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Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Monday, January 29, 2007

Consequences of Measure D - 2/3rds Vote

Since the voters did not pass Measure D last November, local transporation advocates are concerned about how to keep our roads and busses going. This Daily Nexus article covers the issue well -- this is a good example of the consequences of the two-thirds vote now needed for items such as Measure D.

49 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surprisingly, I agree with Brooks Firestone on this issue - apply a vehicle fuel sales tax to pay for road maintenance and traffic improvement (some mass transit, bike lanes, etc.) The more vehicle fuel you use, the more you pay. Sure, users who live on the edges of the county can purchase fuel across the line, but it's likely they are doing that anyways as fuel is generally cheaper there. Hopefully Brooks can get some support for this simple solution.

1/29/2007 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is why some South Coast voters wanted the County division to occur last June. They are a ball and chain on our legs to get anything done!

1/29/2007 11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2/3rds vote helps to keep money out of the hands of fools!

1/29/2007 12:00 PM  
Anonymous Joe Armendariz said...

Sara,

I have great respect for Brooks Firestone, but he is wrong about this.

First, no statewide tax increases were approved by the voters in the November election. Also, no initiative passed that uses a part of the existing gas tax to fund energy development. So he was either misquoted in the article or he is being given inaccurate information. Proposition 87, which would have imposed a new tax on domestc energy production to pay for alternative energy programs was defeated by the voters in November.

And to suggest that because people are generally in support of using gas taxes to fund transportation programs equates to broad support for paying higher gas taxes, is just plain wrong. Brooks' proposal, which is to increase the gas tax by as much as .14 cents per gallon, would be a significant financial blow to low income workers/families especially those who have long commutes to and from their jobs.

Keep in mind, California has the second highest gas taxes in the nation (Connecticut has the highest). And Santa Barbara has some of the highest gas prices in California. Adding an additional .14 cents per gallon to the price would be terribly unjust. Also, Federal gas taxes have increased by 350% in the last 20 years!

Yes we need to find the revenue for our county's transportation needs but in local taxpayers wallets is the wrong place to look.

1/29/2007 1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simple solution. Fire some County employees and use the savings on the roads.

1/29/2007 2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am darn impressed with how Firestone is moving on this. There has been some rich discussion on the local transportation lists about a gas tax and most agree that it is the fairest way to go. If the stats are correct, most of us live within five miles of our workplace. For those of us lucky enough to be fully-abled and 5-miles from work, we ought to walk or bicycle to the office. That takes a lot of problems off the roads. But when we drive, we should pay. Those who drive a lot, pay more.

Thanks Sara, for posting a link to this article.

Don Lubach <---luckiest man in SB who sees whales and dolphins on the bike ride to work while listening to a podcast in one ear. This is America's greatest town for NOT using a car.

1/29/2007 4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tax the commuters. They're the ones using the roads and destroying the planet. Make those taxes punititive.

1/29/2007 7:56 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Gosh Joe, just how do we fund public works projects like roads and public transportation without taxes of one kind or another? The cost of building and maintaining transportation infrastructure, whether it be roadways, buses, or trains is beyond the ability of the free market to provide. Only public funding can do the job. So the questions are: Who pays and how much? Pretending that the 101 is going to get widened and public transit systems are going to operate all without taxes is delusional thinking.

1/29/2007 8:09 PM  
Anonymous donaldo de santa barbara said...

Gee, I kind of agree with Joe Armendariz. It seems to me that taxpayers, businesses and homeowners alike, would not want to tax themselves further.

A recent home purchaser is paying somewhere around $10,000 dollars a year in property tax. One might expect quiet a bit of road improvement for that chunk of change. But then it is reported that most of the property tax is syphoned off to the State and the Federal coffers.

The State and Feds, I suppose is where Joe Armendariz is suggesting anti up to pay....but he doesn't really say...

Perhaps we should scheme to tax the tourists through a hotel bed tax. This is how we are painstakingly, yet, slowly scrubbing our creeks clean after all.

