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Community College Bond Measure Fails

The measure needed 55% voter approval, and came up just short.

A $564 million bond measure designed to upgrade facilities at the College of San Mateo, San Bruno's Skyline College, and Redwood City's Canada College failed to gather enough votes Tuesday night to pass.

Measure H, the third bond measure proposed within the last ten years by the district, remained at a 52% voter approval tabulation throughout the night, and could not push past the necessary 55% vote total.

Voters may remember passing two previous bond measures for the district within the past 10 years: $207 million in 2001 and $468 million in 2005. Approval of the newest bond proposal would have put the district's debt at over $1 billion.

Patch talked to voters in San Mateo and Redwood City as they left their polling places, and found mixed reactions to Measure H.

"I voted for it," said Eugenia Watermulder, a San Mateo resident. "We're a family that has benefited from community college education. I think more young people would benefit from whatever quality programs we can offer because we have too many young people coming out of high school that are just not ready for four-year colleges."

"I voted for it," said Jackie Wagner, a resident of Redwood City who used to work in the psychology department at Stanford. "I think that the kids in our junior colleges, in colleges, are our future; they're the ones that are going to be making decisions for us, and they should have the best technology there is, and the best teachers."

A resident of Redwood City who chose not to give us his name felt differently.

"I voted against it," the man said. "There've been multiple bond issues over the last ten years that have been approved and the whole situation with the very expensive gym that was approved at one of the community colleges; that sort of expenditure is not appropriate at this time."

Three days ago, San Mateo Patch ran an unscientific poll regarding Measure H. In the poll, voters also disapproved of the bond measure.

Here are the final numbers:

Measure H: County of San Mateo (55% Approval Required) Vote by Mail Early Voting Election Day Total Votes Yes (52.75%) 27,538 158 10,041 37,737 No (47.25%) 24,989 157 8,662 33,808
Jack Hickey November 10, 2011 at 10:33 PM
It appears that common sense did prevail. Now we will hear complaints about how less than 15% of the registered voters "deprived" us of quality educational facilities. The fact is, that with the 55% requirement, less than 15% of the registered voters almost succeeded in imposing yet another Billion dollar burden (interest included) on property owners. It is time to restore the 2/3 vote requirement.
Jack Hickey November 10, 2011 at 10:34 PM
Lowering the vote requirement from 2/3 to 55% has produced a dramatic increase in bonded indebtedness. A history of the District's Bond proposals begins with a $148 Million bond measure (Measure A) in November 1999. That Measure which required a 2/3 vote, was defeated in spite of the District's expenditure of $25,000 for a Survey of Voters, $250,000 for a multi media campaign by Adrienne Tessier's Bay Relations and an SMCCCD Foundation Grant of $40,000 to the Citizens for Higher Education Committee to support Measure A. In 2001, thanks to the reduction in the vote requirement to 55% instead of 2/3, the District passed a $207 Million Bond, with 65.3% Yes votes to 34.7% No votes. Less than 17% of registered voters imposed this debt on property owners. Even with State matching funds, the District was not satisfied and in 2005, they passed a $468 Million Bond, with 64.2% Yes votes to 35.8% No votes. To their credit, 33% of registered voters passed this measure. In June of 2010, with Bond proceed investment losses and a nearly bankrupt State renegging on Bond matching funds, the District became the first Community College District to pass a parcel tax. The SMCCCD Foundation contributed $64,260 to the campaign. That measure passed the 2/3 vote requirement, but was supported by less than 25% of registered voters.
Bill Baker November 11, 2011 at 12:23 AM
You're right Jack. In addition, one of the strategies of the tax-debt junkies is to flood the ballots with these punishing bond and tax measures in off year, low turnout elections because they think they have an easier chance of punishing the voters with new taxes and more debt. In a few of the bond elections, that strategy backfired on the tax-debt junkies this time around.
Buck Shaw November 16, 2011 at 05:15 PM
Buy San Mateo County data expressed in pie chart sent out with my tax bill. 45% of my tax bill is for schools. NOT included is the Bond payments. If you look at the bill you just payed, (if you own real estate in the district?) there are now an equal number of separate school bonds that are ADDED to the tax bill as county and state services. And we are still facing another Parcel Tax for schools in June as rumored. Three Gyms? THREE Gyms? at one school? Sorry, but I really don't understand the need. Regardless of the District.
Neil Signo November 16, 2011 at 08:21 PM
What USE is IT? the graduated student is a (*&$(! After turning '40', I have to change my mind. In Hilldale High, I followed the EOE rule, everyone with low grades should apply for college anyway. That push to graduate high school. After running into older persons, telling us to dropout. I hope thier children dropped out. I cant fitter a person that decied to work less than 8 hours, isnt disabled, finds a friend of friend to live free, never worked until 23, finds a away to avoid work, and decides the 'other should work harder and sacrifice thier health and safety'. Infact they cry for more rights, and I kept my mouth shut. The rumor 'grades so high, you dont need to finish CSU','grades so high the person is a cheater','grades so high you can get a job'.

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