Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

League of Women Voters FOR Measure A

This may be an early Political Play of the Week, or just a bonus Play for the week. We'll see by Sunday. Nevertheless, bagging the endorsement from the League of Women Voters seems like a smart play to lend support and credibility to an otherwise complex and snoozer issue.

With the post by Sara de la Guerra last night about the "Taxpayers Association" endorsing against Measure A, I thought I would do some searching about who is for Measure A. Seems like a lot of groups and Santa Barbara citizens are for Measure A, but few people know about it.

Measure A is a Santa Barbara city ballot measure that would move the stand-alone city elections from their current placement during the odd-numbered years (when hardly anyone votes) and then shift the city elections to the even-numbered years with all the other stuff on the ballot, including the county, state, and federal elections. Those combined elections would entice lots more voters to get their butts out to vote, or even to fill out their absentee ballots and mail them in.

Republicans and Libertarians do not seem to like Measure A, as the "Taxpayers Association" endorsement against it verifies. This makes sense because all the Lazy Liberals in Santa Barbara actually would be voting far more often in city elections if those elections were combined with everything else during the even-year election cycle.

The backers of Measure A have a web site that looks like a blog, but no one has entered comments. However, they have plenty of content there, including links to the original ballot arguments, official county documents about the past election returns, Ross-Perot-style charts and graphs, and lots of links to news and opinion coverage and even a few videos of them making their pitch. It is a bit much in totality, but their basic points are separate entries at the web site, regarding how voter turn out will increase, how much money the city taxpayers would save, and who endorses Measure A.

At their web site, the boosters of Measure A have laid out the calculations that show a net savings of about a quarter-million dollars per election cycle every two years. A quarter-million here, a quarter-million there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money that the city taxpayers would save from the General Fund.

There is that word again: Taxpayers. According to their endorsement in the Blogabarbara post, the county "Taxpayers Association" does not really seem to be interested in saving taxpayer money, as would happen if Measure A passes at the ballot. If Measure A passes, the city would no longer be conducting its own election and paying for the election costs out if its own General Fund. That fund is the same big share of the city budget that also pays for police, parks, streets, libraries, youth programs, fire protection, and more.

As for who is endorsing FOR Measure A, the sweetest plum so far could be considered the local chapter of the League of Women Voters. Here is their full statement from the League's own web site.

And here in the text below is an abridged version of that statement. The writing is a bit thick in the usual brainiac, detail-oriented and cautious style of the League.


The League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara supports the passage of Measure A in the November 6, 2007 City of Santa Barbara elections. The League's position is based on its long standing LWVUS national position on Voting Rights and Citizen's Right to Vote. This position includes encouraging all citizens to vote. The increase in voter turnout since 1995 in even numbered years (66.8%) over odd numbered years (37.8%) is remarkable. These data submitted by the County Elections Bureau show that general elections increase voter turnout. The League believes aligning Santa Barbara City elections with other general elections will encourage greater voter participation.

The League also bases its support for Measure A on its League of Women Voters of California state position on State and Local Finances.... Estimates provided by the County Elections Bureau show that County run odd year elections would cost the City between $500,000 and $600,000 per election. For the City of Santa Barbara to run its own odd year election its cost is approximately $280,000 per election. The County of Santa Barbara Elections Bureau estimates its cost to run an even year election for the City of Santa Barbara is between $30,000 and $60,000 dollars.

Based on the foregoing League positions and local data, the League of Women Voters urges a "Yes" Vote on Measure A.

Labels: ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the Play of the Week was going to be the very effective radio advertisements by the police and firefighters AGAINST Measure A.....a close second should be Das Williams and his new television ads.

10/10/2007 7:42 PM  
Anonymous Joe Armendariz said...

Citizen Stringer, if you are up to it, I suggest you and I debate this issue publicly. We can invite the League of Women Voters to host it.

Item: What does it mean when you and the League say Measure A "saves taxpayer money"?

Where do these so-called "saved" taxpayer dollars go? A strategic reserve? A money market? A sinking fund? Will they at least be returned to the taxpayers who earned it in the form of a rebate? A reduction in the property tax, transient occupancy tax or utility tax?

These dollars aren't going to be saved. They will be spent. Every penny. You know it; I know it ; the League of Women Voters know it.

If the City Council will guarantee every cent of these supposed savings will go back to the taxpayers in the form of a rebate or lower taxes, I might seriously consider breaking with my own organization and supporting Measure A.

Joe Armendariz
Executive Director, SBCTA
Tel: 277-8010

10/10/2007 9:02 PM  
Anonymous ron paul barry goldwater said...

Joe... your logic is hard to penetrate. Are you saying that we should never cut spending without a guarantee of tax reductions or rebates?

I don't agree with that. Cut every chance you get and when nutty stuff is proposed oppose that too.

