Essay: Sacramento voters rejected Measure A’s giveaways and political patronage for a reason

ECOS Board Member Brad Banan wrote the following article published in the Sacramento News and Review on November 18, 2022.

By standard political measures, a proposed Sacramento County transportation tax should have won approval in this month’s election. Supporters had a truckload of campaign cash and the backing of the political establishment, among other things.

They spent more than $4 million on Measure A. Opponents spent less than $7,000.

And yet, just like voters nationwide rejected the narrative of an impending “red wave,” so it appears that local voters bucked conventional wisdom and nixed Measure A. As of Nov. 15, 54 percent of voters were opposed to the measure, leading by a margin of 22,000 votes. The measure would have added a half percent to the county’s sales tax for 40 years, raising it to 9.25 percent in Sacramento.

So why did the transportation tax fail?

Click here to keep reading.

ECOS Climate Committee Meeting 11/10

Thursday, November 10, 2022, 6 PM

Jennifer Venema, Climate Action Lead, City of Sacramento

Sacramento Climate Adaptation Plan Preliminary Public Review Draft and Building Electrification: New Building Ordinance; Existing Building Strategy

Link to join: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6656164155

To phone in: 669-900-6833, Meeting ID: 665 616 4155

Click here for the agenda.

In 2020, after the Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change released its recommendations to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045, the Sacramento City Council directed staff to develop an ordinance for electrification of new construction and a strategy for existing building electrification, with a focus on under-resourced communities.

In July, under Jennifer Venema’s leadership, City staff released a draft Climate Action, and now a draft Adaptation Plan. A 2040 General Plan is expected this winter.

Click the links below to learn more about building electrification efforts by the City of Sacramento.

Plus in the meeting we’ll get updates on:

  • Sacramento County Climate Action Plan – Dec. 6 Board of Supervisor Meeting
  • Sacramento County Climate Emergency Mobilization Task Force
  • I-80 Causeway Project: Davis/Sacramento

Vote No on Measure A

Dear ECOS Community,

Please share this message with your neighbors, friends, and colleagues. Measure A, on the ballot this November, is presented as a “citizens’ initiative” and therefore requires only a 50.1 percent majority to pass. It is critical that you vote NO on Measure A.

Measure A circumvents the Sacramento BLUEPRINT, California’s climate targets, and federal transportation planning law. It contains roadway capacity expansion projects and a new rural expressway that will induce car travel and sprawl development and pull resources from transit and transit-based development.

Under Measure A, SACOG concluded in its May 2022 analysis, “the region would likely fall short of meeting its state-mandated 19 percent per capita greenhouse gas reduction target by nearly 2 percent,” which is a ten percent shortfall. SACOG also found that failing to meet the mandate “would jeopardize the region’s ability to compete for state transportation and housing funding programs.”

If Measure A passes, the region will take a disastrous step backward, worsening existing economic inequalities and prospects for climate adaptation.

The Measure A proponents falsely say the measure will combat climate change.

• Bill Magavern, Policy Director of the Coalition for Clean Air summed it up: “Don’t be fooled. Despite promising to reduce congestion and improve air quality, Measure A will have the opposite effect by spending taxpayer dollars on the construction of numerous highway expansions throughout the region. The Coalition for Clean Air opposes Measure A because it is a threat to the air quality of the Sacramento region, which already suffers from unhealthy levels of air pollution, and would also result in increased congestion, global warming impacts, and sprawl.”

• In CARB’s October 10, 2022 letter to Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Sing-Allen, Steven Cliff, the CARB Executive Officer, wrote “The combined set of projects in this $8.5 billion measure would be inconsistent with the statewide effort to lessen the impacts of climate change.”

• Mike McKeever, former Executive Director of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG), commented, “The most recent mailer from the Measure’s proponents, which claims that Measure A fights climate change, is the exact opposite of the truth. Measure A proponents are so desperate for their $8.5 billion tax that they are spending millions of dollars to spread falsehoods.”

