TRANSPORTATION//MEASURE B1 | The chair of the Alameda County Transportation Commission says the campaign for Measure B1, which narrowly missed out on a two-thirds majority last Election Day was “poorly-run” and county leaders need to quickly amass support for placing another measure before voters.
Measure B1 would have reignited a half-cent county transportation tax, approved in 1986 and 2000. However, the measure fell short by some 700 votes of clearing two-thirds with 66.53 percent support. The Alameda CTC on Thursday announced it will ask the Alameda County Registrar of Voters for a recount that could begin Dec. 3.
Alameda CTC Chair Mark Green, who is also Union City’s out-going mayor, said Tuesday night the ill-fated campaign could have done more with its vast resources. “It was a campaign that was poorly-run—well-financed—but, poorly-run,” said Green. “Just a targeted mailer here and there would have been enough to push that over.”
Green pinpointed the seeds of the measure’s demise came in the eastern and southern parts of Alameda County. In the Tri Valley cities of Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton, said Green, just a single precinct among the three cities mustered more than two-thirds majorities. Furthermore, in Fremont, where funding for a potential BART station was on the table, just four precincts voting affirmatively for Measure B1, said Green.
The transportation hub of Alameda County, however, came through, said Green. Albany, Berkeley, Oakland and the centers of San Leandro and Hayward showed significant support for Measure B, he said. A quick legislative fix, though, needs to be found to keep repairs and construction on the East Bay’s aging trasportation infrascture moving forward, he said.
“The first thing that needs to be done for us to go up this mountain again,” added Green, “is legislation has to be there to allow Alameda County to get an additional half-cent authorization.”
In Sept. 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Fremont Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski’s bill allowing for a one-time only, two-year exemption allowing the county exceed the two percent threshold on local taxes.
Green says he also already impressed upon the county’s newest legislators—Assemblymembers-elect Rob Bonta and Bill Quirk—the need to offer legislation reauthorizing another exemption. Yet, he believes the previous two-year window may have to be lengthened to four years along with threshold for approval lowered to possibly 55 percent.