by John Mistler
Approximately 50 people attended the Yuba County Public Safety meeting sponsored by Yuba Feather Community Services at the Ponderosa Community Center in Brownsville. The meeting organized by Buck Weckman was an attempt to allow people to ask questions of public officials about Public Safety and Essential Services or Measure K. Additional questions including past and present funding and staffing levels.
County officials in attendance were Sheriff-Wendell Anderson, District Attorney-Pat McGrath, Chief Probation Officer- Jim Arnold, County Administrator-Robert Bendorf, and Fire Chief Bill Shaw.
The presentation described the lack of funding for law enforcement, fire protection and how that directly affects people. Most questions centered around how specifically the money would be spent if Measure K passed.
There was also a question about the recent letter received by the county from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA). The letter states, " Measure K's purposes are public safety and essential services protection. Signs promoting Measure K say "Keep Yuba County Safe." The terms "safety'' and "essential" leave room for interpretation." Safety," for example, would exclude library services. "Essential" means absolutely necessary or extremely important. Inevitably, "safety'' and "essential" cannot refer to everything in Yuba County's budget. The letter further states that the Measure K is a "Special Tax" requiring 2/3 voter of approval, but is being sold to the voters as a "General Tax" requiring 50% + 1 to pass. Political maneuvering around Proposition 218's two-thirds voter approval requirement for a special tax is frowned upon. Should the Board pass Measure K on less than two-thirds voter approval, it would violate Proposition 218. Consequently, Measure K could be subject to costly litigation. HJTA urges the Board to acknowledge that Measure K requires a two-thirds vote." The Board of Supervisors have decided to continue down the path of a "General Tax". In response to the question and the Board of Supervisors position, Robert Bendorf, Yuba County Administrator said, "Consistent with the language contained in the resolution and implementing ordinance approved by the Board of Supervisors, Measure K is presented to the voters as a general tax."