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Local Measures

Measure A Live Oak School District Parcel Tax
Metro Santa Cruz recommends: Yes

The Live Oak schools are trying to come up for air after seven years and $1 million worth of cuts by asking residents for an $84 parcel tax. The projected $500,000 raised would go to after-school programs, Life Lab science gardens, staff retention and gang-prevention. Though that means another chunk of change from already shriveling bank accounts, it would be nice if the students who are growing up in this economic turmoil are spared its effects in the classroom. If we invest in them now, they'll be smart enough to keep this crap from happening again.

Measure B Santa Cruz County Emergency Service Phone Tax
Metro Santa Cruz recommends: Yes

When Santa Cruz's Measure T failed in September, the city saw its estimated budget deficit more than double, from $2 million to $5 million. Now, as Santa Cruz County residents eye the similar Measure B, they can expect the same if it flops. Measure B would take the current $1.47 monthly emergency service fee on land-line phones and extend it to cell phones, with a $7.35 monthly cap per household and exemptions for seniors. The tax would generate millions of dollars crucial for maintaining emergency service levels and for protecting community programs that would likely be cut if the measure fails.

Measure C Watsonville Emergency Service Phone Tax
Metro Santa Cruz recommends: Yes

While Watsonville's Measure C is not as comprehensive as the county's Measure B (it contains no cap and no exemptions), the money is still critical if residents plan on keeping their park lawns mowed and their community centers staffed. The measure, which would apply the city's $2.05 land-line phone tax to cell phones, is billed as an emergency service measure--and so it is--but with state and federal guidelines mandating 911 call service, it's important to realize that, pass or fail, emergency services will be maintained. If Measure C fails, however, it will be money from nonregulated programs like parks and recreation that will pay for it.

Measure D City of Capitola Sales Tax Extension
Metro Santa Cruz recommends: Yes

A one-quarter percent sales tax is seeking a new lease on life and on retail sales in Capitola. Four years ago voters approved the tax through 2010; Measure D would extend that until 2017. Previously the money has gone toward police and road maintenance. Though opponents say the tax will only promote wasteful spending--the city has a history of increasing salaries--this is a risky time to be exercising tough love on the city coffers. Some say the tax, which in bad times will likely bring in less money than previous years, is an IV drip keeping city services alive.

Measure E Clean River, Beaches and Ocean Special Parcel Tax
Metro Santa Cruz recommends: Yes

Trash, bacteria, toxic chemicals and rash-inducing pathogens from stormwater runoff pollute our streams, creeks, rivers and shores. Measure E seeks to fund a plan to manage stormwater runoff in compliance with tough new state as well as federal laws. The proposed annual fee of $28 per household and $94 per commercial parcel, in addition to the existing Stormwater Management fee of $21.24, is necessary to ensure cleaner water. Like every other city in the state, Santa Cruz is required to comply with the department's regulations; failure to comply could result in government fines and/or citizens' lawsuits. Without additional funding through Measure E, funds that currently go to parks and services could be cut to pay for the necessary stormwater management.

Measure F Boulder Creek Fire District Increase in Number of Board Members
Metro Santa Cruz recommends: Sure!

The Boulder Creek Fire Protection District, which as recently as last week put out a half-acre blaze here at the supposed close of fire season, is asking voters to allow it to expand the ranks of its board from three to five members. Most fire districts in the county have five members, and the men looking to join the board, Robert Locatelli and Robert Presswood, aren't exactly looking to shake things up--just provide two extra sets of hands and brains to improve community outreach and budget planning. We say knock yourselves out.

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