The folks on the City Council have hit on an, er, interesting strategy for putting the Measure P property transfer tax increase over the top: Tell everybody that no one is supporting it and that you don’t expect it to pass.
We’ve heard that Councilman Frank Matarrese told stunned participants in a League of Women Voters electoral forum last night just that, and then went on to lay out the very serious and very real financial issues facing the city, which include massive public safety retirement benefit payments and the state’s pending $917,000 redevelopment money grab. He also apparently admitted that the measure wouldn’t generate enough money to solve the city’s financial problems.
We were rubbing our eyes and wondering if we read right when Mayor Beverly Johnson called with the exact same message about the non-campaign for P. The city’s pollsters told them P was the only tax that could pass in November, but they can’t get anybody to support them – not the police and fire unions whose members could, she said, face job losses if there’s not enough money to pay the city’s bills (and, we might add, not City Auditor Kevin Kearney, who told us this week he thinks balancing the city budget on the backs of a handful of people is unfair).
Johnson told us that if there is a special election in June, the council could put a public safety tax on the ballot. In the meantime, they’ll be laying out the city’s dire budgetary circumstances at their October 21 meeting.
Hope you’ve got your seat belts on, folks, ‘coz this is going to be one wild ride.