And because homeowners are victims of the predicament of owning real property, they do get a pretty hefty tax deduction at both the state and federal level. So, perhaps it is a wash and that is why governments are struggling to repair the roads and improve roadway efficiency with transit...amongst other obligations.

Along with the never ending costly "war on terror" and our ongoing efforts to clean up New Orleans, etc with much promised financial assistance, there should be plenty of funds left over for our measly little self imposed transportation problems.

No, I do not agree with Joe Armendariz that the "local taxpayers wallets is the wrong place to look."

1/29/2007 8:46 PM  
Anonymous park park park said...

Count me in with Firestone. I take the bus, bike, and walk, which is way better for *everyone's* lungs. And I'm not routing dollars to Bin Laden via Saudi Arabia.

So why should I have to pay for all the gas guzzlers through sales tax? Let 'em pay at the pump, and give them an incentive to use the bus, bike, and walk.

Joe Armendariz is totally wrong about low income workers... they get a tax break from Firestone's proposal, unless they commute over 100 miles a day per family. Frankly, a family commuting that much on low income should be more thrifty, and either carpool or use public transit for a leg of their journey.

1/29/2007 9:07 PM  
Anonymous MADD said...

How about paying for road repairs through higher fines for drunken drivers?

1/29/2007 9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of these comments are pretty funny. I say tax all the people that spend their time blogging and posting but that then don't vote. That would pay for all the infrastructure needs of the South Coast at the very least!

1/29/2007 11:32 PM  
Anonymous worker bee said...

Raise the property tax - heck, double it. If you can afford to own a house in Santa Barbara, $10,000 could probably fall out of your wallet and you wouldn't even notice.

The same is true of the gas tax, but the illegal workers who trim the hedges in Hope Ranch will have a harder time paying .14 cents more a gallon than will, say, Arthur von Wiesenberger, who Wendy lets blow his allowance on anything he wants!

Or, pass a special "State Street Non-Native Renter Tax" that will suck money out of the huge retailers taking over the block. If you kick out a Santa Barbara-owned sandwich shop to replace it with a Star Bucks, at least the city can make up in revenue what it loses in soul (if you can equate such a thing).

1/30/2007 6:42 AM  
Anonymous Joe Armendariz said...

I can appreciate that there will always be those who are too intellectually feeble to engage in a muscular debate of ideas...however, for those who are up to the task, I submit the following facts and ask if we should really be pursuing higher taxes as a solution to our public policy challenges.

There are the facts:

California's gas taxes are the second highest in the nation, Santa Barbara County's sales tax is 198% higher than the national median, California's tax burden, at the local level and on a per-capita basis, is the 11th highest in the nation, our federal tax burden is the 9th highest in the nation, our individual income tax and corporate income tax burden is the 6th highest in the nation and our general and USE TAX RATE (which is what a gas tax is) is the HIGHEST in the nation.

(Sources: Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Bureau of Economic Analysis, State Revenue Departments, Commerce Clearing House)

As for Firestone's proposal including a tax break for low income workers who drive, but not too far to qualify for a tax break, sounds extremely arbitrary and would require a whole new local government bureaucracy to administer. What do you suppose this will cost county taxpayers?

Moreover, in my last conversation with Brooks, which was barely a few days ago, he didn't have a clear proposal, let alone one that delves into who would pay the new tax and who wouldn't, based on their income and how far they drive.

1/30/2007 7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Measure D has been one of the best things going for Santa Barbara County for the last 17+ years. If we can't pull it together as a county-wide community to get a renewal passed by the electorate it will be a tragedy for the county's future.

SBCAG and it's Board (which Joe A is now a member of) have a DUTY to the citizens to make it their top priority to formulate an expenditure plan that will pass muster with the voters. Anything short of that will be unacceptable and we should demand accountability from them.

We also have to realize and accept that a 1/4-cent increase that would fund all of our priorities did not fly in the last election, and we must accept less in the next proposed expenditure plan.

