Make Oakland Better Now! Endorses Measure Q

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On March 3, vote YES on Measure Q.
Join the
campaign at its kickoff event this Saturday.

Measure Q is a March 3 ballot tax measure, designed to generate revenue to be used for city parks improvement, homelessness services and clean water. The Make Oakland Better Now! board has voted to endorse it, and urges Oaklanders to support it. We join a wide coalition in support of this measure. Among other organizations, it is supported by the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, Sierra Club, SF Bay Chapter, League of Women Voters of Oakland, Outdoor Afro and Oakland Tenants Union.

We posted a discussion of the measure almost two months ago, soon after the City Council voted to put it on the March 3 ballot. Our discussion was based on the last version placed on the Council’s agenda, which is not exactly what they passed. The current version, before the voters in March, is here.

The annual tax will be $148 for single-family residential parcels, $101.08 per unit for multiple-residential properties, and a differently calculated rate for non-residential commercial property. There are exemptions for low-income property owners and for low-income seniors for their own residences, 50% rates for affordable housing, rebates for many tenants to whom the tax is passed through, and in properties that are later foreclosed, and a requirement that the city enact an exemption for “distressed property owners.”

It is clear that there is insufficient city funding for parks and for homelessness. Measure Q will bring in $21 million per year: 64% for Parks, 30% for Homeless Services, 5% for Clean Water and 1% for Administration. And the following positive requirements were added just before the Council approved it:

  • Mowing every other week
  • Cleaning restrooms more than once a day
  • Providing dedicated staff at major parks , Region-serving, Resource Conservation Areas and Community Parks as defined in the “Open Space Conservation & Recreation Element” of the General Plan (OSCAR)

The measure also has multiple positive accountability provisions as well:

1. Commission. The City Council shall assign to one or more existing Boards
or Commissions, the responsibility for citizen oversight of this measure. This
Board or Commission or Boards and Commissions shall review reports
related to the expenditure of revenue collected by the City from the special
tax imposed by this Ordinance and provide reports to the City Council when
requested, and perform other functions as assigned by the City Council.

2. City Auditor’s Audit. The City Auditor shall perform biennial audit to ensure
accountability and proper disbursement of all revenue collected by the City
from the special tax imposed by this Ordinance, in accordance with the objectives stated herein and in compliance with provisions of State Law.

3. Annual Financial Audit. An independent audit may be performed annually
to ensure accountability and proper disbursement of the proceeds of this
tax in accordance with the objectives stated herein as provided by
Government Code sections 50075.1 and 50075.3. The City will, from time
to time, retain an engineer for services pertaining to this parcel tax.

The auditing expenses are paid for using the 1% “administrative” portion of the tax revenue.

More information on the measure was published recently in op-ed column in Beyond Chron, written by former Director of Public Works Brooke Levin. It’s available here and well-worth the read. You can also follow the campaign or get involved at the “Yes On Q” website yesforoakland.com or their Facebook.

On Saturday, January 18, the Measure Q Campaign will have its Campaign Canvassing Kickoff starting at 10 a.m. at 921 Washington Street, Oakland. There is a program from 10 to 10:30, and canvassing mobilization from 10:30 to 1p.m. The campaign asks that supporters RSVP at YesonQforOakland@gmail.com.

Make Oakland Better Now! has supported public works and public safety from the start. Parks are a part of public works, and improving them is an important element of public safety. We also strongly support increased measures to alleviate homelessness, and Measure Q will provide some much needed help.

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