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Morgan Hill
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April 14, 2021

Letter: Vote No on Measure S

By Trish Mulvey and Doug Muirhead

Protect our right to vote and hold Valley Water accountable.

If we agree that a ”Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program which ensures public health and safety by:

• protecting drinking water supply, dams from earthquakes and climate change;

• reducing pollution, toxins and contaminants in waterways; and

• providing flood protection” is important, why do we oppose Measure S?

We oppose the early parcel tax renewal in Measure S because:

The current Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection program and projects are already funded until 2028 to ensure public health and safety and address environmental stewardship and climate change.

Funding for the Anderson Dam seismic retrofit and flood protection for Upper Llagas Creek is secure. No current project and no local job is at risk, and the current Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection program includes a sunset date so that voters can again decide whether we are getting our money’s worth from any proposed program renewals. A sunset date is not part of Measure S, and that is not a minor matter.

A NO vote now ensures that Valley Water will have the opportunity to protect our right to vote and respond with a better measure that we can all support in the next general election cycle.

We oppose Measure S because we believe it is time to stop deceiving Bay Area voters on local tax measure costs.

Measure S does not mention the minimum residential tax of $68 for a single family home (excluding condos) on less than one-quarter acre, so those of us with smaller lots pay more per square foot than those with more spacious homes on larger lots, making the tax particularly regressive. Measure S attempts to make the tax look small by expressing it as “averaging $.006 per square foot,” but fails to mention the yearly tax increase of at least 2 percent. 

Furthermore, Measure S does not disclose that over $300 million of 30-year bonds will be sold, and repayment with interest and banking fees will cost over $650 million.

A NO vote now ensures that Valley Water will have the opportunity to remedy those flaws with a better measure that we can all support in the next general election cycle.

We oppose Measure S because voters deserve clarity, transparency and accountability. When Measure S says it will remain in effect “until ended by voters,” it doesn’t mention that gathering over 30,000 valid signatures of registered voters will be necessary to bring repeal of this tax back to the ballot. When Measure S says it includes “independent citizen oversight,” it doesn’t explain that those citizens are appointed by the Valley Water Board itself, or that the board does not have to follow the citizens’ recommendations.

A NO vote now ensures that Valley Water will have the opportunity to respond with a better measure that includes a sunset date, a less regressive tax, and truly independent citizen oversight—a new measure that we can all support in the next general election cycle.

Vote NO on S now.

Trish Mulvey is a Palo Alto community volunteer and member of the Vote NO on Measure S Committee. Doug Muirhead is a Morgan Hill resident.

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