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The Next Mayor: What drives the road to City Hall

MEASURE R

You may not remember this one. Measure R was the idea of Council Member Oliver Baines a few years ago. The “R” stood for Restore.

The Great Recession was just beginning to ease up. Still, the city coffers were far from flush. Services were being cut left and right. Perhaps more maddening, capital assets (things like buildings and parks and equipment) weren’t getting their normal maintenance.

City Hall was giving a whole new meaning to “deferred” in “deferred maintenance.”

Baines’ idea was a boost to the local sales tax similar to what we did with the zoo. The tax bump would bring in millions, and do so immediately. Streets, curbs, gutters, street lights, tree-trimming, parks, community centers, swimming pools, Convention Center, police, fire – the list of places to spend Measure R money was long.

“We don’t have a spending problem,” Baines said often from the dais. “We have a revenue problem.”

Measure R never got the necessary traction to get on the ballot.

The Great Recession is gone. The city’s general fund this year passed the $300 million mark for the first time. But that $300 million has plenty of special interests chewing on it. And that list of reduced services/deferred maintenance remains long.

Would Fresno be best served by restoring Baines’ Measure R to the public debate? If the answer by the new mayor is no, then our Restoration dreams will be decades in the making.

George Hostetter is The Sun’s Fresno Civic contributor – covering the City of Fresno, County of Fresno, and Fresno Council of Governments.

1 Comment

  1. I have known Lee for years. He’s a stand up guy and the only one who has been in business and has run a successful business. He’s been an effective councilmen. With that said, I was unhappy that he supported a lawsuit against McCaffery Homes for building across the river in Madera County. What one person or company chooses to do in another county is none of the business of Fresno other than to figure out how to deal with the loss of revenue. Certainly not with a frivolous law suit. Henry Perea is a snake and a typical career politician. He has done nothing save live off of the tax payer. Time to permanently retire this loser from public life. H. Spees is a good guy and has good leadership skills. I am unsure of his business skills which will be needed in this race.

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