The time has come for the Transportation Tax in Stanislaus County. The League of Women Voters of Stanislaus County supports Measure K on the November ballot for a half-cent sales tax, dedicated to improving the transportation system in our county.
There can be no argument that the conditions of the streets and roads in our county are severely wanting for capacity, maintenance, and safety. The recent growth in our county and our cities without adequate consideration for the impact on transportation as well as the diversion of funds by the State have put us in a serious catch-up situation. Streets and roads need to be expanded and repaired. Traffic congestion will only get worse.
Measure K offers something for everyone. The most significant advantage is to make Stanislaus County a self-help county which enables us to obtain funds from the state and federal governments for improvement of major corridors — think Highway 132, Pelandale, Kiernan, Oakdale Bypass, Patterson/Highway 5 — while maintaining local accountability.
Local jurisdictions will benefit with funds to make sorely needed repairs to streets and roads. Measure K also sets aside funds to jump-start the development of a more comprehensive transit system to serve the needs of those who cannot drive because of age, mobility, or lack of income. Improved transit means reduced congestion and plays a role in the Valley’s plans to improve air quality. Measure K is a critical first step in a long-term effort to create a balanced transportation system in Stanislaus County.
The League of Women Voters of Stanislaus County urges the passage of Measure K on the November ballot.
League of Women Voters of
Stanislaus County (formerly of Modesto).
Questions? Office: 524-1698. P.O. Box E, Modesto, CA 95352.
By MYRTLE OSNER
Usually Connections does not make recommendations on the ballot propositions, but this time I want to give you the recommendations of the League of Women Voters of California. These recommendations are released only after dedicated league members study specific issues in depth. No recommendations are given for those issues not studied by the league.
You also are invited to supplement the information below with a copy of the league's "Pros and Cons of the Ballot Measures", which explores both sides of each issue. They are available at all county libraries or by calling the league office at 524-1698.
Prop. 1A: Transportation Funding Protection. : Changes the way highway taxes are earmarked. Would authorize suspension of the rules if (1) the Governor issues a proclamation that the suspension is due to a severe state fiscal hardship, (2) a statute is enacted by the legislature by 2/3 vote, and (3) a statute is enacted to repay the taxes within 3 years, and would prohibit a suspension more than twice during 10 fiscal years. The League has not taken a position.
Prop. 1B: Highway Safety, Traffic Reduction, Air Quality, Port Security Bond Act of 2006: Part of the bond package developed to help rebuild California’s infrastructure. Would raise $19 billion for transportation improvement. League says YES.
Prop. 1C: Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust fund Act of 2006. $3 billion bond measure to finance housing-related programs, brownfield cleanup, and parks related to infill development. The League has long been concerned about providing adequate housing. League says YES.
Prop. 1D: Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act: $10 billion school bond. School construction, modernization, relief of overcrowding. THE LEAGUE SUPPORTS IMPROVING CALIFORNIA EDUCATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE. YES.
Prop. 1E: Disaster Preparedness and Flood Prevention Bond Act of 2006: Providing funds for flood protection, levee protection in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and storm water management. League Says YES.
Prop. 83: Initiative statute: Severely punishing sex offenders expanding definition and sentencing to indeterminate commitment. The League has no position.
Prop. 84: Water Quality, Safety and Supply, Flood Control, Natural Resource Protection, Park Improvement Bonds: $5 Billion Relates to safe drinking water, flood control, waterway and natural resource protection, water protection, local parks, conservation. LEAGUE SAYS YES.
Prop. 85: Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy. CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Anti-choice with monetary damages against physicians, reporting requirements. LEAGUE SAYS NO. In the real world, such requirements put teenagers in danger.
Prop. 86: Tax on Cigarettes. Constitutional Amendment: imposes an additional 13 cent tax on each cigarette; $2 billion estimated to fund children’s health coverage, emergency services and nursing education for qualified hospitals, tobacco-use prevention programs, etc. LEAGUE SAYS YES. The overwhelming social benefits outweigh the potential downside of this earmarked tax.
Prop. 87: Alternative Energy. Research, Production, Incentives. Tax on California Oil Producers. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute: $4 billion program to reduce oil and gas usage funding on tax of 1.5 % to 6%, to create incentives for alternative energy, inc. vehicles, education and training. Prohibits producers from passing tax on to consumers. THE LEAGUE HAS NO POSITION.
Prop. 88: EDUCATION FUNDING, REAL PROPERTY PARCEL TAX: $50 tax on each real property parcel to create the Classroom Learning and Accountability Fund in state treasury. LEAGUE SAYS NO: This is not real reform that would not even bring the state spending on education up to the national average. It also involves the state for the first time in property taxing.
Prop. 89: Political Campaigns, Public Financing, Contribution and Spending Limits. “Clean Money and Fair elections Act of 2006”. THE LEAGUE SUPPORTS PRACTICES WHICH ENABLE CANDIDATES TO COMPETE MORE EQUITABLY FOR PUBLIC OFFICE as well as limiting spending.
Prop. 90: Government Acquisition, Regulation of Private Property Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute. Bars state and local governments from condemning private property to promote other projects and uses. Limits governments’ authority to adopt land use, housing, consumer, environmental and workplace laws and regulations. Voids eminent domain court decisions. THE LEAGUE SAYS NO. Likely to increase costs to taxpayers with extensive litigation; vaguely worded.