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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Public agencies lining up bond measures

Uploaded: May 3, 2016
You might want to hold your wallet tightly when you go to the polls next month and in November.
There are going to be a pile of public agencies wanting to reach into your pockets for capital projects.
Set for the June ballot are the little noticed Chabot Las Positas Community College District bonds, as well as measures in Dublin and Livermore. Pleasanton schools are very likely to have a bond measure on the November ballot, as is BART and its staff and directors are thinking $3.5 billion. There also will be a statewide bond for school construction and rehabilitation.
The Livermore measure, to rehabilitate and update facilities and improve energy efficiency totals, $245 million. It would increase the tax bill on an average home, assessed for $446,000, by up to $224 annually.
In Dublin, the City Council has endorsed the school district’s $283 million bond that would build a new high school on the east side of the community. Currently, there is no state matching fund (that would change if the statewide bond passes in November) so Dublin taxpayers may have to foot the entire bill. In addition to the costs, the district has a major challenge of finding a site that is large enough for a comprehensive high school. (Taxes would go up more than $400 annually on the average home).
There’s a site next to I-580 along Tassajara Road that has been owned for decades by John DeManto. That’s much better suited for freeway retail or commercial use.
The other site is part of Camp Parks and owned by the U.S. Army. The Army, currently, only swaps land for buildings or other consideration as it has with the SunCal project along Dublin Boulevard (SunCal built the new gate on Dougherty Road as part of its agreement). The Army site is preferable, but the military moves at speeds like the rest of the federal bureaucracy—think glacial.
It’s the ideal time for Dublin folks to tap their own Congressman, Eric Swalwell, and let him see how to move the Army bureaucracy.
The Chabot-Las Positas leadership want to tack a $950 million measure onto a $498 million bond passed in 2004 that taxpayers will be paying on for nearly 20 more years. The earlier bond built out the Las Positas campus in Livermore as well as rehabilitating buildings on the Chabot campus in Hayward.
The district has quite a shopping list, but notably there’s no new construction—it’s all retrofitting, upgrading and improving existing facilities. It would raise taxes about $100/year on a home assessed at $400,000, but would hit the average Pleasanton home for more than $150 per year.
Frankly, that’s one hunk of money tacked onto to the earlier measure. It’s notable that the East Bay Times, which is taking a hard look at long-term borrowing, recommended a No vote on this bond measure. I join them in asking the question of why this huge bond is justified or necessary.
The community colleges have a key mission and enrollment has grown as tuition and fees have soared at the Cal State and University of California systems. That said, there are many competing uses for tax dollars—think crumbling and over-crowded roads and freeways or affordable housing. The Chabot/Las Positas bond proposal should be viewed skeptically.

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