

Getting back to good governance, let's get our streets and roads back in shape, our child care programs and home care for the elderly adequately funded. It's our money! Let's stop feeding the supervisors insatiable appetite for dubious projects of questionable value, and put our money to work addressing our communities' real needs.

Please vote "NO" on Measure A.


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Created: December 17, 2012 13:45 PST
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