Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty
opening the campaign Tuesday for Measure BB.
ALAMEDA COUNTY | TRANSPORTATION | The loss of Measure B, the Alameda County transportation sales tax measure defeated two years ago by a razor’s edge, was a problematic electoral setback almost immediately after the last ballot was counted in November 2012. Many described the campaign as disorganized and underfunded, yet it still came within 700 votes of crossing the two-thirds threshold. Undaunted, Alameda County is ready to quickly try again later this year.
A press conference Tuesday featuring county Supervisor Keith Carson, Richard Valle, Scott Haggerty; Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan and AC Transit board member Elsa Ortiz, among others, kicked off the Measure BB campaign. The proposed half-cent sales tax increase will generate over $8 billion over the next 30 years, they say, to stabilize and improve highways, roads and modes of transportation in the East Bay.
Most importantly, it could stimulate over $20 billion in economic activity over the next three decades, said Haggerty. “Did I mention it will create 150,000 jobs?” he added after referencing the number on three different occasions. Others also offered the factoid likely to be a major talking point in the fall.
However, inside the numbers from that ill-fated 2012 election, showed ambivalence in the Tri Valley and Fremont area for the countywide sales tax. Incidentally, both are represented on the county-level by Haggerty. Infamously, just a single precinct in the Tri Valley garnered more than the requisite 66.7 percent of the vote for passage.
Haggerty says the measure’s prospects this time around are better. In June, the same set of voters approved Measure A, the renewal of the county’s health care facilities use tax. “Which means the people in the Tri Valley are feeling good about what’s in their pocket books,” said Haggerty. In addition, he says they have learned from their mistakes two years ago, he said. “We did a poor job of running a campaign in the Tri Valley.”
“One of the mistakes we made is we had two highly-paid and good consultants,” said Haggerty of noted consultants Larry Tramutola and John Whitehurst. But, this time around the plan is to consolidate consulting fees and spread more money on other parts of the campaign. “I’m not knocking them. They’re different guys, different strategies. It just didn’t work,” Haggerty added.
Financing outreach and conveying to each city exactly what it stand to gain from the measure, especially in the areas of the county with less density, will be important in the fall. “We’ll have money this time around and we will run a viable campaign in the Tri Valley if I have to pay for it myself,” said Haggerty. “But, I’m not going to be embarrassed in front of my colleagues by having the Tri Valley hammer the program, again.”