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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Alameda County, CA March 2, 2004 Election
Measure A
Medical Sales Tax
Alameda County

2/3rds Approval Required

214,449 / 71.1% Yes votes ...... 87,315 / 28.9% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of May 4 2:39pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (1,096/1,096)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

To provide and maintain trauma and emergency medical services throughout Alameda County and to provide primary, preventative and mental health services to indigent, low income and uninsured children, families and seniors, to retain qualified nurses and health care professionals and to prevent closure of county clinics and the Alameda County Medical Center, shall Alameda County implement a half-cent transaction and use tax, with an annual fiscal oversight and review?

Impartial Analysis from Alameda County Counsel
If approved by two-thirds of the voters voting thereon, Measure A would authorize the County of Alameda (the "County") to levy a transactions and use tax for the purpose of providing additional funds for emergency medical, hospital inpatient, outpatient, public health, mental health and substance abuse services to indigent, low-income and uninsured adults, children, families, seniors and other residents of Alameda County. The tax would be applicable throughout the entire county, including the incorporated and unincorporated areas.

The County has the authority to levy this transactions and use tax in accordance with Part 1.6 (commencing with Section 7251) of Division 2 and Section 7285.5 of Part 1.7 of Division 2 of the California Revenue and Taxation Code. If approved, proceeds from this tax would be collected by the California State Board of Equalization and deposited in the County Treasury in a special fund entitled the "Essential Health Care Services Tax Fund" (hereinafter, the "Fund").

Seventy-five percent (75%) of the monies deposited into the Fund will be used by the Alameda County Medical Center ("ACMC"); proceeds from this tax may not be used to replace funding currently provided by the County to ACMC. The remaining twenty-five percent (25%) of the monies deposited into the Fund will be allocated by the County Board of Supervisors based on demonstrated needs and the County's commitment to a geographically dispersed network of health care providers for any of the following purposes: (a) critical medical services provided by community-based health care providers; (b) to partially offset uncompensated costs for emergency care and related hospital admissions; and (c) for essential public health, mental health and substance abuse services.

If two-thirds of the qualified electors voting on this measure vote "yes," the tax will be imposed at a rate of onehalf of one percent (0.5%) on sales and use of tangible personal property in a fashion similar to and in addition to the existing sales and use tax.

If less than two-thirds of the qualified electors vote for approval of this measure, it will fail and the proposed transactions and use tax will not be levied within the County.

County Counsel of Alameda County

  Nonpartisan Information

League of Women Voters Written Pros & Cons
Scroll down to Measure A

League of Women Voters of Alameda Pros & Cons Presentation
Wednesday, February 25, 2004 7 - 9 PM
Mastic Senior Center
1155 Santa Clara, Alameda

League of Women Voters of Oakland Pros & Cons Debate
Friday, 2/20/04 6:30 - 7:15 PM
Hearing Room 1, Oakland City Hall
1 Frank Ogawa Plaza
The public is invited to attend and
submit questions for the speakers

Rebroadcast of Pros & Cons Debate
Sat., Feb. 21, 2004 2 - 2:45 PM
Fri., Feb. 27, 2004 between 3:30 - 6 PM
Sat., Feb 28, 2004 between 1:30 - 4:30 PM
KTOP Cable Channel 10

LWV Oakland Pros & Cons Presentation
Wednesday, February 18, 2004 at 7 PM
EBMUD Training Room, 375 Eleventh Street, Oakland.

LWV Piedmont Pros & Cons Presentation Thursday, February 5, 2004 at 7:30 PM Piedmont Community Center
711 Highland Avenue
Piedmont CA
This program was taped by KCOM and will be rebroadcast. Check Piedmont's Web site for the KCOM schedule.
News and Analysis


Contra Costa Times Daily Review East Bay Express
  • Health Care at the Brink of Doom - Alameda County Medical Center is one vote away from virtually ceasing to exist, and with it, eliminating the poor's safety net. February 25, 2004
Oakland Tribune Partisan Information

Yes on A Web Site
Suggest a link related to Measure A
Links to sources outside of Smart Voter are provided for information only and do not imply endorsement.

Arguments For Measure A Arguments Against Measure A
Alameda County's Healthcare system is in crisis. As more residents lose their jobs and their health insurance, uninsured children and families use emergency rooms for primary medical care. Emergency rooms at all Alameda County hospitals are severely overcrowded. This affects us all and the quality of emergency services we receive.

The rapidly growing number of uninsured patients combined with significant reductions in state and federal funding has reduced the availability of quality healthcare throughout Alameda County.

Without additional revenue, County clinics serving lowincome children and families will close, trauma and emergency services will be reduced, psychiatric and mental health services will be cut.

Measure A would implement a temporary half-cent sales tax to avoid drastic cuts to local hospitals and clinics and insure access to quality healthcare for all Alameda County residents. Specifically, Measure A will provide critical support to:

  • Trauma and emergency services throughout Alameda County
  • Pediatric emergency services at Children's Hospital
  • Essential primary care, preventative care and mental health services
  • Basic primary care for underprivileged and uninsured children and families
  • Retain qualified and experienced nurses and healthcare professionals
  • Pre-natal and family planning services to lowincome women

Providing accessible primary and preventative care helps avoid the higher cost of treating patients when they are very sick.

Measure A is a frugal and carefully crafted plan to address the most essential healthcare needs throughout Alameda County.