Things like the pilot commuter rail program will have to be dropped as will some of the other alternative transportation items. In addition, the local agencies' allocation of 70% will also have to be reduced and they need to accept that as well.

I would implore Joe to stop his negative and condescending behavior and work in a professional and positive manner to work toward a solution instead of remaining a roadblock to progress.

Referring to your constituents as being "too intellectually feeble to engage in a muscular debate of ideas" is unacceptable behavior Joe. You need to grow up or get out.

1/30/2007 9:30 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Ok Joe, I will not dispute your facts and agree that we pay a lot of taxes. I know that I certainly pay about 14% of my income in income and property taxes, and that doesn't count sales tax and taxes on the 1,000 gallons of gasoline that my family purchases every year. And I have pretty decent write-offs. But obviously we do not seem to have sufficient tax revenue to maintain our roads and subsidize decent public transportation. Now, I suppose that we could redistribute the pie and I assume that is what you are suggesting. So Joe, what public services do we reduce in order to enhance funding for roads and transportation. I believe that is the policy debate into which you are leading us.

1/30/2007 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Libertarian Blowhard said...

Let me summarize the long comments already posted:

Taxes are bad.

Do not raise more taxes, but still demand government services.

Complain at length but do not offer any solutions.

Then, wonder why no one credible takes such complainers seriously.

1/30/2007 10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

park park park said...

Frankly, a family commuting that much on low income should be more thrifty, and either carpool or use public transit for a leg of their journey.

I'm curious how you're able to pass such a judgement without knowing the individual circumstances. I for one, am not sure that a low income family travels over a hundred miles without giving a lot of thought to alternatives -- if there are any.

I commute long distances to work. Public transportation is not available and I have not been able to find a carpool in over two years of trying. Since my house and my job are both not near any public transportation, if I car pool or use public transportation for part of my journey, are you saying I need to buy another car to keep at the other end of my commute?

1/30/2007 10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I very much support using fuel taxes to pay for transit and road improvements. The tax should be applied equally across all fuel users according to how much fuel they purchase. Drive an inefficent car or a long ways and you'll pay more money. Reorganize your priorities to use public transportation or walk/bike/carpool to work, or...horrors...move CLOSER to work or get a NEW job closer to where you live and you'll save money on fuel (and commute time, and have more time for those family values so important to Joe and his buddies). So wow, yeah, I feel for the working poor of SB who not only have no affordable housing to live here but are now going to have to pay more money to drive to work here. Gee, I guess SB employers are just going to have to pay them more if that's the real problem.

And Joe...taxes are high here because California is a nicer place to live than most other places, and Santa Barbara County is a nicer place to live within California. You pay for what you get.

1/30/2007 11:30 AM  
Anonymous truth machine said...

California's gas taxes are the second highest in the nation, Santa Barbara County's sales tax is 198% higher than the national median, California's tax burden, at the local level and on a per-capita basis, is the 11th highest in the nation, our federal tax burden is the 9th highest in the nation, our individual income tax and corporate income tax burden is the 6th highest in the nation and our general and USE TAX RATE (which is what a gas tax is) is the HIGHEST in the nation.

And what's our standing in terms of services received, quality of life, and wealth?

The great right wing propaganda coup is the portrayal of taxes as theft, a taking with nothing received in return. But it doesn't take all that much intellectual muscle to understand that these numbers in isolation are meaningless; that one needs to look at what is received, and how these costs are distributed. Nor does it take much intellectual muscle to understand that right wingers who only show concern for low income workers when they are arguing against taxes are only serving their own interests and those of their wealthy friends', not the public.

1/30/2007 1:14 PM  
Anonymous Joe Armendariz said...

The Taxpayers Association supported Measure D in 1989 and we were prepared to support it in 2006 if the Board of SBCAG had maintained the existing half-percent sales tax as opposed to the three-quarter percent sales tax they submitted to the voters.

Today, I am of the view that a future Measure D should include a growth management program that pegs each jurisdiction's annual funding allocation to their obligation to build their regional fair share of workforce housing.

Moreover, I would support SBCAG using a portion of the Measure D moneys to leverage state and federal grants and award them to local jurisdictions within the county that approve developments that make the best use of our local transportation infrastructure. For example, SBCAG, in partnership with the county and individual cities, should create a special transportation grant program, funded partly with Measure D funds, in conjunction with available state and federal matching funds, for the purpose of incentivising local developments that utilize innovative transportation projects that enhance walkability, liveability and access to transit. In other words, we should encourage developments that improve the quality of life in the community.

Pegging a municipality’s future Measure D allocation to their fair share of workforce housing production is not only good land-use planning, it's common sense. And language requiring local jurisdictions to address the root causes of traffic is not unheard of in California. Contra Costa County did exactly that when they created their version of our Measure D, called Measure J. By doing so, Measure J got over 70% of the vote.

Tough language dealing with growth management issues, as well as outside the box language offering incentives to builders to help create more liveable communities, could have been included in the Measure D2006 expenditure plan and should be included in any future measure.

Keep in mind, by addressing the root causes of traffic, we will also alleviate the amount of future tax dollars that are needed in order to increase capacity and reduce demand.

1/30/2007 1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've had a local 1/2 cent sales tax for transportation for over 15 years. The question for Joe Armendariz and others like him is whether there is any plan to extend this existing tax (not raise taxes) that he and others would support. If so, then there is hope for a solution. If not, then forget it. The gas tax increase is a non-starter as others on this thread have pointed out. It may be intellectually attractive, but you'd never get a simple majority for it, much less the two-thirds that is required.

1/30/2007 2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Taxes are bad.

No they are not, but overtaxing is unneccessary.

Do not raise more taxes, but still demand government services.

Government services, like road repair should be included in normal taxes and should be demanded. Fire unneccessary government employees or whatever to make sure that Measure D or other future measures are moot.

Complain at length but do not offer any solutions.

Eliminate the growth mandate. That should cap the high-density growth on the South Coast and stem the growth of more traffic.

Then, wonder why no one credible takes such complainers seriously.

Who's credible? Are you?

1/30/2007 2:05 PM  
Anonymous park park park said...

Joe Armendariz... your debate has not been muscular... where are your statistics on how many low-income commuters are hurt by shifting tax from sales to gas? There was an analysis in the bike discussion group that low-income famiilies (who pay a disproportionate fraction of their income in sales tax) get a tax reduction as long as they commute less than 100 miles per day.

There are an awful lot of low-income folks here on the South Coast who do not drive long distances to work... they bike and take the bus. Why should they be subsidizing the long-commuters?

And, 10:21am, why should those folks subsidize you? You've made the choice to commute long distances... perhaps you could tell us where you start and where you end, so that we could help you use carpooling (there is Craigslist) or find public transit.

1/30/2007 2:47 PM  
Anonymous worker bee said...

I don't understand why - in a town chock full of extremely wealthy people - why our supposedly "left wing" city officials won't call a spade a spade and simply tax the piss out of their land value.

There's no real leadership, that's why. There's no courage. I, for one, would have got no problem demanding those who have benefited the most from our society pay the bill for large public utility projects.

I mean, we're not just talking about the house on the hill here. How many multi-billionaires own land in the area? Frankly, the divide has grown far too wide to worry about whether Daddy Warbuck's can get by on $1.2 billion instead of $1.8. That debate can be had after we fix our crumbling infrastructure.

1/30/2007 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason that I didn't vote for the tax this past November is that widening the 101 was wrtitten into the law. I don't agree with writing the 101 and will always vote against it.

They could rewrite the initiative into a one that more people will agree with and it would probably win a 2/3 majority vote.

1/30/2007 5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As long as they want to widen the 101 I will vote against anymore highway funding!

The communters need to find jobs in their own communities. We don't want them here, taking jobs away from the locals.

