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Smart Voter
San Mateo County, CA November 3, 2009 Election
Measure R
Appropriations Limit
Town of Portola Valley

Majority Approval Required

Pass: 967 / 65.9% Yes votes ...... 500 / 34.1% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Dec 29 12:09pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (3/3)
27.8% Voter Turnout (77,340/277,759)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Only if the Town of Portola Valley Proposition Q adjusting the Town's Appropriation Limit passes shall the Town additionally adjust the appropriations limit each fiscal year commencing July 1, 2010 by the amount of money collected from imposition of the 2% Utility Users Tax (for open space purposes only) during the time of its levy and collection, provided authorization to djust the appropriations limit shall not exceed four years from the end of Fiscal Year 2009-2010?

Impartial Analysis from the Town Attorney of the Town of Portola Valley
The Council of the Town of Portola Valley has called for a municipal election to present the Town's qualified electors a ballot measure, which if approved by more than 50% of the voters voting on the measure, and if Ballot Measure Q authorizing an adjustment in the Town's appropriations limit is approved, will authorize an adjustment in the Town's appropriation limit for each of the next four fiscal years starting on July 1, 2010 by the amount of money raised from the imposition of the current 2% utility user's tax to fund open-space projects during the time of its levy and collection. Following the final fiscal year of these four fiscal years, the Town's appropriations limit will revert to the amount it would have been had this ballot measure not received a favorable vote.

If the measure receives a favorable vote and if Ballot Measure Q is aproved, the special utility user's tax will continue to be levied and collected at a rate not to exceed 2%. Money collected from this tax levy will be placed in a a special Town account to fund open-space projects elected by the Town. If the measure does not receive a favorable vote and/or Measure Q does not receive a favorable vote, the special utility user's tax may not be collected and expended in an amount that would cause the Town to exceed its current appropriation limit.

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Arguments For Measure R Arguments Against Measure R
VOTE YES ON MEASURE R to protect and enhance the Town of Portola Valley's rural ambiance and undeveloped open spaces.

In 1964, Portola Valley residents voted to incorporate, thereby providing local control to protect the community's natural environment. Our Town government has been remarkably successful in accomplishing this task, allowing reasonable development while protecting Portola Valley's rural character. In 1997, 2001, and 2005, Town residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of a 2% tax on utilities with revenues dedicated to the protection of the Town's scenic landscape.

To successfully protect the remaining critical vistas and corridors, our Town must continue to have adequate resources to purchase parcels and obtain conservation easements as they become available. During the past few years, the Town has added 19 acres to its open spaces by completing the purchase of six acres of Spring Down Farm along the Portola Road scenic corridor, contributing toward the purchase of a parcel which protects the sanctity of Shady Trail and facilitating the gift of the recently named Dengler Open Space, 11.8 acres of dedicated open space and new trails. Several new projects are currently under review.

Our open spaces and scenic vistas add value to our properties, enrich our lives, and contribute to make Portola Valley a magnificent place to live. Let's carry on the tradition of funding that which we cherish.

Please support Measure R that maintains the 2% tax on our utility bills for the continued protection of open spaces in our Town.

On November 3, vote YES ON MEASURE R.

/s/ Beverly Lipman, Organizer, Committee to Protect Shady Trail

/s/ Nancy Lund, Town Historian

/s/ Gary Nielsen, Former Mayor

/s/ Craig Taylor, Chair, Emergency Preparedness Committee

/s/ Ron Walter, Open Space Acquisition Advisory Committee

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Measures R and P are controlled by Q. This is counterintuitive.

Note that it says "only if" Proposition Q passes. Since 1997, every four year election for our beloved OPEN SPACE program has been held hostage. For each $2 we want to use for open space, we have to give $4.5 or $5.5 to the Town for "general purpose expenses." That means "Blank Check." Vote No on Q.

With Defeat of Q, we can work with the Council to initiate a voter approved, income tax deductible, graduated parcel tax for long-term, well-defined open space acquisition and enhancement programs.

We have $2.8 million in Open Space cash reserves, if needed. The Town received significant private funding for trail building and maintenance along with the gift of the "Dengler Open Space". Only limited staff time was required for implementation. Over 90% of the Shady Trail parcel was paid by private donations. The Town paid only $100K. Projects "under review" are: A trail around the "Springdown" property, a new baseball field at Ford Park and new tables and limited landscaping at Triange Park. There are no major projects proposed.

We all want Open Space. Vote YES on R to show you care. Then, let's pass a carefully planned, sustainable parcel tax to support open space. BUT STOP this non-deductible, inefficient, unfair utility tax. VOTE NO on Q.

/s/ Bruce Campbell, Taxpayer

/s/ J. Michael Pinneo, Taxpayer

/s/ Leo F. Hoenighausen, Taxpayer

/s/ Eric H. Denys, Taxpayer

/s/ Helga A. Hoenighausen, Taxpayer

(2% Open Space Utility Tax)

Please note: The Town made this open space Utility Tax dependent upon Measure Q. See the trick? But with Defeat of Q we can work with the Council to initiate a voter approved, income tax deductible, graduated parcel tax for long-term, well-defined open space acquisition and enhancement programs.

Our beloved open space funding will not be impacted by California's financial problems. The Town now has more than $2.8 million in cash reserves for open space. There are currently no planned open space projects or expenditures. The Town's doesn't need to stockpile any more of our "non-deductible" cash from our utility bills.

The Town used only about $100,000 out of all the open space funds available for the Shady Trail land acquisition. More than $2,000,000 of private donations were raised for the Shady Trail and the Sausal Creek projects. Planning for open space and fields at Dorothy Ford Park can be accomplished with private donations.

Only a few cities in the State still have Utility Taxes. Portola Valley's authorized 7.5% Utility Taxes are the highest in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Why do we continue to impose Utility Taxes on our few retail businesses when such taxes are not assessed against similar establishments in Ladera, Menlo Park, and Woodside?

Vote Yes on R to show your support for an open space tax. But be sure to vote No on Q so that the people of Portola Valley can have the opportunity to enact carefully planned, tax-deductible programs to improve and protect our properties such as open space enhancement and undergrounding.

Give the vote back to the people of Portola Valley.

Vote No on Measure Q for NO Utility Taxes.

/s/ Gerald G. Henderson, Taxpayer

/s/ Edwin A. Wells, Taxpayer

/s/ Alison D. Wells, Taxpayer

/s/ Carol W. Henderson, Taxpayer

/s/ Georgia Baba-Clark, Taxpayer

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
We agree with our opponents who also recommend to VOTE YES ON MEASURE R to preserve the natural beauty of our town.

Proceeds from the 2% Utility Users Tax for Open Space are applied to the Town's restricted Open Space Fund and are used solely for open space acquisition and maintenance. Since the passage of the 2005 Utility Users Tax, the Town has wisely used $1,744,000 of Open Space Fund monies for the purchase of the second of the Spring Down parcels and toward the purchase of the Shady Trail parcel.

The Town is investigating new open space projects in Town. However, the current balance of $2,357,000 in the Open Space Fund falls far short of likely acquisition costs in light of current real estate values and open space maintenance costs. We need a continued source of revenue.

With so many charitable organizations supported by our generous residents, we cannot rely completely on donations for open space acquisitions. The Utility Users Tax monies remain a vital component of funding. In tough economic times, private donations can fall short of expectations. Last year, for instance, the Town's private fund raising for the Sausal Creek project at Town Center fell $452,000 dollars short of the goal, requiring the use of funds from the Town's General Fund to complete the project.

Let's continue the successes of our open space program. On November 3, vote YES on Measure R to ensure the protection of open spaces in our Town.

/s/ Nancy Lund, Town Historian

/s/ Gary Nielsen, Former Mayor

/s/ Craig Taylor, Emergency Preparedness Committee

/s/ Ray Villareal, Trustee, Portola Valley School District

/s/ Ron Walter, Open Space Acquisition Advisory Committee

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Created: December 29, 2009 12:09 PST
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