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New bill would temporarily increase Bay Area bridge tolls for public transit funding

Original post made on Jun 28, 2023

Public transportation advocates and Bay Area lawmakers are pushing for a new bridge toll increase to bolster transit funding and prevent drastic service cuts. But local State Sen. Steve Glazer vows 'vigorously oppose' another fee hike.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, June 27, 2023, 11:06 PM

Comments (9)

Posted by Malcolm Hex
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 28, 2023 at 8:42 am

Malcolm Hex is a registered user.

So, Scott Weiner, another useless and dangerous tool up there in Sacramento, wants to increase bridge tools now. I wonder how you Democrats feel about this.

Scott Weiner is the same guy who authored a bill back in 2017 which reduces the penalty from a felony to misdemeanor for someone who knowingly infects another person with HIV.

Weiner’s response to criticism of this bill went something like this: Weiner said well, if someone gets infected by another person who did not disclose they have HIV, the person who becomes infected can simply take HIV medication. That was Weiner’s response.

Wow. A person who knowingly infects another person with a deadly disease cannot face felony charges. This is what you Democrats support. Notice I did use a question mark.

Posted by Paul Clark
a resident of Danville
on Jun 28, 2023 at 9:35 am

Paul Clark is a registered user.

You just have to wonder if the Democrats will ever "run out of other people's money?" They seem to have a collective cognitive dissonance that prompts them to continue their "Robinhood Approach to Governance."
Now they want to soak the already overtaxed motorists to fund "our colossal failure" known as "mass transit," to the tune of another $180 million ( when BART alone says it needs $300 million to "stay afloat"), while they "find permanent solutions" to the Bay Area's "transit funding problem"(solutions that never seem to materialize, followed by more bailouts).
They continue to pander to the "takers," and who knows, the "takers" are becoming the electoral power in California. But I have news for them, the "providers" are leaving California by the tens of thousands, particularly in the Bay Area. So, at the end of the day, the Democrats will have to continue to scrounge up money from an ever dwindling number of people who have yet to leave the State for saner places to live and prosper. At the end of the day, retail establishments will leave in numbers that will leave those who remain without food, drugs and other essentials to living; together with a dwindling supply of rental housing thanks to "rent control" and laws to prevent eviction for non-payment of rents. You can "steal from the taxpayers," but you can't alter the fundamental "laws" under which businesses operate.

Posted by Maskedman
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 29, 2023 at 7:25 am

Maskedman is a registered user.

There is no such thing as a temporary increase, and everyone knows this. The temporary bridge toll hike will eventually be made permanent.

Posted by Paul Clark
a resident of Danville
on Jun 29, 2023 at 11:42 am

Paul Clark is a registered user.

When both the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge were initially opened, they had $.25 tolls each way, and the tolls were supposed to be taken down once the construction bonds used to build them were paid off. Fast forward to today! The Bay Bridge is $7.00. the Golden Gate Bridge is now $8.40 if you have FasTrak, $9.40 if they bill you. But hey the Democrats here have a ways to go. New York Toll Authority just raised the maximum tolls to get into the city from New Jersey to $23.00! In their constant "thirst" for your money, $23.00 won't be long in coming, particularly when you consider fewer people are commuting into San Francisco to work on a daily basis, and like BART, the bridges will, despite the increasing tolls, be realizing a lot less money in aggregate. In other news, today Walgreen's announced that they were going to close 150 locations nation-wide. You can bet that some of that number will be in the Bay Area.

Posted by Mike Arata
a resident of Danville
on Jun 29, 2023 at 5:14 pm

Mike Arata is a registered user.

Contra Costa readers should note: they’re already paying two BART property taxes and a half-percent BART sales tax, whether or not they ever ride BART trains.

Look next to Transparent California’s listing of public-agency salaries and benefits and note that for BART in 2021, you have to get to employee number 859 before the salary + benefit total drops below $200,000 ( Web Link ).

Like other local public agencies — including SRVUSD and other school districts — BART routinely cries poverty until it’s time for the next salary and benefit increase.

In its 2016 bond campaign, BART was able to get its tax-increase initiative specially labeled as “Measure RR.” Get it? Measure RailRoad.

Taxpayers were railroaded indeed. As local attorney Jason Bezis observed — and complained officially to the Fair Political Practices Commission — BART spent public funds to promote Measure RR.

The FPPC finally fined the agency a mere $7,500 (apparently paid with taxpayer dollars) for failing to report its campaign funding (for a campaign which BART wasn’t legally permitted to fund). See Web Link .

And that didn’t occur until 2 years after Measure RR had passed.

