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Original post made
on Aug 12, 2011
Haven't we done a facilities bond issue for community colleges in each of the last few elections?
Someone's going to have to convince me how "modernizing buildings for earthquake and fire safety, energy efficiency, and accessibility for people with disabilities" will "prepare students for high-demand 21st century jobs".
Sign me skeptical....
This ballot measure was based on a survey of 800 voters who supposedly approved this idea at the 66% level. They only need 55% to pass.
I attended this last meeting and asked how many of the 800 voters were property owners?
The did not know the answer to that question. I was also told this bond could be 30-40 years.
Lowering the vote requirement from 2/3 to 55% has produced a dramatic increase in bonded indebtedness. This Measure would increase the district's indebtedness to >$Billion.
A history of the District's Bond proposals begins with a $148 Million bond measure (Measure A) in November 1999. See Web Link for details of the District's $250,000 multi media campaign and the SMCCCD Foundation Grant of $40,000 to the Citizens for Higher Education Committee to support Measure A. .
Today, with an oversight committee Web Link which failed to prevent premature sale of bonds to be invested in what can best be described as a calculated risk gone bad, why should we give them more? A look at that oversight committee reveals that one member, Adrienne Zanini, is listed as a Representative of a Bona-Fide Taxpayers Association. Here's what the SMCBOS had to say about Ms. Zanini: Web Link. When I queried Barbara Christensen of SMCCCD she replied "She was nominated by the California Tax Reform Association". As a long time advocate for taxpayers, I can tell you that the California Tax Reform Association is no friend of the taxpayer.
This is no time for complacency! Speak out against this outrageous proposal and Vote NO in November!
Have they said how they would pay for the bond interest and principal?
It's great that San Mateo County has so much money to spend because the state and the country are broke.
gunste, an addition to the property taxes of San Mateo County property owners, in an amount stated in the Tax Rate Statement submitted by SMCCCD, would service the debt. That Statement ESTIMATES a rate of $12.92/$100,000 of assessed valuation, and is based upon estimated assessed valuations at the time of filing. That Statement also contains a disclaimer: "Attention of all voters is directed to the fact that the foregoing information is based upon the District's projections and estimates only, which are not binding on the district." See: Web Link
Currently, the tax rate for servicing existing bonds is $19.30/$100,000. If the Bond measure passes, the combined rate will be $32.22/$100,000.
Buildings built 50 years ago are not typically equipped to withstand earthquakes to current standards. CCC buildings are subject to DSA requirements (Division of the State Architect) and the first thing any entity subject to DSA requirements must do is address seismic (hard to learn if the building falls on your head), life safety (also hard to learn if you are trapped in burning building) and accessibility (compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act - hard to learn if you can't even get into the building in the first place.)
Jack Hickey and Michael Stogner's responses are predictable. If they had their way, we would let our civic infrastructure collapse.
It is tough to sell a bond (which results in higher property taxes) during a down economy. No argument there. As citizens and tax payers we need to decide whether we are going to continue to invest in our infrastructure. It's that simple.
Person? said: "CCC buildings are subject to DSA requirements" Is that ex post facto? What about unfunded mandates? Maybe we could sell the District assets to a non-profit organization who could then operate without tax dollars, and fewer DSA requirements?
Does anyone have information on just how many additional tax dollars (state matching funds) were added to the existing bond funds. People might want to know. Did the state issue bonds early only to lose big time in the investment scandal?
The District claims they got $50 Million less than expected in matching funds. That's why they need a new $564 Million Bond. Wow! That's inflation!
You know exactly what "CCC buildings are subject to DSA requirements" means, so you're just being disingenuous. By unfunded mandates, are you referring to the Americans with Disabilities Act? That is certainly an unfunded mandate, and you will get no argument here that it is flawed in that it is civil rights legislation that is not clearly defined and thus subject to both local interpretation and to litigation. However, the current reality that our community colleges live under is that any building that requires renovation (which would include a lot of buildings built when our community colleges were originally built) must be brought up to current code (perhaps that does meet the definition of ex post facto) in terms of accessibility, seismic and life safety.
Most Americans feel that public education is important and we choose to fund it and support it. It's vital to the health of our communities, just like transportation, health services, parks and other shared services that we both enjoy and have joint responsibility to maintain. That's why bond measures pass around here.
Bond measures pass around here, and in California in general because of the reduced vote requirement. (55% vs 2/3 vote)
Also, districts spend lots of tax money for PR to enhance passage.
Person who refuses to identify self says,
"Jack Hickey and Michael Stogner's responses are predictable. If they had their way, we would let our civic infrastructure collapse."
I invite (Person) to give one example to prove that statement is true about me.
Lowering the vote requirement from 2/3 to 55% has produced a dramatic increase in bonded indebtedness. Now, the San Mateo County Community College District is seeking it's third 55% Bond measure in the last 10 years. This Measure would increase the district's indebtedness to >$Billion.
A history of the District's Bond proposals begins with a $148 Million bond measure (Measure A) in November 1999. That Measure which required a 2/3 vote, was defeated in spite of the District's expenditure of $25,000 for a Survey of Voters, $250,000 for a multi media campaign by Adrienne Tessier's Bay Relations and an SMCCCD Foundation Grant of $40,000 to the Citizens for Higher Education Committee to support Measure A. Web Link
In 2001, thanks to the reduction in the vote requirement to 55% instead of 2/3, the District passed a $207 Million Bond, with 65.3% Yes votes to 34.7% No votes.
Even with State matching funds, the District was not satisfied and in 2005, they passed a $468 Million Bond, with 64.2% Yes votes to 35.8% No votes
In June of 2010, with Bond proceed investment losses and a nearly bankrupt State renegging on Bond matching funds, the District became the first Community College District to pass a parcel tax. The SMCCCD Foundation contributed $64,260 to the campaign.
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