Measure A is supported by doctors, nurses, the Alameda County Taxpayers Association, all five Alameda County Supervisors, business leaders, seniors and other residents of Alameda County.
Please vote yes on Measure A.

President, Alameda County Board of Supervisors
Pastor, Glad Tidings Church
s/ARTHUR B. GEEN, Executive Vice President
Alameda County Taxpayers Association
Fire Chief, Alameda County Fire Department
President, ACCMA

Alameda Contra Costa Medical Association

Rebuttal to Arguments For
The Sky Is Not Falling.
Alameda County and its Healthcare System are neither terminal nor on life-support.

But they should be, given the Supervisors' dismal performance:

  • We survived bigger deficits ten years ago;
  • But they frittered away four economic boom years of 8% revenue growth;
  • By increasing government spending 23%;
  • Result: Alameda County debt tripled from $355 million in 1992 to $1 billion in 2002.
  • Simultaneously, Alameda County's Medical Center turned $19,000,000 yearly profits into $27,000,000 losses.
  • When losses grew more, the CEO got an $800,000 severance package. . . . . .

Now, having mortgaged the family homestead, the Supervisors propose raising taxes till 2019.

But All Is Not Lost.

Writing this December rebuttal we see:

  • macroeconomic improvement

    - unemployment down

    - property values and tax revenues up

    - 8.2% third-quarter economic growth

    - stock market recovery turning Alameda County pension fund deficits into surpluses
  • Sacramento's debt repayment and expenditure limits plan.

Should Alameda County buck this trend, creating California's highest tax rate?


Waiting times in Emergency Rooms, crowded mostly with insured patients, won't benefit from "Measure A", but the Healthcare Industry, (which closed half our hospitals) will.

The Oakland Tribune notes the Supervisors skirted the Brown Act, secretly meeting a political consultant, to hatch this Measure. Their political allies pledged $500,000 to support it.
"Measure A" ain't "frugal".
"Measure A ain't "carefully crafted".
(Read paragraph "C"+you'll agree.)
"Measure A" costs $100,000,000 yearly; ($75,000,000 for Highland Hospital alone.)
"Measure A" is bad medicine - the wrong diagnosis, the wrong treatment, at the wrong time.

Lance Montauk, M.D.
Every government agency wants more funds to do the job right: firefighters, schools, police, hospitals - they never have enough.

It's our own fault. We citizens display insatiable appetites for government programs to meet our endless needs, though Americans generally and Californians recently, addicted to credit card and government debt, balk at paying the bill - hence this laudable tax hike measure. But is this bill worth paying?

This 6% sales tax hike targets increased services "to indigent, low-income and uninsured adults, children, families and seniors . . ." but as an Emergency Physician I know that it transfers wealth to them inefficiently, because of the fat healthcare industry rake-off. Vote "yes" to send more of your income to this huge industry - but remember, the purported low income beneficiaries would probably rather eliminate the greedy healthcare services middlemen and get direct financial benefits themselves.

While we spend only 6% of the GNP on education, 15% goes to healthcare: far too much and with a poor return. We waste fortunes on unnecessary tests, malpractice litigation, ambulances, ICU's, million-dollar one-pound babies (who do poorly), etc. Should Alameda County underwrite expensive treatments for diseases which stem from lifestyle choices, like the hypertension and diabetes of morbid obesity, the vascular disease and cancer of cigarettes, or the hepatitis of alcohol and drug abuse, not to mention AIDS? Don't we then become codependents, enabling self-destructive behaviors? Why wasn't this measure limited to children's health, weight control, safe sex, and drug detoxification programs?

Rather than borrow money or increase regressive sales taxes, let's live healthier, lower our hi-tech health care expectations rich and poor alike, and admit this tax hike merely releases Alameda County funds for other uses. A cleverly packaged sales tax hike just gives internet shoppers and big-ticket buyers another reason to purchase elsewhere.


Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The number of Alameda County residents who are uninsured or who lack adequate health insurance is reaching epidemic proportions. Hospitals, clinics, and emergency rooms are overwhelmed. The lone opponent to Measure A ignores the crisis in our hospitals. Measure A enjoys virtually unanimous support of Alameda County doctors, nurses, and healthcare providers. Here's why:

Accidents will continue to occur requiring emergency care; children will be born with conditions that demand treatment to help them live normal lives; seniors will need care to help them live with dignity; psychiatric/mental health patients will require treatment; and healthy individuals will require preventative care to deter more serious illness. Measure A will preserve a system of hospitals and clinics that deliver basic healthcare services to all residents.

This March voters have a clear choice. We can allow our healthcare system in Alameda County to unravel to a point where only the wealthy have access to healthcare. Or, we can continue our community's proud tradition of providing quality healthcare services for all.

Measure A will ensure our hospitals can continue to provide basic medical care to all children and families.
Measure A will maintain the essentials+emergency and trauma services, primary and preventative care, psychiatric/ mental health services, basic care for underprivileged children and families, qualified nurses and healthcare professionals, pre-natal and family planning services for lowincome women and the capacity to respond to a disaster.

Help preserve accessible and affordable healthcare for all.
Please vote Yes on A.

Washington Hospital Development Corp. Board
Director, Trauma Service Eden Hospital
s/AMY S. GORDON, MD, Associate Medical Director
West Berkeley Family Practice
of the Medical Staff Alameda County Medical Center
President, East Oakland Pediatrics, Inc.

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Created: May 4, 2004 14:40 PDT
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