SLO’s Measure G deserves a yes

September 11, 2014

slo gOPINION By CLINT PEARCE, ANDREA PEASE and PIERRE RADEMAKER

As the co-chairs of SLO Citizens for Measure G, we firmly believe that Measure G will benefit all San Luis Obispo residents and therefore deserves the community’s support.

As a reminder, Measure G seeks to renew a half-percent sales tax that SLO voters overwhelmingly approved eight years ago as Measure Y.

We believe Measure G is necessary to fund the kind of improvements we want to see in the future, such as preserving open space, keeping our parks clean, maintaining our streets and sidewalks, reducing traffic congestion, and promoting safer, quieter neighborhoods.

SLO Citizens for Measure G represents a diverse group of community activists, environmentalists, agriculturists, small-business owners, nonprofit representatives, former elected leaders and others who share our belief that our city needs the continued investment in city services that this half-cent sales provides.

Here are several other reasons we support Measure G:

G is a renewal; it’s not a tax increase: As noted above, Measure G would continue the revenue that voters overwhelmingly approved of eight years ago as Measure Y. Yes on G means the city can continue to improve essential services.

G benefits all residents: This tax provides millions of dollars a year to fund street repairs, flood prevention, open-space preservation, bike paths, downtown safety and many other items that improve the quality of life for all residents.

G is affordable: This half-percent tax equals about $1 a week for the typical SLO resident, yet it generates $6.5 million in revenue to the City of SLO. And all of it stays here to be invested in city services. It’s also a significant portion of the city’s general operating budget, about 12%.

G is fair: Nonresidents and tourists – who are large users of virtually all city services – pay nearly 75% of the tax while residents pay a little over 25%. That indeed is a fair deal for residents.

Opponents of Measure G allege that the city is sitting on a secret pile of cash reserves and doesn’t need Measure G. That’s simply wrong on two counts:

First, there’s nothing secret about the city’s cash and investments. The city regularly reports on its investment portfolio, and this information is publicly available and posted on the city’s web site.

Second, while the city does have approximately $87.4 million in pooled investments from all city funds, about $75.4 million of that is set aside for specific projects, such as improving the Los Osos Valley Road interchange, regular maintenance and upgrades of the city’s sewer and water system, and for special capital improvements such as parking garages. In short, monies for restricted purposes like water, sewer and parking cannot be used for General Fund operations or capital improvements.

The remaining $12 million of these pooled investments is the city’s general fund reserve – that is, the city’s rainy-day fund, to be used for emergencies, as in the event of an earthquake or sudden recession.

Opponents have further suggested that the City Council is putting too much money into its contingency fund. In fact, the city should be congratulated for having a solid rainy-day fund. At $12 million, the reserve fund now equals 20 percent of the general fund, the minimum prescribed by city policy.

However, that one-time reserve would be wiped out quickly if Measure G were to fail because the city would instantly lose more than $6.5 million annually. It would take the equivalent of opening 10 new Costcos to replace that revenue. That kind of development just isn’t going to happen and would be inappropriate in any scenario.

We know that some people are skeptical about whether the tax money has been spent as promised. Many of us who support Measure G have shared that concern. But we have reviewed the city’s spending records in detail, and it’s clear that the money has been spent appropriately – and as promised when it went before voters for approval in 2006.

We also know that some opponents of Measure G are concerned that future tax revenue will be used to pay pension costs. Every California city is dealing with pension costs. San Luis Obispo is no different. To its credit, the city has recently implemented pension reforms, and the council has committed to developing a longer-term plan to address the costs of commitments made long ago. Additionally, city employees have agreed to significant concessions in wages and benefits that are saving the city more than $3 million annually.

Realizing that doubts persist, the city council has opted to hold itself to an even higher level of accountability to ensure that these funds are spent properly and clearly tracked. The council has publicly agreed to three critical components:

1. Developing a philosophy of fiscal responsibility that calls for an appropriate balance between personnel costs and capital improvement projects.

2. Appointment of a citizens’ oversight committee to review Measure G expenditures and make sure the city addresses its financial issues in a straightforward, transparent manner.

3. A scorecard that publicly tracks and measures city spending.

The half-percent sales tax has enabled the city to make a substantial progress on improving essential services these past eight years, but much more work is still ahead to achieve the goals of our community. That’s why Measure G is necessary. At $1 a week for the typical SLO resident, it’s a terrific investment, returning millions of dollars in improvements and services for all residents.

Please join us in supporting Measure G. Keep SLO great; vote yes on Measure G.

Clint Pearce is President of Madonna Enterprises and past chair of the SLO City Tourism Business Improvement District.

Andrea (Andy) Pease is an architect and principal of In Balance Green Consulting, and a founding member of SLO Green Build.

