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Nov 09

Election Anticipation

Posted on November 9, 2018 at 10:58 AM by June Lemos

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November 9 2018

Yesterday, I completed a survey for the League of California Cities on Legislative Priorities for the next year. The survey asked me to consider whether certain issues were not a priority, a low priority, medium priority, high priority, or unknown for Fort Bragg. Not surprisingly, I ranked most of the issues presented as a high priority. Those issues included increasing costs, affordable housing needs across all income levels, homelessness, climate and environmental quality, funding for various city services and infrastructure, adequate water supply, responding to disasters and specifically reducing wild fire risk, economic development, access to high-speed internet, reforming the district-based election system, loss of sales tax to online sales and increasing pension and post-employment benefits costs. 

The only issue, I believe I didn’t mark as a high priority was regulating drones. The process of completing the survey reminded me of the many challenges our community will face in the next few years. It also provided some comfort to know that most other cities in California and even elsewhere in our nation, are facing many of the same challenges and seeking solutions that may provide us guidance on how we deal with these issues.

In the days after the preliminary election results for our City have been posted, I speculate whether or not Measure H, the City’s proposed 3/8th of a cent sales tax increase, will gain votes as the final ballots are counted. The hospital’s parcel tax picked up enough yes votes in the post-election day counts to narrowly pass. It was down by about the same percent as Measure H – with 1,159 City ballots counted, 46.9% of the votes are in favor of the tax and 53.1% opposed. I heard this morning that there are still approximately 1,300 ballots to count for Fort Bragg, so there is certainly opportunity for the final outcome to shift. The funds from that sales tax would allow the City to meet the rising pension cost challenge and make it easier to respond to the other competing priorities and challenges that face our community over the next few years. 

Although I am certain that the seven City Council Candidates are also anxious to get the final results from the election, I am not worried about those results. The candidate pool was strong. The current frontrunners will certainly serve the City well as would the other candidates, if the outcome flips in the final election certification. Nevertheless, I am anxious to get the final results, so that the new City Council and staff can start working on the issues that will challenge us in the next few years. Whether we have the financial resources from Measure H or not, working with the community, we will create solutions to our challenges. I am hopeful.