November 2020 Official Positions on Ballot Propositions

November 2020 Official Positions on Ballot Propositions

Statewide measures:

[Source 1] [Source 2]

21

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Local measures:

[Source 1]

RR

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Proposition 14: Borrowing for stem cell research

We urge a no vote on Proposition 14.

In 2004, California voters approved Proposition 71 to allow for borrowing $3,000,000,000 to fund the creation of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). Over the ensuing fifteen years, many have questioned what exactly CIRM has delivered. The San Francisco Chronicle did a very informative deep dive on CIRM and showed that they have not delivered anywhere near what was promised. We understand that this is complex work, and don’t expect results overnight. But the underwhelming performance is still a valid cause for concern.

CIRM is nearing the depletion of its funds and is now asking voters for more. Proposition 14 would authorize another $5,500,000,000 to continue funding CRIM. These borrowings would incur another $2,300,000,000 in interest expenses, for a total of $7,800,000,000 owed by taxpayers.

In addition to being disappointed with the lackluster performance of CRIM, we disagree generally with the idea of an entire government entity subsisting only on borrowed funds. Having to ask voters to go further into debt every decade or so just to keep CIRM alive is not a sustainable solution.

We urge a no vote on Proposition 14.

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Proposition 15: Split property tax rolls between residential and commercial

We urge a no vote on Proposition 15.

In 1978, California voters approved Proposition 13, placing a cap on the rate of increase of property taxes. We are all familiar with this law, as it has been one of the key rallying cries of California conservatives.

A key feature of Proposition 13 was that it placed these caps on both residential and commercial property. Proposition 15 would change this into what is known as a “split roll”. It would leave the caps in place for residential and agricultural property, but would reassess all commercial property above $3,000,000 dollars at its current market value.

This would be a massive tax increase on California businesses. This Proposition will also reduce the ability of businesses to plan annual property tax expenditures due to a tax based on fluctuating market conditions.  Keep in mind this is on top of every other tax, fine and fee that we already pay to the beast in Sacramento. A beast whose appetite for our money can never be satiated. The notion that our state’s problems can be solved with more spending defies credulity.

An interesting note on support and funding. The Secretary of State shows it’s funded by something called the HIP Committee for Schools & Communities First (which has no relation to the fictional bookstore in the TV show Portlandia named Women & Women First). This group is just a front for various unions which you can see at the bottom of this page.

More peculiar however is a group by the name of Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Advocacy. This is an advocacy group funded and run by multi-billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan. This is another glaring case of an out of touch billionaire telling everyone else what to do, without ever having to pay the costs. Facebook’s main overhead cost is not its physical property in California. So the effect on Zuckerberg’s company will be negligible. However, for many businesses, physical property costs, including taxes, are one of their top overhead costs.

So Zuckerberg, a multi-billionaire who will not be affected by this tax increase, is perfectly happy crushing the many businesses who will be affected by it. We can’t envision a more illustrative picture of the state of California politics today.

We urge a no vote on Proposition 15.

 

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Proposition 16: Ending the ban on affirmative action

We urge a no vote to Proposition 16.

In 1996 California voters approved Proposition 209, a constitutional amendment banning affirmative action at state institutions. We strongly support Proposition 209 because we believe that in a society where everyone is considered equal under the law, there is no place for government institutions to treat people differently based on their ethnic background. This should be obvious and goes without saying.

This is a divisive effort designed to pit each race against another. However, we all know there are radical Marxist elements within our society that will stop at nothing to tear down everything we’ve built in an effort to achieve their idealistic utopian dreams. They have twisted words and phrases in the English language to mean the exact opposite of what they once meant. They’ve convinced themselves, and large swaths of the public, that the pathway toward equal treatment under the law, is to treat people unequally. They’ve asserted that the best recipe for a colorblind society is to obsessively focus on the color of one’s skin. George Orwell would be proud.

They have steadily moved the goalposts from one of equal opportunity, to one of government-enforced equalized outcomes. The difference in the size, scope and cost of a government needed to provide the former versus enforce the latter is vast. There is no record in history of a government achieving this, other than to make everyone equally poor.

