Election to Be Held Today on Special Property Tax
Voters will decide today whether to approve a special city property tax to pay for park maintenance, traffic signals and median upkeep.
Measure C, which calls for a $49.50 annual assessment on properties in the city, needs the approval of two-thirds of voters to succeed.
The measure is supported by the entire five-member City Council and would pay for the maintenance of 13 parks, 85 traffic signals and a dozen miles of median.
However, the measure has ignited controversy. The city tried unsuccessfully to get a judge to delete part of school board member Mike Spence’s ballot argument against the tax.
Spence makes references to turmoil in City Hall, the departure of five top city officials and accuses the city of squandering money. The ballot argument also mentions an alleged incident involving Councilman Ben Wong, who is accused of flashing his council badge at a motorist in the manner of a police officer during a traffic incident. Spence argues that the city should find other ways to pay for the maintenance.
Previously, the council set property assessments. But a statewide proposition passed in 1996 requires voters to decide whether such local assessments should be levied.