County Supervisors Discuss How to Spend Measure A Funds

Despite at least 25 people who spoke out against funding the new jail, the supervisors avoided the topic during Tuesday's meeting.

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors met Tuesday to discuss how to spend more than $60 million in added tax revenue the County will receive from the passage of Measure A last year.

More than 30 members of the public addressed the board with ideas on how the money should be allocated. Suggestions included new mental health intervention services, upgraded library programs, public art projects, a bicycle program coordinator and restoring an independent county parks department.

A contingent of speakers holding pink signs that read "No Jail Tax" brought up the county's new $155-million jail, and accused the board of designating Measure A funds to bankroll the project, which will require an estimated $30 million annually to operate.

Leading up to the November election, county officials maintained that Measure A's half-cent sales tax increase, which takes effect April 1, was necessary "to preserve essential county services."

At this morning's meeting, Occupy Redwood City organizer James Lee said the costly new jail was among the county's "menu options" to receive Measure A funding.

"We're here to basically ask the board to prove us wrong," Lee said. "We don't need this jail to begin with."

San Mateo County resident Nathalie Fowler implored the board to use Measure A funds to bolster community programs, instead of building a new jail complex.

"Make me proud of the place where I come from," Fowler said. "Use Measure A funds for progression, not regression, if for no other reason than - you promised."

Isaac Ontiveros of Californians for a Responsible Budget (CURB) said the board asked for community input, but no one in the room was asking for a new jail.

"You can abandon this project," Ontiveros said. "You could save the county millions of dollars."

Supervisor Adrienne Tissier was the only board member to address concerns over the jail, insisting that "public safety is a number-one priority for the community" and that a new jail was necessary to house many of the re-entry and treatment programs that some speakers were asking the county to back with Measure A funds.

"Clearly, the jail is already underway," Tissier said.

Supervisors Dave Pine, Warren Slocum, Don Horsley and Carole Groom brought up their preferences for Measure A funding, which ranged from bolstering health services for the isolated community of Pescadero, to restoring the county's faltering park system.

On suggestion Groome made was school safety, and the idea of using funds to place police officers at school sites for increased safety. The suggestion elicited shocks and gasps from many in the audience.

After the meeting, Lee said it was "disappointing" that the board members chose not to address what so many community members showed up to talk about.

"It was clear that the board thought avoiding the question of the jail tax was the best strategy," he said.

Lee said that he and a broad coalition of community stakeholders will continue to attend future board meetings and lobby in opposition of the new jail.

"There are still other avenues to pursue," he said.

In particular, Lee said many Occupy members have environmental quality concerns about the site for the new jail. He also suggested the county could explore alternative options to a new jail, such as electronic monitoring systems.

What do you think of the Board's ideas on how to spend Measure A funds? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

- Bay City News contributed to this report

Also on RedwoodCity-Woodside Patch:

  • Campaigns Against the New Jail Heat Up
  • New Jail Breaks Ground
  • Warren Slocum Identifies Early Priorities as He Takes Office
  • Horsley Won't Take a Supervisor Salary After All
  • Census Count Reveals 'Homeless City' Off Veterans Boulevard

Keep up with the latest news from your local neighborhood - follow Patch!

Sign up for Redwood City-Woodside Patch’s daily newsletter
"Like” us on Facebook
"Follow” us on Twitter

Want to share your opinions with the communities of Redwood City and Woodside? Start your own blog here.

Aaron February 13, 2013 at 05:30 PM
The county could save money by not commissioning reports that they will go on to blatantly disregard. http://www.mercurynews.com/peninsula/ci_21694810/san-mateo-county-faults-three-reports-that-question If the "supes" were going to go ahead and disregard the findings, they could have saved the 100k and preserved some of the budget for the Human Services Agency, or a couple of court employees. I bought a bicycle from Target last week and I paid $65. Two years ago I had a bicycle stolen from me, and I wonder how much the cost to the taxpayer was to file the police report. My bicycle was never recovered. If by some miracle a redwood city police officer had arrested the bicycle thief the, cost to the community would have been thousands of dollars. Jails will only beget more jails. The economic climate is as such that it would be cheaper for our community to provide free bicycles, than to arrest and prosecute bicycle thieves. Same goes for Drugs Crimes and other non-violent offenses. We should establish a permanent Public Defender's Office, instead of contracting with a private agency comprised of people who profit so long as there is an expansion of indigent people to provide services for.
Linda Jolley February 16, 2013 at 06:55 PM
Bureaucrats have snookered the taxpayers into giving them money they don't know how to spend. And meanwhile homelesss folks have been living in filth and squalor because goverment bureaucrats don't have the slightest idea how to fix it. Homelessness and crime are all part of the same scene -- folks who can't fit themselves into the economy and suffer a brutal 8-hour grind every day. I RECOMMEND: FOLLOW THE "HOMELESS" THREAD ABOUT ERNIE SCHMIDT AND LET'S HASSLE THE BUREAUCRATS TO PROVIDE A CAMPGROUND FOR HOMELESS. Either that, or stop bleeding taxpayers for money that goes to waste at things like creating more noise at the library. Linda Jolley
Aaron February 16, 2013 at 07:41 PM
I don't believe that the tactics in this story work, but may the words comfort you in your Mission, Linda. http://gbgm-umc.org/umw/jesusandwomen/luke18.stm Point of information: Americans tried setting up a camp grounds for people struggling with housing issues in the Fall of 2011. It spread to 300 cities. the mainstream media reported that we were diffuse, communist, drug-using deadbeats and then their police shot us with pepper spray, tear-gas, rubber bullets and court dates. food for thought.
Aaron February 16, 2013 at 07:46 PM
Here's an article you might want to get in on, Linda :) http://redwoodcity-woodside.patch.com/articles/curb-s-campaign-against-new-jail-heats-up
Aaron February 16, 2013 at 08:09 PM
Well, to correct that problem, you will need an entire generation of people to "unwatch" the cartoons that they watched as infants and toddlers. We were conditioned into thinking that Violence was appropriate and effective. Why else would images of fred hitting barney with a hammer be followed by a laugh track? http://www.kidswb.com/video/The-Flintstones/The-Flintstone-Flyer/ Hitting people in the head with a hammer is obviously funny, that's why. Everybody is laughing. Just because the people who did the killings were mostly hopped up on psych meds, doesn't mean that they had mental health issues. Some of em just took the pills prescribed because they demonstrated some of the criteria of Depression or Anxiety. But, yeah ... most of the shooters involved in the increasing number of mass during the past decade in America were being medicated for mental health issues. I agree, we should take a look at that. And maybe we should talk about why the mainstream media (who is so fond of running commercials for pharmaceutical companies which spend more on advertising than research) does not report this information.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »