Letter to the Editor | Yes on UU

As Piedmont homeowners, our family advocates in favor of Measure UU even though we: 1) have never visited the pool 2) may not use the new pool and 3) are generally opposed to regressive taxes.  

Why then am I in favor of UU? It’s not because the pool is leaking 3,000 gallons per day and needs to be fixed, or because the increased tax will have a limited impact on our finances at only $30/month (which is well above the average amount for homeowners since we recently purchased our house). Nor is it because I think the initiative is infallibly written. Rather, it is because of the decision we made to live in Piedmont when we relocated from the East Coast four years ago. We seriously considered all of the more affordable surrounding cities, but Piedmont prevailed because of the quality of its schools and, equally as important, its real sense of community.

I’ve built my community by taking leadership roles on the boards of the Havens Dads Club and Piedmont Baseball and Softball Foundation, and by coaching the many sports teams that both my elementary school boys are on. So, even though we’re not a “swimming family,” I still believe that Piedmont families who seek community at the pool should have a great facility. Piedmont has invested significantly in the many sports fields and parks that all children and adults in the community enjoy. Those fields are part of the reason that Piedmont is as amazing as it is, and it would be even more so with an updated pool and facility to bring the community together. 

The ballot initiative isn’t perfect, nor is the timing of raising taxes during a pandemic, but rarely are plans in life perfect. Perfect should not be the enemy of the good! Vote Yes on UU to bring our neighborhoods even closer together at a time when our strong community is more important than ever.

3 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor | Yes on UU

  1. Here is The Measure UU Letter From the City Council That We Should Have Received

    Dear Piedmonters,

    Before you vote on Measure UU, we thought there were a few things we needed to tell you.

    We did tell you that the City has no outstanding General Obligation Bonds, but we didn’t mention that we have LOTS of debts – $7 million in sewer loans, $13 million in Post Employment Benefits Payable, and $26 million in Pension Benefits Payable. Oh, and if our pension portfolio returns only 6.15% instead of the estimated 7.15% (you can get 7.15% on your investments in today’s crazy market with bonds yielding close to zero, can’t you?), our Pension Benefit Liability alone increases to over $43 million.
    Speaking of deficits, did we mention that our General Fund – that is, unrestricted money that the City can spend on anything – has a deficit of about $9 million?

    We also glossed over the fact that the ordinance we passed estimates that the total cost of the “improvements” is $23 million, but that it allows us to issue $19.5 million in bonds. Guess who is paying for the difference?
    We also haven’t mentioned it, but by reading the City Council minutes for the last six months, you can see that we know about the major deficiencies in our ability to deliver essential public services – the Police Chief, Fire Chief, and City Administrator are all on the record as saying that we do not comply with the Essential Services Act, that the fire station may sustain major damage in an earthquake, and that it may cost up to $51 million to fix these problems. That’s why we are looking at creating a Community Facilities District (aka Mello-Roos) to make it easier to issue bonds backed by another special tax on Piedmont homeowners in the near future. And because we generally ask for the maximum amount, it will probably be for the full $51 million.
    Finally, we haven’t mentioned that 100% of Piedmont citizens rely on our Police and Fire Departments, while an estimated 25% of citizens use the pool. So, if we had placed two bond measures on the November ballot – $50 million for Police and Fire, and $20 million for a new pool, we knew what would happen. Citizens would vote to maintain essential services, but they would turn down the pool. After spending $56 million in 2006 and another $66 million in 2016 on School District Bonds (all that money is gone, and they still haven’t finished their projects), $10 million per year on Measure G, $2.6 million per year on Measure H, and $2.4 million per year on Measure T, citizens are getting a little tax weary. After all, aren’t our property tax rates some of the highest in California?

    So, think carefully before you vote on measure UU. We’ll see you soon with our new $51 million bond request. You will HAVE to vote yes to maintain city services, but you can vote NO on Measure UU.

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