BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
Voters in November will decide whether to ban car campers in Mountain View, raise taxes on hotel guests in East Palo Alto and continue a tax that provides 7% of the Palo Alto Unified School District’s budget.
Here is an overview of the five measures that will appear on the ballots of different cities.
• Mountain View: Measure C needs a 51% approval to prohibit the parking of oversized vehicles, such as RVs, boats and large trucks, on narrow streets 40 feet or less in width. Exempted from the ban would be wheelchair-accessible vans with valid disabled placards or during loading and unloading and emergency vehicles.
The ban is referred to as the “RV ban” and was passed by city council in September 2019 in an attempt to decrease the number of RVs parked on narrow streets. The measure landed on the ballot after advocates got enough signatures to overturn the ban.
• East Palo Alto: The city is asking voters to approve Measure V, an increase in the hotel tax from the current 12% to 13% on Jan. 1, 2022 and to 14% on Jan. 1, 2023. East Palo Alto currently has one major hotel, the Four Seasons, at University Avenue and Highway 101. The increase is projected to generate $195,000 in 2022 and $390,000 annually starting in 2023. The money will be devoted to buying and building affordable housing. The ballot measure doesn’t yet have a letter designation for the ballot. The measure needs a two-thirds vote to pass.
• Palo Alto Unified School District voters will decide Measure O, a parcel tax renewal. The tax initially will cost $836-per-parcel but will increase by 2% each year for the six years of its duration. Seniors can file for an exemption from the tax. Two-thirds of voters must approve the tax for it to continue. Right now, the tax brings in about $15 million of revenue to the school district, which is about 7% of the district’s budget.
• The Santa Clara Valley Water District is asking for two-thirds of voters to approve a parcel tax renewal that was originally passed as Measure B in 2012. Right now the tax is about $70 per parcel. The tax, called Measure S, has no end date.
If approved, it would bring in about $45.5 million annually to the water district, and the money would go toward projects which would prevent floods and for improvements along the county’s creeks, such as the Adobe or Matadero creeks. The tax would bring about $31.5 million to projects along the San Francisquito Creek.
• Caltrain: Voters in San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties will all be voting on Measure RR, a one-eighth of a cent sales tax for Caltrain. The tax would run for 30 years and bring in $100 million annually to the commuter train system.
Measure RR barely made the Aug. 7 deadline for ballot measures. San Francisco and Santa Clara county officials raised concerns over the fact that SamTrans, San Mateo County’s transit agency, runs Caltrain. The SamTrans board even hires and fires Caltrain’s CEO.
Initially, San Francisco Supervisors Shamann Walton and Aaron Peskin declined to have their supervisors vote on whether to put Measure RR on the ballot. But eventually, a side deal was made between the three counties that will result in changes in how Caltrain is governed.