Publication Date: Friday, February 27, 2004
(February 27, 2004) Important election: Don't miss it!
Mountain View residents have a lot at stake when they go to the polls next Tuesday.
In addition to approving Measure J, the parcel tax that will provide $1.6 million to the Mountain View-Whisman School District, we urge voters to approve Propositions 55, 56, 57 and 58. Each of these measures will play a critical role in our future. Here are the details:
With the state's budget deeply in the red, the only viable solutions on the table are Propositions 57 and 58, which will permit the government to issue $15 billion in bonds and require future budgets to be balanced.
Proposition 57 cannot be passed without approval of 58, which is designed to make sure the state does not get caught in another budget meltdown.
Almost as important is Proposition 55, a $12-billion bond to repair and rebuild old K-12 schools, and provide new classrooms at community colleges, CSU and UC campuses. Proposition 56 would reduce from two-thirds to 55 percent the number of votes needed in both houses of the Legislature to pass the annual state budget.
Educators fear that if Prop. 57 and 58 fail, the fallout and ensuing mad scramble to keep the state's finances afloat could threaten support for schools, which already gave up $2 billion in mandated funding in a deal with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Support for local government would also be under tremendous pressure if the bonds fail. Again, we urge a yes vote on all four propositions.
Equally compelling to voters in nine Bay Area counties, including Santa Clara, is Regional Measure 2, a proposition that would add $1 to the current $2 tolls on all state-owned bridges (the Golden Gate is owned and operated by an independent district). It is a relatively painless way to raise $125 million a year to relieve traffic congestion in main transit corridors and around bridges.
Mountain View and other Midpeninsula cities will benefit from many of Measure 2's projects, including rebuilding the Dumbarton railroad bridge to start commuter rail service between the Peninsula and the East Bay. Other projects would fund regional express bus service, provide $84 million for ferries that would serve Redwood City and South San Francisco, extend Caltrain into San Francisco and provide improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians. This measure is a novel way to pay for substantial improvements in transportation, one dollar at a time. We urge voters to support Regional Measure 2.
Santa Clara County Measure A would establish a Juvenile Hall advisory board and amend the county charter to allow the county executive to appoint, supervise and remove the chief probation officer, a responsibility now in the hands of the Superior Court. This proposal came after an audit recommended broad changes at the hall, which now is overseen by county judges.
We believe the problems at Juvenile Hall need to be solved now, but transferring authority from the judges to the county executive is a drastic move that should be stopped. The judges have offered to collaborate with the county in overseeing the hall and to appoint a chief probation officer. This is the best course. We urge voters to reject Measure A, to ensure that judges will continue to have a say in oversight of Juvenile Hall.
In other races, the Voice recommends:
A vote for Democrat Manny Diaz in the primary race for state Senate.
A yes vote on Measure J, the parcel tax that will raise $1.6 million for the Mountain View-Whisman School District.
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