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Parks Sales Tax Measure Is on Ballot. Earning Voter Support is Next.



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And now the next challenge begins.
After months of fundraising, signature gathering and verifying by Fresno for Parks, voters will have the opportunity to vote on a sales tax benefiting parks, trails, and related programs.
In the City Hall lobby, supporters of the sales tax celebrated. Central Valley Community Foundation members mingled with Boys and Men of Color and Building Health Communities.
Thursday (Aug. 9), the Fresno City Council approved placing the measure on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The council voted unanimously, 7-0, removing the drama of any delay tactics that would have pushed the tax measure to a future election.
In nearly 90 minutes of the public hearing, 36 people spoke — all in support of council advancing the measure and the tax itself.
“There was so much energy in the room. There has been so much energy throughout the process,” Elliott Balch, COO of the CVCF said. “It’s not a tough sell. It is something everyone realizes is a need in our community.”
Parks supporters achieved the goal of placing the tax measure on the ballot. Now, they need to convince city voters to tax themselves to the tune of $38 million a year.

Council Conservatives Support Vote, But Not Tax

The vote received the support of three council conservatives, whose anti-tax stance has been part of their political fabric.
Steve Brandau, Garry Bredefeld, and Clint Olivier all spoke at the meeting applauding the Fresno for Parks organizers. The county election clerk verified 27,623 signatures, 4,000 more than legally required.
“You have moved a mountain by obtaining these signatures,” Olivier said to a round of applause. “Perhaps some of the folks who applauded what I just had to say might believe after I’ve finished talking is a bit premature.”
Olivier told stories of people in his district who even a small amount of money is a big deal. Parks supporters estimate the tax will add $39 per household per year.
“I’m quite convinced it is too much for my neighbors to bear. A sales tax, this tax is a regressive tax. A regressive tax imposes a greater burden on the poor,” Olivier said.
However, the three councilmen then said they don’t support the tax itself. Their split viewpoint drew a mixed reaction from the audience.

November Vote Up Next

Boys and Men of Color’s Sher Moua realizes the challenge of convincing voters to say yes to a  3/8 of a cent sales tax. The tax needs two-thirds voter approval to become law.
“This is an investment in families and our communities and our young people. The money is going back into the community,” Moua said after the vote.
However, there are court cases in California that upon resolution could lower the threshold to a majority vote.
Parks supporters say they are planning a campaign to clear the two-thirds standard.
Chart of Fresno for Parks funding breakdown

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email