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Tuesday June 7, 2016 — California Primary Election
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City of Half Moon Bay
Measure F - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results


1,612 votes yes (42.7%)

2,164 votes no (57.3%)

100% of precincts reporting (6/6).

190,133 ballots counted.

Shall the "Taxpayer Protection Act" be adopted as the official policy of the people of Half Moon Bay?

What is this proposal?

Details — Official information

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Antony P. Condotti, City Attorney, City of Half Moon Bay

Measure F, the "Initiative Amending City of Half Moon Bay Municipal Code to Mandate that Any City Council Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of Lease Revenue Bonds be Approved by a Super-Majority Vote of Full City Council Membership" (hereinafter the "Measure") was placed on the ballot by an initiative petition signed by the requiste number of voters. If adopted by the voters, the language proposed by the Measure would require a super-majority vote of the full City Council members (i.e., 4 votes out of 5 councilmembers) before the City could issue "Lease Revenue Bonds." 

A "bond" is simply a promise to repay money. There are two main types of "municipal bonds" (formal financial borrowing mechanisms available to the government) used by the State of California and other public entities, like cities, counties, and school districts to finance capital improvements: Revenue Bonds and General Obligation Bonds. With the first category, Revenue Bonds, repayment of the bond is secured by a defined source of revenues such as the proceeds from a revenue-producing facility whose construction is financed by the bonds.

Lease revenue bonds are a specific subcategory of General Revenue Bonds. Lease revenue bonds are typically issued by a third-party financing entity to fund a capital improvement which is constructed and "leased back" to a separate public agency which, after completing lease payments to the financing entity, ultimately owns the improvement. In essence, one party procures the loan and constructs the facility while the other pays off the bonds, via a lease and then becomes owner of the constructed facility.

The Measure defines the term "Lease Revenue Bonds" to include both 1) any bond issue which is not backed by the full faith and credit of the government, and 2) any bond issuance which does not receive the approval of voters prior to its issuance. The Measure does not define the term "bond" as used therein.

Based on this definition of "Lease Revenue Bonds", the Measure, if approved, would require a super-majority vote of City Council before the issuance of lease revenue bonds (those involving a lease-back ofa constructed improvement to a public agency), and many other types of municipal bonds such as Enterprise Revenue bonds (like water and wastewater revenue bonds), or special Tax and Assessment Bonds. The only type of municipal bond not affected by the Measure may be General Obligation Bonds, which require voter approval prior to issuance (an exception called out in the Measure). 

In addition, because the Measure requires a super-majority vote for "every bond issuance which does not receive the approval of voters prior to its issuance" without defining the term "bond", it is possible that a super-majority City Council vote would be required before the City could borrow any amount of funds via a loan from traditional sources, such as from the State Revolving Fund Loan Program, other public agencies, or private financial institutions.


Published Arguments — Arguments for and against

Arguments FOR

The Taxpayer Protection Act has already saved the City $5.25 million and we haven't even voted on it yet.

Because 947 Half Moon Bay residents signed the petition to place the Taxpayer Protection Act on the ballot, we forced the City to seek alternative forms of financing instead of the Lease Revenue Bonds they intended to use to fund the library project. The $6 million interest-free loan subsequently negotiated between the City and the County to help fund the library will save City taxpayers more than $5 million in interest payments that would have drained our treasury had the City Council gone ahead and issued Lease Revenue Bonds as planned.

That's democracy in action!

The Taxpayer Protection Act is very simple. Right now, the City Council can issue unlimited amounts of debt using a variety of creative schemes with just a simple majority vote.  $1 million, $10 million, even $100 million can be issued with a simple 3-2 majority.

The Taxpayer Protection Act means that when the City needs to borrow money for a project there will be a 4-1 vote of the City Council to approve certain forms of debt, instead of the 3-2 majority now in place. If you agree that this safety feature is a good idea then you should vote YES on Measure F.

That's all the Taxpayer Protection Act does - change the vote requirement on certain types of debt issuance by the Council from 3-2 to 4-1.

Other City Councils have done this voluntarily, recognizing the danger that these financing schemes represent to the community. We should learn from their example. 

Common sense says a YES vote on Measure F is a good idea.

Thank you.

