Measure J Library Tax Tops June Ballot for Orinda Residents
By SALLY HOGARTY
According to Ballotpedia, the online encyclopedia of American politics and elections, voters in California decide local ballot measures on as many as a dozen different election dates. In even-numbered years, voters decide hundreds of measures; the number of local measures has ranged from about 530 to more than 800 in the last three two-year cycles. In odd-numbered years, local voters generally decide between 100 to 200 measures.
Fortunately, Orindans have far fewer ballot measures to contemplate June 5. Tops among local concerns is Measure J. This library parcel tax increase measure will add $30 annually to the existing parcel tax. Passed in 2008, the existing tax maintains the Orinda Library’s present 60 hours per week and pays for repairs and maintenance. Increased costs over the years, however, have made the current funding inadequate to continue those hours.
The Friends of Orinda Library point out the 2008 tax, without a sunset limit but also without a cost escalator, “funded 42 percent of the library’s open hours for 10 years.” Measure J, also without a sunset limit or cost escalator, is projected to fund the same level of service until 2024.
“If Measure J doesn’t pass, the county library staff would recommend cutting back to 35 hours a week,” says Friends of the Orinda Library Treasurer Linda Landau.
For more information on Measure J, go to https://cityoforinda.org/384/MEASURE-J—Library-Services-Parcel-Tax.
Also of interest to Orindans, especially those commuting to San Francisco, is Measure RM3. The Bay Area Traffic Relief Plan asks for a $1 toll increase on local bridges (except the Golden Gate Bridge) effective in 2019 with additional $1 increases in 2022 and 2025.
Possibly increasing traffic closer to home is Measure L. A yes vote on this measure on the Lafayette ballot would allow 44 units of residential housing and a park facility, known as The Homes at Deer Hill, to be built on a steep hillside along Highway 24.
Also, on the local front, a tenacious Moraga resident is running a write-in campaign for the United States Senate. Ursula Schilling hopes to challenge Senator Dianne Feinstein for her senate seat. The energized 70-year-old is a native of Germany who moved to Australia at age four and immigrated to the United States when she was nine. She became a U.S. Citizen in 1962 while attending Acalanes High School.
Her many careers include: high school chemistry, science and music teacher; realtor; lawyer; stockbroker for Merrill Lynch; sales rep for Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical and book author. “I learned so much at Merrill Lynch that helped me formulate one of my main goals: fixing the infrastructure nationwide. We have lots of things in California that are first class, but our infrastructure isn’t one of them,” Schilling notes.
As a former teacher, Schilling also hopes to work on offering extracurricular arts, music and sports programs in every public school. “It helps develop social skills, teamwork, lifelong friendships while also improving grades and test scores. It’s the best way to help our youth prepare for the future,” she says.
When Schilling missed the April 11 deadline to get her name on the ballot (she was recuperating from a hip replacement), she decided to run a “zero money” write-in campaign.
For more information about Schilling, go to www.uschilling2013.wixsite.com/schillingforussenate.