How special interests exploited a loophole and put a Sacramento County tax hike on the ballot, SacBee, October 19, 2022

By The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board | October 19, 2022 | The Sacramento Bee

In their purest form, citizens’ initiatives are supposed to represent grassroots democracy, rallying a wide range of people behind a single cause. Measure A is the antithesis of that. It’s democracy purchased by a select few citizens who are spending money to make even more in the decades to come, heedless of the cost to the public.

In this case, the grassroots response is the opposition to the citizens’ initiative. And it’s wide-ranging, including anti-tax conservatives, environmentalists, climate activists and good government advocates. They just need 50.01% to stop it.

Click here to read the full article.

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.

Lessons Learned From LA’S 2016 Measure M

Featuring Mike Manville, Associate Professor UCLA Urban Planning

ECOS MTG/Board on July 26, 2022 at 6 pm
LINK: ECOS ZOOM 6656164155 or call 1 669 900 6833, ID: 665 616 4155

Co-hosts:

Mike McKeever, former CEO of SACOG
Susan Herre AIA AICP, president of ECOS

WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM LA’S EXPERIENCE? Whether the transportation tax measure now under discussion in Sacramento passes or not, this discussion on LA’s Measure M will give us some good perspective.

We will hear from Prof. Manville on the lead up to Measure M, Los Angeles County’s 2016 transportation tax ballot initiative, its goal to transform the way people move around the LA region, why it passed, and what’s happened since. Please join us!

For reference, see Prof. Manville’s two papers — for ENO Center for Transportation and for UC Institute of Transportation Studies.

Transportation measure comes under fire in some circles, Sacramento Business Journal, July 15, 2022

This fall, Sacramento County voters will weigh in on a sales tax measure with a cornucopia of proposed boosting for local transportation: road fixes, transit improvements and more.

One proposed use of measure proceeds, though, has drawn criticism in some corners, including from a regional transportation planning agency. About 11.5% of all annual tax revenues would be allocated to Caltrans for state highway improvements and to the Capital Southeast Joint Powers Authority for the Capital Southeast Connector project.

To groups like the Environmental Council of Sacramento, the latter project is out of line with smart growth.

“We feel it’s inducing sprawl and vehicle miles traveled,” said Ralph Propper, a past president of ECOS and chair of its climate change committee. “It wouldn’t meet state mandates.”

Click here to read the article in full.