So What Happened to The Sonoma County Supervisors Commitment To Roads?
June 1, 2015 the voters rejected a Measure A sales tax initiative that would have added ¼ cent to County purchases for fixing County and City roads. The voters rejected it soundly. The ECA was a major advocate in this failed attempt, and many of our members wrote checks and supported the effort. Here we are, 3 months later, and it is time to put Measure A behind us and come up with a better plan.
Before coming up with a strategy, let’s look at what the Supes said following the defeat of Measure A:
District 1 Supervisor: We heard our community loudly and clearly – roads are a priority,” said Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Susan Gorin, as she acknowledged this month’s ballot-box defeat of Measure A, a proposed quarter-cent sales tax increase that supervisors said they intended to spend primarily on road fixes. “We’re going to focus on them in the near-term.”
District 2 Supervisor: We need to make sure we look under every rock and assign dollars to pavement preservation,” Rabbitt said. “We have to figure out what we’re doing long-term.”
District 3 Supervisor: It is frustrating; we want to fund as many roads as we can,” Zane said, while asking her fellow Board of Supervisors colleagues to join her in advocating to spend roughly half of the county’s delinquent property tax revenue set aside in a reserve account. “Why can’t we spend it?”
District 4 Supervisor: We can’t kick the can down the road any longer because it’ll fall in a pothole,” Gore said, reciting popular rhetoric he used last year during his campaign for supervisor.
He said the county could look at private financing to pay for road repairs or perhaps tax revenue from hotel bed taxes.
District 5 Supervisor: “The campaign was awfully run from the onset,” said Carrillo. “It’s not at all surprising. This is a reflection on the voters’ inability to trust the board.”
What the voters in essence said by rejecting Measure A, is that “we do not trust the Supes without a specific and accountable commitment of our tax dollars. The voters also said with their “NO” votes, that they felt the Supes had enough dollars to fix the roads but they needed better prioritization and improved efficiencies to come up with the needed money to fix our roads.
There is zero appetite for any more tax measures. Rest assured, I am not going to forget the public comments of each Supervisor last year making statements that roads are our biggest priority.
The ECA will do the following:
- I will personally discuss the road funding priority with each County Supervisor in the next few weeks.
- I will meet with several other groups to strategize on how to apply pressure to the Supes to have more priority given to roads – AS PROMISED BY EACH OF THEM!
- I will write an Op-Ed piece to the Press Democrat urging voters to refocus on roads in light of the Supes seemingly trying to spend money on everything else-from a “Living Wage” to expanding their number of employees in the last few months.
- I will organize and advocate for other groups to write each Sonoma County Supervisor and urge them to refocus their attention on funding for roads.
- I will send our Emergency Manual out to the County Emergency Director again, and urge them, in person, to call those contractors and suppliers listed in our manual if and when El Nino hits this winter.
- I will write a “white paper” fact sheet on the impact of wet weather on roads that are cracked and explain to each Supe the additional cost will be on them If they do not find the dollars to fix the roads sooner rather than later.
- I will also work with affiliated groups more on the State level to pressure the State to devote more STIP dollars to Sonoma County and Marin County roads.
Your thoughts and opinions are always welcome!
That’s All Folks!