City of Half Moon Bay Main Street Bridge Preservation Act, Measure F (June 2014)

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See also: Competing Main Street Bridge Safety & Accessibility Act, Measure E
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A City of Half Moon Bay Main Street Bridge Preservation Act, Measure F ballot question was on the June 3, 2014 election ballot for voters in the city of Half Moon Bay in San Mateo County, California, where it was approved.

Measure F made the Main Street Preservation Act the official policy of the city with regard to the Main Street Bridge. This act called for the preservation of the Main Street Bridge and prohibited its demolition or substantial changes to the bridge without voter approval in a citywide election and certification from the Coastal Commission. This measure and Measure E were competing measures, which meant that, if both had received more than 50 percent approval, the one with the most "yes" votes would have been enacted, and the other would have been discarded.[1]

Measure E v. Measure F

Defeated Measure E, proposed and backed by the city council, would have directed the city to make the bridge wider, to realign roads leading up to the bridge and to make walkways across the bridge more accessible to disabled people in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This would have, according to the proposed plan, required the demolition of the current bridge and the construction of a new bridge.[1]

Measure F, which was approved, prohibited the demolition of the current bridge without voter approval at a citywide election. It also required the city to attain approval from the Coastal Commission before any change to the city's Local Coastal Program and Zoning regulations were implemented, including major changes to the Main Street Bridge. Instead of full reconstruction, Measure F called for smaller renovations of the bridge. It made the preservation of the "historical, visual, and physical integrity (including appearance and character)" of the bridge the official policy of the city of Half Moon Bay.[2]

Election results

Measure F
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 1,977 66.0%
No1,01734.0%
Election results from San Mateo County Elections Office

Text of measure

Ballot question

The question on the ballot:[1]

Shall an ordinance be adopted establishing the Main Street Bridge Preservation Act, amending the Local Coastal Program Land Use Plan and Zoning Regulations of the City to prohibit demolition or enlargement of the Main Street Bridge unless approved by the City Council and a majority of voters in a subsequent ballot measure?[3]

The Main Street Bridge

Impartial analysis

The following impartial analysis of Measure F was prepared by the office of the city attorney:[1]

The City Council of the City of Half Moon Bay has placed Measure F, "the Main Street Bridge Preservation Act", on the June 3, 2014, ballot, along with a competing measure, Measure E, the "Main Street Bridge Safety and Accessibility Act." The measures offers competing visions for the future of the Main Street Bridge. Measure F is substantively identical to an initiative petition prepared by opponents of the City of Half Moon Bay's proposed project. It seeks to restrict the City of Half Moon Bay from amending Half Moon Bay's Local Coastal Program (LCP) and Zoning regulations to prohibit the bridge's demolition or "physical expansion" unless voters approve such an action in another, future ballot measure. It would require the City Council to submit the ordinance to the Coastal Commission for certification and to abide by its provisions pending such certification. Once certified, any amendment or repeal of the ordinance would also require Coastal Commission certification.

CalTrans has given the bridge a safety rating of 24 on a scale of 1-100 under its bridge rating system. It is considered "functionally deficient" because it is narrow by current highway safety standards, lacks shoulders or bike lanes, and is poorly aligned with Main Street at the north end. It is also considered "structurally deficient" with large cracks, separated concrete, and corroded metal support brackets all plainly visible from below. In 2011, the City won a federal Highway Bridge Project (HBP) grant that will cover 88% of the cost of rehabilitation or replacement but grant guidelines specify that funds be used to address both structural and functional deficiencies and that the resulting structure achieve a safety rating of 80 or above. Since fixing the bridge's functional issues would involve building wider lanes and walkways and improving the alignment, Measure F would restrict the City from using these grant funds without conducting another ballot measure election. Just repairing the bridge, the approach favored by project opponents, does not meet these grant guidelines.

Measure E, "The Main Street Safety and Accessibility Act", would establish as official City policy to address both structural and functional safety deficiencies and to pursue the option that is most cost effective for local taxpayers, by minimizing expenditure of general fund revenue and maximizing the use of available grant funds.

Measures E and F both contain provisions specifying that even if both measures are approved by a simply majority of voters (more than 50%), only the measure receiving the larger number of votes will pass.

If Measure F takes effect, then preserving the bridge's current "historical, visual, and physical integrity (including appearance and character"), would be established by voters as "official policy" of the City of Half Moon Bay.[3]

—Half Moon Bay City Attorney[1]

Support

Supporters of Measure F opposed the competing measure, Measure E.

