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2011 General Election Ballot Guide: California

Alameda County

Local measures

  • (–) Emeryville residents will vote on Measure C to increase the business gross receipts tax from 0.8 percent to 0.10 percent. This would result in a tax increase of roughly $640,000 per year.
  • (–) Emeryville voters will also consider Measure D to eliminate the cap on the business gross receipts tax. The current ceiling on the tax is roughly $117,000 per business; this measure would raise it to $300,000.
  • (+) Measure F on the local Emeryville ballot would amend the Municipal Code to prohibit the city from employing a City Attorney, and instead require Emeryville to contract with an attorney or law firm to act as the City Attorney.
  • (–) Residents in the Newark Unified School District will vote on a bond measure issuing $63,000,000 in debt for capital improvements.
  • (–) On a special November 15, 2011 mail-only ballot, City of Oakland residents will decide Measure I, which would impose a new tax of $80 per parcel per year to offset city overspending.
  • (–) On a special November 15, 2011 mail-only ballot, City of Oakland residents will also decide Measure J, which would extend the deadline requiring the city to fully fund its Police and Fire Retirement Plan.

 

Contra Costa County 

Local measures

  • (–) City of Lafayette residents will decide on Measure G to increase the parcel tax to $89 per year for 10 years to complete a road and drain reconstruction program.
  • (–) Pittsburg will vote on Measure H, which would increase the hotel occupancy tax from 8 percent to 12 percent and eliminate the tax exemption for federal and state employees traveling on official business.
  • (–) On a special November 15, 2011 mail-only ballot, West Contra Costa residents will decide Measure J, which would impose a tax increase of $5,200,000 per year to fund the San Pablo Medical Center. This tax would exist in addition to a special parcel tax approved for the same purpose in 2004.

 

Imperial County

Local measures

  • (–) City of Brawley residents will vote on Measure K to extend the current utility users tax until 2013, adding $1,300,000 in taxes. 
  • (+) City of Holtville residents will decide on how best to reduce the utility user tax. Holtville currently has a 5 percent tax on utilities. Voters will have three different options: reduce the utility tax by 1 percent every year for 5 years until it is eliminated; reduce the tax by 0.5 percent for three years and consider further reductions; or keep the current rates in place with a five-year sunset clause.

 

Los Angeles County

Local measures

  • (–) Hermosa Beach City residents will vote on Measure Q to increase the business license tax on restaurants and bars. The new formula does not take into account business revenues, making it possible for a business to pay more in taxes than it makes in profit.
  • (–) Hermosa Beach City will also consider a competing Measure N to simplify, update, and restructure the city’s business license tax. Measure N, if approved, would have the effect of raising taxes by $200,000 per year. If both Measure N and Q are approved, only the measure with the most “yes” votes will be enacted.
  • (–) Las Virgenes Unified School District residents will vote on Measure K to establish a local parcel tax of $95 annually for eight years to pay for staff salaries and costs.
  • (+) Residents of Montebello City will vote on Measure O, which requires a competitive bidding process for trash collection contracts.
  • (–) Newhall School District voters will decide on a bonding issue, Measure E, to create $60,000,000 in debt in order to upgrade facilities and improve energy efficiency.
  • (–) Residents in the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District will vote to extend the existing school parcel taxes to fund teacher recruitment and retention efforts, and provide a cost of living adjustment for district employees.
  • (–) San Marino City voters will consider Measure S to continue a special public safety tax.
  • (–) South Pasadena City residents will vote on Measure UT to extend for 10 years the existing Utility Users Tax, with a 0.5 percent reduction for a new rate of 7.5 percent, to provide funding for public safety programs and road repairs. While this measure would lower the rate slightly, it would also lock the tax into place for a decade and cost taxpayers roughly $3,800,000 per year.

