Marx seeking sales tax renewal end-run around law

April 15, 2014
Jan Marx

Jan Marx


San Luis Obispo Mayor Jan Marx is seeking to use an appellate court ruling to forego the two-thirds council vote requirement to place a tax increase on the November ballot.

In 1986, California voters passed Proposition 62, which requires a two-thirds vote of a city council or county board of supervisors to place a general tax on the ballot for voters to approve. In the city of San Luis Obispo, 55.42 percent of voters said yes to Proposition 62 and countywide 63.83 percent of voters said yes.

At an April 1 council meeting, Marx, Councilman John Ashbaugh and Councilwoman Carlyn Christianson expressed support for renewing Measure Y, the city’s half-cent sales tax, while Council members Dan Carpenter and Kathy Smith expressed opposition. A 4-1 or 5-0 vote has been required in the past to place tax increases on the ballot.

Marx, who called Carpenter and Smith obstructionists, asked city attorney Christine Dietrick to look into the city of San Leandro having the ability as a charter city to place tax increases on the ballot with a majority vote. A 2001 ruling by the California Court of Appeal determined the two-thirds requirement does not apply to charter cities which have municipal codes that require a majority vote rather than the two-third state requirement.

San Leandro’s city charter specifies that only a majority vote of the city council is required rather than a two-thirds vote to place sales tax increases on the ballot.

Dietrick has determined the council can likely place the Measure Y renewal on the ballot with a majority vote based on the San Leandro case, according to the Tribune.

Nevertheless, the city of San Luis Obispo’s adopted municipal code section 3.15.020 states that in compliance with California Government Code Section 7285.9, the city requires that “two-thirds of the council and a majority vote of the electors voting on the measure, vote to approve the establishment of this new general purpose revenue source at an election called for that purpose.”

Smith said she does not trust the city to use general-purpose sales tax money on capital improvements as promised, though she would support a specific use tax. In recent months, city staff has struggled to identify capital improvement projects the city has completed using Measure Y funds.

At tonight’s city council meeting, Marx is likely to seek the inclusion of a Measure Y renewal on the May 6 agenda under the assumption the council no longer requires a two-thirds vote.

San Luis Obispo based attorney Stew Jenkins, who successfully sued the city over illegal treatment of the homeless, said he is analyzing the issue and considering requests to get involved.


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Twenty years ago a crooked politician like this would have been prosecuted

Just another local politician abusing the law. We need to completely clean the slate top to bottom. Jan Marx is nothing but a common criminal.

Well well, there was an article in todays paper about Ms Marx, but it failed to put in the verbage she used against the two council members,how bout that.

Its a sad commentary to see political leaders at all levels being shortsighted in their actions. Haven’t we burdened the future with an insurmountable debt in SLO??

SLO needs an enema

Why should a little thing like the law stop Ms. Marx from continuing her transformation of SLO into Marxland, it must be what the voters want, they keep her in office.

I may have missed it but I haven’t seen this written up yet in the bird cage paper the trib, but boy is it hot on endorsing irons for mayer a couple days ago and a couple other like thinkers today,they seem to be pretty good at sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong. I had been under the impression that the “news” papers were to be neutral in political discussions but I see here again this rag is not.

You should see the article they put in their (in The Cambrian version) about Dan Dow. Quite honestly Im thinking of supporting him over Covello but just because I agree doesn’t mean that what they did is right. It’s in the News section, which is ridiculous.

Oh my god the imperialist leader spoke and two people raised concern and refused to cow down to her imperial hine-ass. Good for them. City staff are so over paid and over compensated. The record of theft, embezzlement, criminal acts and misconduct of City employees is unacceptable, thus NO TO MEASURE Y. Instead, cut salaries and cut benefits starting with the crooks.


these folks just want more money and its their sacred right to get it from you…