We urge a no vote to Proposition 16.

 

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Proposition 17: Extending the right to vote to felons who are on parole

We urge a no vote on Proposition 17.

In 1974 California voters approved Proposition 10, which allowed felons to have their voting rights restored once they had completed parole. This was a relaxing of the restrictions at the time, which had prohibited felons from ever voting again.

Proposition 17 would relax these restrictions further by allowing a felon still on parole to be able to vote.

We believe the 1974 law is a fair compromise between voting rights, and ensuring criminals have paid full restitution before voting. As such, we don’t support relaxing the voting restrictions further.

We urge a no vote on Proposition 17.

 

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Proposition 18: Changing the voting eligibility age to 17 for primary elections in a citizen’s 18th year of life

We urge a no vote on Proposition 18.

Current law allows citizens who are at least 18 years of age to vote in California elections.

Proposition 18 would allow citizens who are 17 years of age to vote in a primary or special election, if they would be 18 by the time of the general election in November of that year.

In addition to being bad policy, it saddens us to note that this initiative was introduced by our very own assemblyman Kevin Mullin. This illustrates the critical need to replace him in November.

We oppose any relaxing of voting restrictions and responsibilities, as they move us closer and closer to the mob rule of a Democracy, rather than the Republic our founders envisioned.

We urge a no vote on Proposition 18.

 

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Proposition 19: Property tax breaks and closing loopholes

We urge a no vote on Proposition 19.

This proposed constitutional amendment by our assemblyman Kevin Mullin changes the rules relating to how property tax is calculated for various situations. A quick read shows every interest group at the table had to be placated to get their support.

Our already-complex state tax code would add ham-fisted language similar to the following paraphrasing:

People who are disabled, or over 55, or who have suffered a natural disaster, can take a portion of their low property tax base with them to any county in CA when they move, by having their new taxable assessed value only increase by the difference in price between their old and new homes. Also, anyone who inherits a home from their parents or grandparents would only be able to keep the low property tax rate if they use the home as their primary residence, and only on the first $1,000,000 of assessed value. Most of the revenue generated from these changes would be specially designated for fighting wildfires.

Don’t be fooled, Proposition 19 is a tax increase. It offers a short-term benefit for certain property owners that would like to relocate to another area of California at the expense of family estate planning. It really is a death tax by another name and that’s why the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association opposes it.

Due to the swampy nature of the measure, the added complexity needed for every special interest group to get their preferred carve-out, and the substantial narrowing of eligibility for preferential tax treatment:

We urge a no vote on Proposition 19.

 

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Proposition 20: Clarifying violent crime definitions and correcting the errors of Propositions 47 and 57

We urge a yes vote on Proposition 20.

In the perennial debate over criminal justice, and what the appropriate punishment should be for various crimes, California has in recent years reversed course from its historic tough-on-crime approach. Soft-on-crime advocates have been pushing at every level to ignore the rights of crime victims, and make California more crime friendly. They’ve succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

Two key measures that voters were duped into supporting were Proposition 47 in 2014 and Proposition 57 in 2016. The former re-categorized certain “non-violent” crimes as misdemeanors, and the latter gave inmates convicted of such crimes an opportunity for early release.

Most notable on the list of the crimes which Proposition 47 reclassified as misdemeanors were shoplifting and grand theft of $950 worth of goods or less. This led to the now all-too-familiar scenarios of organized theft rings breaking into cars and shoplifting from stores, taking just under $950 dollars worth of merchandise. They do this because they know that if they get caught, they’ll only be charged with a misdemeanor, and most prosecutors won’t bother with such low level offenses, and if they do, most leftist judges will let the perpetrator out with a slap on the wrist.

Voters could be forgiven for supporting Proposition 47. In keeping with the California tradition of politically biased, intentionally misleading ballot initiative names, it was referred to as The Safe Neighborhood and Schools Act. Who doesn’t want safe neighborhoods and schools? Voters never got safe neighborhoods and schools, instead they got a spike in property crime.

Proposition 57 allowed for the early release of prisoners convicted of certain “non-violent” crimes. Many of these crimes are actually quite violent. It’s hard to believe, but as the law currently stands, crimes such as human trafficking, child abduction, elder abuse, assault with a deadly weapon and rape of an unconscious person are considered “non-violent crimes”. For a full list, see here.

Neighborhood watch groups complained vociferously, but were met with the legal conundrum of the initiative process: if the law was approved by voters, then it could only ever be changed by voters as well.

In 2019, the legislature tried to clarify some of the ambiguous language in Proposition 57 to make clear what is and is not a violent crime. All of these attempts failed due to the pro-crime posture of the Democrat supermajority.

A multi-million dollar effort to place a new measure on the ballot was undertaken in 2018. Former Governor Jerry Brown attempted to have a court invalidate the effort due to its organizers not having collected enough signatures. Thankfully, the courts rejected Brown’s claims in the fall of last year. As a result, Proposition 20 will now appear on the ballot.

It makes major corrections to Propositions 47 and 57. Most importantly, it clearly defines what a violent crime is, and makes it a crime to engage in organized retail theft. You can read the full text here and visit the proponent’s site here.

An interesting note on support and funding. The Proposition 47 campaign was funded in part by $1,400,000 from the Open Society Policy Center. Yes, that Open Society, the one controlled and funded by nation-destroying supervillain, George Soros. To be fair, our side wasn’t much better: it was also supported by Senator Rand Paul and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. It’s unlikely any of the supporters have ever had to endure sustained attacks by organized retail theft rings. But such is politics, the promoters of bad policies rarely pay the cost of those policies.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to correct a historic wrong which has harmed so many people. These corrections are sorely needed to clamp down on the crime wave engulfing California.

We urge a yes vote on Proposition 20.

 

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Proposition 21: Allowing cities more power to enact rent control

We urge a no vote on Proposition 21.

This initiative statute would allow local governments to establish rent control on residential properties over 15 years old. Rent increases would be limited to a maximum of 15% over three years from the previous tenant’s rent, above any increase allowed by local ordinance. In an effort not to hurt small landlords, this would not apply to individuals who own no more than two homes.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because there was a rent control initiative on the 2018 ballot which voters rejected. Shortly thereafter, the state legislature continued its long tradition of ignoring voters and passed statewide rent control anyway. It took effect on January 1st, 2020 and prohibited residential landlords from raising rent more than 5%, plus the local inflation rate in one year. This is in addition to any local rent control laws.

Seeing that there is already a statewide rent control law now on the books, and that voters shot down a similar 2018 rent control initiative, it makes little sense to pass another burdensome and complex rent control law.

An interesting note on support and funding. A quick look here shows the funding came from something called the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. It’s a useful lesson for conservatives that shows how seemingly noble-sounding non-profits can just be fronts for far left agitation. Always be careful who you donate to.

We urge a no vote on Proposition 21.

 

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Proposition 22: Classifying employees of app-based companies as independent contractors

We urge a yes vote on Proposition 22.

This measure attempts to rectify some of the flaws of AB 5, which codified a state Supreme Court ruling, which made it much harder for various companies to treat their workers as independent contractors. While this measure doesn’t fully repeal AB 5, or fix all of its flaws, it does attempt to relieve app-based employees from having to comply with its mandates.

It also sweetens the deal a bit with various worker protections, such as an earnings floor and a stipend for purchasing health insurance.

The San Mateo Republican Party has explicitly come out against AB 5 in the recent past.

An interesting note on support and funding. As you might expect, this measure is funded almost entirely by Uber and Lyft.

We urge a yes vote on Proposition 22.

 

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Proposition 23: Regulating dialysis clinics

We urge a no vote on Proposition 23.

Bluntly put, this measure another attack on dialysis clinics funded by unions. Having failed at their attempt in 2018 with Proposition 8, they are back at it again. This time, instead of price controls, they are aiming for increasing the bureaucratic burden on dialysis clinics. Proposition 23 would mandate that a licensed physician be present at the clinic while patients are being treated. It would also require burdensome data reporting procedures.

This effort is clearly just retribution by SEIU against the state’s two largest dialysis providers for their failure to unionize.

This unnecessary measure will do nothing but increase costs and bureaucracy in the already-expensive medical field. We find it interesting that leftists across the country incessantly lament the high cost of health care, then take deliberate action to raise the cost of healthcare.

We urge a no vote on Proposition 23.

 

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Proposition 24: Enhancing consumer privacy laws

We urge a no vote on Proposition 24.

In 2018, the state legislature passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which required companies that store personal information to disclose to consumers what types of information are collected and how the information is used.

Proposition 24 strengthens various provisions of CCPA, specifies fines for violating it, and creates a new entity named the California Privacy Protection Agency, funded at $10,000,000 per year, to enforce it.

It makes exceptions to data privacy rules for cases where law enforcement needs someone’s information.

Despite the importance of personal digital information now and into the future, we believe that formal regulation of this kind is not warranted. Creating another bureaucracy with the power to scour business records and issue crushing fines is just adding more of something we already have too much of.

An interesting note on support and funding. Proposition 24 is promoted and entirely funded by a San Francisco real estate developer named Alastair Mactaggart and his wife Celene. 

We urge a no vote on Proposition 24.

 

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Proposition 25: Veto referendum on replacing cash bail with risk assessments for detained suspects awaiting trials

We urge a no vote on Proposition 25.

California has traditionally used the bail system as a way of allowing defendants to be free while awaiting trial. In 2018, the legislature passed SB 10 which abolished the bail system, and replaced it with a bureaucratic maze of “risk assessments” to determine who should and should not be released while awaiting trial.

Doing so destroyed many bail businesses. In fact, former San Mateo County Republican Central Committee member Corrin Rankin had this exact thing happen to her bail business.

It’s not often that the voters get a chance to veto legislation, but this is one such chance.

While pro and con arguments could be made for both systems, we generally don’t believe the bail system is a bad one.

Please be advised that the question on the ballot will not be whether to veto SB 10. Rather, the question will be whether to uphold SB 10.

An interesting note on support and funding. As you might expect, this measure is funded almost entirely by the bail industry.

We urge a no vote on Proposition 25.


 

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Measure Q: Daly City 0.5% sales tax increase

We urge a no vote on Measure Q.

Approval of this measure would increase Daly City’s sales tax by 0.5% in perpetuity until the voters of that city repealed it. A maximum additional city sales tax rate of 2% is permitted by California law. Daly City is currently at 1.5% and this would fill up the remaining slack.

We oppose this measure because taxes are already too high. Further, the money will largely go to administrative costs. Within the measure preamble is the following text:

    “Service levels were decreased as part of budgetary reductions within the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 Operating Budget and Council deferred funding various capital projects to offset the increased cost of pension, health insurance and workers' compensation and general liability insurance”

Which means that like so many tax increases in California, the money won’t go toward creating a better quality of life for citizens, it will just go to cover pension costs.

We urge a no vote on Measure Q.

 

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Measure R: City of San Mateo Neighborhood Protection/ Housing Opportunity and Affordability Act (San Mateo City Council-submitted)

We urge a no vote on Measure R.

This measure is a competing measure to Measure Y.

Approval of this measure would maintain the existing height and density limits, but allow the City Council to make exceptions in various areas to allow for greater height and density. Namely the areas near the downtown, Hillsdale and Hayward Park Caltrain stations.

It would also allow for more creative options to develop affordable housing. This is done partly to comply with state law AB 1505.

We oppose this measure because we believe the current rules are appropriate to maintain the character of San Mateo, while accommodating growth. Thus, they don’t need to be changed to allow for greater heights in certain areas.

We urge a no vote on Measure R.

 

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Measure S: San Bruno cannabis business gross receipts tax of 10%

We urge a no vote on Measure S.

Approval of this measure would allow for a 10% gross receipts tax on marijuana businesses within the city.

San Bruno does not currently allow marijuana businesses within the city. However, if the City Council does change their municipal code to allow for them in the future, they would be subject to a 10% gross receipts tax, should this measure pass.

Marijuana sales and use for recreational purposes was made legal across California by voters with the Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act of 2016. One of the promises of this act was that legalization would end the criminal black market for marijuana sales. Many voters supported this measure with that aspect in mind.