 

Marin County 

Local measures

  • (–) Residents in the Town of Corte Madera will vote on whether to continue a special tax of $60 per residence and $60 per 1,000 square feet of floor area for nonresidential property, with increases of $5 per year to a maximum of $75, for paramedic services. 
  • (–) The Larkspur School District is asking voters to approve a property tax to pay for $26,000,000 in general obligation bonds. Annual property tax increases are estimated at $27 per $100,000 of assessed value. 
  • (–) The Tamalpais Union High School District is seeking to renew an existing parcel tax for 10 years. Measure B would extend the current $238.78 parcel tax and allow for annual 3 percent increases, with an exemption for property owners 65 and older. 
  • (–) Voters in Marin County residing in county service area number 19 will consider Measure F to fund paramedic services through a special property tax increase of $10, to $95, per residence and a 2.2 cent per square foot tax increase, to 13.2 cents, on nonresidential property.  
  • (–) Voters in the Marinwood Community Services District will decide on a property tax increase for fire services. Measure G would increase the tax from 18 cents to 28 cents per square foot of residential and commercial space. For owners of unimproved land, the tax would increase from $60 to $90 per acre. 
  • (–) The Inverness Public Utility District is seeking voter approval to increase its annual appropriations limit. Measure H seeks to override spending limits for four years.  

 

Mendocino County

Countywide measures

  • (–) Measure A on the countywide ballot would impose a new 0.0125 percent sales tax to subsidize public libraries.

 

Monterey County 

Local measures

  • (–) Bradley Union School District voters will decide on Measure T, which would issue $1,100,000 of bonds for general improvements at Bradley Union Elementary School.  
  • (–) City of Del Rey Oaks voters will consider Measure S to extend the existing 1 percent transactions tax for five years to subsidize budget needs.   
  • (–) Pacific Grove Unified School District residents will vote on Measure V to levy a $60 annual parcel tax for four years for “staff retention” efforts.

 

Riverside County 

Local measures

  • (–) City of Coachella voters will consider Measure K, a 0.5 percent retail sales tax increase, to provide additional funds to parks.
  • (+) Measure L on the City of Coachella ballot would instruct that funds raised by Measure K only be used for park and recreation purposes. This measure is not binding and is advisory only. Should the tax increase pass, Measure L would provide a disincentive for city officials to siphon off resulting proceeds to other projects.  
  • (–) City of Indian Wells residents will vote on Measure H to approve an increase in the Transient Occupancy Tax (essentially a hotel tax) from the current rate of 9.25 percent to 11.25 percent.
  • (–) City of Riverside voters will consider Measure I to extend the city’s existing $19 library parcel tax for another 10 years. 
  • (–) Residents of the City of Palm Springs will vote on Measure J to enact a 1 percent sales tax for 25 years to implement the Museum Market Plaza development plan.

 

San Bernardino County 

Local measures

  • (–) City of Hesperia residents will vote on Measure F to establish a citywide parcel tax of $85 per year for five years for fire and emergency services.

 

San Francisco County 

Countywide measures

  • (–) Proposition B on the countywide ballot proposes issuing $248,000,000 in new debt for pedestrian and bicyclist improvements as well as general traffic renovations.
  • (+) On the countywide ballot, San Francisco voters will consider two competing proposals, Propositions C & D, to overhaul the city’s pension liabilities. Proposition C, sponsored by the City Council would save a projected $1.3 billion over 10 years. Proposition D, spearheaded by Mayoral Candidate Jeff Adachi, would achieve savings of $1.8 billion over the same period. Both measures save taxpayer money compared to the status quo; however, Proposition D goes substantially further in addressing unsustainable long-term costs associated with public employee pensions.
  • (–) Proposition E on the countywide ballot of San Francisco would allow the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor to amend or repeal legislative initiatives. This could dramatically undermine voter preferences expressed at the ballot box on various issues.
  • (–) Proposition G on the countywide ballot would impose a 0.5 percent sales tax increase for 10 years to pay for public safety programs.

Local measures

  • (–) The San Francisco Unified School District is placing Proposition A before the voters to issue $531,000,000 in general obligation bonds with a 25-year maturity for capital improvements.

