Measure S.2 – For or Against?

The November election is approximately 25 days away, November 4, 2014.
The Pinole City Council race is not really much of a race as only the incumbents are on the ballot.
But Pinole taxpayers will be considering Measure S (Measure S part 2) an increase to the current sales tax in Pinole from 9% to 9.5%.
This measure requires only a majority to pass as the tax is not specific but discretionary.
Which means that the voter must believe that the City of Pinole is being run efficiently, effectively and can be trusted to spend these new revenues wisely and in their best interests.
Council member Long stated that although the Council can not dedicate Measure S funds to specific expenses, that they can commit to shoring up specific areas such as Police, Fire and Public Works.

If you look around our city you can see the effect the loss of Redevelopment Funds has had on the City. Redevelopment funds were the City’s cash cow and that cow was put to death by Governor Brown.
Couple the loss of Redevelopment Funds, the economic recession and the increasing cost of services and it is apparent that our City has many fiscal challenge, as do all cities.
This community has always supported its Public Safety and the maintenance of our streets, roads and parks.

However, the opposition to this Measure does not support the way our city has handled its relationship with our Fire Fighters. And questions have been raised about the first Measure S and how that revenue has been managed.
The City of Pinole is on the verge of losing (because they haven’t used) the $1.2 million Safer Grant for fire personnel. That grant expires in March 2015 and the City must obtain waivers and have them take place in a very time sensitive situation.
This was discussed at length at the October 7 city council meeting.
View Video here (jump to Safer Grant presentation).

Some are unhappy with the way some services they have long enjoyed and counted on,  have been cut or eliminated and are being kept alive by volunteers, Parks and Recreation  most significantly.

The Contra Costa Times has not endorsed the sales tax measure.
The Contra Costa Taxpayers Association is also opposed to this sales tax.

Will Measure S.2 fix these problems?
Will Measure S.2 restore these services?
Will Measure S.2 give the taxpayer what council says they are committed to, but are not legally responsible to do?
Will Measure S.2 be used as specified in the Ballot language?

At a recent City Council meeting a proponent of the increased tax explained how costs have gone up. Yes, in life everything goes up, rarely do costs go down. The two hot dogs with mustard and sauerkraut in the fifties in New York he spoke of, although a nice graphic image, don’t address the questions being raised in this community about the proposed increase. We are not talking about paying more for hot dogs. W’re talking about the discretionary use of this revenue source.

Those who oppose Measure S.2 point to the discord between the Fire Fighters and the City. They point to the uncertain future of Fire Fighters in Pinole and the doubt that new recruits have about working for this City.
They point to administrative staffing costs for a city this size.
Others have pointed out how the City has embroiled itself in litigation and misspent funds.

The truth is that Measure S.2 is likely to pass, why?
Because the average citizen doesn’t mind having non-residents foot the bill.
Because a sales tax is not another hit to the tax weary property owner.
Because the City is spending $7,000 to promote and market the measure with no organized opposition.
The truth is that the resources of our Police and Fire are taxed by incidents caused by non-residents shopping in our city.

Many Pinole residents shop in other cities and they will continue to do so. Some may even travel to cities where they can pay a lower sales tax. I know that many Pinole residents drive to Vallejo to make purchases at the large warehouse stores.
The city’s sales tax revenue is and has been a dependable and sustainable source of  revenue.

The Pinole Chamber of Commerce is not opposing this sales tax increase and I have heard nothing from the business community, which, in reality is affected by this tax more than anyone else.

If it passes is it because taxpayers have faith in their elected officials?
Or because but they want to have the critical services they pay taxes for and believe they are entitled to receive and will receive with this increase in revenue?

If measure S.2 passes taxpayers are trusting that our elected officials are truly committed to using these new revenues for the services they say the taxes are for. That they will safeguard the revenues to keep our city safe, clean and well maintained and to provide the services we have heretofore enjoyed.

The passage of Measure S.2 means that we have to trust that our elected officials do the right thing, that they keep their word to hold the line when it comes to staffing in areas other than Public Safety. It means we trust that they will spend these funds on Public Safety and Public Works even though they will have the discretion to spend it on anything they deem necessary.


9 thoughts on “Measure S.2 – For or Against?

  1. The point that I have been trying to make and I believe Phil Green made best at the last City Council Meeting, is that the CIty operates in an incredibly short-sighted manner. Despite having a general plan, the city runs in crisis mode at all times. Crisis mode never provides the best options. Even if Measure S.2 passes, this will not fundamentally change anything. Staff and Council will still run in crisis mode and soon after passage, Staff and Council will once again assert that there is not enough funds for services that we all enjoy and love.

    Actually it is a good thing that Redevelopment went away, because this actually stopped the bleeding. We will be paying for the next 10 years for the mistakes, or as I call them, bad deals for the City. This has the net effect of counteracting the positive effects of Redevelopment, which are the increased parcel taxes that would go into the General Fund, We will not accrue these benefits because these monies will go to pay for the bond debt that the City Inherited from the former RDA. Had the RDA been managed fiscally responsibly, there would be no need for either of both Measure S.1 and S.2.

