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Los Gatos Voter Approval for Capital Expenditures, 2009

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A Los Gatos Voter Approval for Capital Expenditures ballot measure has been approved for petition circulation in Santa Clara County for voters in the City of Los Gatos.[1]

If approved, the ballot initiative will require advance voter approval of city-funded projects that will cost more than $7 million. Proponents of the measure have 180 days from early March 2009 to obtain 1,871 valid signatures on the petition to place the measure on the ballot.

Supporters of the measure include former Los Gatos city councilman Steve Glickman, who is the measure's main financial backer.[2]

Glickman a lightening rod

According to a local newspaper, "Glickman has caused tempers to flare around the idyllic community. Citizens are picketing at the Farmers Market, and shouting at Town Council meetings about him and his initiatives."[2]

Glickman served on the Los Gatos City Council for eight years, retiring in December 2008. He says he is sponsoring this initiative, as well as the Los Gato City Council Term Limits Initiative, because he believes that Los Gatos is being hampered by "two scourges": (a) "monument building" and (b) the "insurmountable power of council incumbency."[2]

Petition circulator controversies

See also: Petition blocking

Video of paid signature gatherer
A library supporter, believing that some circulators were misrepresenting the petition to potential signers, videotaped a conversation with a circulator who was collecting signatures at the Farmers Market.[2]

Highlights of the video:

  • The circulator, asked if the initiative affects the library, says yes, then no, then says it only deals with shopping centers.
  • The library supporter asks, "So I can sign this, and our library still gets built?" In response the circulator says, "Yes, yes."[2]

Donn Waters, a library supporter, played a copy of the video at a June 15 town council meeting. Waters asked the council to stop "renegades of malcontent [that want] to derail the building of our new library." Waters also said that Glickman's petition should be withdrawn for "illegal activities" and that Glickman should be punished.[2]

Glickman has fired the signature gatherer featured in the video. He says that circulators have been "physically assaulted and robbed." A police report indicates that a petitioner who was collecting signatures at the Los Gatos Safeway on Pollard Road was asked to leave by the manager after a costumer complained she was harassing the store's customers. As the circulator returned to her vehicle, according to the police report, the customer who complained about her "came up behind her and grabbed the clipboard from her hand, which contained signed petition papers."[2]

Thoughts from town manager

Saying that the town was receiving many inquiries about the petition, town manager Greg Larson issued what he referred to as a "fact list" about the initiative.[3]

Larson writes:

  • A proposed town library is the only project in the town's adopted 5-year capital improvement program that might be affected by the initiative.
  • The library project might be delayed by up to 12 months by the initiative, potentially resulting in increased costs for the library.
  • A delay in building the library might result in lower redevelopment revenues of $50,000 per year and in a $600,000 reduction in total RDA funding available for the project.

See also