 

San Mateo County 

Local measures

  • (–) Burlingame Elementary School District residents will vote on a parcel tax of $76 for four years to pay for the district’s general expenses.
  • (–) City of Brisbane voters will decide on Measure J to increase the business license tax for large recycling centers to $3,000,000 per year, with an additional increase of the greater of 3 percent or the increase in the Consumer Price Index.
  • (–) Foster City residents will vote on Measure P to increase the hotel occupancy tax by 1.5 percent to a total of 9.5 percent to provide funding for general city services.
  • (+) Measure F on the Menlo Park Fire Protection District ballot would extend the voter approved appropriations limit of $40,000,000 per year for another four years.
  • (–) Millbrae School District voters will decide on Measure N to issue $30,000,000 in bonds for renovation efforts as well as construction of a new cafeteria at Taylor Middle School.
  • (–) Residents in the Pacifica School District will vote on Measure L to impose a parcel tax of $118 per year for five years for general education needs.
  • (–) Voters in the City of Redwood will consider Measure M to raise business license taxes by $21 plus an additional $15 per employee to pay for general city services.
  • (+) City of Redwood residents will vote on Measure K to allow the city to buy, sell, lease, and dispose of its real and personal property.
  • (–) City of Redwood residents will also vote on Measure I to increase the local hotel tax from 10 percent to 12 percent to provide for general city services.
  • (–) San Bruno Park School District voters will consider Measure O to issue $40,000,000 in bonds to renovate classrooms and make energy efficiency improvements.
  • (–) Residents of the City of San Mateo will vote on Measure G to authorize the city to provide for affordable housing projects through a housing impact fee and fee refund incentives for rental projects agreeing to provide below-market rates.
  • (–) Voters in the San Mateo Community College District will consider Measure H, which authorizes the district to issue $564,000,000 in new debt to make various upgrades.

 

Santa Clara County

 

Local measures

  • (–) City of Cupertino residents will vote on increasing the hotel occupancy tax by 2 percent to provide for general city services.
  • (+) Voters in the City of Palo Alto will decide on granting the City Council the authority to make final decisions regarding employee compensation, benefits and working conditions and also repealing the requirement that public safety employee disputes be resolved through binding arbitration.
  • (+) City of Sunnyvale voters will consider Measure B to reduce future Council compensation increases by eliminating the current automatic 5 percent annual increase and replacing it with an annual cost of living adjustments tied to inflation with a cap of 5 percent.

 

Solano County

Local measures

  • (–) Vallejo residents will vote on Measure B imposing a 1 percent sales tax for 10 years.

 

Sonoma County

Local measures

  • (–) Residents in the Bodega Bay Fire Protection District will vote on extending the $524 parcel tax, first passed in 2003, for an additional four years.

 

Stanislaus County

Local measures

  • (–) Voters in Modesto will vote on reducing the utility user tax rate from 6 percent to 5.8 percent while expanding tax to cover services such as VOIP and private communications services. While this measure would result in a slightly lower rate, it would dramatically expand the number of services to be taxed.
  • (+) Residents of the City of Modesto will vote on a nonbinding advisory measure on whether the city should seek to move its existing defined benefit retirement plan to a defined contribution plan for city employees.
  • (+) The City of Modesto ballot will also have a nonbinding advisory measure on whether the city should seek to move the City employee retirement benefit calculation from the current “single highest year salary” baseline to an “average of the employee’s last three years of salary” baseline.
  • (+) Residents of the City of Modesto will also vote on a nonbinding advisory measure to gauge opinion as to whether the city should seek to increase the age of retirement eligibility for city employees.
  • (–) City of Oakdale residents will vote on Measure O to enact a 0.5 percent sales tax increase for providing general city services for three years.

 

Ventura County

Local measures

  • (–) Voters in the City of Fillmore will vote on Measure I to increase the sales tax by 0.75 percent for five years.
  • (–) Las Virgenes Unified School District residents will vote on Measure K to establish a local parcel tax of $95 annually for eight years to pay for staff salaries and costs.