    Just look at the greatest misses from the last two years which have cost the CIty and Taxpayers Millions: : The Verizon Cell Tower ($450k and counting), Building Station 74 on restricted lands, $618k in Billings to Meyers Nave in 2013, Failure to expend more than 33% of the $1.2 M SAFER Grant assuming the City gets a Waiver from FEMA (If FEMA rejects the waiver of having a full complement this goes to 0%) The PERB lawsuit ($1.5 Million and counting), The DOF Litigation {13.9 Million and The Long Term Property Management Plan ($5.8M in Real Property) and the Lost opportunity Cost Associated with this}.

    And coming to a theatre near you soon is the Gateway West Muck Up!

    The Contra Costa Times on 09/28/2014 Times weighed in with a No on S for the following reasons: Our objections: First, the tax should not be permanent. Second, there’s no indication the city will use any of the money to ease its mounting retiree health care debt.

    It is not just the health care contribution but also the retirement contribution which combined is more than $100 Million. Currently the City is just paying the interest on this debt. Why did we not hear about this at the Town Hall on Measure S, because the Town Hall was not informational as was advertised but was a Marketing Campaign orchestrated by our CIty Manager who by the way weighed in illegally, that, “Knock on Wood, I hope it passes”.

    Tony Gutierrez Says No on Measure S. We need fundamental change. Not Band Aids for self inflicted injuries.

  2. For once I have to agree with the Contra Costa Times, yes there is a first for everything. We cannot trust our elected officials nor the management of this small City to use our hard earned tax dollars wisely. Why should we? They have proved that it is more important for the City Manager to have a raise and travel more than fund essential services like Fire services. Local control is a joke when it is clowns running the the show, IMHO

  3. You have to wonder when watching the City Council meetings, if you have wandered into the theater of the absurd. The report on the SAFER grant alone should be enough convincing evidence that Pinole has become the “Little City that Dont Know How”. How we ever wandered into this mess of incompetence at City Hall is anyones guess. I’m sure that our city manager (Miss-Management) will take issue with that. She assures us regularly that she is doing a great job. Personally, I dont think she could sell hamburgers at McDonalds.

    The Measure S Pageant is in full swing! Special Monday night meetings that nobody wants to attend (cant the NFL move to Tuesday Night?) That was a heartwarming fireside chat with Jeff R, who regaled us with stories about hot dogs, french fries and Dr Browns Cream soda. Was that when ‘Ol Crazy Horton stormed out of the meeting? I thought Jeff was a Cel-Ray guy. When he tries really hard, Jeff can exude a glimmer of humanity. Bravo Mr R. Enough of this raucusness. Lets talk about Measure S…

    The WCCUSD pushed another Bond at us recently and it was voted down. Seems people had a lot of questions about the lack of budget discipline and a runaway program. The West County Healthcare District parcel tax was defeated recently as well. The voters couldnt see a viable PLAN to keep the district in the black without further taxes. Now Pinole wants more money after a dismal performance marked by huge legal expenses and a petty political vendetta against the
    Firefighters. The ensuing PERB lawsuit will take a BIG BITE out of the city’s General Fund. I had a front row seat for the Verizon debacle and the dithering about Station 74, the Fire Station that this group is incapable of ever opening. If Pinole Valley burns, they’ll ask for more taxes, right? I will not support Measure S, not for this group in charge. Not on a bet and not at gunpoint. Do the smart thing: VOTE NO ON MEASURE S

  4. If you feel the need to spend an extra 1/2% every time you spend a dollar in Pinole, vote “No” on Measure S and donate that money directly to some local charity where you know where the money will go. Voting “YES” only allows the city to use the money for something they want. Remember that this proposed tax is a general tax which can be used to pay for pending law suits and other unfunded liabilities which the city has not told you about.

  5. If the venerable Mark Twain was here, he might’ve said, ” You can paint a Cow Pattie, but its still a Cow Pattie”…

    VOTE NO on Measure S!

    We dont need no stinking Cow Patties…

    October 20, 2014

    The City will host another informational meeting regarding Measure S, the local 1/2 cent sales tax measure placed on the November 4 ballot.

    The meeting will be held in the Pinole City Council Chambers, 2131 Pear Street on October 20 at 6 PM.

    The City wishes to hear from citizens regarding which services are important to the community.

  7. Its the day before the Election and the fate of Measure S remains to be seen. Those opposed do not have the fancy signs or the continuous bombardment from the City in various publications AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE. There is also the ruthless use of Pinole TV to further the desires of Measure S devotees. The epic Kopp Production/Cooking show?? Featuring Council member Debbie Long, shamelessly shilling for Measure S. Do we cook that at 350 degrees ? What a pile of unrelenting BS. Our wretched government is so completely poisoned with cheap, petty politics, used to protect incompetence and favoritism. The continued “career” of our feckless City Manager is a MONUMENT to an abuse of government. They all know what a terrible manager she is but are content to abide with her because she wont oppose their own reckless adventures that are costing our City dearly. What is the answer? CUT OFF THE MONEY AND LIMIT THE ABUSIVE WASTE OF OUR TAX DOLLARS. Vote NO on Measure S. It makes the most sense…

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