Pierre Rademaker, owner of Rademaker Design, is a past president of the SLO Downtown Association

For more information about Measure G and about SLO Citizens for Measure G, click here.


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rogerfreberg

Nothing makes folks more angry than a self serving government enriching themselves.


I won’t add to what Richard Schmidt so eloquently described in what appears to be a callous, manipulating and devious effort to fool the public.


Am I wrong or has some of the folks who signed this article done business with the city… seems like a conflict of interest to me.


NO on G


SLOBIRD

Roger,


All three of the co-chairs (plus Ken Hampien who is advising, coordinating and assisting this movement because it was his administration who created Measure Y) who deal directly with the City.


We all know about Clint Pearce/Madonna and their developing of Los Osos Valley Road, Mr. Rademaker who does work for the election candidates plus he is Mr. Downtown San Luis Obispo/Chamber of Commerce, and then Andrea Pease who is guiding the City with their build Green movement (personal friend of Jan Marx).


All of something to gain with this continued money!


obispan

City Manager STILL paid more than the Governor, check. City Attorney STILL paid more than the Attorney General, check. City employee who stole and fenced City equipment STILL there, check. City employee who in a hissy fit with superiors ordered toxic waste illegally dumped though the taxpayers pay for proper disposal services STILL their, check. Money STILL available to create jobs as needed for relatives, check. The City has very adequate revenues to take care of all basic services. It is the absolute financial envy of every other municipal government you can think (other than Pi$mo Beach). This tax is to continue waste, and spend money on projects to profit the aforementioned editorial authors.


mkaney

I am surprised at you, Mr. Rademaker. Years ago when you ran for city council you were on the “good” side. You were someone who combined the political values of the left and the fiscal values of the right. It looks like you have been assimilated by the progressives.


That aside, you guys need to stop parking the trailer with the ILLEGAL sign in random spots around the city. The city sign ordinance states that no vehicle shall be parked displaying a sign if parked for the purpose of displaying the sign.


r0y

That illegally posted campaign sign in the public right-of-way via a private trailer needs to be TICKETED. Today/Tonight (Thursday) it was on the north side of Tank Farm Road out near Broad (about a block from it).


I was tempted to hang a Gadsen Flag over it, but I’m sure the message would be lost…


mkaney

Like you, I am strongly inclined to think it needs a response. Even if they were to get cited for it, they know that it still allowed them to further their game of manipulating uninformed people through recognition / repetition. The amount of exposure they received from it ought to be punished with an equivalent amount of exposure on their violation.


It is ironic that the people violating the law here are the exact same ones who are bent on using our money on increasing the government infrastructure which tries to tell everyone else what to do and how to do it.


The violation is clear.. city sign ordinance 15.40.300 Paragraph K.


K. Vehicle Signs. Signs attached or painted to vehicles and parked in a position and location with the primary purpose of displaying the sign. (Ord. 1455 § 2 (part), 2004)


SLOBIRD

How can the City ticket their movement. These folks are not promoting this for commonsense. This movement has government involvement, promises, and Pease, Pierce/Madonna and Rademaker will be rewarded with backroom promises, right Ken!


My neighbor got a letter from Ken Hampien spouting the need to continue this tax for the “betterment” of your retiree pension. Nice!


shelworth

Gimme, gimme, gimme. Time to say NO.


hijinks

If you go back and look at Richard Schmidt’s expose on the polling and manipulation of city voters by the city (below), you’ll find the list of “talking points” developed by the highly paid consultants (you taxpayers paid for them!) tracks remarkably the talking points of these spokespersons for G. It makes them look silly to keep saying this stuff once we all know they’re canned talking points developed by the experts to fool us again.


One also has to remark upon who’s backing G — the Chamber of Commerce and their cousin the Downtown Association, and their developer cronies. If you look at the overlapping membership of the boards of these groups (just google their boards of directors and they pop right up), and consider that all three of these spokespersons are Chamber honchos, and Rademaker is practically Mr. Downtown, it becomes clear: they’re in it for the goodies they will get from G. This isn’t a popular movement for G; it’s a Chamber/DA money grab. The Chamber gets several hundreds of thousands of $$ from the city each year, and the city collects taxes it then gives to the DA. Their support of G is payback for the city subsidies the groups get.


But voters, you’re on the hook for $1500 if you approve this thing. Bet you could use that moolah for something better than subsidizing the Chamber.


SLOBIRD

Mr. Rademaker, were you paid for your campaign designed material on Measure G or was it donated by you?


Transparency should be discovered by you, Ken Hampien – a backroom co-chair/supporter of this movement who implemented Measure Y before he retired and implemented the overpaid retirement pension for the SLO City employees (retired City Manager who has a retirement check of over $150,000 a year) and of course, our favorite, Clint Pearce/Madonna Corporation, and Andrea Pease, a Member of “2030 Challenge Coalition”, a SLO Green Build member on the steering committee working with SLO County and cities to maintain a Green Build program and to educate the general public and the professional building community.


