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Jared Asch Asks Loella Haskew and Cindy Darling: Is "Measure O" Working?

From episode: Walnut Creek - Measure O - EPISODE 15

Let's get local and talk about Walnut Creek for a minute. It's been about a year since the people of Walnut Creek have voted in Measure O. Talk to us. City's an additional sales tax to provide benefits for the city. Is it working and what are we doing with the money? What are the priorities?

This blog post is written by AI software off a transcript from the podcast episode and contains errors.

Councilwoman Haskew - The first thing we did is to promise the community to have an oversight group so that they look at what we've done to make sure that we live up to our promises of what we were going to do when we started the Measure O process. Interestingly enough, when I first ran in 2012 or 2011, I ran on a half-cent sales tax increase and I got more votes than I ever did since then. I think there was a group of people who knew that we weren't quite what we needed a little extra oomph in our spending. We've made some additions to the police department. We've made some spending for attracting more people downtown where we're doing things, a lot of things in and around it.

The biggest project is the one that Councilwoman Cindy Darling is working on. So I'm going to let her take over. One of the reasons I ran for council is it's important for a community. My kids loved growing up in Walnut Creek. They swam, they played Little League, they played this, they played that, they did this art class. And a lot of the facilities that they were accessing were built back in the 50s and 60s. And we all know things that were built in the 50s and 60s are now starting to fall apart. We need to pay it forward to the next generation. That was a big driver on Measure O. The Clark Swim Center and Heather Farm are one bad accident away from their pumps not ever running again. We are working on a new community center and a new aquatic center to carry on the traditions in Walnut Creek. We are in the planning phase right now and we have a lot of active, robust public input coming into the process. We have a survey out. You can go to the city councils with the city's website and take a survey on what you want out of that community center, and what you want out of the aquatic’s facility. We're going to be working to get it so it's up and operational by 2027 and it's going to be cool. There's some concern over the money from Measure O coming up on the ballot.

“Can you talk about what is coming up in 2024 and what impact that might have on Measure O as well as several other regional measures.” asks Jared? There are two things to be addressed by the population. The first one is how many votes do we need to do to get permission to have an additional sales tax? If we go out for a specific purpose right now, you need two-thirds of a vote of a community and it's incredibly difficult to get that. If you go out for a general measure, you only need to get 50 % plus one vote. There is a measure being brought forth by a business council that wants to remove so much freedom with what we local people can do with taxes. They want to make every vote a sixty-thirds vote. The thing that is most concerning to us because of our position is they can claw back a vote that happened in 2022 and say you have to run it again and get the two-thirds vote. We're nervous about the business one. And we're also thinking it's 10 % of people will vote no on anything that has money to do with money. And that's to get 65%. You've got to work hard. A lot of cities can't get important things done because they can't get out there and get this full measure of voters to pay attention.

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