Yes on F, No on E campaign image

Supporters

The official campaign in support of Measure F was called Friends of the Main Street Bridge.[2]

The following individuals signed the official arguments in favor of Measure F:[1]

  • David Eblovi
  • Mark Heath, chiropractor
  • George Gipe
  • Luciano Aruda
  • John Lynch

Arguments in favor

Proponents of Measure F argued that the bridge was perfectly functional and a part of the history of Half Moon Bay. They also argued that destroying the bridge, in compliance with Measure E, would have left no direct path from the California State Route 92 to the many restaurants and businesses on Main Street, which would have severely reduced the number of customers these businesses saw, harming the entire economy of Half Moon Bay for the duration of the reconstruction process. Some also argued that the narrowness of the bridge and the roads leading up to it prevented dangerous speeding from vehicles leaving the highway and entering Half Moon Bay and that this built-in safety precaution would have been done away with by the proposed city plan that would have been implemented by Measure E.[2]

Kim Levin, owner of Pasta Moon Restaurant in Half Moon Bay said:[2]

Most of our customers turn onto Main Street from 92. They will stop coming if the bridge is demolished.

My forty employees are worried about this, but it’s not just us. Every business on Main Street will be affected. A lot of jobs will be lost, and many of those businesses may go under.

With $5 million in business losses, real people, our friends and neighbors, will be hurt. Don’t let that happen.

Please vote NO on E and YES on F.[3]

—Kim Levin, Owner of Pasta Moon Restaurant[2]

Official arguments

The following official arguments were submitted in favor of Measure F:[1]

For three years, one person after another has stood in front of the City Council begging them not to close the bridge, not to cripple our local economy. The Council sat there stonefaced and ignored each and every one of us. Instead they continue to listen to the consultants who will profit from a huge bridge project. So now $500,000 in the hole, they are trying to hijack the people's initiative process.

Our ballot measure is simple. It will require a majority vote of the citizens in a regular election before the bridge can be destroyed or expanded. No loopholes.

The City wants you to believe that Measure E is the same as ours. They even gave it an identical title. But not only has the City left out every single one of our findings, they have also removed the very words that describe the purpose of the measure. There is no reason to exclude that language except to make the measure weaker and more vulnerable in a court of law.

So there are now two "Main Street Bridge Preservation Acts." Why the bait and switch? Because something else happens in November: an election for City Council. After three years of willful disregard for their citizens, Council members running for re-election want the bridge fiasco put to bed and forgotten before their positions are at risk.

Despite the chicanery, the only rational response is to vote NO on E and YES on F and then vote YES again in November when the identically named measure once again appears on the ballot.

Yes, we know it's confusing. That's why they did this and it's why you must vote NO on E and YES on F.

Save Our Bridge, Save our Budget, Save Our Town.[3]

—David Eblovi, Mark Heath, George Gipe, Luciano Aruda and John Lynch[1]

Opposition

Opponents of Measure F generally supported the competing measure, Measure E.

Opponents

The following individuals signed the official arguments in opposition to Measure F:[1]

  • John Muller, farmer
  • Robert Tucker, retired CalTrans worker
  • Silvio J. Modena, Jr., retired city resident
  • Peter A. Welch, owner of Arrowhead Framing
  • Naomi Patridge, Half Moon Bay Council Member and housewife

Arguments against

Opponents of Measure F, who sought complete reconstruction of the bridge through Measure E, argued that the narrowness of the bridge and the narrow and misaligned roads leading up to it formed a traffic hazard. They also argued that the bridge's narrow walkways were dangerous for pedestrians and made the bridge inaccessible to disable people. In addition, opponents of Measure F pointed out the many, large cracks that had formed in the bridge, proposing that its structural integrity was questionable.[1]

Official arguments

The following official arguments were submitted in opposition to Measure F:[1]

"F = Failure" Vote NO on Measure F The Main Street Bridge Preservation Act would saddle the residents of Half Moon Bay with the full cost of a band-aid approach that requires complete closure of the bridge for significant periods of time and doesn't address the bridge's serious design safety issues. The City Council made the right decision to put this measure on the June ballot. Voters will be making the right decision by voting "No."

Drafted by strident opponents of the City Council's plan to fix the bridge, it seeks to preserve the existing dimensions and configurations of a bridge built in 1900 when its primary use was for horses, buggies, and wagons. Today southbound trucks and buses routinely cross the centerline attempting to avoid the bridge's narrow rails which also bear the scars and paint marks of vehicles. Folks adventurous enough to brave the overgrown vegetation of Pilarcitos Creek to catch a glimpse of the bridge's concrete arch are greeted with a stark view of the bridge's structural deficiencies, large cracks, separated concrete sections, and water seeping from gaps in concrete. A major water pipeline is also at risk should anything happen to the bridge.

In 2009, 2011, and again in 2013, CalTrans safety engineers gave the bridge a safety rating of 24 on a scale of 1-100 due to its structural and functional defects. The low score qualified the bridge for federal funds that will cover 88% of the cost of bridge upgrades and new, safe, and ADA accessible sidewalks. The band-aid approach proposed by bridge project opponents doesn't meet funding criteria for these grants.

Vote "no" on the Main Street Bridge Preservation Act to ensure enough flexibility to continue the environmental process to find a safe fix for the bridge.[3]

—John Muller, Robert Tucker, Silvio J. Modena, Jr., Peter A. Welch and Naomi Patridge[1]

Related measures

Defeatedd City of Half Moon Bay Main Street Bridge Safety & Accessibility Act, Measure E (June 2014)

See also

External links

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References