Watch this informative video to understand WHY the Madera Oversight Coalition recommends a NO VOTE on Measure T in the 2022 ballot Initiative.
Vote NO on the Measure T FOREVER TAX
Measure T: Transportation Sales Tax Extension isn’t what they say.
Tom Wheeler touts the benefits of Measure T Renewal set for the November ballot. The Measure is supposedly to extend the ½ % local tax for “local” transportation. Sounds great, right? BUT consider:
• It is a FOREVER TAX with no sunset, unlike the current version.
• Despite their claims, there has been essentially NO CITIZEN INPUT
• The ballot measure is either 2 or 4 years PREMATURE.
• The 2008 Wildfire Protection Plan has been IGNORED.
This proposed Measure T would result in a PERMANENT sales tax in Madera County giving the government bureaucrats an open checkbook, no checks or balances, and no accountability. They claim they need a continuous revenue stream. But if they do their jobs well, the tax can be easily renewed in 20 years and the stream would continue.
NO CITIZEN INPUT
All County Supervisors continually brag about citizen input, but there has been essentially none. They have not sought resident input for the 16-year duration of the current measure. NONE. However, for the Renewal Measure they want inputs primarily from “likely voters”. Why “likely voters”? I imagine it is because they want to know only what it would take to pass the poorly framed current measure.
As an example, there are NO ordinary citizens on the Renewal Steering Committee. The membership “score” is
----Government/quasi-government employees – 20
---Business & industry - 4
----Citizens – 0
Even the 2017-18 Grand Jury Report cites inadequate citizen input to the Measure T program. The Consultant arrogantly dismisses that finding.
The Chairman of the Renewal Steering Committee even said “we don’t need a public review” of the 2 documents that make up the full ballot item. However, their own codes require a 45-day review period! Those documents were 21 pages long in 2006, and now they are more than 55 pages, full of new definitions, categories and percentages. How’s that for “citizen input” and transparency?
RENEWAL IS PREMATURE
Our supervisor claims this Renewal measure was ”not rushed”, claiming the existing Measure T as “now set to expire” as though it is imminent. It isn’t. It expires 4+ years from now! There are 2 more voting cycles, 2024 and 2026, in which to vote on a better measure with citizen input. It is clearly premature.
They want to get it on the ballot now when voter turnout is expected to be low.
WILDFIRE PROTECTION PLAN IGNORED
Supervisor Wheeler talks about the importance of evacuation routes for wild fires and emergency access for first responders. The 2008 Madera County Community Wildfire Protection Plan listed 11 specific high priority communities by name. Those priorities have been ignored for the last 14 years. Now, only a placeholder “evacuation and safety category” for Mountain Areas. It is only a placeholder and a candidate with no guarantee. It is not specific compared to other specific projects. They aren’t scheduled begin looking at the placeholder for another 4 years. Wow!
The top priority, Cascadel, has been evacuated multiple times since 2015, and in the September 7 Fork Fire, residents had to be escorted out. Instead of using existing Measure T funds to improve and publicize highly urgent evacuation routes, we got the $2 million North Fork roundabout, amid citizen protests.
A sunset clause prompts voter and citizen inputs. Meaningful exchanges with resident community members are needed. Such exchanges will make future (2024, 2026) Measure T Renewal efforts stronger and more likely to pass. That is where our energies should go—looking to 2024. THERE MUST BE A SUNSET CLAUSE.
WE HAVE TIME TO GET THIS RIGHT IN 2024.
PLEASE VOTE “NO” ON THIS VERSION OF MEASURE T.