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KPBS Voters Guide@KPBSNews
June 5, 2018 — Elecciones Primarias de California

City of Oakland
Measure D Parcel Tax - 2/3 Approval Required

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Resultados electorales

Se aprueba

73,716 votos si (76.89%)

22,161 votos no (23.11%)

100% de distritos activos (275/275).

Library Parcel Tax
— undefined

Shall the Measure to protect and improve library services throughout Oakland, including: providing safe places for youth after school; preventing library closures; providing youth reading and senior programs, evening/weekend hours for students/families, and adult literacy services; establishing a 20 year annual parcel tax, $75 for single family parcels, other parcel types at specified rates; and providing about $10,000,000 annually, with audits, citizens' oversight and exemptions for low income seniors and residents, be adopted?

¿Qué es esta propuesta?

Información básica sobre la iniciativa de ley — Información oficial sobre esta iniciativa


Barbara Parker, City Attorney

This measure would authorize a twenty-year annual, special parcel tax that would raise revenue to protect and improve direct library services throughout Oakland.
The City can use special parcel tax revenue only for the purposes specified in the ordinance such as:

  • Programs including early childhood literacy and student homework support for children, teens and adults,
  • Employee staffing costs to maintain and expand library hours,
  • Community outreach to promote community awareness library services,
  • Furniture, fixtures, and equipment costs to enhance direct library services,
  • Library materials and resources including books, magazines, newspapers, e-Resources, eBooks, and streaming media, and technology,
  • Non-structural interior library makeovers to support learning labs, makerspaces, and specialized areas tailored to the needs of children, teens, and adults to create a more welcoming environment and to allow the Library to keep up with changing technology and community needs.

An annual review is required to ensure the proper use of parcel tax revenue.

The tax will be imposed through fiscal year (“FY”) 2037-2038. The tax will supplement and may not replace the current level of General Purpose Fund appropriations for Library services unless a severe and  unanticipated financial or other event impacts the General Fund. (See “Collection of Tax” section of City Attorney’s Impartial Analysis for details of the exception).

For each single family residential parcel, the tax will be $75.00. For multiple unit residential parcels, the tax will be $51.24 per unit. For non- residential parcels, the tax will vary depending on the frontage and square footage of the parcel, based on the formula specified in Part 2, Section 2(C) of the ordinance. Full or partial exemptions from the parcel tax are available to qualifying very low income and senior households and affordable housing projects.

Beginning in FY 2019-2020, and each year thereafter, the City Council may increase the parcel tax by making one of the following findings:

  • the cost of living in the immediate San Francisco Bay Area, as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor has increased; or
  • the fiscal year change in California per capita personal income, as determined by the California State Department of Finance has
  • increased.

The increase of the taxes cannot exceed the greater of the verified increase in the cost of living using 2018 as the index year, and the California per capita personal income, using FY 2018-2019 as the index year.

The City Council may suspend, reduce or eliminate the tax for the following fiscal
year by the a vote on or before June 30th of the preceding year determining that after the suspension, reduction or elimination, sufficient revenues will be available to balance the City Council's adopted policy budget and provide the services and programs described in the measure.

Passage of this measure requires approval by two-thirds of the voters who cast ballots. A "yes" vote will approve the parcel tax; a "no" vote will reject the  parcel tax.

Análisis del analista legislativo / Proposal

Barbara Parker, City Attorney

 City of Oakland Measure D June 2018  – CITY ATTORNEY’S IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS


This measure establishes a twenty-year, annual "special" parcel tax to fund Oakland library (“Library”) direct services from fiscal year (“FY”) 2018-2019 through FY 2037-2038. “Special” taxes can be used only for the purposes specified in the measure and must be approved by two-thirds of the voters casting ballots.

Currently, Measure Q, a 2004 twenty-year, annual parcel tax effective through FY 2023-2024, provides funding for Library services, materials and programs ($75 per single family parcel and different rates for other parcel types, plus annual cost of living increases).


The special tax revenue may be used only to maintain, protect, and improve direct library services throughout Oakland that fund program and operational costs. (SeeBallot Summary for details.)


The tax will be $75.00 annually for single family residential parcels. The multiple unit residential parcel tax will be $51.24 per unit. The tax for nonresidential parcels will be based on frontage and square footage of the parcel, in accordance with the formula specified in Part 2, Section 2(C) of the ordinance. Hotels' taxes will depend upon the percentage of transient occupancy, in accordance with the formula specified in Part 2, Section 2(E) of the ordinance.


Each year beginning with FY 2019-2020, the City Council, by making certain findings, may increase the parcel tax by the greater of the verified increase in

  • cost of living using 2018 as the index year, and
  • California per capita personal income, using FY 2018-2019 as the index year, (See: details in Ballot Summary.)

City Council, by a vote on or before June 30th, may suspend, reduce or eliminate the tax for the following FY, if Council makes certain findings. (See: details in Ballot Summary.)


City may not collect the tax in any year that the budget for the Library is less than the Library’s FY 2017-2018 General Purpose Fund (“GPF”) budget unless 

  • a severe and unanticipated financial or other event impacting the GPF requires reduction in the Library GPF appropriation (“Event”); and
  • City Administrator submits a report to the City Council explaining the nature of the Event; steps City took to avoid reduction in the Library’s GPF appropriation; and steps City will take to restore the Library’s GPF. 

City’s reduction to the Library Department’s GPF appropriation shall be no more than the same proportion of reduction that is imposed on the City’s net GPF budget for all operating departments, except police and fire. Such actions must be taken for each FY the City fails to meet the FY 2017-18 Library GPF appropriation. 


  • Very Low Income Households as defined in Part 2, Section 3(A).
  • Low Income Senior Households as defined in Part 2, Section 3(C).


Affordable housing projects (as defined in Part 2, Section 3(B)) pay 50% of the tax.


  • Annual audits by City Auditor.
  • Review of all special tax expenditure reports by existing citizen oversight board or commission.


Barbara J. Parker


City Attorney

Efectos fiscales

Oakland City Auditor

The City estimates total new revenue will be approximately $10 million annually. This new
measure will be subject to independent audits and citizen oversight.
This Measure is separate from Measure Q Library Parcel Tax currently in effect. It will increase
total parcel taxes to fund library services as shown below.

Unit Type                                Proposed Measure Tax Rate      Measure Q FY 2017-18* Tax Rate
Years In Effect                         (2018 – 2038)                             (2004 – 2024)
Single Family Residential         $75                                             $101.63
Multiple Unit Residential           $51.24                                        $69.42
Non-Residential                       $38.41                                        $52.05
*Rates represent current parcel tax rates, including Consumer Price Index (CPI) increases
approved by City Council on May 30, 2017.

All funds collected by the City from this Measure will be deposited into a special fund in the
City treasury. The proceeds may only be used for the purposes authorized under the Measure
such as, but not limited to 1) providing regular and extended hours 2) upgrading and
enhancing library facilities 3) providing a wide range of programs for children, teens and adults
and 4) expanding library collections and items necessary to create and maintain a modern
learning experience.

Low-income seniors, very low-income residents and other entities can request an exemption or
reduction from this tax.

Beginning in Fiscal Year 2019-2020, and each year thereafter, the City Council may increase
the tax rates established by this Measure, at its discretion, based on the greater of two factors:

1. Increases in the cost of living adjustment (COLA) for the immediate San Francisco Bay
Area using the 2018 CPI as the base year; or
2. An increase in the California per capital personal income using Fiscal Year 2018-2019
as the beginning year.

For any year this tax is in effect, it may only be collected if the City’s General Fund
appropriation for Library services is maintained at a level that is no lower than the
appropriation for fiscal year 2017-2018, which is $12,992,267.

However, if the appropriation is not maintained at the minimum level, the new tax may continue
to be collected if:

  • City’s reduction to the Library’s General Fund is the same proportion of reduction as the City’s net General Fund budget for non-safety departments; and
  • The City Administrator submits a report to City Council explaining the reduction of the appropriation.

Following any reduction to the Library’s General Fund, the tax may be collected in any
subsequent year if it receives increases in its appropriation in the same proportion as the non-
public safety departments’ net General Funds, up to at least the minimum level of

We estimate the administrative cost of this Measure to be approximately $50,000 annually
which represents the tax administration, collection and audit fees.

Although our estimates are based on the best data available at this time, the actual total
revenue may vary.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Argumento A FAVOR

Our Oakland Public Libraries are a vital community resource. Vote YES on Measure D to ensure that children, families, and seniors continue to have access to local public libraries.   Local libraries are essentials for Oakland youth. They provide a safe after-school space for our children and teenagers, and provide resources that enable students to succeed. As budget cuts have eliminated library hours in many Oakland public schools, students are relying on Oakland Public Libraries now more than ever.   But our Oakland libraries are in trouble. Years of underfunding and rising costs have forced neighborhood branch libraries to close two days a week and keep limited evening hours. Without Measure D, our libraries face further closures. With Measure D, we can expand library hours to allow students, seniors, and working families to access library services throughout the week.   Specifically, Measure D will:
  • Prevent library closures and extend hours on evenings and weekends to better accommodate students, seniors and working families
  • Provide safe places for children and teens to do their homework and participate in after-school programs.
  • Maintain youth reading programs.
  • Keep libraries safe and welcoming.
  • Provide literacy services.
All Measure D funds can be spent only for Oakland libraries. By law, the State cannot take this funding away, and the City must spend this money on libraries only. Measure D is temporary, and cannot be extended without a new vote.   Measure D includes exemptions for low-income seniors and very low-income households.   Oakland Public Library branches help our community members with more than books. They help Oakland residents find jobs, learn how to start small business, get free legal and tax advice, find housing assistance, and access the internet.   Join our coalition of teacher, librarians, families, and community leaders across Oakland. Step up to protect our libraries. Vote YES on Measure D.   s/LOUISE ROTHMAN-RIEMER Board President, League of Women Voters of Oakland s/REV. DR. GEORGE C.L. CUMMINGS Senior Pastor, Imani Community Church s/BARBARA BUSWELL Oakland Public School Teacher, Hillcrest Elementary School  s/LAURA LIANG Oakland Library Advisory Commissioner, Teen Advocate s/MARY BRADD United Seniors of Oakland

Argumento EN CONTRA

  Don’t be fooled by the City’s promise of annual audits and accountability for this Library tax. The City has never performed the required independent annual audit on the existing Library Tax, Measure Q. The last Measure Q audit was performed by the City Auditor, Ruby Courtney for FY2012-2013. This 2013 audit cautioned the City that annual audits are mandatory, but the City skipped the required audits anyway. Last year the Library overspent its budget by $2 million and has scheduled an even larger $4 million deficit. These shocking deficits have caused no change in the City’s management or the Library’s management of the Library funds. Rather than install financial controls on the Library spending, the City asks the voters to approve more taxes.   This Measure’s promise of the ‘Citizens’ Oversight’ is so flimsy as to be no promise at all. The last audit by the City Auditor, Ruby Courtney about five years ago admonished the Library Oversight Committee (LAC) to start doing its job of oversight. Since then, the LAC has never demanded an annual audit or demanded the Library spending be limited to funds on hand. When the LAC demonstrates that it is doing its job of financial oversight, it can receive some taxpayer respect.   When the City, the Library and the LAC can prove accountability to the voters and taxpayers, they can reapply for more tax dollar support. Until then the voters and the taxpayers must show that we demand accountability for our tax dollars and vote ‘NO’.   s/ MARCUS CRAWLEY Citizen

Refutación al argumento A FAVOR

Homeowners have already proven that they support the Oakland Library system by passing Measure Q in 2004. The 5 benefits proposed by this new Measure D tax are desirable. Protecting homeowners from new taxes is equally desirable. Therefore, the deciding factor must be how well has the library managed the taxes that voters entrusted to this institution. The City, Library Staff and the LAC fail miserably at accounting for the ongoing tax expenditures:
  • The Library has never received the required independent annual audit.
  • The Library & LAC offers no explanation or correction to overspending $2-million of Measure Q funds.
  • The planned overspending the budget by $4 million is irresponsible.
  • The Library has not demonstrated that the expenditures are free from waste or excessive executive compensation.
  • Even the new Library Measure Q audit (due in May 2018) will be too little and too late. It will not be the required independent audit. It is not scheduled to report on recent years of failed examinations.
We want librarians to be well paid and the children to be supported. When the City shows that all our Library taxes are spent responsibly, we will support it.   The Library has 6 years before existing special tax support expires. When the Library can prove sound financial management, it should propose new tax support.   Vote No on Measure D.   s/ MARCUS CRAWLEY Citizen

Refutación al argumento EN CONTRA

Don’t be deceived by Measure D’s lone opponent. He has no grasp of the facts around the Library’s budget or the Library Advisory Commission, which has met regularly for the past 14 years to oversee library spending. The Oakland Public Library situation is dire – Measure D must pass, and we urge your YES vote. Here are the facts:
  • FACT: The Oakland League of Women Voters carefully reviewed Measure D. They endorsed it because it is a prudent plan with strong fiscal controls and oversight.
  • FACT: The Library does not overspend its budget.Costs have increased dramatically over the past decade, and the Oakland Public Library has cut service hours and programs to stay within budget. Neighborhood branch libraries are currently closed two days a week and have limited evening hours.
  • FACT: Without Measure D, Oakland Public Library will need to implement further branch library closures as early as July to stay within budget.
  • FACT: With Measure D, libraries can continue providing safe places after school for Oakland children and teens.
  • FACT: With Measure D, neighborhood branches can extend evening and weekend hours so that students, working families and seniors have improved access.
  • FACT:With Measure D, the Library can maintain essential literacy services, youth reading programs, and programs like the tool lending library, assistance with housing and health insurance enrollment, and free legal and tax advice.
  Oakland Public Libraries are a vital part of our community, and an essential part of young Oaklanders’ lives.   Please join our coalition of youth advocates, community leaders, good governance advocates and neighbors. VOTE YES on MEASURE D.   s/LOUISE ROTHMAN-RIEMER Board President, League of Women Voters of Oakland s/BISHOP BOB JACKSON Pastor, Acts Full Gospel Church s/VICTORIA BARBERO Chair, Oakland Library Oversight and Advisory Commission s/ARNOLD PERKINS Chair, AlamedaCounty Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Commission s/MARY BRADD United Seniors of Oakland

Leer la legislación propuesta

Legislación propuesta

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