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San Mateo County, CA November 5, 2002 Election
Measure J
Use of Hotel Tax for Affordable Housing
City of East Palo Alto

Ordinance - Majority Voter Approval Required

1,513 / 59.8% Yes votes ...... 1,018 / 40.2% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Dec 6 2:34am, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (12/12 0/2 Absentee)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text

Shall the East Palo Alto transient occupancy (hotel) tax ordinance, the revenue from which goes into the City's General Fund for general governmental purposes, be amended to require that 10% of hotel tax revenue annually be used exclusively for affordable housing purposes?

Impartial Analysis
This measure, if adopted by a simple majority of voters voting on the measure, would accomplish the following:

creates a dedicated revenue stream for affordable housing by annually setting aside ten percent (10%) of transient occupancy (hotel) tax revenue for said purpose.

clarifies that this dedicated revenue stream is to be used exclusively for affordable housing development, acquisition and/or rehabilitation.

The City's transient occupancy (hotel) tax, as set forth in Ordinance No. 230, was adopted by voters in 1998. It is projected the tax will begin generating annual revenues of $2 million in 2004 with the completion of the `Four Seasons Hotel' in the University Circle development area. The hotel tax is paid by the hotel patron as a surcharge on the hotel room rate. Ordinance No. 230 currently provides that hotel tax revenues are to go into the City's General Fund for general government purposes.

This measure, if adopted, would require that 10% of hotel tax revenues, approximately $200,000 annually, would be dedicated exclusively for affordable housing development, acquisition and/or rehabilitation. This measure defines affordable housing as housing affordable to low- and moderate-income persons and families residing in East Palo Alto and as further defined in the City's below-market rate regulations. This dedicated revenue stream may be used to leverage other funds or in partnership with other public, private or non-profit agencies, as long as the objective is consistent with the development, acquisition and/or rehabilitation of affordable housing.

/s/ Michael S. Lawson
City Attorney, City of East Palo Alto

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Arguments For Measure J Arguments Against Measure J
The new hotel will create hundreds of new jobs for East Palo Alto residents, and millions of new tax dollars for community services. THE NEW TAX DOLLARS WILL COME FROM THE HOTEL, NOT FROM YOUR POCKET. In addition to sales tax, the hotel will pay "hotel tax" (also called Transient Occupancy Tax, or "T.O.T." for short).

We would like you to dedicate a portion of the new HOTEL TAX to creating affordable housing for East Palo Alto residents.

Measure J dedicates ten percent (10%) of the new HOTEL TAX to building, buying, or rehabilitating housing that will always remain affordable, and will go to East Palo Alto residents. The money will leverage other money to create homes-apartments, condominium, and houses-that are affordable to households with incomes spread across a range from about $30,000 to about $100,000 per year.

Vote "YES" on Measure J to assure that long-time residents will be able to afford to stay to enjoy the benefits of progress.

The City Council voted unanimously to place this measure on the ballot.

/s/ Duane Bay
Mayor

/s/ Patricia Foster
Vice Mayor

/s/ Donna Rutherford
Council Member

/s/ Sharifa Wilson
Council Member and Former Mayor

Rebuttal to Arguments For
We cannot and must not trust promises from an untrustworthy source. Proponents of the Hotel Tax stated that the Council vote placing Measure J on the ballot was unanimous. This is totally incorrect. Two council members did not vote for these ballot measures. It is not wise to vote how to spend tax dollars four years before they arrive. It is wise to see if hundreds of new jobs and millions of dollars come from this "hotel". Do not be misled by promises of money we are alleged to collect from this "hotel".

Since incorporation no City Council implemented a plan for affordable housing, children, youth, family services and seniors. These are so closely related as to be one - human services. Our City had an opportunity to reserve affordable housing in the Home Depot area. But homes were cruelly destroyed on Clarke by the Redevelopment Agency. Homes donated to the City were refused. And, one of the homes accepted for affordable housing was destroyed by a backhoe at Clarke and Bay directed of the City Council.

The "hotel" will allegedly collect $100,000 yearly for affordable housing and an equal amount for human services. We are aware that homes cost from $350,000 to over $650,000. The proposed $100,000 for affordable housing and the $100,000 for human services is not nearly enough to scratch the surface of City's needs, but it is enough to hire consultants to tell us we need more funds.