However, since then the state has imposed heavy taxes on all marijuana dealings. This has had the effect of pushing the industry back underground. So despite being legal, there is still a black market. This is entirely counterproductive.

This additional 10% tax within San Bruno would all but guarantee that marijuana sales in San Bruno would remain on the black market forever.

We urge a no vote on Measure S.

 

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Measure T: San Mateo-Foster City School District general obligation bonds

We take no position on Measure T.

Approval of this measure would authorize the sale of $409 million in general obligation bonds to finance school facilities. The bonds would cost a total of $847 million and be paid off by 2053. The taxes required to service the bonds are estimated to be $30 per $100,000 of assessed property value.

The proceeds will be used to repair and construct school facilities.

We are generally skeptical of additional taxes. With regard to school construction, we feel that the $100+ billion dollars worth of statewide school construction bond issuances over the last 22 years should have been sufficient to cover all construction needs.

However, with this particular case, we do not have enough details about the exact facilities needs within these high schools to make a determination as to whether these bonds are truly needed.

We take no position on Measure T.

 

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Measure U: Half Moon Bay 3% hotel tax increase

We urge a no vote on Measure U.

Approval of this measure would increase Half Moon Bay’s Transient Occupancy Tax from 12% to 14% on July 1st, 2021, and then to 15% a year later. The funds would not be directed toward any specific purpose. The city estimates it would raise $1,500,000 annually.

Such taxes are politically palatable because they always appear to tax outsiders, rather than city residents, because city residents rarely stay at hotels in their own city.

The problem is that they make travel more expensive everywhere. Each city’s increase in TOT is used as a reference by another city to increase theirs. The result is that traveling has become ever more expensive in order to line bloated government coffers. This is clearly evidenced by the fact in this election alone, four separate cities in San Mateo County are simultaneously asking voters to raise their TOT to 14%, and in the case of Half Moon Bay, to 15%.

Also, given the financial realities in California governments, it’s safe to assume the revenue would not go toward any worthwhile purpose, and instead just be used to pay for bloated pensions.

We urge a no vote on Measure U.

 

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Measure V: East Palo Alto 2% hotel tax increase

We urge a no vote on Measure V.

Approval of this measure would increase East Palo Alto’s Transient Occupancy Tax from 12% to 14%. The funds would be directed toward affordable housing.

Such taxes are politically palatable because they always appear to tax outsiders, rather than city residents, because city residents rarely stay at hotels in their own city.

The problem is that they make travel more expensive everywhere. Each city’s increase in TOT is used as a reference by another city to increase theirs. The result is that traveling has become ever more expensive in order to line bloated government coffers. This is clearly evidenced by the fact in this election alone, four separate cities in San Mateo County are simultaneously asking voters to raise their TOT to 14%, and in the case of Half Moon Bay, to 15%.

Also, the funds from this measure go toward one of the government's favorite boondoggles: “affordable housing”. The term “affordable housing” is a buzzword that leftists love to use, but have never clearly defined. We’re unsure if anyone actually knows what it means or what its goals are. Rarely have such endeavors ever improved the quality of life in a city. They inevitably incur extreme cost overruns and end up producing far less than promised.

We urge a no vote on Measure V.

 

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Measure W: San Mateo 2% hotel tax increase

We urge a no vote on Measure W.

Approval of this measure would increase San Mateo’s Transient Occupancy Tax from 12% to 14%. The funds would not be directed toward any specific purpose. The city estimates it would raise $1,000,000 annually.

Such taxes are politically palatable because they always appear to tax outsiders, rather than city residents, because city residents rarely stay at hotels in their own city.

The problem is that they make travel more expensive everywhere. Each city’s increase in TOT is used as a reference by another city to increase theirs. The result is that traveling has become ever more expensive in order to line bloated government coffers. This is clearly evidenced by the fact in this election alone, four separate cities in San Mateo County are simultaneously asking voters to raise their TOT to 14%, and in the case of Half Moon Bay, to 15%.