1/30/2007 6:19 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Interesting ideas Joe, but be careful before you drink the whole "smart growth" koolaide. There is a surprising dearth of serious analysis regarding the effects of density on vehicle use. Some recent studies out of U.C. Irvine partially address the subject but the findings are inconclusive. Except in San Franciso, Californians take their cars with them wherever they go and drive them around the block to get a quart of milk. It's our sickness. I'm afraid that it will take more than packing people into densely populated "smart growth" communities to solve our transportation infrastructure problems. Leveraging federal and State funding sources depends on two things: 1)Having tax revenues with which to leverage; and 2)Winning the competition with Los Angeles, San Diego, Bay Area, and Sacramento for the funds. At least you are thinking Joe, which is a good thing. Just open your mind a little to well conceived and well spent taxes and cast a jaundiced eye on developer-speak dressed up as revolutionary ideas.

1/30/2007 7:50 PM  
Anonymous Joe Armendariz said...

Sara, you are to be congratulated for providing this forum where a candid discussion of the issues can take place.

For a real world example of what I am describing with respect to my special Measure D grant program, I invite people to study a recent mixed use development approved in Carpinteria on a 5-0 vote of the City Council. It is called Lagunitas and provides an excellent example of a smart and innovative development.

City's that pursue these types of projects could use the grant money (which by the way the state already sets aside funds for this exact purpose) to help underwrite the cost of one or more of the required mitigations.

The roundabout at the 150 is a perfect example. The Carpinteria City Council has required the roundabout as a condition of approval and the developer is paying the entire cost of this mitigation. Does anyone honestly think this will not affect the internal price of the affordable units which were also required as a condition for approval? That is not to say the traffic relief mitigation is not appropriate, indeed, I believe it is appropriate and so does the developer.

But government, business and the development and environmental community should forge strategic partnerships to change the growth/transportation capacity/demand paradigm in this county. Especially in the south county.

It is not just about a jobs/housing balance or "smart growth". And it also isn't about drinking Kool-Aid...it needs to be about growth/transportation management programs that maximize the value of our developable spaces.

If not, we are left facing what I consider an untenable situation which is higher and higher taxes, fewer and fewer open spaces and more and more congestion.

1/31/2007 9:39 AM  
Anonymous park park park said...

Mr. Armendariz... Firestone's shift from sales tax to gas tax is certainly a tax *reduction* for me, and for the overwhelming majority of low-income south coasters.

Why do you oppose Firestone's tax reduction?

1/31/2007 8:03 PM  
Anonymous worker bee said...

Tax the rich! Be a real leader - start redistributing the wealth that has collected in unfair ratios to the very few. Somebody please stand up for what's right and start doing something about it - at least bring it to the table when discussing how to finance public works. It's perfectly legit if you're willing to honestly think about a viable long term future for our city/county/state, etc.

1/31/2007 8:33 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Congestion is a function of population density. The more people that you pack into a given space, the more traffic congestion you will create. This is a fact of the development/growth paradigm. There are countless examples of densely developed communities that experience daily traffic gridlock (San Francisco, Manhattan, Hong Kong, Paris, London). There is not one example of densely developed communities where the traffic flows freely all the time. There is not one existing example of the paradigm to which Joe aspires. There are a lot of theories (mostly based on the Medieval village paradigm) that claim to have found the Holy Grail of increased growth and less traffic, but not one (not one!) has been effectively demonstrated. Oh, if we all could live in self-contained little villages on the sunny coast of southern Santa Barbara County and walk to our jobs as well as to quaint little shops and restaurants that meet all our consumer needs and take in a concert on the village green on Friday evenings, and use our cars only for Sunday drives into the vastness of the open spaces that surround us. With all due apologies to Hemingway, "Isn't it pretty to think so?"

1/31/2007 8:50 PM  
Anonymous park park park said...

Eck - there is Amsterdam.

Claims about congestion by drivers remind me about the little boy who killed his parents, then asked for special treatment as an orphan.

People who walk, ride their bikes, and take the bus don't complain about traffic congestion. People who do complain are mainly upset that somebody else's SUV cut in front of their Hummer.