No serious comprehensive City programs in these areas have been proposed or acted upon since we have been a city. For almost twenty years City Government has ignored these groups. The proponents of Measure J tell us that if we approve this Hotel tax on a "hotel" to be built four years from now, all will be well. HOGWASH! VOTE NO ON MEASURE J.

/s/ Bobby Brown

/s/ Keisha A. Evans

/s/ Bernice Avery

/s/ A. Peter Evans

VOTE NO ON MEASURES I AND J

Hotel Tax without a hotel? This is an example of our incompetent City Government. This is also another Heartbreak Hotel, just like the one in the sixties that also did not exist. The City Council has absolute authority to spend our General Funds. We do not need a ballot measure to spend money for Youth, Family Services, Seniors, or Affordable Housing. Historically in our city these groups have been neglected. Measures I and J are not the solution. We need properly planned programs to spend General Fund money in these areas, not a ballot measure. Measures I and J are funds to pay consultants to tell us that we do not have enough money for Youth, Family Services, Senior Programs and Affordable Housing. Additionally the money cannot be spent until it is collected. These measures are to blindly designate the Hotel Tax four years before the hotel is alleged to be built. Remember the Utility Tax was collected for eight years illegally. If you remember Elvis' Heartbreak Hotel, you also may remember the song `What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am?'

Vote No on Measures I and J.

/s/ A. Peter Evans
Tax Payer

/s/ Bernice Avery
Tax Payer

/s/ Bobby Brown
Tax Payer

/s/ Keisha A. Evans
Taxpayer

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Years ago, we, the voters, overwhelmingly voted to put a HOTEL TAX in place. We wanted to be ready for the day when a hotel would open. All cities in the County that have hotels have a hotel tax. THE HOTEL TAX IS PAID BY HOTEL CUSTOMERS; IT DOES NOT COME OUT OF YOUR POCKET.

THE HOTEL TAX IS ALREADY IN PLACE. Measure J just makes sure that at least ten percent (10%) of it goes to creating affordable housing for East Palo Alto residents.

When the HOTEL TAX was put in place, the voters left it up to future City Councils to decide what part of the city budget the HOTEL TAX should be spent for.

The current City Council unanimously recommends that the voters now make it a legal requirement that all future City Councils allocate some of the new HOTEL TAX to creating affordable housing for East Palo Alto residents.

We agree with them. We must guarantee that long-time residents will be able to afford to stay to enjoy the benefits of progress.

Vote YES on Measure J.

/s/ Rose Jacobs-Gibson
County Supervisor, Former Mayor

/s/ Barbara A. Mouton
Former Mayor

/s/ Gertrude Wilks
Former Council Member

/s/ Alfred LeGrand-Sawyer
Resident

/s/ Ida Berk

Full Text of Measure J
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF EAST PALO ALTO AMENDING ORDINANCE NO. 230, REGARDING THE TRANSIENT OCCUPANCY (HOTEL) TAX, TO PROVIDE A DEDICATED REVENUE STREAM FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING

BE IT ORDAINED by the People of the City of East Palo Alto as follows:

Ordinance No. 230, AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF EAST PALO ALTO IMPOSING A TRANSIENT OCCUPANCY TAX ON THE OCCUPANCY OF HOTELS AND SIMILAR SHORT-TERM LODGING AND PROVIDING FOR AN ELECTION THEREON, is amended as follows:

SECTION 1. DEDICATION OF 10 PERCENT OF REVENUES TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Section 15 of Ordinance No. 230, is hereby amended to read as follows:

Use of Revenues. Except as provided hereinafter, all revenues collected pursuant to this Ordinance shall be placed in the General Fund and shall be available for appropriation to any legitimate municipal purpose.

(a) Notwithstanding the foregoing provision, not Less than ten (10) percent (%) of the revenues Collected annually pursuant to this Ordinance shall be dedicated to and used exclusively for affordable housing development,acquisition and/or rehabilitation. Affordable housing is defined as housing affordable to low- and moderate-income persons and families residing in East Palo Alto and includes, but is not limited to, single-family, and multi-family style dwelling and as further defined in Ordinance No. 247 (the City's below-market Rate regulations). The City Council may use Such funds to leverage other funds, or in partnership with other public, private or non-profit agencies, or as the developer, a long as the objective is the acquisition, developments and/or rehabilitation of affordable housing. It is the intent of this section that, over time and in general, funds be used for housing at a full range of levels of affordability.


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Created: December 6, 2002 03:15 PST
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