Also, given the financial realities in California governments, it’s safe to assume the revenue would not go toward any worthwhile purpose, and instead just be used to pay for bloated pensions.

We urge a no vote on Measure W.

 

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Measure X: San Bruno 2% hotel tax increase

We urge a no vote on Measure X.

Approval of this measure would increase San Bruno’s Transient Occupancy Tax from 12% to 14%. The funds would not be directed toward any specific purpose. The city estimates it would raise $370,000 annually.

Such taxes are politically palatable because they always appear to tax outsiders, rather than city residents, because city residents rarely stay at hotels in their own city.

The problem is that they make travel more expensive everywhere. Each city’s increase in TOT is used as a reference by another city to increase theirs. The result is that traveling has become ever more expensive in order to line bloated government coffers. This is clearly evidenced by the fact in this election alone, four separate cities in San Mateo County are simultaneously asking voters to raise their TOT to 14%, and in the case of Half Moon Bay, to 15%.

Also, given the financial realities in California governments, it’s safe to assume the revenue would not go toward any worthwhile purpose, and instead just be used to pay for bloated pensions.

We urge a no vote on Measure X.

 

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Measure Y: San Mateo height limits (voter submitted)

We urge a yes vote on Measure Y.

In 1991, a project was being presented which was so tall and dense, citizens became concerned. Knowing it would not be the only such project, residents created and passed Measure H to keep some control in the hands of the voters, and limit new building density and heights, and mandate various affordable housing requirements.

In 2004, voters approved measure P to extend measure H out to 2020.

Since measure P is expiring this year, approval of this measure would extend the development limits out to 2030.

While the limits are numerous, the key provisions that interest most voters are the height limits. They are generally, with a few area-specific exceptions:

Low density residential areas:  24 feet.

Medium and high density multi-family areas: 55 feet (5 stories).

Non-residential: range from 25 feet for those near low density residential areas, to 90 feet for manufacturing, public facilities and major institutions. Generally, the maximum is 55 feet though (5-7 stories).

Last, to counter opponents who will say this excludes lower income people, this measure also specifically requires private development of affordable housing by requiring multi-family projects to mark at least 10% of the units as "affordable" as defined by law, and include them in the developers’ projects.

We urge a yes vote on Measure Y.

 

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Measure Z: Jefferson Union High School District general obligation bonds

We take no position on Measure Z.

Approval of this measure would authorize the sale of $163 million in general obligation bonds to finance school facilities. The bonds would cost a total of $274 million and be paid off by 2048. The taxes required to service the bonds are estimated to be between $27 and $30 per $100,000 of assessed property value.

The proceeds will be used to repair and construct school facilities.

The high schools affected are: Jefferson, Oceana, Terra Nova, Thornton, Westmoor and Adult-Ed.

We are generally skeptical of additional taxes. With regard to school construction, we feel that the $100+ billion dollars worth of statewide school construction bond issuances over the last 22 years should have been sufficient to cover all construction needs.

However, with this particular case, we do not have enough details about the exact facilities needs within these high schools to make a determination as to whether these bonds are truly needed.

We take no position on Measure Z.

 

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Measure RR: Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (Caltrain) ⅛% sales tax

We urge a no vote on Measure RR.

Approval of this measure by ⅔ of voters would increase the sales tax rate throughout the county by ⅛% for 30 years. The funds would be used for Caltrain’s operating and capital expenses. It is estimated to raise $100 million annually.

While Caltrain is indeed a useful service, it seems to continually be in a state of financial disarray due to poor management and overpaid executives.

The structure of this tax is a perverse one: people who do not ride Caltrain will have to pay money to subsidize the people who do. It is socializing the cost of Caltrain.

Even more egregious, is that part of the cost goes to pay for CEO Jim Harnett’s $500,000+ yearly salary and benefits package. While only $85,000 of that is specifically from Caltrain, it shows that we don’t need to be shoveling any more money into the government trough.

We believe the cost of riding Caltrain should fall squarely on those who ride Caltrain.

Taxes are already extremely high in San Mateo. As such, we oppose any new taxes to fund poorly managed government entities.

We urge a no vote on Measure RR.