Thursday, October 02, 2008

Blanca Alvarado speaks out

Santa Clara County Supervisor Blanca Alvarado is one of the few public officials that have steadfastly opposed to SVLG/VTA's effort to deceive taxpayers. For the last 8 years, she believed that transportation planning shouldn't be limited to people like Carl Guardino making backroom decisions.

In 2000, when Guardino and Ron Gonzales announced a plan to put a sales tax on the November ballot for the BART project, they first approached the Board of Supervisors for a 20-year general sales tax which required a 50% voter threshold.

Throughout that time, Alvarado withstood pressure from SVLG and instead support a community-based process to draft a plan for the 2002 election. After the Board of Supervisors failed to put the tax on the ballot, Guardino and Gonzales quickly turned to VTA to place an all-transit tax on the November ballot.

Although Alvarado was the chair of VTA, Guardino and Gonzales convinced other VTA board members to support the tax. At a special board meeting when the rest of the board voted to put Measure A on the ballot, she casted the only dissenting vote.

Six years later, when Guardino arranged backroom deals to put a half cent general sales tax on the ballot. Alvarado also casted the only dissenting vote. She wanted to support a 1/4 cent general tax increase for county services that would not include funding for VTA.

Two years later, Guardino is at it again asking for a tax increase to fund the same ill-conceived project that put riders at risk.

Alvarado has been right all along. If the county had waited a year or two to present a transportation plan, the county would've known that BART was unaffordable all along, that VTA riders wouldn't have suffered as much from service reductions and fare increases, and that voters wouldn't have faced the same tax on the ballot election after election.

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