The public is welcome; tell your friends and neighbors!
The speakers at our September kick-off meeting on money in politics, Bob Gammon of the East Bay Express and Helen Hutchison of the State League, reminded us that informed and aware voters are the best weapon against distortions and misleading information and the corrupting influence of secret money. Which of course led me to think: well, that's why we are here, that is what League is about! All the dedication and amazing energy and competence that our LWVO volunteers are putting into the candidate forums, the ballot measure pros and cons presentations, voter registration and other voter service activities will be successful if they result in building informed and aware voters.
What else can we all do to advance the League mission? A few simple things:
Show up - Voter Service events and programs are announced on the LWVO website
and Facebook; come to the next candidate forum and BRING A FRIEND. One
member told me that she brought a neighbor to the program on money in politics.
Her neighbor was so impressed with the work of the League that she joined LWVO.
Renew your membership - We are an all volunteer organization that can do nothing
without a strong and growing membership. We need everyone. The list of members
who have just not yet gotten around to renewing is much longer than it should be; I
know most of you have every intention of doing so. We are about to begin the laborious
process of calling every person with a reminder. Please save us this chore and
renew today - it's easy if you use PayPal on our website.
Contribute if you can - One of our proudest achievements, the Oakland Easy Voter
Guide, will be distributed this week as an insert in the East Bay Express, reaching
20,000 people everywhere in Oakland. The Spanish and Chinese versions of the
Guide reach underserved communities. We have had to dig into our savings to pay
for the Guide two years in a row, and we cannot keep doing that. If you want the
Oakland Easy Voter Guide to continue, please send whatever you can to the League
office. Your contribution will help build a city of informed and aware voters.
A final word about this Special Election Issue of the VOTER: it is important to keep our two League functions, voter education and advocacy, separate and distinct. When we present the neutral ballot measure pros and cons to the public, we do not talk about our own positions. But due to space constraints, this VOTER mailed to members and friends includes both. Be assured that the pros and cons analyses of the measures are in no way influenced by League positions.
This Hot Topics in October has been cancelled because of the presidential candidate debate that evening.
Thjs subject wil be presented some time in 2013.
Do you have an idea for a future Hot Topics discussion? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
▪ Easy Voter Guide -The League of Women Voters of California publishes an Easy Voter Guide containing a list of all the candidates and state ballot measures with basic information on each. The Guide is available through public libraries, from the League of Women Voters, and available for download at http://www.easyvoter.org. It is available in five languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean.
▪ CAvotes.org - League of Women Voters of California Education Fund website- to find unbiased information on ballot measures and other issues. Our general fund website - www.lwvc.org - has advocacy information, including
recommendations on ballot measures.
▪ California Fair Political Practices Commission - Access this site - http://www.fppc.ca.gov - and click on 2012 Election Spending to find out about major campaign donations to ballot measure campaigns.
▪ California Secretary of State - Access this site - http://www.ss.ca.gov - and choose Disclosure Requirements under Campaign and Lobbying Information to learn about reporting and disclosure obligations for candidates and campaign committees under the Political Reform Act. Click on Elections and Voter Information for more useful information.
▪ Cal-Access - Cal-Access provides links to various areas of financial information about candidates, campaigns state-wide and by state Senate and Assembly campaigns. Access this site -
http://www.cal-access.ss.ca.gov - to read the financial reports of campaign committees.
▪ NonProfitVote.org - a great resource with lots of information, including a "how to" guide for voter engagement activities for nonprofit organizations.
▪ California Budget Project (cbp.org) - useful unbiased information on budget-related ballot measures.
|Alameda County Measure A1||Parcel Tax|
Requires 2/3 vote to pass.
The Way It Is Now
The Oakland Zoo's funding comes mostly from entrance fees and sales of food and gifts. Almost 9% of the money comes from public support -- the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Park District. This is less than the 35% average level of public support for zoos nationwide.
The zoo has had support for capital improvements from a variety of tax measures (all bonds) over the years. Oakland has recently reduced its funding of the zoo significantly.
The zoo presents educational programs to students from all over Alameda County and the Bay Area.