Obviously, the people taking the lead on robbing you will all benefit greatly from your contributions to Measure G or Y or whatever they call it today!!!!!


VOTE: NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO


HarryMalone

If Boehner can sue Obama then can we sue the City Council and the City Manager for breach of contract when the money is not spent as promised?


Measure G stands for

GOVERNMENT GREED!


SLOBIRD

Here is the reality of Measure Y:

Approximately $6 Million Dollars a year has been collected for 7 Years (2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, and currently 2014-15).


That is approximately $42 Million Dollars ($6 Million x 7 Years = $42Million Dollars). That is a fact! The City reports $31.9 Million collected for Fiscal Year 2008-2012.


As I recall, in November 2006, voters in the City of San Luis Obispo approved Measure Y, which increased the tax rate in the City limits of San Luis Obispo by 1/2-cent. The new rate took effect on April 1, 2007. Where is the money from 2007-08.


The City has stated the money has been spent as follows:

1. Open Space Acquisition and Maintenance: 5% / $1.49 Million

2. Flood Prevention: 13% / $4.27 Million

3. Traffic Congestion Relief: 5% / $1.66 Million

4. Public Safety: 24% / $7.73 Million

5. Infrastructure Maintenance: 53% / $16.80 Million

6. TOTAL: $31.9 Million


http://www.slocity.org/administration/localrevenue.asp


I ask the following questions for the above expenditures:

1. Open Space:

A) What open space has the City purchased?

Where is the money the City use to spend on maintenance for open space since you have acquired no new property?

2. Flood Prevention:

A) Define what major project the City has done for $4.27 since 2007? If it is maintenance, where is the money you use to spend on maintenance?

3. Traffic Congestion Relief:

A) What new street, by-way, signals, have been installed to improve the flow of traffic in the City that was not paid for with funds from development and transportation fees collected for the development of Los Osos Valley Rd that has benefited the Madonna Corporation (Home Depot, Costco, Target, etc.)? Has the flow of traffic improved with the expenditure of $1.66 Million Dollars?

4. Public Safety:

A) With the exception of the additional $1 Million Dollars the City is paying the employees for the loss of Binding Arbitration Lawsuit, and the additional costs for the retirement fund, how many new public safety employees have been hired for $7.73 Million Dollars? How much is the City charging Cal Poly for their Safely Program and has this increased with the additional Housing on Campus? What exactly has the City spent $7.73 Million that you were not spending before Measure Y?

5. Infrastructure Maintenance:

$16.8 was spent on what? Other than Los Osos Vly Rd and the Downtown, how many neighborhoods have been paved, how many replaced signals, bridges, new energy improved street lights and what was the largest project the money was used for?

6. $31.9 Million should be layered on top of what the City was spending BEFORE 2007. In almost every incident, the City has reduced the spending in these categories and back filled them prior to 2007 and replaced it with Measure Y dollars.


So, two big questions:

1) The money you stripped from the budgets and inserted Measure Y is where?

2) Where is all the new Sales Tax money from Costco, Home Depot, Target, Dicks, Old Navy, Home Goods, Bev Mor, Panda Express, Petco, Olive Garden, going?


According to SLO Chamber of Commerce newsletter:

“Measure Y dollars are used to keep police officers on our streets, train our firefighters, pave our streets, clean our storm drains and enhance our city’s greenbelt among many other priorities.”


http://slo-business.com/business-involvement-needed-in-measure-y-committee/


Mr. Rademaker, as a prior Council Member, a member of the Chamber and Downtown Association, and a local businessman / Advertising Agency who has benefitted and done business with the City, local election campaigns, Chamber of Commerce, Visitor Center, etc., along with Mr. Hampien (retired City Manager who is the highest paid retiree with the City and who recently solicited retiree employees to contribute to this measure for “their benefit” and provided donation forms, and of course, Madonna Corporation who has benefitted the most from the development of Los Osos Valley Road for their family Corporation as you form this committee to continue to be deceitful to our citizens.


When is the City going to have enough money to provide services. The $75,000 the City just gave to the Pismo Reserve out of the City Reserve along with donations to CAPSLO do not serve the taxpayers.


This was, is and will continue to be another government scam along with the SLO Coastal School Bond, Cuesta Bond, Atascadero Bond, etc. and all we get are governments that serve the favorites, elite employees like Lickit, Dietrich, etc.


NO-NO-NO MEASURE G NO-NO-NO


achillesheal

All you need to do to get to the truth about government is follow the money.


NorthCountyGuy

Government spending is out of control because government corruption is way out of control.