The issue Should San Luis Obispo’s Measure G get voters’ approval?
Measure G is just another Measure Y: a tax that promised much but delivered a series of broken promises.
City Hall used tens of thousands of your tax dollars to hire pollsters to find out what you would vote for, then promised things that polled well just to get your vote. The city then secured your vote on Measure Y by promising — as pollsters had suggested — that the tax measure would “sunset” or expire in eight years, only to work tirelessly since then to extend the tax beyond those eight years.
Once the Measure Y votes were in, the city turned around and spent the money on other things. Measure G just gives us more false “promises.”
G proponents cite a litany of Measure Y’s alleged “accomplishments,” all of which came from City Hall’s pollsters’ list of things that played well with voters, rather than things that were actually done. Since Measure G is a general tax, the city can spend it on anything it wants while providing the city with greater leverage to increase its bonded indebtedness.
Now proponents of G want you to believe that those opposing Measure G are just a bunch of anti-tax activists. Not true. The real issue with Measure G is about public trust and accountability — both of which have been conspicuously missing since Measure Y was passed in 2006. The city has spent Measure Y money on what it wanted rather than what it promised voters. Should that behavior be rewarded with yet another tax increase? We say no.
A couple of examples: Before Y, the city spent $47,500 per year repairing sidewalks. After Y, it spent as little as $10,000 per year, just enough to rebuild merely 85 feet of sidewalk. After promising significant flood and creek protection, our creeks are now in the worst condition since 1973 with major culverts clogged with debris year after year. Ask yourselves, what really happened to the $43 million collected by Measure Y?
While proponents of Measure G like the Chamber of Commerce fondly spout their slogan “Keep SLO Great,” we wish that were actually true. Sadly, it is not. Does a “great” city hire pollsters to manipulate voter opinions? Does a “great” city make promises to get your vote, then fail to follow through? Can we trust a city that’s “great” in this way?
San Luis Obispo was inarguably “great” when it built Mission Plaza and planted the beautiful street trees in downtown — both of which happened despite opposition from one of the main groups now pushing for G. It was “great” when it started the first public transportation system in the county and when it helped preserve the upper reaches of Bishop Peak. It was “great” when it built the Jennifer Street Bridge, when it created the Damon-Garcia Sports Fields and when it built our wonderful City-County Library.
While these are but a few of the projects that reflect our “greatness,” all of them were accomplished well before Measure Y was approved in 2006. None of them, not a single one, was funded by Measure Y.
Indeed, San Luis Obispo has been a “great” community, but it was greater before Y was enacted. We have witnessed far more transformative community-oriented improvements before Measure Y than after. Fortunately, those improvements were completed at a time when we had city councils that had the vision, foresight, the political will and the fiscal discipline necessary to achieve them.
So what “great” things has the city accomplished since Measure Y was adopted? We can find only one: the long overdue Santa Rosa Park Skate Park that is under construction in the eighth and final year of Measure Y. Other than that, the city has left us with a legacy of broken promises, fiscal sleights-ofhand and fervent attempts to manipulate public opinion. Since 2006, the city’s behavior has been anything but “great.”
And now they’re asking us to reward that bad behavior with yet another tax increase for another eight years? Let’s face it: Measure G will be an encore of Y.
Don’t be fooled again. Let’s vote NO on G and get back to what we really were before Measure Y — “Great.”