San Mateo County voters asked to increase taxes, change supervisor elections

(Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner)

San Mateo County voters have a number of decisions to make in November. Through various tax measures, voters will be asked to help increase revenue to maintain roads, schools and hospitals, and one initiative could change the way Board of Supervisors elections are run.

Measure B would change the county Charter so board elections are by district and no longer at large. The change has appeared on past ballots, and a 2009 grand jury report recommended the switch.

According to supporters, San Mateo is the only county in the state that elects supervisors at large. The change could result in more competition, more accountability and more citizen involvement.

“Countywide elections favor politically connected and well-funded candidates and incumbents,” supporters said in election material. “It would also increase the likelihood that the diversity of the county would be reflected on the Board of Supervisors.”

Opponents of Measure B said it would take away voters’ rights to approve all five county supervisors, not just one.

“The ability of voters to elect all five Supervisors has resulted in San Mateo County being one of the best run counties in California,” opponents stated in election material. “San Mateo County has consistently earned the highest bond ratings among all California counties, saving taxpayer money.”

Additionally, voters will be asked to approve a sales tax increase that would maintain child protection services and 911 dispatch, along with ensure that hospitals are earthquake-safe, among many other services, according to supporters of Measure A.

The half-cent retail sales tax would be in place for 10 years.

A majority of voters need to approve the measure in order for it to be enacted.

Opponents say increasing taxes is the wrong way to go.

“Higher sales taxes hurt local businesses and increase unemployment,” opponents said. “Worse yet, they are regressive and hit the poor hardest of all.”

Individual school districts throughout the county are seeking passage of five measures to help build and maintain schools, including $56 million for the Burlingame School District, $41.9 million for the Jefferson Union High School District and $72 million for the San Carlos School District.

And Measure G in San Bruno is asking voters to support a parcel tax to generate additional revenue the school district needs to operate. If approved, the parcel tax would collect $199 per parcel for five years, generating $2 million annually.

Supporters of the measure said it would provide local control over funding the state cannot take away. It also would help sustain quality neighborhood schools.

Opponents disagree, saying the school district needs to live within its means rather than ask taxpayers for more money.


San Mateo County ballot

  • Measure A: Half-cent sales tax increase; majority needed for passage
  • Measure B: Amend Charter so supervisors are elected by district and not at large; majority needed for passage
  • Measure C: Change controller from elected to appointed position; majority needed for passage
  • Measure D: Burlingame School District bond; 55 percent of votes needed for passage
  • Measure E: Jefferson Union High School District bond; 55 percent of votes needed for passage
  • Measure F: Atherton library construction; majority needed for passage
  • Measure G: San Bruno Park School District parcel tax; two-thirds of votes needed for passage
  • Measure H: San Carlos Elementary School District bond; 55 percent of votes needed for passage
  • Measure I: Jefferson Elementary School District bond; 55 percent of votes needed for passage
  • Measure J: Half-cent sales tax increase in Half Moon Bay; majority needed for passage
  • Measure K: Menlo Park hotel tax increase from 10 to 12 percent; majority needed for passage
  • Measure L: New town center in Atherton; majority needed for passage
  • Measure M: Field improvements for Atherton Little League; majority needed for passage

Source: San Mateo County Office of Elections

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