The League of Women Voters, Sierra Club, Sacramento Taxpayers Association, United Latinos, Sacramento Sister Circle, Save the American River Association, and dozens of other organizations oppose Measure A. For more information and a complete list, see MeasureANotOK.org.

VOTE NO ON MEASURE A

Additional references:

• Oct. 27, 2022: Backers of a Sacramento sales tax hike are lying to voters. They should reject Measure A. By Marcos Breton of The Sacramento Bee’s Editorial Board. https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/article267915392.html

• Oct. 20, 2022: How special interests exploited a loophole and put a Sacramento County tax hike on the ballot. By Yousef Baig of The Sacramento Bee. https://www.sacbee.com/article267335212.html

• October 10, 2022: Essay: Sacramento journalist breaks down why Measure A would fund new suburban highways, increase greenhouse gases and super-charge sprawl. By Sacramento News & Review Staff, Brad Branan

• Oct. 10, 2022: Sacramento County voters must reject Measure A, an $8.5 billion gift to special interests. By Sacramento Bee Editorial Board. Also Video on Measure A with former SACOG CEO Mike McKeever, Sierra Club Sacramento Chair Barbara Leary, Sacramento Taxpayers Association President Bruce Lee. https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/election-endorsements/article266980846.html

Sincerely,

Susan Herre

President of the ECOS Board of Directors

Why ECOS is opposed to Measure A

October 18, 2022

ECOS’ Executive Committee has voted to oppose Measure A, the Sacramento County sales tax initiative on next month’s ballot. Here are some reasons to vote NO on Measure A:

Measure A is designed to circumvent the Sacramento BLUEPRINT, California’s climate targets, and federal transportation planning law. Its highway projects are not included in our region’s long-range plan, the Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (MTP/SCS). They have not gone through any public process or analysis against accepted smart growth planning principles, goals, and laws. Why? Because these projects would not pass the test. So, the measure’s proponents have skirted the process, and spent over a million dollars for a “citizens’ initiative” to make us pay for projects that enable their sprawl developments.

Measure A is full of roadway capacity expansion projects and a new rural expressway. These projects will induce more car travel and sprawling housing development. This will pull resources from infill development, with its attendant economic revitalization, better transit access, affordable and energy efficient housing, and community enhancements.

Being anti-planning has another serious dollars and cents impact for our region. SACOG, our metropolitan planning organization, has shown that the measure’s projects would cause our region to exceed federal air quality standards and greenhouse gas targets, making us unable to receive State and federal transportation and housing funds.

Measure A will mean a dismal and economically disastrous step backward; a forty-year prospect of regional decline and a worsening climate. So, can we consider and pursue other options?

We admire cities in Europe because they have many layers of development, making the character of the streets inviting, alive, and culturally valuable. In Sacramento, we have just an initial layer of built form, and in many places the buildings are dilapidated and no longer work economically. We are ripe for another layer of development to fill in. Sacramento should take this moment in its history to flex forward, to turn away from the automobile as the primary means of getting around. This is what the climate challenge demands and what future generations will need.

Let’s work together to write an initiative for 2024 that puts local transportation funding where it needs to go: locate higher capacity transit where more people live and where bus ridership is high; create new accessible public plazas and parks, connected by boulevards and promenades; and provide housing for people of all income levels within walking distance to transit, food, and schools. And, let’s show the federal and State government that Sacramento can be a reliable partner for funding by uniting around a vision.

On Thursday, the SACOG Board meeting will feature an example of coalescing behind a vision with a workshop/case study of the Salt Lake City region, Envision Utah. October 20, Agenda Item 18: https://sacog.primegov.com/Portal/Meeting?meetingTemplateId=3358

Below is SACOG’s map of the Measure A proposed projects and their estimated effect on vehicle miles traveled (VMT.)

Please vote NO on Measure A.

Click here to read our full statement, including footnotes.