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Smart Voter
Contra Costa County, CA November 2, 2010 Election
Measure R
Transactions and Use Tax
City of El Cerrito

Majority Approval Required

Pass: 5834 / 58.50% Yes votes ...... 4139 / 41.50% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 30 11:25am, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (11/11)
Information shown below: Arguments |

To protect and maintain City services, including fire prevention and emergency services; neighborhood police patrols, emergency response times, crime prevention and investigation resources; firefighter and police staffing; earthquake preparedness; afterschool programs for children and teens; senior services; parks; and other general City services: Shall the City of El Cerrito enact a half-cent sales tax for seven years, with citizens' oversight, annual independent audits, and all funds staying local, none to Sacramento?

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Arguments For Measure R Arguments Against Measure R
We need to keep our money in El Cerrito to protect our quality of life, our services, and our community - we need Measure R.

The choice is simple for El Cerrito residents + Vote Yes on Measure R! It's a choice between maintaining the City that is a great place to live, or letting the community decay under pressure from the State's fiscal crisis. Over the past several years a commitment to fiscal prudence, strong neighborhoods, and excellent City services and staff has created the El Cerrito that we all enjoy. Without Measure R, the recession, continued State takeaways, falling home prices, and strained revenues could destroy our high quality of life.

El Cerrito has taken significant steps to maintain high quality services including reducing staff by nearly 10% including police officers, firefighters, and parks/recreation staff and negotiated approximately $1 million in wage reductions from employees.

Voting Yes on R would restore or maintain critical services such as:

  • Fire protection and emergency medical services
  • Rapid 911 emergency response times
  • Afterschool programs for children and teens
  • Firefighters and police officers
  • Neighborhood police patrols
  • City parks, playgrounds, athletic fields/courts, swim center and senior center.

Stop State Raids! Sacramento has taken $22 million of El Cerrito's money over the past 15 years to solve the State's budget problems. Yes on R will give El Cerrito protected and reliable local control over local funds for local needs - No funds can be taken by Sacramento. Yes on R prevents severe cuts to our essential services.

Continuing El Cerrito's fiscal accountability and stewardship standard, Measure R requires citizen oversight, audits, and yearly reports to ensure funds are spent as promised.

Join Firefighters, Police, local business and community leaders in supporting Measure R and El Cerrito's quality of life.

Make the right choice for El Cerrito + Vote Yes on Measure R!

Janet Abelson Mayor, City of El Cerrito

Firefighter Local 1230, Rune Hoyer-Nielsen, El Cerrito Fire Captain, El Cerrito Fire Department, El Cerrito Police Employee Assoc., Department Representative

El Cerrito Police Employee Assoc., Ian J. Wong, President

Marvin Gardens Real Estate, Ronald Egherman, Owner, El Cerrito Environmental Quality Committee, Chair

El Cerrito Chamber of Commerce John C. Stashik, President

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Do not fall for the arguments in favor of the El Cerrito city sales tax increase. The arguments don't add up...

  • Property taxes are strong.
  • Sales taxes are continuing to increase.
  • Utility user taxes are growing.
  • The City Manager's budget presentation states he expects sales tax revenue to increase by 3% during the next fiscal year without the passage of this sales tax measure.
  • In July, the City Council guaranteed pay increases to Public Safety personnel through 2016.
  • The City's budget is now over $50 million.

The argument "for" this ballot measure states the extra money is needed to:
  • Stop State Raids: this measure will not stop State's raids. Raids are the acts of the California State Legislature.
  • Restore Fire and Police officers: o Fire department staffing is at the same level as the early 1990s. o Police department staffing expanded by 8 positions since 2004.

The City Attorney's impartial analysis states the City is not required to use the new sales tax for fire protection, emergency services, or fire or police officers as the Arguments "For" indicate it is needed.

The taxpayers of El Cerrito do not have unlimited resources. During this very difficult economic period, the City needs to adopt reasonable financial reforms to justify the need for additional taxes. It refuses to do so.

For all neighbors on fixed incomes and families stretching every dollar, we urge you to Vote NO on the Sales Tax measure.

Kenneth A. Berndt, Former Mayor, City of El Cerrito

Denise Sangster

Phillip Stephenson

Peggy S. Ryan

Erle H. Brown

The City Council of El Cerrito is asking us to voluntarily increase our sales tax rate to 10.25%. We oppose this tax rate increase and ask you to oppose it. Here are four reasons to Vote NO on the sales tax increase:

1. El Cerrito is currently in the highest sales tax rate north of Los Angeles County, 9.75%. Increasing our tax rate to 10.25% will put El Cerrito in the second highest tax rate in the State and the single highest sales tax area north of Los Angeles County.

2. The City's annual budget has increased from $16 million in 2001 to more than $50 million in 2010, an increase of over 200% in 10 years.

3. The number of City employees has increased by more than 39% since 2000.

4. Employees' total compensation (salary plus pension, benefits, car allowance, and more) has increased dramatically since 2000. The City Manager, for example, earns more than $180,000 in salary plus approximately $70,000 in benefits [pension contributions, car allowance, insurance (health / life / dental / disability), vacation pay, extra management time off, and more], bringing his total compensation to over $250,000. (Source: City of El Cerrito Finance Department.) Other top City of El Cerrito managers receive similar total compensation.

This is not the proper time for a tax increase. Our City Council must reform city government and cut costs wherever possible, while ensuring the highest level of city services during this economic downturn.

Our City Manager has predicted a municipal race "to the top" for sales tax rates. Don't let it happen in El Cerrito. Vote NO on the Sales Tax increase.

Kenneth A. Berndt, Former Mayor, City of El Cerrito

Denise A. Sangster

Erle H. Brown

Peggy Ryan

Phillip H. Stephenson

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Don't be tricked by exaggerated blustering about non-issues. You know your City - El Cerrito is well managed, fiscally responsible, and a great community. Residents live here for the high quality of life.

The FACTS about Measure R speak for themselves:

  • FACT: Yes on Measure R protects El Cerrito's vital services; firefighters and police officers, emergency medical services, rapid 911 emergency response, afterschool programs, neighborhood patrols, parks, and playgrounds.
  • FACT: Measure R gives you control. Every cent stays in El Cerrito and can't be taken by Sacramento.
  • FACT: City staffing is already down, we can't afford to lose more police, firefighters, or parks/recreation.
  • FACT: Measure R is just 5 cents on every ten dollars + visitors help pay +not levied on prescriptions or food groceries. That's a fair price to protect local services.

Unfortunately, Sacramento used El Cerrito to fund their bailout, taking $2 million dollars for the State deficit and millions from El Cerrito schools! We can't allow the quality of our community to crumble from these takeaways. Vote Yes on Measure R to maintain City services for children/teens, including afterschool and library reading programs that are critical to provide local students with the resources they need.

Yes on Measure R provides protected, reliable local revenue to prevent severe cuts to our services and quality of life. Remember, Measure R is temporary (just 7-years) to maintain services.

Yes on Measure R means residents keep track of our financial future with independent oversight, mandatory audits, and yearly reports.

Vote Yes on Measure R to Protect El Cerrito services!

Ann Cheng, Mayor Pro Tem, City of El Cerrito

Manish Doshi, Chair, El Cerrito Parks & Recreation Commission Past President, El Cerrito Futbol Club

Norman La Force, President, Friends of the El Cerrito Swim Center, Former Mayor

Hale Kronenberg, Member, El Cerrito Financial Advisory Board

El Cerrito Public Safety Employees Management Association, Lance Maples, Fire Chief/President

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Created: January 6, 2011 14:57 PST
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