Rejects Bond Vote
June 26, 1996
WEST COUNTY TIMES
CITY IMPROVEMENTS WERE AIM OF PLAN
Wednesday, June 26, 1996
RICHMOND Despite pleas from residents who said they were ready to pay for a better city, the City Council refused Tuesday to put a $62 million bond measure on the November ballot.
The measure would have assessed property owners an average of $45 per year for 30 years to pay for street improvements, a refurbished library, flood control projects, a new fire station and swim center and better parks and recreation centers.
Council members Nat Bates, Donna Powers, Alex Evans and Irma Anderson voted against putting the measure on the ballot. Mayor Rosemary Corbin and Council members Tom Butt, John Marquez and Lesa McIntosh voted in favor of putting it before the voters. Vice Mayor Richard Griffin was absent.
The measure needed six votes to pass.
Prospects for the measure took on a distinctly dim cast as soon as discussion began.
In an about-face, from what had been a months-long push by staff to promote the measure, City Manager Floyd Johnson surprised audience members by announcing that he was recommending against putting it on the ballot.
He said it might have a better chance next year, given the fact that other bond measures for schools and community colleges are likely to be on the ballot this year.
Following Johnson's announcement, Bates made an attempt to table the item. But the effort was supported only by Powers and thus failed.
Fourteen residents spoke in favor of letting voters decide on the bond measure.
"If it's not passed, we'll be back, because we are well organized," said Valerie Andersen. "Let's give it a shot this year. We need for our children a better library and better parks and improvement to our streets."
Resident Linda Jackson called the vote unfair.
"They treated us like we weren't thinking people," she said. "Like we couldn't make the decision for ourselves."
City hall observers said they believed the business community opposed the measure and "leaned on" council members to kill it.
Evans said he did not support putting it on the ballot because some of the funded items would actually cost the city more money. The proposed swim center in El Sobrante, for instance, would require more staff to operate and maintain.