The Santa Rosa City Council wasn’t the only government body to turn down a quarter-cent sales tax measure on Tuesday. Earlier in the day, the Marin Board of Supervisors also rejected a sales tax measure, one for open space acquisition, wildland fire prevention and farm protection.
Of the two measures, that was the one SMART supporters were most concerned about. Santa Rosa represents just 12 percent of the voters in the rail district while Marin represents roughly 40 percent. (Actually, the number is closer to 38 percent. According to figures from the June election, Marin has 145,616 registered voters compared to 234,851 in Sonoma County. The SMART district is a combination of the two counties.)
In Santa Rosa, the tax measure was recommended by staff. During the meeting, Vice Mayor Susan Gorin made the motion to put it on the ballot, but it technically died for lack of a second. Most of the other council members were concerned that it would put the success of the sales tax measure supporting the SMART commuter train at risk.
In Marin, the success of SMART was a major concern as well. But many groups had complained the quarter-cent sales tax measure there was hastily compiled and did not include enough specifics.
The measure needed the approval of four supervisors and it only got the support of three – Susan Adams, Judy Arnold and Hal Brown. Supervisors Charles McGlashan and Steve Kinsey voted against the idea. Kinsey represents the Larkspur area (where SMART will connect with the ferry system), while McGlashan represents Sausalito and the southern portions of Marin County.
– Paul Gullixson