Berkeley Public Swimming Pools parcel tax, Measure C (June 2010)

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A Berkeley Public Swimming Pools parcel tax, Measure C ballot proposition was on the June 8, 2010 ballot for voters in the City of Berkeley in Alameda County, where it was defeated.[1]

The tax would have been $56/year per parcel and lasted for 30 years, increasing to $70/parcel as time goes on.

A 2/3rds supermajority vote was required for approval.

Election results

Measure C
Defeatedd No9,91237.76%
Yes 16,341 62.24%
These election results are from the Alameda County elections office

Pool improvement details

If Measure C passed, the funds from it would have been used to:

  • Build a new 2,250-square-foot indoor warm water pool and renovate an existing pool at University Avenue and Browning Street (the West Campus). This new warm water pool would have then been available for use by residents with physical disabilities. The existing warm water pool at Berkeley High School was demolished in June 2011 because the building in which it was situated had been declared seismically unsafe.[2]
  • Build a new 25-meter pool at the King pool complex on Hopkins Street.[3]
  • Renovate pools at the Willard pool site on Telegraph Avenue.



Campaign funding

An all-day Swim-A-Thon was held on March 19 to raise money for a campaign to urge voters to vote "yes" on Measure C.[4]

Pool parcel tax supporters hoped to raise $50,000 for their campaign for a "yes" vote on Measure C.[2]

Arguments in favor

Arguments made in favor of Measure C included:

  • The current warm pool cannot be rehabilitated because it is in a Berkeley Unified School District building that was seismically unsafe and that the school district had made a firm decision to tear down. When that building is torn down, there would be no warm pool, unless Measure C allowed another one to be built.[5]
  • In response to the assertion by opponents that relatively few people use the warm pool, supporters said that more people would use it, if it weren't in an old, dilapidated and unsafe building.[5]
  • Robert Collier said, .".it all comes down to values. Do you think we should have good public services and recreational facilities in Berkeley, or not? I plan on raising my kid(s) and living here for the rest of my life. My wife and I hope our two-month-old son will have a pool to swim in with his friends and neighbors. I love Berkeley, and I don’t want to let its pools crumble and disappear, for all neighborhoods, the able-bodied and the disabled. That’s why I’m voting for Measure C."[5]



Individuals from 5 groups signed the official ballot arguments opposing Measure C. Those groups included:

  • Berkeley Can Do Better
  • Berkeleyans Against Soaring Taxes
  • The Council of Neighborhood Associations
  • The Berkeley Alliance of Neighborhood Associations.[2]
  • The editorial board of the Oakland Tribune

Arguments against

The arguments that were made in the official ballot guide against Measure C included:

  • To the extent that the city's pools need rehabilitation, it can be done for less.
  • There is already a warm water pool at the downtown YMCA for those who need access to one.
  • Now is not the time for higher taxes.[2]

The editorial board of the Oakland Tribune was opposed to Measure C. They said, "Though swimming pools are a nice addition to a community, this is clearly not the time to be asking the public for additional funds. Berkeley residents already pay extra money for a variety of programs on top of their regular county tax bill, and adding more expense can only worsen the plight of some homeowners who may be in financial trouble due to loss of a job or other recession-related problems. Given the financial landscape, government must find ways of providing services without new taxes. In this case, pool enthusiasts should explore cooperative agreements with local service organizations such as the YMCA, physical therapy groups that use warm-water pools and even private health clubs with memberships partially funded by the city."[6]

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

Measure C: "Shall City of Berkeley Community Facilities District No. 2: incur bonded indebtedness not exceeding $22,500,000 to replace the multiuse indoor Warm Pool, renovate Willard and West Campus pools, construct a multipurpose pool at King; levy a special tax at a rate not exceeding $0.0258 per square foot of building area to finance that indebtedness and not exceeding $0.0126, indexed for inflation, to maintain pools and operate aquatics programs; and establish an annual District appropriations limit of $3,500,000?"[7]

See also

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