Yes on A/B campaign rolls out

The campaign’s new website is here.

“We cannot allow the politics of negativity to paralyze the City’s recovery. We have reason to be optimistic and hopeful,” said Jane Butterfield, chairperson of the Taxpayers for Measure A campaign.

Translation: Trust us. We’ve earned it.

Butterfield is the retired CEO of the Community Bank of San Joaquin, by the way.

Her statement, vetted though it likely was by political consultants and groupthink, hits the nail on the head. The proposed recovery tax is largely a referendum on Stockton government. Is it still fiscally incompetent? Even if it has become prudent, will it backslide into cronyism and patronage in years to come?  

Should we expect the worst? Or does it deserve the trust of voters for the exemplary work it has done over the past few years?

Another way to ask it: Are we entering a campaign based on reason or ideology? Do we give credit for a job well done? Or is there an irreducible knot of Stockton voters so prejudiced by habitual distrust of City Hall that the can’t, or won’t, see improvement? 

These and other questions need to be worked through. And it will take work, to reject easy answers, ideology and comfortably cynical old views and win through to the right policy for the city’s future.

Below is the entire press release.

Campaign Launched to Pass Stockton Measures A & B
“It’s Time to Restore Public Trust and Ensure Public Safety”

STOCKTON— Stockton residents and business owners who want to see the city restore the public trust, return to financial stability, and make streets safer have created Taxpayers for Measure A, the official campaign committee charged with passing Measures A and B on the Nov. 5 ballot.

“We need to pass Measures A and B to make our streets safer and get us out of bankruptcy sooner,” said Jane Butterfield, chairperson of the Taxpayers for Measure A campaign.  “We are confident that Stockton can emerge from bankruptcy financially strong, with a strong sense of pride and a renewed vision. To do it, we have no other option than to pass these measures.”

Butterfield, who was chief executive officer (CEO) of the Community Bank of San Joaquin until her recent retirement, is taking a lead role to pass Measures A and B. 

In addition to Butterfield, members of the committee include: Jose Rodriguez, Carol Ornelas, and Gene Gini. The committee was created and fundraising has begun. The campaign unveiled its website:

“It’s time to restore public trust and ensure public safety,” Butterfield said. “Measures A and B are critically important to Stockton’s recovery.”

New revenues would go to implementing the Marshall Plan, which will create safer neighborhoods and reduce crime by adding 120 police officers on the streets of Stockton, beef up crime prevention programs and improve Stockton’s 9-1-1 emergency services.

If approved, the measure would take effect in April 2014 and increase the current sales tax to 9 percent from 8.25 percent. The city has estimated that would raise more than $300 million over 10 years.  Without the revenue boost, the city faces an $11 million operating deficit, and additional cuts to libraries, parks, community centers and critical government services.

The proposed tax would continue as long as it is needed to help restore financial stability but sunsets once the City funds reach the 2009-level.  Approximately 125 cities in California have a 9 percent sales tax rate and 18 cities that are higher than 9 percent.

Butterfield said that without Measure A and B passing, the city will face far more difficult choices than it currently faces.

“People want the City to rebound financially and they also want to feel safe and secure. They want to know when they walk the streets, play at parks or shop in town; they can go about their activities with less worry or fear,” Butterfield said.

Passing the Measure will also enhance public confidence in local government by adding additional oversight by an independent Citizen Oversight Committee.

“We cannot allow the politics of negativity to paralyze the City’s recovery.  We have reason to be optimistic and hopeful,” Butterfield said. “A long, drawn out process to return to financial stability does not help any of us who live and work here.”

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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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