10/10/2007 10:21 PM  
Blogger Citizen Stringer said...

Definitions of SAVE:

To keep from being spent or lost; to secure from waste or expenditure; to lay up; to reserve.

To rescue from something undesirable or hurtful; to prevent from doing something; to spare.

To avoid unnecessary expense or expenditure; to prevent waste; to be economical.

Specific definition of SAVE in relation to Measure A:

To avoid pissing away the General Fund money on outside consultants, ballot printing and mailing, poll workers at 33 precincts, public notices and advertising, staff overtime pay, etc. when that all can be done instead by letting the County Elections office do instead at one-fifth the price.

To keep some of the General Fund money and spend it on just about anything else with a lasting benefit for the people of Santa Barbara!

10/10/2007 11:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mean the League of Democratic Women Voters? No Republican gals there.

10/11/2007 3:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Definition of "Save" for government:

Seizing the opportunity to piss away the money we are currently spending on legitimate programs or services, such as running a local election, on something useless and foolish like painting light blue lines on street curbs and sending city council members on pointless trips so they can learn new ways how to raise the peoples taxes and waste more money on creative, worthless and misguided programs.

10/11/2007 7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think you are wrong about the League both locally and nationally. i know that they are a *very* nonpartisan organization. from what i read they made this decision because of their longstanding positions on voting rights and good government. the local League used the National and State positions of their organization to come to their decision.

the lit i got shows that Measure A is ALSO endorsed by the Democratic Women of Santa Barbara County.

10/11/2007 8:45 AM  
Anonymous Yellow Tail Shiraz said...

Why does a has-been Carpinteria City Council member have such a strong interest in how Santa Barbara voters decide how to run their elections?

This looks like the yes on A people have the better roster of endorsements by groups that actually are involved in Santa Barbara.

10/11/2007 1:18 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Was has-been necessary Shiraz? He is a sitting council member -- thus defeating the assertion....Joe has also been involved with the SBCTA for many years. I don't always agree with him but C is for County.

10/11/2007 5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara, Armendariz is a jerk and I don't understand why you always defend him.

10/11/2007 9:48 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

First, he doesn't run away from BlogaBarbara and even uses his own name. Next, he isn't afraid to mix it up and won't call me or you a jerk in the process. I have respect for that.

Sometimes we call others a jerk because we don't agree with them (a misuse of the word) -- but it doesn't seem from my experience you can call him a jerk because he is a mean person.

10/11/2007 10:41 PM  
Anonymous Yellow Tail Shiraz said...

Gee, how did Armendariz become a lame duck in the middle of his first and only term?

Is COLAB going to endorse against Measure A next?

10/11/2007 11:41 PM  
Anonymous Lie Detector said...

Here is an excerpt from a News-Mess-Less-Suppress letter on October 12 and by or attributed to Jim Kahan:

"The City Attorney used inflated county estimates to conduct city elections as a justification to move the elections to even-numbered years. The supporters of Measure A use those questionable estimates."

And here are how this is a lie:

The City Attorney never justified anything. The City Council did that and explained it at length during the council meeting when this was decided.

Supporters of Measure A never have cited the election costs charged by the county, because the county no longer conducts the elections for the city since the city council decided last April to conduct its the own election using its own staff and consultants.

The discussion of election costs in the ballot argument for Measure A is a discussion of the latest cost estimates from the city's own reports, for a cost about half of the latest price quoted from the county. With Measure A, the costs to the city would go down even more, all as described in the League of Women Voters statement.

Thus, either Kahan cannot read plain English from the ballot argument and many other documents since then, or he is just being "less than candid" in the content of his letter to this newspaper.

Spin and vitriol are one standard that has become the norm for that newspaper and its commentary, but bald-faced lies in published letters apparently are now standard editorial practice.

The vote-No people, who have yet to be named in any published list of endorsers, obviously are now in the most advanced stages of desperation that they cannot even spin their way out of a sample ballot that includes these original ballot arguments with the actual cost figures already mailed out to all the voters.

10/12/2007 12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara, fun blog. Some Dems have too much anger. We can only hope they stay out of our post offices.

People who say Joe can't get reelected haven't seen the numbers. Well run city, voters are happy. High favorables, low unfavorables. Both incumbents win easily.

10/12/2007 7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why didn't the police officer's association print union? in their attack on A?

10/15/2007 9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 9:02 is probably a Measure A plant...since they're making such a big dedal about their grassroots campaign and "union-produced pieces of literature."

10/15/2007 11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the union bug – a friendly little watermark that shows consumers / voters that campaign materials, advertising, and even design work have been done using union labor.

10/16/2007 11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why does it matter? the police aren't a union are they?

10/17/2007 10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course they are! And they should be printing union. They’ll do anything to maintain power

10/20/2007 4:55 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home