I am writing to express my full support for Jack Gordon, who is running for Judge. My family and I are long time Watsonville residents, and have known Jack for many years. Personally, I have served with him on the Santa Cruz County Civil Service Commission. I have seen his intelligence, consideration and focused reasoning in different administrative and employment law matters. In each and every situation, Jack has brought his best effort to our Commission work, understanding and appreciating the impact our decisions have in people’s lives and in their workplace. He is an exceptional listener, compassionate, strong communicator and respectful colleague. I am certain that Jack Gordon would be a terrific Judge, who would engage with fairness and dignity in his duties, and I urge you to support him with your vote. Go to www.jackgordonforjudge.com
Olivia Madrigal, Watsonville
Vote No on proposition Z. Vote No on a 43% increase in the amount of money the City of Scotts Valley will take in the form of sales taxes. Vote No on a tax increase that will last for well over a decade – much more than enough time for the City Council to find other solutions to its fiscal problems. Vote No on a proposition that has not been adequately justified. Vote No on the disgraceful, and expensive, scare campaign we are being subjected to – No matter what result the election brings, the City Council is NOT going to disband our police department.
To be fair, I understand that the City needs added funds in order to work itself out of the financial hole it has created, and I am not opposed to a modest increase in sales tax revenue. But, as a longtime resident I also understand that the City invariably asks for more funds than it actually needs, the first time around. So, if you vote No on Proposition Z and it is defeated, the City will soon return with a more reasonable request, say, a .25% or a .50% increase to the overall sales tax rate, rather than a .75% increase. And, I would urge the City Council to restrict the duration of an addition to a reasonable five or six years, at which time the voters could reevaluate the City’s needs. Vote No on Proposition Z!
John Cowan, Scotts Valley
I was very surprised to see the Press Banners article regarding Measure R because it was very one sided and they didn't even contact the Vote No for Measure R citizens.
We are not against Cabrillo College, but we are tired of paying for more and more bonds to support them. We currently are paying for 2 bonds with one going until 2039. Why would we give them another $274,100,000 dollars if they can't take care of the infrastructure that they have? The picture of the rusty equipment shows me that they aren't maintaining what they should be taking care of.
The buzz words for 2020 is affordable housing but they're willing to make everyone's housing (residential and commercial) less affordable? This bond will throw many seniors on fixed incomes into having to sell their homes and move or become homeless. All because they can't live within their means like we all do? They should be finding private donations from people who want to have a building named after them. If you want to contribute, feel free but don't force others into financial ruin.
The two bonds we are already paying for total just over $200,000,000 and they want another $274,100,000. And in their bond statement some of this will be for remodeling the new buildings that we aren't finished paying for! Enough craziness, No More Taxes! Live within your means just like homeowners have to. President Wetstein is a very nice guy but he still lives in Stockton and is here just to get this passed. Please join us in saying No to Measure R. Enough is enough.
Kris Kirby, Aptos
I moved to Scotts Valley because it’s a beautiful city that provides a safe community where I can raise my children. Right now, that lifestyle is at risk. That is why I support Measure Z which will allow our City to maintain our quality of life and long-term stability of our City government.
Running a city government in 2020 is just expensive. Scotts Valley is not alone in struggling to pay for city services. However, this struggle is compounded in Scotts Valley by an unfair taxation system created by Prop 13 where our City receives only a fraction of the taxes we pay into the system. The City has tried to fight this unfairness, but our City still only receives pennies on each dollar we send to Sacramento.
The loss of our local police department would be devastating to our local life. No major city is run without its own local law enforcement for a reason. A city police department knows more about its unique crime issues and is therefore more responsive to the individual needs of its citizens. But Measure Z is not just about police. It’s all the services of the city, which include important departments like parks and public works.
The proposed increase in sales tax is limited. While some are concerned that the tax will hurt local business, in reality the proposed increase will simply put our sales tax in line with other cities, like Santa Cruz. I believe that preserving the quality of the city will protect its economic development in the future.
This problem is not just in the distant future but is now. With the very real risk of cutting public safety and other vital services, the decision to vote in favor of Measure Z becomes simple: Please vote Yes on Measure Z.
Steven Moore, Scotts Valley
City has done much to be transparent on Z
There’s plenty not to like about new taxes. But there is plenty to love about the Scotts Valley community you live in. Therein lies the dilemma of whether or not to support the sales tax measure, Measure Z on March 3rd. When the city council declared a fiscal emergency in December, it was in response to many months of study that concluded that Scotts Valley’s financial situation was unsustainable. The numbers didn’t lie. Even after years of belt-tightening and spending cuts, our revenue could not keep up with our expenditures. And because approximately fifty percent of our budget is dedicated to public safety, the city council felt it had to address this situation immediately and voted unanimously to put a tax measure on the ballot.
That process has been very transparent. Over the past 18 months, in televised meetings, the city council has discussed this matter extensively and has encouraged an open dialogue and a meaningful conversation with the community. Our communication with our citizens has been comprehensive:
- 10 Presentations at organization and community meetings
- 2 articles in the Press Banner (Jan 17, Jan31)
- 1 article in the Scotts Valley Times (Feb 4)
- 1 in-depth podcast on My Scotts Valley (Dec 20, 2019)
- Social media outreach (Facebook, Instagram, NextDoor)
The Press Banner has written thousands of words on the subject to inform people of the problem.
How did things get this way? When a city’s most stable tax (property tax) is a fraction of what other cities collect, it stunts revenue. When state take-a-ways rob city coffers, it alters budgets. Even with impressive economic development, including new hotels, stubborn revenue shortfalls continue to plague our financial future.
The remedy is clear: Despite best efforts to manage expenses, Scotts Valley's cash reserves are rapidly dwindling and unless new revenues are collected, the city will need to make severe reductions in services. Those are hard facts and not easy to convey to our citizens, but the struggle is real. Our intention is not to scare the community, but to express our very true concern that we fear that we are close to a tipping-point that could change Scotts Valley forever.
The depth of the crisis is why we have been so transparent about our lack of palatable alternatives. If Measure Z doesn't pass, essential City services will be cut drastically because there's nothing else left to cut. Our police department, already hemorrhaging officers to other jurisdictions, will see their pay fall to further and further behind, which means we will lose more and more officers to the point that we have a police department in name only. The million-dollar deficits on the horizon as far as the eye can see will lead us to consider contracting out public safety to the Sheriff's Office, which would result in 911 response times approximately eight minutes above what we enjoy today. In short, the Scotts Valley we all love today will be irrevocably changed for the worse. Please vote Yes on Safety -- Vote Yes on Measure Z.
To learn more: https://www.savescottsvalley.com/fiscalemergency
Randy Johnson Mayor
Derek Timm Vice-Mayor
Jack Dilles Councilmember
Donna Lind Councilmember
Jim Reed Councilmember