What Proposition A1 Would Do
A parcel tax would be added to property taxes in Alameda County: $12 annually for residential parcels and $72 for commercial. This tax would go on for 25 years and would raise about $6 million annually. Proceeds would be used to repair existing facilities, for educational programs, and for animal care. Spending would be monitored by a public oversight committee.
The Oakland Zoo is an important public resource. Additional funding will allow the zoo to maintain affordable entrance fees and continue education programs.
The zoo already has multiple sources of public funds. We can't afford higher taxes.
Alameda County Measure B1
Requires a 2/3 vote to pass.
Should the voters of Alameda County approve a 1/2 cent sales tax increase that will be extended in perpetuity to help fund transportation projects and programs in the county?
The Way It Is Now
In 1986 and 2000 Alameda County voters approved Measure B, a 1/2 cent sales tax dedicated to transportation that is currently due to expire in 2022. The tax has funded improvements for transit, streets and roads, highways and freeways, and bicyclists and pedestrians. Funding from state and federal sources has since declined, and the economic downturn has reduced tax revenues. As a result, transit services have been cut, fares have increased and roadway maintenance has been deferred.
If this measure is approved, Alameda County voters would continue to pay the current ½ cent sales tax plus an additional ½ cent tax. The resulting 1cent tax will raise almost $7.8 billion for transportation purposes between 2013 and 2043.
What this Measure Would Do
More than three-fourths of the revenues would pay for improvements in three categories: transit, including paratransit; local streets and roads; and bicycle and pedestrian projects. Smaller amounts would go to freeways, transit-oriented development, freight transportation, and a student transit pass program. Updates to the spending plans will be submitted for voter approval by 2043 and every 20 years afterward.
Transportation sales taxes are critical to maintaining and upgrading our transportation infrastructure and services. These needs will go on forever. An independent watchdog committee will monitor expenditures.
Sales taxes are regressive because low-income households pay a larger share of their income in sales taxes than do higher-income households. The tax would be extended in perpetuity with no opportunity for voters to renew or end it.
A Yes Vote means: Alameda County taxpayers would pay an additional half-percent on all taxable purchases to fund transportation projects.
A No Vote means: No change in the current sales tax. It would expire in 2022.
OAKLAND UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT MEASURE J
School Facilities Bond Act of 2012
Requires 55% vote to pass
The Way It Is Now
School districts may sell bonds only to fund construction, upgrading, repair and furnishing of facilities. The bonds are repaid by property taxes based on the assessed value of each property. In 2006 the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) won passage of Measure B, which authorized it to issue $435 million in bonds. Those funds are fully allocated to projects that are in progress or completed. Expenditures are reviewed by a citizens oversight committee.
The new OUSD strategic plan includes a master plan for school facilities. OUSD estimates its facilities needs to be over a billion dollars.
What Measure J Would Do
Measure J would authorize OUSD to issue up to $475 million in bonds to fund facilities projects listed in the full text of the measure, and to qualify the district to apply for state matching funds. Bonds will be issued in four series over six years beginning in 2013. They will be repaid from a new property tax. Expenditures will be monitored by a citizens oversight committee and audited annually.
Beginning no earlier than the 2013-14 fiscal year, property owners would be taxed based on assessed value. The tax rate may range from $39 per $100,000 of assessed value at first up to no more than $60 per $100,000 when the last bonds are issued.
Upgrading Oakland schools is necessary to meet the goal of every child's having a safe school and a well-functioning classroom. Oakland school facilities are very old and need repairs. Science labs, classrooms and technology will also be upgraded. Measure J will qualify OUSD for matching funds that would otherwise go to other school districts.
No opposition argument has been put forward.
|PROP 30 Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act||YES|
|PROP 31 Government Performance and Accountability Act||NO|
|PROP 32 Special Exemptions Act||NO|
|PROP 34 SAFE California Act||YES|
|PROP 40 Referendum on Redistricting||YES|
|PROP 38 Tax for Education and Early Childhood Programs||NEUTRAL|
|PROP 39 Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses||NEUTRAL|
|Measure J Oakland School Facilities Bond 2012||YES|
|Measure A1 Oakland Zoo Humane Animal Care/Education Protection Measure||NEUTRAL|
|Measure B1 Transportation Sales Tax for Alameda County||NEUTRAL|
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Changes to the Roster
Alice Cary (New apartment number)
Iris Winogrond (new email)