San Mateo Community College District bond proposition, Measure H (November 2011)

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A San Mateo Community College District bond proposition, Measure H ballot question was on the November 8, 2011 ballot for voters in the San Mateo Community College District in San Mateo County, where it was defeated.

Measure H, if it had been approved, would have allowed the district to borrow $564 million. The funds would have gone to modernize Cañada College, the College of San Mateo and Skyline College.[1]

If Measure H had passed, residential and commercial property owners in the district would have paid approximately $12.92 a year for every $100,000 of a property's assessed value for the life of the bonds.[2]

A 55 percent supermajority vote was required for passage.[3]

Election results

See also: 2011 ballot measure election results and Local ballot measure elections in 2011
Measure H
Votes Percentage
Yes 48,933 53.1%
No Defeatedd 43,238 46.9%
Election results are from the San Mateo County elections office.

Support

Supporters

The official voter guide arguments in favor of Measure H were signed by:

  • Anna Eshoo
  • G. Memo Morantes
  • Virginia Chang Kiraly
  • Gene Mullin
  • Stacey Wagner

Arguments in favor

Arguments made in favor of Measure H in the official voter guide included:

  • Without the bond, students may need to pay higher tuition, and they cannot afford that.
  • If the community college is improved with the spending from the bond measure, it will allow working adults to upgrade their technical education.
  • Many labs and classrooms are over 40 years old and need updating.

Donors

As of late October, over $340,000 has been contributed to the campaign committee seeking a "yes" vote on Measure H. Most of the donations come from corporations and unions in the building trades.[4]

Donors include:

Donor Amount
McCarthy Building Companies (St. Louis, Missouri) $25,000
Chevron $7,500
Advance Soil Tech $5,000
Pankow Special Projects $5,000
Keenan and Associates $5,000
Design Acquisition Corporation $5,000
Steinberg Architects (San Jose) $5,000
Allana + Buick + Bers (Palo Alto) $5,000
Noll & Tam Architects (Berkeley) $5,000
Denali Group $2,500
AEDIS Architecture and Planning $2,500
CSW ST 2 (Novato) $2,500
GRD Energy, Inc. (Corte Madera) $2,500
Plumbers and Steamfitters Union $2,000
Alfa Tech $1,500
LPAs (Sacramento) $1,500
Building and Construction Trades Council $1,000
AFSCME $1,000

Opposition

Opponents

The official voter guide arguments opposing Measure H were signed by:

  • John Roeder
  • Jack Hickey
  • Harland Harrison
  • Frederick Graham
  • Don Pettengill

The editorial board of the San Mateo Daily Journal has endorsed a "no" vote on Measure H, saying, "The worst-case scenario if Measure H does not pass is that the district would not have access to that $1 million to $2 million a year and that students would have to study in state-of-the-art buildings paid for with previous bonds next to ones that are 50 years old. For now, that’s a scenario we should be able to live with — particularly in these tough times when many property owners are facing increased expenses along with diminishing income."[5]

Arguments against

Arguments opposing Measure H in the official voter guide included:

  • Measure H will increase the average tax obligation of each of San Mateo County's approximately 253,000 households from $5,500 per household to $10,000 per household.
  • Increased public spending and taxation is especially unwise in a bad economy.
  • Higher taxes and spending leaves less money for other financial priorities.

In other arguments against Measure H, Jack Hickey, a member of the Sequoia Healthcare District Board of Directors, said that another bond measure would bring the district’s total debt obligations to more than $1 billion and "We already have over a billion dollars in debt."[6]

Harland Harrison, San Mateo County Libertarian Party chairman, said that previous money voted for the community college district went to luxuries: "They built a palatial penthouse for the office of administration. That money was used inappropriately for a community college district."[6]

Text of measure


San Mateo County Measure H Debate

The question on the ballot:

Measure H: "To prepare College of San Mateo, Cañada College and Skyline College students for universities and high-demand jobs; modernize math and science classrooms and labs; upgrade classroom technology, computer and job training labs; increase earthquake, fire and accessibility safety; and replace aging systems with energy efficient models, shall San Mateo County Community College District issue $564,000,000 in bonds at interest rates within legal limits, with annual independent audits, local control over proceeds and a Citizens’ Committee providing oversight?"[7]

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