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Alamo to vote June 7 on keeping some state money for local use

Proponents say Measure F would not raise taxes

Early next month. Alamo residents will vote on whether to keep some of the taxes they've paid to the state closer to home.

Measure F is up for a vote on June 7. While it will not raise taxes, according to a statement in favor of the measure, it would raise the spending appropriations limit in Alamo to $1.65 million, with adjustments of inflation every year. That would allow the County Service Area R-7A – better known to local residents as Alamo Parks and Recreation – to use the money itself. Over the past 30 years, similar money has been used to build or improve Livorna Park, Alamo School Sports Park and Batting Cages, Rancho Romero Sports Park, and the Hap Magee Ranch Park.

The Alamo Municipal Advisory Council and parks and recreation are now looking at ways to renovate buildings at the Hap Magee Ranch Park, explore improvements to Alamo School Sports Park, and Rancho Romero Sports Field, and consider building a new park in Alamo.

The argument in favor of Measure F also notes that with an increase in the number of parks, the cost to upgrade and maintain them. Without an increase in the appropriations limit, park expansion and park maintenance would suffer, according to David Bowlby and Nancy Dommes, the two who wrote the opinion in favor of the measure.

If approved, the measure would run for four years.

No opinion has been filed opposing Measure F.

Comments

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Posted by [removed]
a resident of Alamo
on May 27, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Dear Glenn,

An informational distribution was circulated to >8400 voters early in May that illustrated that current parks and programs, as noted in a CCLAFCO report, are not used by greater than 90% of Alamo residents. In response, neighborhood participants specified their interests in natural open space preservation, native environments, and self-directed recreation. It is the conclusion of Alamo's majority that formal parks and current recreation programs are not serving the interests of Alamo residents.

Specifically, Hap Magee Ranch Park is primarily used by Danville residents and it is the interest of Alamo neighborhoods to have it removed from Alamo, R-7A boundaries and funding support. Since the majority in Alamo vote by mail and have already voted we can both wait to see the result of a significant effort to send a message of dissatisfaction to the county by voting NO on Measure F.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dickita P
a resident of Danville
on May 27, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Dear [Removed],
Thank you for your fantastic, strangely familiar commentary on our local issues. Would it be possible for you to tell us when the next Alamo Towne Fool meeting is being held? Just had a feeling that you might know


 +   Like this comment
Posted by [removed]
a resident of Alamo
on May 29, 2011 at 8:05 am

Dear Editor,

Among Alamo region residents exchanges yesterday and today, there are two approaches to foolish responses to EMCEB's sponsored distraction from, "What should Alamo's majority do with parks and programs to make them serve a majority of residents?" Certainly, there are local humorists that wish to use the distraction of "DAZE in the Park" humor by Ralph N. Shirlet. Most want to stay focused on use of Alamo residents' parcel taxes for the majority interests of Alamo residents.

The need to rethink parks and recreation programs is made obvious by Contra Costa LAFCO's report on local use by a minority of residents and the recent R-7A survey that illustrated the response of 565 residents out of more than 13,000 residents in less than 5000 residences addressed with the survey. The same handful of users in the CCLAFCO report responded to the R-7A survey in support for continuation of parks and programs that suit their specific interests. What is more obvious is the lack of response from a representative majority in Alamo that would confirm interests in natural open space, ridgeline protection, natural landscaping, walking paths, school-based recreation facilities, and more. News service polling documented the majority belief that R-7A funds are specifically an offset to Contra Costa County Public Works budgets and are not focused on majority interests in Alamo.

With a YES vote on Measure F, Alamo residents have a choice, 1) simply allow more than a $million of residents' taxes be spent for projects that serve CCC-PW budgets and few in Alamo, or 2) step forward as a majority and change the course of R-7A appropriations to provide broadly used facilities for Alamo residents' self-directed recreation. Whether part of the status quo minority or the dissatisfied majority, the scope of projects in Alamo warrants approval of Measure F. BUT the real test for Alamo's majority is whether they will silently accept the status quo and the threat of more formal parks and programs, or will their neighborhood groups put forth a change of direction to protect and enjoy the natural and native beauty of our area?

Again, the vote of the majority is already in the mail and we only need to wait for the answer.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by askidoo
a resident of Alamo
on Jun 6, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Keeping a tax in place seems common sense. However, does the County responsibly account for how that is spent? It seems not with its high overhead costs meaning a park in Alamo under R-7A costs twice what similar parks cost elsewhere (see LAFCO Park Review).

It also is apparent that the County bureaucracy is not responsive to Alamo in services provided in return for the high administrative costs: they put up more barriers for improvements than implementing the projects even though they are being handsomely paid for their time. The same goes for the other extra taxes in Alamo for police district, roads and beautification. Taxes are paid for enhancements but the bureaucrats/staff use the funds for admin overhead and for basic services to Alamo, which residents have already paid for through their property tax! The enhancements were designed to provide additional better services beyond the basics.

Too bad the County has not done what they should have. Paying $250 for staff to write a small check payment is a recent example. In this case accountability falls either on the County for themselves - an unlikely result - or to the Supervisor's office to handle - also unlikely.


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