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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Alameda County, CA November 7, 2006 Election
Measure N
Library Improvement and Expansion Bonds
City of Oakland

2/3 Approval Required

Fail: 62,126 / 64.2% Yes votes ...... 34,712 / 35.8% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Dec 4 5:41pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (273/273)
Information shown below: Fiscal Impact | Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Tax Rate Statement |

City of Oakland Library Improvement and Expansion Bond Measure. To construct a new Main Library at the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center and to acquire land and construct new branch library facilities and to renovate and expand branch library facilities, shall the City of Oakland issue $148,000,000 in bonds?

Fiscal Impact from Oakland City Auditor:
This bond measure, if approved by 2/3 of qualified City of Oakland voters, will result in the issuance of $148,000,000 in general obligation bonds to upgrade all City of Oakland branch libraries, to acquire land and construct two new library facilities in the Laurel and 81st Avenue communities, and create a new Main library in the Kaiser Convention Center Arena. It is projected that the all construction projects will begin in 2007 and be completed by 2017.

The upgrades and construction of a new Main Library in the Kaiser Convention Center Arena are in direct response to Oakland residents of the City of Oakland insistence for space for study rooms, meeting rooms, an increase in library programs and services for adults, pre-teens and teens, tutoring and homework assistance for children, a variety of accessible book collections, increased literacy programs, access to current technology, and locations that provide Wi-Fi capability. In addition, if this bond measure passes, the funds will also be used to purchase over 200 new computers and to provide, among other services, employment training and life skills programs.

The bond measure will be funded by increasing ad valorem property taxes at a rate not to exceed $39.60 per year for every $100,000 of assessed property value. The total assessed value of all secured and unsecured City of Oakland properties is $38,097,137,849 for tax roll year 2006- 2007, according to the County of Alameda Assessor's office. Also, the total number of secured and unsecured properties for the same period is 116,445. This means that the average assessed value per property owner is $327,169, resulting in an average property tax increase of approximately $119 per property owner per year, if this bond measure is passed. This average property tax increase of $119 per property owner will not be used for operating or maintenance costs for any of the branch libraries or the new Main Library in the Kaiser Convention Center Arena. The bond measure would require the City of Oakland to pay for such costs out of its General Fund.

The City's Treasurer's Office reports that the City has an estimated $1,100,000,000 indebtedness in general obligation bonds as of August 10, 2006. According to the proposal passed by Oakland's City Council, the maximum interest rate to be paid on this indebtedness will not exceed 12% per annum, unless the State of California establishes a higher interest rate. However, if this bond measure passes the issuance of an additional $148,000,000 in general obligation bonds may lower the City's current credit rating, which could result in bondholders requiring payment of a higher interest rate. In this case, the City will have the power to increase ad valorem property taxes to pay for the additional debt service.

s/Roland Smith
City Auditor

Impartial Analysis from Oakland City Attorney
Measure N submits to the voters of the City of Oakland the question whether general obligation bonds should be issued in the amount of $148,000,000. The proceeds of the bonds would finance the acquisition and construction of the new library facilities, the improvement and expansion of library branch facilities, and the construction of a new main library at the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center.

Bonds authorized by Measure N will be repaid by a supplemental property tax. The tax, known as "ad valorem" tax, will be based upon the assessed value of real property and improvements located in the City. Measure N would impose a supplemental ad valorem property tax specifically levied each year to pay the interest on the bonds and a portion of the principal of the bonds.

A "Yes" vote is a vote in favor of authorizing the issuance of general obligations bonds and a supplemental ad valorem property tax.

A"No" vote is a vote against the issuance of bonds and a supplemental ad valorem property tax.

Measure N is submitted to the voters of the City in accordance with the Constitution of the State of California. Passage of Measure N requires that two-thirds of those voting on this measure vote "Yes" for approval.

s/John Russo
City Attorney

  Official Information

Oakland Library Information about Measure N (Eng, Span, Chi)
News and Analysis

Oakland Tribune

The Montclarion Berkeley Daily Planet Partisan Information

Proponents Web Site

Support Oakland's Libraries - Vote Yes on Measure N

Opponents Web Site

No Palace Library!
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Arguments For Measure N Arguments Against Measure N
The last time Oakland voters were asked to approve a facilities bond for Libraries was at the end of WWII. Since 1945 school libraries have closed and students and low-income families increasingly turn to Oakland libraries for tutoring, after school programs, homework centers, literacy classes, access to computers, safe havens for youth, and educational support.

In the past 60 years, the physical condition of our Oakland libraries has deteriorated from age and heavy public use. Thirty years ago there were 23 branch libraries, today just 16. Many libraries are stretched beyond capacity and cannot adequately support current services and programs.

Oakland libraries need basic health and safety repairs. Several libraries do not have public restrooms. There is not enough space for the books, DVDs, CDs, books-on-tape, let alone youth study areas, computers, and space for tutoring and group classes.

The Main Library, now over 55 years old, no longer meets the current needs of Oakland's diverse citizens nor current safety or health requirements.

Measure N will:

  • Improve all branch libraries for more effective, efficient service and programming;
  • Fund facility improvements at EVERY branch library, including computer technology upgrades and improved reading and seating areas;
  • Construct two new branches in the Laurel and East Oakland, currently without libraries;
  • Upgrade electrical, plumbing and ventilation systems;
  • Install public restrooms in all branches currently lacking them;
  • Move the Main Library to the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center Arena to provide badly needed technological, reference and collection support to all of Oakland's branch libraries.

Measure N requires annual independent audits and an independent citizen oversight committee to ensure Measure N dollars are spent as promised.

Please vote yes to support the first major renovation of Oakland libraries in 60 years.

s/Ishmael Reed
s/David Kakishiba
President, Oakland Unified School District Board of Education
s/Olis Simmons
Executive Director, Youth Uprising
s/Jean Quan
Council Member
s/Jerry Brown
Mayor of Oakland

The Oakland city council wants to build a luxurious new main library. Taxpayers would take the hit for $148 million of bonds.

The council wants a palace. If you rebuild your modest home of 1,500 square feet at the same outrageous cost of $733 per square foot, you would spend more than $1 million!

Meanwhile, twelve of the branch libraries would divide up only one-third of the proceeds. Besides the huge bond, the council wants $10 million-plus for custom-built shelves and such + a separate hit on the City budget.

That's only half the story. What about the current main library, a full city block? Would it be privatized? Or would we pay again for some renovation project? Remember the Measure DD bonds for Lake Merritt + only later did the City reveal it would chop down hundreds of trees. "Trust us" and half a plan are not good enough.

We already owe well over $1 billion of City debt. Meanwhile, the council ignores Oakland's urgent needs, such as peaceful streets. From 1994 to 2005 the council added 357 new positions to the total budget, but the number of police ended up the same. Our police department is seriously understaffed.

While basic services decline it seems every Oakland ballot proposes a new tax + Measures DD, Q, R, Y, and now N. This Spring the council demanded an increase in the Landscape and Lighting assessment. Documents showed only 45 cents of every new dollar would have gone for parks or lighting. Voters defeated this misleading tax hike.

For more information, please see

Instead of restoring public safety and maintaining infrastructure, the council wastes precious dollars. Let's send the council a message:
No palace! Vote No on Measure N!
s/Jacquee Castain, Member
Webster Tract Neighbor Assoc.
s/David E. Mix
Native Oakland Resident
s/Robert Klinger, Elected Member
Central East City Project Area Committee
s/Judith S. Offer
Playwright and Poet
s/Charles Pine
Oakland Residents for Peaceful Neighborhoods

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The Opponents of Measure N are well-known opponents of efforts to improve the quality of education in Oakland. They believe that by voting no you will be "sending a message" to the city council. The only thing accomplished by voting no is that thousands of Oakland seniors and children will not have access to books and educational materials.

Instead of sending messages, look at the facts.

Measure N will repair and renovate every Oakland neighborhood library including Brookfield, Cesar Chavez, Dimond, Eastmont, Elmhurst, Golden Gate, Lakeview, Martin Luther King Jr., Melrose, Montclair, Piedmont Avenue, Rockridge, Temescal, West Oakland and the Asian Library.

Measure N will provide the first renovation of Oakland libraries in 60 years. Two new libraries will be completed: one in the Laurel district and a new joint OUSD/public library on 81st Avenue in East Oakland to support the community and local schools.

The antiquated and inadequate downtown main library will be moved to the Kaiser Arena, closed by the city last year. This new library, paid in part by donations and grants will improve support services for all neighborhood libraries.

Measure N ensures Oakland's Libraries have space to provide educational programs such as homework centers, computer labs and tutoring services that are otherwise unavailable to Oakland children.

Measure N will upgrade aging and overused library infrastructures and ensure that every library has public restrooms.

An independent Citizen's Oversight Committee will be appointed to ensure that Measure N is spent only on improving our libraries.

Please vote YES.
Alameda County Commission On Aging,
Public Relations Committee
Interim State Administrator
Oakland Unified School District
Coliseum Neighborhood
Executive Director
The Unity Council

Tax Rate Statement from Oakland Director of Finance & Management
An election will be held in the City of Oakland (the "City") on November 7, 2006, to authorize the sale of up to $148,000,000 in bonds of the City to finance library improvements as described in the ballot measure. If the bonds are approved, the City expects to sell the bonds in three series over time. Principal and interest on the bonds will be payable from the proceeds of tax levies made upon taxable property in the City. The information contained in paragraphs 1-3 below is provided in compliance with Sections 9400-9404 of the Elections Code of the State of California.

1. The best estimate of the tax which would be required to be levied to fund this bond issue during the first fiscal year after the sale of the first series of bonds, based on estimated assessed valuations available at the time of filing of this statement, is $.01200 per $100 ($12.00 per $100,000) of assessed valuation in fiscal year 2007-08.

2. The best estimate of the tax rate which would be required to be levied to fund this bond issue during the first fiscal year after the sale of the last series of bonds, based on estimated assessed valuations available at the time of filing of this statement, is $.03753 per $100 ($37.53 per $100,000) of assessed valuation in fiscal year 2013-14.

3. The best estimate of the highest tax rate which would be required to be levied to fund this bond issue, based on estimated assessed valuations available at the time of filing of this statement, is $.03753 per $100 ($37.53 per $100,000) of assessed valuation in fiscal year 2013-14.

Voters should note that the estimated tax rates are based on the ASSESSED VALUE of taxable property on the County's official tax rolls, not on the property's market value. Property owners should consult their own property tax bills to determine their property's assessed value and any applicable tax exemptions. Attention of all voters is directed to the fact that the foregoing information is based upon the City's projections and estimates only, which are not binding upon the City. The actual tax rates and the years in which they will apply may vary from those presently estimated, due to variations from these estimates in the timing of bond sales, the amount of bonds sold and market interest rates at the time of each sale, and actual assessed valuations over the term of repayment of the bonds.

The dates of sale and the amount of bonds sold at any given time will be determined by the City based on its need for construction funds. The actual interest rates at which the bonds will be sold will depend on the bond market at the time of each sale. Actual future assessed valuation will depend upon the value of taxable property within the City as determined by the County Assessor in the annual assessment and the equalization process.

s/William E. Noland
Director of Finance and Management

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