Thursday, March 02, 2006
Chavez's first Gonzales-style last minute memo on the proposed VTA expenditure scenario
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At the VTA board meeting on March 2, VTA Chair and San Jose Vice Mayor Cindy Chavez and Dean Chu from Sunnyvale presented a memo to reject the 1/4 cent tax scenario and establish a Measure A sub-commitee to start a "public" process to determine expenditure priorities. The sub-committee would complete its tasks and formulate recommendations to the VTA board no later than August, before the deadline to submit a ballot measure for the November election.
During the discussion, Supervisor Liz Kniss expressed appreciation for the memo and asked to hold the sub-committee meetings in different parts of the county. Supervisor Jim Beall, who is a candidate for the State Assembly, requested to hold one of the meetings in his district as well.
However, Forest Williams from San Jose complained that why he had to wait a few more months to make a decision after spending the last several months discussing the expenditure scenario. He seemed that he wanted to go ahead and immediately vote on the expediture plan despite the disagreements between the cities.
Greg Perry of Mountain View asked why the proposed sub-committee was not charged to study different tax revenue projections and why the members of that sub-committee were designated on the memo rather than letting the city groups to decide.
Dennis Kennedy of Morgan Hill suggested that the sub-committee should recommend an advisory measure at the end of its term in August and submit it for the November ballot.
Despite all the good intentions about public participation and creating a countywide consensus, it was obvious that this memo was produced to avoid a guaranteed divided vote on the 1/4 cent tax scenario, as well as linking the VTA expenditure plan with the June county tax, which could violate Prop. 218. Perhaps what Kennedy was not aware is that he unveiled the plan of Carl Guardino, which is having a general sales tax in June and a following advisory measure in November. It is basically a 1996 A/B sales tax measure without both appearing on the ballot at the same time. Both the general sales tax measure and the advisory measure require 50% voter approval.
While there's a potential that the committee would recommend something different than the expenditure plan that the VTA board rejected, the prospect of an advisory vote in November have damaged the process before it begins. It is clear that the SVLG is determined to deceive voters and circumvent the 2/3 voter requirement, which other counties in the Bay Area have no problems in meeting that requirement.
The board approved the recommendation outlined in the memo with Perry dissenting.