The 2000 Measure A Project Advisory Committee held its last meeting yesterday in Mountain View.
VTA's general manager Michael Burns argued that the committee should pass the revised expenditure scenario with the assumption of a new 1/4 cent tax, and said that VTA still have the option of placing a sales tax in November or in 2008. The committee approved the revised scenario, which prioritized some of the non-BART projects ahead of the BART extension. Despite the approval, the sales tax scenario is unworkable because voters rejected the 2006 Measure A.
During the meeting, two of the county supervisors (Kniss and Gage) on the committee, as reported by some in the audience, looked "mad," given their support for the 2006 Measure A and its defeat on Tuesday.
The county supervisors had a chance to place a 1/4 cent general sales tax only for county services, without diverting funds to VTA. Instead of listening to the transit advocates, the Supervisors chose to listen to Carl Guardino and place a dual sales tax instead.
In an email sent on January 25, Guardino wrote: "The county would need a very well funded campaign, and would need a very poorly funded and poorly organized opposition campaign, in order to be successful," and Guardino concluded, "Interestingly, if the county and the transportation advocates worked together - even though the total (a combined half-cent) would be the same as two competing quarter-cent measures - the chances of winning are very strong."
After outspending the opposition by nearly 100 to 1, voters resoundingly rejected Measure A, defying Guardino's expectation. With the restriction from Prop. 218, the next time the county could place a general tax is June 2008, or in November this year if the county declares a fiscal emergency.
It is unfortunate that the county services may be impacted by the failure of Measure A. The supervisors will be paying a high price for listening to Carl Guardino.