2/01/2007 4:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice statement, eckermann. Unfortunately what you're espousing (or spouting) is completely misstated.

While it is true that urban areas have traffic congestion, the RATIO of the quantity of congestion to that of semi-urban areas (like SB) or rural areas is not even comparable. That is, the percentage of the population that uses cars as primary transportation mode, and uses alternative transportation as their primary mode goes down proportional to the population density assuming alternative transportation modes of travel are available.

So, the point to take away from this is that areas that focus their development in dense urban areas that are provided with nearby services and alternative transportation is far superior in the long term than building low density facilities in an "urban sprawl" concept.

Even though I'm not a big fan of Joe A, I think he is correct to view housing and transportation as connected, but Joe please don't try and establish that Carpinteria is a mecca of "smart growth" or workforce housing. It is one of the most "no growth" communities in the area. If you are a true leader in Carp or in your new role on the SBCAG board you will do more to lead in a positive, proactive way to solve our communities' housing and transportation issues.

Oh, and one more thing - your reputation is reflective of the company you keep so please stop hanging out with Andy Caldwell and Travis. It doesn't speak well for your character.

2/01/2007 8:27 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

8:27 AM -- that last paragraph wasn't really necessary was it? Joe A actually writes under his own name -- we don't have to agree with him but you have to respect that. We can have differences in this space and not bring things like that up...

2/01/2007 10:22 AM  
Blogger Voice of Rezon(e) said...

Sara,

This is 8:27 that you chastised.

Please forgive me but isn't that a bit like the pot calling the kettle black?

This is a small community that, in my opinion, is overly sensitive to feedback or constructive criticism. Many folks take things personally that were not intended to be so.

Joe is a City Councilperson, SBCAG board member, Exec Director (ED) of the local Taxpayers Assn. and ED of the SB Industrial Assn. In my opinion, as an elected official he should be posting under his own name. Others of us (such as yourself I assume) have positions/roles in the community that could be retaliated against by others in power.

To me, that's what's nice about being able to post on community blogs like this - it allows whatever degree of anonymity people are comfortable with and encourages people to express their TRUE thoughts without having to couch, hedge or censor themselves out of fear of any kind of retribution as a result.

In terms of my specific comment about Joe hangin' with Andy and Travis I apologize to Joe, but I think its important for people in this community to realize that there do exist strange bedfellows with unspoken agendas, and we need to be aware of these as much as possible.

2/01/2007 11:26 AM  
Anonymous Joe Armendariz said...

Dear Anonymous (8:27AM),

Thanks for the unsolicited advice about who my friends should be. Indeed Andy Caldwell is one of my best friends. Salud Carbajal and Ben Romo are also my friends. Does this new information reduce the deficit in my character tank? And Sara thanks for your graciousness and civility.

Now, regarding the actual issue at hand; I never attempted to establish Carpinteria as a "mecca" for "smart growth". But the fact remains...the Carpinteria City Council unanimously approved what could possibly be the smartest development on the south coast in terms of the jobs/housing balance, innovative construction/design standards, increased access to public transit, the restoration and protection of our local eco-system and a long-term outlook with respect to local traffic mitigation.

And at the risk of coming across as arrogant, a city council is only as good as its last decision it seems to me. And I am proud of what our city council did with respect to Lagunitas and I believe we have provided the kind of leadership that our residents deserve.

2/01/2007 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The money should only be used for bike lanes.

2/01/2007 1:06 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Yes, it is true that a higher percentage of the populous walk and take the bus in densely packed urban areas. However, my point is still valid. Density in residential design has not solved the traffic congestion problem (nor does it solve other social problems such as individual alienation, crime, homelessness, etc.). Gridlock abounds in all our densely pack urban areas. In the U.S., people bring cars wherever we live; and while we may drive less if we live in densely organized urban areas, the numbers of cars and our proclivity to drive them overwhelms the roadway infrastructure in our major urban areas. Yes, there is Amsterdam. Perhaps we should go with $6.73/gallon gasoline and see what that does for traffic congestion. I am absolutely sure that it would be more effective than adding more people and packing them into smaller and smaller areas.

