Sales tax linked to pollution

Those against wider I-5

Councilman David Alvarez speaks outside Kimball Elementary in National City
  • Councilman David Alvarez speaks outside Kimball Elementary in National City

A coalition including environmentalists, organized labor, local chambers of commerce, and politicians gathered this afternoon outside Kimball Elementary in National City to launch a campaign against a proposal to enact a half-cent sales tax across the county for the next 40 years.

The official wording of Measure A, to be placed before voters this November, is as follows:

“Shall an ordinance be adopted to: repair roads, deteriorating bridges; relieve congestion; provide every community funds for pothole/street repairs; expand public transit, including improved services for seniors, disabled, students, veterans; reduce polluted runoff; preserve open space to protect water quality/reduce wildfires by enacting, with independent oversight/audits, a 40-year, half-cent local sales tax ($308 million annually) that Sacramento cannot take away?”

Detractors, however, argue that the $18.2 billion the measure is expected to raise would be spent expanding freeways, increasing pollution, and undermining climate goals such as those laid out in the city of San Diego's long-awaited climate action plan.

"Measure A is more than a $18 billion tax increase, it's a burden on San Diego families and our community," said Gretchen Newsom, political director at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union that contributed $75,000 toward defeating the measure earlier this month. "The true cost is still unknown — medical bills from increased air and water pollution, environmental damage, and wasteful spending of taxpayer money are all serious risks posed by the measure."

Other labor interests, meanwhile, referring to themselves as "a coalition of construction professionals to repair San Diego's roads," have lined up with big money in support of the tax.

"Air pollution from cars is linked with increased risk of asthma, heart disease, and other health dangers," said Margaret Godshalk, a retired Kimball teacher and Environmental Health Coalition representative who called the measure "a careless, dangerous proposal."

"The asthma hospitalization rate for children in this area is one of the highest in the county — almost three times average," continued Andres Figueroa, a high school junior from Barrio Logan who lives near a section of Interstate 5 that would be widened with funds from the tax. "[Measure A] will just add more fuel to the fire.”

San Diego councilmember David Alvarez said the measure "was cooked up in a back-room fashion — and the people here weren't allowed in that back room.”

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$ANDAG will continue to do what SANDAG does best, build roads and support local elected officials who will then support SANDAG. SANDAG is yet another CPUC that is far too cozy with those it "regulates."

We need to revamp SANDAG with elected Leaders that are not going to rubber-stamp all new projects.

Come On SD Leaders, lets plan for the widest possible group of people using all manner of mobility "vehicles" not JUST the lucky few that are physically strong enough to ride bicycles.

A few points to consider:

Where is all the new motorcycle parking stripping, so riders can park for free in all the odd shaped nooks and crannies on our City streets without taking up a metered spot, or are bicycles the only things that are important these days? There should be motorcycle and/or electric bicycle parking everywhere not just in a few corrals that cost many thousands of dollars each to install along with the removal of vital on-street vehicle parking spaces!

Expensive bikes need parking locations that offer security, why is the city not also installing secure cycle parking lockers, if we really want to encourage commuters to "ride to work"? How many can afford to lock their $4,000 bike up to a parking meter and then replace all the components after they have been stolen or damaged by vandals?

One complain I've heard is that the City is using bicycle lanes to not only change traffic patterns but to somehow justify reducing the parking requirements for both new construction and/or remodeling, since they believe in the myth that all residents will use mass transit and not own cars in the future... which is feel good speak for the poor will be force into transportation corridors that will shift it's parking burden into the adjacent neighborhoods, which is already happening in North Park and other locations through San Diego! Watch out what you support, it may come back to bite your neighborhood and your property values if you are lucky enough to own!

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