This guest post was written by Oakland City Council Member At-Large, Rebecca Kaplan.
Friends, Neighbors, Oaklanders….
This week, vote-by-mail ballots will be sent out to all Oakland voters, for the special election taking place this July. I am voting Yes on all four measures, and ask you to join me. Like most cities, Oakland is struggling to balance our budget and fund what matters. The four measures on the July 21st 2009 ballot will help fix Oakland’s economy, support our vital public services, provide jobs, and strengthen our future. All four measures are endorsed by a diverse coalition, including the Labor Council, the Oakland Builders Alliance, the California Nurses Association, and the Democratic Party.
Measure C provides funding for the Oakland Museum, Chabot Space & Science Center, the Zoo, and community events and festivals. It includes funding to help strengthen and market our hotel and hospitality industry, to create jobs. Measure C is paid for by a small increase in the hotel fee. Although only hotels pay this fee, even hotel leaders are supporting Measure C.
Measure D adjusts Oakland’s budget to redirect several million dollars towards police, fire, library, and seniors services. It reallocates funding without raising taxes, and changes the formula for the “Kids First” initiative, to protect vital public services and provide fair and reliable funding. It’s supported by the League of Women Voters.
Measure F creates a new business tax category with an increased rate for Oakland’s cannabis dispensaries. It is supported by Oakland’s medical cannabis dispensaries and patient advocates, along with doctors and nurses, and provides vital funding to fill Oakland’s budget gap, and help fund essential services, while allowing for reasonable control and regulation of cannabis dispensaries.
Measure H fixes a loophole in City law to make sure properties in corporate mergers pay the same Property Transfer Tax as residential homeowners and local businesses do. It helps fund essential public services and does not raise the transfer tax. Measure H guarantees fairness by ensuring all transfers pay the existing rate.
All four measures have widespread support.
I am voting Yes on all 4 Measures because all of them will help solve our financial crisis, not only now, but also in coming years. They are projected to help with about $8 million to $10 million in the first year, and by an even larger amount in future years. There is no borrowing involved — so these efforts will not only strengthen our situation in the present, they will also help improve financial stability for the long-term. I know that these Measures are part of the solution — but not the whole picture — and I am continuing to work on other efforts (which are not on the ballot) to strengthen Oakland’s economy and budget. Measures C, D, F, and H are the parts of the solution which are required to, by State law, be approved by voters. I am asking for your support, please vote Yes on C, D, F, and H.
You can get involved or learn more at www.Yes4Oakland.org
All voters should also be aware that this is a vote by mail only election. You should receive your ballot in the mail around June 25. It must be received by the Registrar of Voters no later than July 21, so mail your ballot back by July 15. For ballot questions, call (510) 272-6933.