2/01/2007 8:23 PM  
Anonymous donald de Santa Barbara said...

Sara seems to have sympathetic spot for Joe Armaderiz.... for the simple reason that he writes under his own name????

Joe A. has been a bombast at the podium, speaking high and mighty, and on behalf of taxpayers for quiet some time. To prove my point you only need to look at his post @ 7:54 a.m. on 1/30 with his unprovoked attack that those who disagree with him are "intellectually feeble."

Sara I appreciate your blog as well as your opinion but there is no need to shelter Joe A. He's been dishing it out for a very long time and perhaps it is too his benefit to be lumped into the trio of peas stuck in the same bombastic pod. Hopefully he will tire of it someday and split from the pod and become a little bit more conciliatory and reasonable.

p.s. Sara how do you not know that Joe A. isn't posting anonymously?

2/01/2007 10:20 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I agree that Joe Armenderiz has spoken quite strongly in favor of what he sees as taxpayers rights for quite some time and really -- I often do not agree with him. Donald or Donaldo? How do I know Donald is not Donaldo?

Whoever, Joa A. is -- I respect his willingness to get in here and talk about it in a civil way....much like I respect Das Williams for doing the same. Sure -- "intelectually feeble" may be not the best term to use -- but haven't you and I both gone a bit further than that? Aren't you and I in a different bombastic pod than he?

2/01/2007 11:43 PM  
Anonymous park park park said...

It would still be nice if Joe A. gave a muscular defense of his position against shifting transportation taxes from sales tax on *everyone* to a gas tax which taxes those who pound our road pavement and congest our streets (not to mention subsidizing Bin Laden through financial support for Saudi Arabia through gasoline purchases).

He has expressed concern that some low-income folks who have to drive 100 miles or so a day would be hurt by this shift... at the current time such folks pay less in sales tax than they would under a gas tax.

But I bet such folks comprise only a few percent of all low income folks. Most low income folks I know either take the bus or even avoid the cost of the bus by riding bikes.

I think shifting transportation revenue from a general sales tax to a gas tax would be a tax cut for over 95 percent of low income folks.

Why would the head of our taxpayers association oppose a tax cut? Perhaps Joe A. is secretly in favor of higher taxes on low income folks.

2/02/2007 3:14 AM  
Anonymous Joe Armendariz said...

For the record, I wasn't referring to people who disagree with me as intellectually feeble. I was responding to Madd (9:36PM). I realize it is anyone's prerogative here to attack me for my stupid and irresponsible mistake, but I operate under the assumption that this great blog exists to inform and debate ideas, as opposed to holding our opponents head underwater.

Some people, including my wife, think I am crazy for posting on here, for the reasons so aptly illustrated by Madd's post. But I love ideas and I love discussing and debating them with people of goodwill regardless of whether they are a liberal, a conservative, a radical or a moderate. Sara exhibits this character quality as well as anyone I have come across in politics lately. Das Williams is another. Das and I have been on the opposite side of a lot of political debates and have always come away smiling and willing to shake hands. Unfortunately, some people in politics fail to heed Dwight Eisenhower's advice who said: in politics take your job seriously but never yourself.

I have come across a few of those kind of people here but my feeling is if they wan't to take cheap political shots at me, no matter how much I deserve it, that's fine. The important thing is we flesh out these important issues and put our body politic to the test.

2/02/2007 6:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

park park park said...
And, 10:21am, why should those folks subsidize you? You've made the choice to commute long distances... perhaps you could tell us where you start and where you end, so that we could help you use carpooling (there is Craigslist) or find public transit.

You're correct, I made the choice to commute a long distance. However, the choice really was between employment and unemployment. This job allows me to support my family, feed them, clothe them and shelter them. It allows me to make my mortgage payments and pay property taxes --- the taxes that makes payments on bonds and subsidzes numerous activites in the County that I may not even be in favor of supporting. As far as folks subsidizing me, I'd like to extend this into believing that why should my taxes be subsidizing a lot of things. For example why should i be subsidizing public transportation alternatives? In reality, I do support using my taxes to subsidize public transportation alternatives but only wish that I could take advantage of them. Should my property taxes be paying for a public school system that I don't use? Of course they should and you don't hear me complaining.