/s/ David Eblovi, President, EMCOC

/s/ Eda Cook

/s/ Paul Grigorieff

/s/ Harvery Rarback, Director, Coastside Fire Protection District 

Arguments AGAINST

Measure F is minority rule.

Measure F is undemocratic.

Measure F allows two council members to control our city.

The consequence of Measure F is a less livable Coastside. It will inhibit the City's ability to solve our escalating traffic gridlock. It will paralyze the Council's ability to improve roads, trails, and bridges. Our community has seen tremendous improvements in the past few years - improvements to Mac Dutra Park, a new skate park, a Boys and Girls Club and Gymnasium, and our upcoming new library. The folks behind Measure F are the same people who tried to stop these important improvements.

Measure F is designed to allow a minority to halt city projects. It would require an 80% supermajority to approve any financing. A majority of two councilmembers could prevent upgrades to parks, playgrounds, expansions of bicycle paths and trails. Supermajority rule produces gridlock and gridlock brings the daily business of government to a halt.

No other level of government requires this: not cities, not the State, not even the Congress. We elect our City Council to do the City's business and not to be held hostage at the whims of a minority. 

If a vocal minority is allowed to control this city instead of the majority, we will find ourselves a decade down the road with a failing infrastructure, increased traffic, and a broken political system.

Don't let this happen.

Vote NO on Measure F.

/s/ Naomi Patridge

/s/ Richard Kowalczyk, Mayor, Half Moon Bay

/s/ Hope Atmore

/s/ Kirk Riemer, School Board Member

/s/ Allan Alifano, Treasurer, Citizens to Protect HMB

Replies to Arguments FOR

Measure F s being promoted as a simple check on the majority when in fact it would ensure that a minority has control and bargaining power over our elected officials.

Measure F was designed to give the minority the power to block the majority. It is very simple. If Measure F becomes law, a small, vocal group of obstructionists will be able to stand in the way of the normal democratic process that runs our city. Some who have argued for this unprecedented move even believe that we should have 100% agreement on the council to govern our city. And that might be what they ask for next. This would put the power to block any move by the City Council majority in the hands of a single person. That is the exact opposite of democracy.

Good governance means the willingness to compromise. Because Measure F qould require an unreasonable burden of 80% consensus, it could stop or delay improvements to our roads, trails, parks, and bridges, and could prevent our city from solving our increasing traffic gridlock. Even approval of the City's annual budget would require a supermajority vote.

It is not true that the city can borrow unlimited amounts of money without voter approval and Measure F wouldn't change that fact.

When a minority wields power over the majority, democracy is lost.



/s/ Naomi Patridge

/s/ Richard Kowalczyk, Mayor, half Moon Bay

/s/ Hope Altmore

/s/ Kirk Riemer, School Board Member

/s/ Allan Alifano, Treasurer, Citizens to Protect HMB

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

Simple common sense says Measure F is good for Half Moon Bay.

There is nothing unique about Measure F. In fact, in 2010, California voters overwhelmingly approved a similar measure - Prop 26, which required the state legislature to have a supermajority before issuing certain kinds of debt.

Just like Measure F.

Absurd assertions that Measure F will "paralyze the Council" or make it impossible for any projects to get done are simply false. In the past five years, half the City's streets were repaved, Ocean View Park was rebuilt, Mac Dutra Park and the Pilarcitos Creek Pedestrian Bridge were completely replaced and five miles of Naomi Patridge Trail were built. None of these projects would have been affected by Measure F in any way.

The City Council of HMB has an unfortunate history of bad behavior when it comes to managing large projects or sums of money. From 2008 when the City wasted millions on lobbyists trying to ram through a piece of nonsensical legislation, to 2009 when the City illegally issued Build America Bonds for the Beachwood judgment, costing us more than $1.5 million in extra fines and penalties. And when the City "forgot" about 75 water hookups as a part of the Beachwood settlement, it cost us an additional $3.5 million.

While Measure F cannot prevent every bad decision by any given Council, it does protect us by raising the bar just a small bit, which will hopefully lead to better choices on fiscal decisions that affect the City's long term future. If you agree, then please vote YES!! on Measure F.


/s/ David Eblovi

/s/ Deborah Penrose, City Council Member

/s/ Deborah Ruddock, City Council Member

/s/ Eda Cook

/s/ Freda Jeffs 

Read the proposed legislation

Proposed legislation 

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