California Voters Approve Ballot Measure Z to Address Service Cuts and Unfunded Critical Needs
Voters approved Measure Z last fall to help address service cuts and unfunded critical needs. The City Council approves the City budget and decides how these new revenues are spent.
The Measure is an increase to the City’s existing transactions and use tax (commonly referred to as sales tax). All revenue generated from the measure would be deposited into the City’s General Fund.
1. It will protect our water
In California and across America, fracking for oil and gas has left a toxic legacy of contamination, pollution and harming our health. Measure Z prohibits new wells and bans high-intensity extraction methods, and it phases out oil wastewater injection wells and disposal ponds.
The ballot measure includes tough accountability. It requires annual independent financial audits and citizen review of spending. And it protects funds with a legal safeguard that prevents Sacramento from taking them away.
The campaign is locally led and largely self-funded. But it has received some “in-kind” support from a national nonprofit, the Center for Biological Diversity, which made headlines in SLO County last year when it sued over Freeport McMoRan’s bid to exempt an aquifer from federal safe drinking water protections.
2. It will protect our health
In California, and across the country, fracking has left a toxic legacy that is contaminating water and harming human health. Fracking wastewater is also linked to induced earthquakes and climate change, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.
Measure Z will protect families by prohibiting the use of fracking and other high-intensity oil extraction methods in unincorporated parts of Monterey County. It will also phase out the waste injection wells and disposal ponds used in fracking operations.
A successful ballot initiative campaign by unions and employee activist groups has convinced voters that hotel workers deserve better wages and workplace protections against sexual harassment. This measure will help keep Fresno Chaffee Zoo affordable for local families and all visitors to the zoo. Voting yes will support the recruitment and retention of qualified teachers for Orinda USD schools. It will also support core academic programs and maintenance of school facilities.
3. It will protect our environment
The measure also aims to reduce transportation emissions, which account for 50 percent of the state’s pollution. The measure would require car companies to phase out gas and diesel cars over the next 15 years. Supporters include ride-sharing company Lyft, which would benefit from the shift to electric vehicles.
Since President Trump took office, states like California have vowed to serve as a counterweight to federal energy and environmental policy. But they must win on the local level to make a real difference.
In Monterey County, for example, voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative to limit oil production and increase environmental protections. But the oil industry quickly sued, and a lower court has ruled the measure is invalid. Now the California Supreme Court will decide whether to take up the case.
4. It will protect our families
When voters decide on policies via ballot initiatives, they can have the power of a majority to change laws that aren’t working. But this power can also be used to circumvent constitutional limits on state lawmaking.
A court ruling blocked the implementation of a fire tax approved by San Bernardino County voters. Now it’s up to the California Supreme Court, which has agreed to hear an appeal.
Measure Z includes tough accountability requiring independent financial audits and citizen review of spending. It ensures that all funds remain local, cannot be taken away by Sacramento and are spent efficiently and effectively. Vote YES on Measure Z. It will protect our children and families.
5. It will protect our future
After the county supervisors rejected commonsense protections, residents formed Protect Monterey County and gathered signatures to put Measure Z on the ballot. Despite a multimillion-dollar oil industry opposition campaign, voters approved the measure by a 12-point margin.
Unlike other local taxes and fees, Measure Z revenues are deposited and tracked in a dedicated fund that is subject to an annual independent audit. This is the only way to ensure that all the money collected actually goes to funding essential City services.
Voting Yes on Z will help the City make housing more affordable, accessible, and inclusive by repealing the City’s long-standing ban on multi-family homes. It will also allow the City to continue to provide quality animal care and upgrade exhibits for families and visitors from all over the world.