Why Police Bond Issue Failed

In the end, history was its undoing.

Proposition 1, the $171-million bond issue to pay for police facilities, could not completely overcome the stigma attached to a similar ballot measure in 1989, which won over the public but then produced only a handful of the new buildings it promised.

However, with 62% of the votes in their favor Tuesday--just shy of the required two-thirds majority--supporters of Proposition 1 believe that momentum is on their side, and hold out the possibility of trying again, perhaps as early as the spring of 1996.

"The fact that 62% of the city believed that this is a good thing to do can't be discredited," said Councilman Richard Alarcon, author of the defeated ballot proposal, which would have raised property taxes by about $9 a year. "So I still consider it a victory in the sense that we made people more aware of the need for enhancing our police facilities."

Critics promised to rally against a revived effort to pass a bond measure, unless the proposal is scaled back to include a "bare minimum" of facilities and a provision to hire more police officers, said Richard Close, leader of the fight against Proposition 1.

This time, Close and other opponents, who raised no money for their campaign, were content to hammer at the theme of broken promises. They argued that taxpayers could ill-afford to entrust more money to officials who have built fewer than half the projects that voters expected from the 1989 bond measure.

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