As far as helping me find a car pool, puhleeeze -- don't patronize me. I'm smart enough to have tried Craigslist as well as a couple of ride sharing lists and even smart enough to know how and where to look for public transportation alternatives. I'm just not that stupid, believe me!

Because I manage a small group of people, my work hours are erratic but mostly long. When I tell potential car pool partners of my work hours they lose interest. Among co-workers I've had over the years, I just don't find my position that unique. To use public transportation, I need a car to drive to the train or bus station here as well as one at the other end of my commute to get from public transportation to my work site (a distance of 12 miles).

Finally, if public transportation were available during my commuting hours, I would be restricted to those specific times. Tolerable in the morning but not at all useful in the evening when I am never sure when I can actually leave. Getting stranded at work because I missed the bus or train and being far away from home is not an option I want to try. I am not allowed to sleep in my office overnight and the nearest motel would be about a ten mile walk. Any better suggestions? Actually, I don't want suggestions because I don't need simplistic solutions to complicated problems.

2/03/2007 3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of this back and forth and keyboard speculation is fascinating, but I'm still interested in the fundamental question -- is extending the Measure D sales tax off the table or not? From one side I hear the sales tax is regressive and inequitable and besides that, cars and their drivers are evil and not enough is being spent on "alternative" transportation. From the other, I hear we are horribly overtaxed and until we get all of our land use and transportation priorities in line, no more should be spent. Sounds like a perfect standoff to me.

I'm left wondering what we are all going to do when in a couple of years our Measure D funds run out. Maybe the traffic problem will just disappear on its own? Then again, maybe we'll have to start behaving like adults and agree on a plan that most of us can live with? After all 50 percent of something is better than 100 percent of nothing.

2/03/2007 7:36 PM  
Anonymous park park par said...

Well, 3:02pm, you are not the only person that lives a challenging life... lots of us do too.

Air pollution from cars sickens us all. The money we use to purchase gasoline swells Al-Quaeda's coffers, through Saudi Arabia; Saudi tortures people (cuts hands off for stealing) and won't let women vote (or drive). In many other countries oil and gasoline production devastates native groups and the environment.

Car exhaust warms the planet and might just lead to global catastrophe.

To me, your challenges in finding a non-auto commuting method seem a bit less important than all the consequences of your choices. I'm not saying cars and drivers are evil... they are victims of our rotten planning and weak leadership in the US. They are not little Eichmanns, just dupes of a bad system.

It will be really hard to get out of our oil-soaked mess, but I don't think taxing the folks that work hard to minimize their use of oil while subsidizing those who ravenously consume oil is the way out.

2/04/2007 5:01 PM  
Blogger Voice of Rezon(e) said...

Come on folks. Stop slamming this commuter. He/she is doing what they need to do to make a living and take care of their family, and if we're honest, our region is just not setup well with adequate alternative transportation choices, and probably won't be anytime soon since we don't have a concentrated urban population where it is financially feasible to have these options.

I think we all realize that commuting long distances between home and work is a bad solution but without an adequate supply of workforce and affordable housing that is unfortunately the choice many in our community are left with. It's either that or move out of the area. Please find a way to see the locally produced movie The Price of Paradise by Lisa Snider. It clearly illustrates this problem.

With regard to our nation's ridiculous addiction to oil, I think we all realize our choices are critical to reducing our dependence on oil, and doing so (or not) has enormous environmental and political consequences.

That being said, wouldn't it make sense from an environmental perspective to build more workforce housing where people have jobs and wouldn't have to commute?

2/05/2007 10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Price of Paradise is developer propaganda!

2/06/2007 9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm all for density. Make sense, people will have to adjust.

2/09/2007 10:47 AM  

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