Tax spending by public agencies for “public education” campaigns — to supply more new taxes — is a common problem. To the extent it pushes a “yes” vote, it’s also illegal. Yet the agencies are seldom punished; and in the few occasions when they are, the individual schemers at fault do not wind up going to jail or even paying the fines.

A related problem is the behind-scenes reliance of public agencies on their current and prospective vendors of goods and services for most of their campaign funding (likely as shakedowns). Those vendors then benefit from the new spending afforded by the new taxes (i.e., kickbacks). So far, unfortunately, that’s “legal.”

Posted by Paul Clark
a resident of Danville
on Jun 29, 2023 at 10:32 pm

Paul Clark is a registered user.

Mike Arata,

It isn't just BART. People should go to:

Web Link

And let their "fingers do the walking" through this list of Contra Costa County Employees for 2021. Topping the list are the "folks at the County Hospital," with the numero uno making just under $700,000.00 per year as of three years ago. The Sheriff is in there too at a half a million! You have to get past 18 people to get to salaries that are under $500,000!

Posted by Mike Arata
a resident of Danville
on Jun 30, 2023 at 3:49 pm

Mike Arata is a registered user.

Thanks, Paul, for extending the Transparent California reference, now to employees of County administration itself, ultimately of the Board of Supervisors. The half-percent County-wide increase in sales taxes which passed in 2020 began with a County employee demand for higher compensation levels.

The tax campaign was conducted collusively with Concord city officials, who sought and obtained their own ADDITIONAL half-percent sales-tax increase.

An obstacle was/is California Revenue and Taxation Code section 7251.1: "The combined rate of all [sales] taxes imposed in accordance with this [section] in any county may not exceed 2 percent. No [sales] tax shall be considered to be in accordance with this [section] if, upon its adoption, the combined rate in the county will exceed 2 percent" [above the state rate of 7.25%].

That would mean the County’s maximal sales-tax rate should be 9.25%. Yet some CCC jurisdictions get away with a 10.25% rate, others 9.75%.

The answer: State Senator Paul Glazer, who ran originally with a promise “to hold the line on taxes,” sponsored SB1349, to say that existing sales taxes benefiting the County’s Transportation Authority and BART would no longer be counted toward the 2% limit.

Glazer had his assistant Judy Lloyd send a recommended form letter to local jurisdictions, requesting support for SB1349 to help pass it.

Such legislation, with tangible effect on Danville voters, is/was supposed to go before Danville Town Council’s 2-member Legislative Committee, thence to the entire Council, for noticed meetings (allowing citizen input).

Instead, Danville Town Manager Joe Calabrigo responded unilaterally within hours, affirming Glazer/Lloyd-requested double-talk “on behalf of the Town of Danville”: “This bill does not… raise the existing 2% cap. Rather the bill simply clarifies existing law for purposes of the current 2% cap on the combined rate of all taxes.”

SB1349 passed, and our sales taxes increased another half percent.

Posted by Mike Arata
a resident of Danville
on Jul 2, 2023 at 12:14 pm

Mike Arata is a registered user.

The measure passed County-wide. But Danville voters opposed it, 57% to 43%.

After learning of Mr. Calabrigo's unilateral action, I had advised him and the five Danville Town Council members of their failure to uphold their own "Legislative Framework" — and that time remained for them to rescind the Calabrigo letter and to conduct a proper hearing before endorsing the measure.

As I said to them then (July 2020): "Any… bill which plays word games with existing statutes and facilitates new spending-lobby campaigns for still higher local sales taxes — atop rates which are already among the country’s highest — should obviously require properly noticed Legislative Committee and Town Council discussion prior to endorsement. Mr. Calabrigo ignored that requirement."

Further in July 2020: “56% of Danville voters rejected Measure J [a Transportation Authority tax increase] just four months ago. That measure would itself have added half a percent more to existing sales taxes. In continuing to ignore that election result, in allowing Mr. Calabrigo’s unilateral endorsement of SB 1349 to remain on the record without Council consideration and action, you persist also in ignoring your own Legislative Framework — along with the express will of the citizens you purport to serve.”

Posted by Paul Clark
a resident of Danville
on Jul 5, 2023 at 7:13 am

Paul Clark is a registered user.

The Town of Danville continues to suffer from "voter apathy." Calabrigo and the Town Council have been in office since the Town was "founded" with very few changes. After each election cycle the same gaggle of "leaders," simply "rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic"( using the "it's my turn to be mayor again process") and go on patting themselves on the back for their "leadership."
I am left wondering just how long they they (and their buddies in San Ramon) think they can keep "the wolf from the door" (ie. the crime wave that is just over the East Bay Hills to the west) from taking real root here. We've already seen several "instances" of mass looting and gun-related crimes here.

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