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Smart Voter
San Mateo County, CA November 2, 2010 Election
Measure R
Transient Occupancy Tax
City of Pacifica

Majority Approval Required

Pass: 8,018 / 59.7% Yes votes ...... 5,414 / 40.3% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Jan 6 3:01pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (29/29)
65.3% Voter Turnout (226,259/346,516)
Information shown below: Official Information | Arguments |

To ensure funding for general city services, shall the City of Pacifica approve an ordinance amending the Pacifica Municipal Code to increase the transient occupancy tax rate from ten percent (10%) to twelve percent (12%) on the rent charged to hotel guests within the City?

Official Sources of Information

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Arguments For Measure R Arguments Against Measure R
Pacifica's Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), commonly called the "hotel tax", is paid by visitors who rent hotel rooms in Pacifica. The current TOT is 10%. This measure would increase the TOT to 12%. While costs have increased, Pacifica's TOT has not been increased since 1985.

The TOT is used to offset the cost of city services also used by visitors. This measure is estimated to add $160,000 per year to the General Fund. The General Fund for Pacifica pays for services such as public safety, emergency services, road repair, beach maintenance, and recreation.

Like most cities, Pacifica is faced with increasing costs along with decreasing property values and the associated recession. Even after reducing staff and making department cuts, Pacifica continues to spend more than it receives. This TOT increase is part of a five year plan to stabilize our city's finances. The plan includes reducing employee costs by $8 million and increasing revenues by $6 million over the next five years.

Pacifica benefits from keeping hotel occupancy at high levels. Incrasing our hotel tax brings Pacifica current with the same 12% hotel tax as Half Moon Bay and most surrounding cities and San Francisco remains considerably higher.

Plain and simple ... this is a tax paid by visitors for our city services they use. Unlike other revenue sources, every TOT dollar collected stays in Pacifica. Please join us in voting "Yes" on Measure R.

/s/ Sue Digre, Mayor

/s/ Mary Ann Nihart, Mayor pro Tem

/s/ Pete DeJarnatt, Councilmember

/s/ Jim Vreeland, Councilmember

/s/ Julie Lancelle, Councilmember

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Do you think this is the right time for the City to increase the cost to stay in Pacifica? Absolutely not! Pacifica's hotel occupancy rate is the lowest it has been in years. Voting for this tax will decrease it further. With lower occupancy, there will be less hotel guests spending their money in our community.

Visitors have a choice where they stay. We are competing with San Francisco, Half Moon Bay, Burlingame, and other surrounding cities who have spent millions of dollars to promote themselves. They have also lowered their hotel rates significantly in an attempt to attract visitors during this economic crisis. This tax will in effect be a mandatory price increase which will make Pacifica a less attractive destination. This will be another nail in the coffin of our local economy.

The city's budget is over $26,000,000.00 per year. The city is projecting this tax to generate only $160,000.00 per year. That is a drop in the bucket.

Our local businesses are fighting to stay afloat and many of them have already closed their doors. This tax is a step in the wrong direction. We all want a well funded city but this tax has a huge downside for little gain. Please vote no.

/s/ Nick Gust, Former Mayor

/s/ Calvin Hinton, Former Mayor

/s/ Susan Vellone, President, Chamber of Commerce

/s/ Dilipkumar Patel, Owner of Sea Breeze Motel

/s/ Len Stone, Businessman

Vote NO on Measure R. It's a misguided tax that disappears into the general fund. It hurts our hotels who are struggling to make it through this recession. California unemployment is still a sky-high 12.3%. This tax could push a vital piece of our local economy to the brink of collapse. Our retai1 spaces around town already resemble that of a ghost town and the last thing we need are empty hotels.

The Pacifica Tribune newspaper headline says it all, "Hotel Owners Scorn Bed Tax Increase." Every hotel manager the Pacifica Tribune talked to opposes this tax because it is detrimental to business. This tax will also drastically affect local restaurants, coffee shops, gas stations, recreational and retail businesses that rely on hotel occupants who spend their money here in our City.

Our hotels are major anchors of the Pacifica business community. Does anyone think this tax is helping our hotels? This couldn't be a worse time to increase the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) by 20%.

Measure R doesn't require Council to spend the tax dollars on helping our local economy, beaches, or libraries. When the idea of Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) was sold to the citizens of Pacifica, there was promise to invest a large portion of the revenue back into promoting our community as a tourist destination. Now, 100% goes into the General Fund. This is not what we signed up for.

Support our local economy and Vote No on R!

/s/ Nick Gust, Former Mayor

/s/ Calvin Hinton, Former Mayor

/s/ Susan Vellone, President of Pacifica Chamber of Commerce

/s/ Dilipkumar Patel, Owner, Sea Breeze Motel

/s/ Len Stone, Local Business Owner

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Vote YES on Measure R!

Our TOT or hotel tax has not increased since 1985. The proposed increase is 2%.

The General Fund is NOT a mystery fund. It is the name of the budget that pays for city Police, Fire, Public Works, PB&R, and all other city services.

Visitors benefit from these services when they hike our trails, picnic at our beaches, or require help in an emergency. It is a minimal fee increase for access to the beautiful amenities our city offers.

Many factors, such as location, the economy, gas prices, service, and advertising impact hotel occupancy much more than a small additional fee. Last year the City of Brisbane raised their TOT from 10% to 12%, just like this measure, and hotels and businesses there have not been hurt. In fact, hotel occupancy has increased.

Pacifica provides many outdoor amenities for the traveler, more than our neighboring cities. Meanwhile, most surrounding cities have hotel taxes and/or other fees that are equal to or more than 12%.

If Measure R passes:

  • visitors will contribute to the cost of the services they enjoy
  • Pacifica will make progress in achieving its Five Year Financial Plan Goal of financial stability. Remember: The plan also includes saving $8 million from employee salary and benefit costs.
  • Together our city and hotel operators will bring more visitors to Pacifica increasing business revenue.

Vote for our future! Vote for a prosperous, beautiful Pacifica!

Vote YES on Measure R!

/s/ Gregory W. Cochran, Retired CEO, SSF Chamber of Commerce

/s/ Ginny Silva Jaquith, Former Mayor

/s/ Bruce M. Banco, Chair: Support Pacifica

/s/ Susan Vaterlaus

/s/ Suzan Getchell-Wallace

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