Vote No on O, Says Letter to the Editor
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Dear Humboldt Residents:
I’m voting “No” on Measure “O” which seeks to make the 1/2 percent sales tax permanent to supposedly increase our safety here in Humboldt County. It’s the “permanent” part that gets my “no” vote. Back when it was passed as Measure Z, the tax contained a 5-year expiration date. Without an expiration date, there is no accountability for how the money is spent. For example, the supervisors can use Measure O money to offset reductions in other public safety budget items, basically robbing Peter to pay Paul. This is a common government tactic, especially if left unchecked by permanent status.
That the supervisors assume we will simply trust them to wisely spend our increased tax money permanently is in and of itself an indication of them being out of touch, which has been shown to be the case repeatedly with many of their decisions. Consider their repressive and probably illegal re-interpretation of the Measure O cannabis tax, their choice and legal defense of the chief of the Public Defenders office (opposed by all the public defenders), their increase of County code fines from $10,000 per violation to $900,000 per violation in an action they publicly claim is designed to terrorize homeowners into compliance, and their failure to meaningfully address overall declining state of the county including its doubled murder rate, for starters.
The government of Humboldt County has been bilking its citizenry with fees and fines on all kinds of matters. I don’t see an increase in public safety with all that extra money flowing in. With the policies of the county resulting in a drastic decrease in sales tax revenue, they should implement policies to assist our tailspinning businesses rather than harming them and then asking us for more money.
The Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District recently made the same mistake at first and then corrected it, turning a raging 60% “no” vote on the parcel tax to support our local hospital which would have lasted 40 years or so to a well-over 70% “yes” vote when they ran the measure again with a 9-year expiration date. That is a huge change in vote simply because a realistic expiration date was attached. There are thousands of years of history to prove that governments and he corporations that love them are not to be trusted when left unchecked. There have been many current questions as to how the current measure’s money has been spent, but overall I’ve been supportive of it. If it had another 5-year expiration date, I would vote “yes” on the 1/2% sales tax measure for our public safety. Until that next opportunity, I say vote “No” on Measure O.