ALAMEDA CO. (CBS SF) — Alameda County voters approved four of the five tax measures that were on the ballot in Tuesday’s election.
Measure AA, a half-cent sales tax to fund health care services that was the only countywide measure at stake in the election, won approval by a margin of 74.5 percent to 24.5 percent, well above the two-thirds majority it needed to win.
It extends a tax that was first approved by county voters in 2004 that provides money to help the county’s public health system and for community medical services for low-income and uninsured residents.
The tax wasn’t scheduled to expire until 2019 but supporters said they want to extend it for another 15 years, to 2034, because they claim it will help keep local hospitals open as well as clinics serving more than 100,000 low-income children and families.
However, critics said that serious problems with the way the money is being used now should be addressed before the tax is extended.
A report by a tax oversight committee said 75 percent of the tax, which raises about $125 million annually, goes to the Alameda Health System, a public hospital consortium, but the rest is distributed to other health providers.
The oversight committee said it’s hard to monitor the funds because recipients often fail to provide data to prove that their programs
Hayward voters approved Measure C, which will increase the city’s sales tax by a half-cent, to 9.5 percent, to restore and maintain city services and facilities, including firefighting and emergency medical services, improving police protection for neighborhoods and replacing the city’s aging library.
It only needed a simple majority to win but it got 67.7 percent of the vote.
Measure C will raise $200 million over 20 years, including $60 million to build a new library.
Supporters, including former Alameda County Sheriff Charles Plummer, said the measure is needed because “many city facilities have
deteriorated after decades of constant use.”
In their ballot argument, proponents said, “The recent great recession has made it impossible to fund needed repairs or replace aging facilities while still maintaining the city services we need.”
Opponent Lawrence Johnson, a Hayward businessman, said the city’s statement that the tax is needed because it has more than $500 million in unmet capital needs is an “incredible claim” because it’s not supported by any documentation.
In Fremont, voters approved Measure E, a $650 million school bond measure that supporters said will modernize aging campuses by upgrading technology and classrooms, fixing leaking roofs and replacing outdated wiring and aging plumbing.
It got 61.5 percent of the vote, easily above the 55 percent margin it needed to win.
Measure E will cost property owners a maximum of $59 per $100,000 of assessed value annually.
Supporters, including Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison said the measure “will ensure that each school has the facilities to provide quality science instruction and classroom technology to prepare students for college and
But opponents alleged that only $160 million of the $650 million the bond measure would raise is for urgent and infrastructure needs and the school district shouldn’t waste money to fix old buildings.
Voters in the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District approved Measure G, a tax of $138 per parcel annually for seven years to maintain the quality of public schools. Most of the district is in Alameda County with a small portion of it in Contra Costa County.
It got 71 percent of the vote, more than the two-thirds majority it needed to win.
Measure G will extend a tax that was first approved in 2004 and was re-authorized in 2008.
Supporters said Measure G will provide nearly $4 million in annual funding for Livermore schools, which is 4 percent of the school district’s budget and the equivalent of 54 fulltime teachers.
Piedmont voters were the only voters in Alameda County to say “no” to a tax measure, sending Measure H, a $13.5 million school bond measure to upgrade and repair the district’s high school’s theater, to defeat.
The measure needed 55 percent to pass, but only 48.6 percent of those who went to the polls voted for it and 51.4 percent voted against it. Piedmont High School’s theater is heavily used as a classroom, auditorium and performing arts facility for the school district and the community.
Supporters said the theater is nearly 40 years old and needs significant safety and accessibility upgrades and repairs. They said that without significant renovations, the theater may need to close.
Opponents suggested that the school district look at the cost of building a brand new theater.
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