San Carlos Sales Tax Initiative Finally Has a Name: Measure U…

August 17, 2009

0.5% Sales Tax Increase

We've talked in past articles on this site about the proposed 0.5% sales tax increase that we'll be asked to vote on in the November Election. It's pretty straightforward:

  • Yes or No — hike the local sales tax to 9.75% for a six-year period to raise money for vital City functions?

It has an official name now — the “City of San Carlos Vital Service Measure” …. but after all the hype and press that we're sure to see for and against this proposal, you and I will only remember it as:  Measure U. The point of this post isn't to debate the merits of this measure (although you're welcome to do so in the comments…hint, hint.)  No…I'm seeking an answer to a far more important question…

Wasn't a better letter available?

I know the City probably has no say in what letters are assigned to which proposals.  But of all 26 letters in the alphabet,  “U” is probably the most abused one, and the worst one to have assigned to a ballot measure.  Maybe it's just my juvenile mind hard at work again, but I think the opponents to Measure U are going to have a field day with this one (Beavis and Butthead certainly would.) Sadly, the chorus of Scandal's 1980's hit “Goodbye to U” is now stuck in my head. U get the idea.

Naming it “Measure V” would make much more sense….Vital Service Measure?  But Measure V is already taken by another measure that we'll be asked to vote on  — whether to make the City Clerk Job appointive.  OK, why are we even voting on this?   Just give Christine Boland the job for life (or as long as she wants it.)  She's doing an great job, and we can put the letter V where it rightfully belongs.

You can certainly see why nobody ever asks me to be their campaign manager.  But who knows?  Maybe this will add some excitement to the election.

So let's take a poll…

Time for another world-famous White Oaks Blog poll.  How are U going to vote?

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.


Posted in:


  1. A concerned citizen of the Brittan Highlands on September 19, 2009 at 3:25 am

    This measure is so important. Has anyone noticed in our parks or center medians that when plants die they are not replaced? Or that trash isn’t picked up as quickly and the sidewalks downtown aren’t cleaned as often? Not to mention that our city protection is going to suffer, ie: fire, police? If you really value our city of good living you will vote yes to this measure.

  2. Heathermom on September 21, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    I have mixed feelings about the measure; while I agree with the sentiment that our vital sevices are important to our collective well-being and, frankly, our property values I worry that the increase may cause some residents and non-residents alike to choose to do business outside of the city whenever possible. I feel our local businesses are a large part of what makes San Carlos attractive and I would hate to see them lose support as a result of a sales tax increase. I’d love for local business owners to chime in here with their thoughts on the measure.

  3. bknoth on September 23, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    There’s a definite trade-off. We don’t want people shopping elsewhere, but the city definitely needs the revenue.

    I doubt the tax will steer people away from Home Depot, Best Buy, and Office Depot, which is probably where most of the retail sales occur. It would be great to see a “Shop Local” educational campaign explaining that citizens support our services when they do so if U passes.

    I plan to support the measure.

  4. San Carlos on September 23, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    Please vote no on U. In the last few years we’ve seen a real estate and commodity boom. Accordingly, the city collected more sales tax, transfer tax, property tax and increased spending accordingly. But the boom has come to an end and we’re stuck with spending levels we can’t afford. A yes vote on U means an ever increasing cycle of taxes — increase spending when the economy and tax collection is good, increase taxes when the economy turns sour. The city needs to reduce their bloat, bureaucracy.

  5. No new taxes on September 26, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Again, polititians are using the easy way out instead of facing the music: just increase the taxes.
    Last year the parcel tax, now a sales tax. A little here a little there which each one on its own does not seem like much, but it adds up and it needs to stop now!
    Polititians and government employees have to learn that taxpayer’s funds are not infinite. They have to learn to cut back when times are tough – WE have to do that – so can they!!!
    Vote NO on U.

  6. 12 year resident on September 26, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    NO ON U!!!!

    This is the wrong time to be increasing taxes on small businesses! So many are struggling to survive.

    BTW, has anybody else noticed the brand new SUV type trucks for San Carlos Police?

    HMMMM…is all of this smoke and mirrors to get more money??

  7. Michael on September 26, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    I agree, but if it passes, you have no one to blame but the voters who vote in favor of these tax hikes.

    If people are so easily swayed by such initiatives, those of us against them need to mobilize. I have seen quite a few “Yes on U” signs in my neighborhood and nothing saying “No”.

    Same with the parcel tax, which is why so many brainless people probably voted for it…those without an opinion saw signs saying vote yes and they probably did. It was enough to sway it, even though the initative was manipulated to exempt seniors from having to pay it.

    The rest of the people that should be blamed are those not even planning to “participate” in the vote. Voting probably burns fewer calories than falling down and there are still SO many people who can’t be bothered. I wish they could be taxed double for not voting…

    OK, I am done now.

  8. Michael on September 28, 2009 at 1:50 am

    Raising taxes like this will hurt San Carlos business. It might be different if it was a statewide initiative. The fact is, that there are too many other convenient alternatives to shopping in San Carlos for San Carlos residents and those non San Carlos residents that our city so desperately needs for sustainable growth in revenue. Can you say, Best Buy? It is simply too convenient to shop online or down the road in Palo Alto.

  9. Christine Boland on September 28, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Responding to those against a 1/2 CENT sales tax: Please read the new Grand Jury Report… “San Carlos is a leader in the area of reducing employee costs and has implemented many of the items that appear in the Civil Grand Jury’s report.” Here’s the link:

    Of course the City is cutting back! Everyone is cutting back……The City has CUT everything that’s not nailed down this year and without Measure U sales tax funds, there will be drastic CUTS in the fall, this time PEOPLE WILL BE CUT. When you don’t have people, you don’t have PROGRAMS. It’s that simple. That means say goodbye to all the things that the employees do for you: Maintain Your Parks, Clean the Restrooms, Coordinate Summer Concerts, Tree Lighting, Staff the Adult and Youth Centers, (Kiwanis Community Center is already closed and leased to a private school!), contract for Chamber of Commerce events, such as Farmer’s Market, Art & Wine festival, policing of Hometown Days and the list goes on. Stuff has already been cut that’s not coming back without revenue. These are the things that make San Carlos DIFFERENT from neighboring cities.

    NO ONE likes taxes, but taxes are what pays for things. Things like a new library and things like a Youth Center. Those things are now 10 years old and frankly, the City’s infrastructure is not being maintained (sidewalks, potholes, Vista Park, Laurel Streetscape, etc.)

    The City hasn’t passed a parcel tax for over 10 years (The old Measure “G” for recreation only now expired). Recent parcel taxes are from School District, College District, etc., completely separate entities. Look at your tax bill – it’s all for everyone BUT the City of San Carlos.

    The “Politicians” are five regular guys making the best decisions for 30,000 people with limited funds now coming into the City. Be angry with the State, but don’t take it out on San Carlos.

    It takes a village and WE are the village that needs to pull together and pay for these basic and necessary services. So while you’re enjoying your $3.50 Starbuck’s Coffee and $2.50 Vanilla Moon cupcake, remember that keeping the City intact (I didn’t even mention sewers), is worth much more than 50 cents on a hundred dollars. A small tax/price to pay for a big return.

    Get informed on the Measure: and

    It’s up to the voters on November 3. Fifty cents on a hundred dollars. It’s up to U!

  10. Michael on September 29, 2009 at 12:22 am

    if WE as a village were all paying our fair share, this tax hike would no be necessary.

    The easy way out is to raise sales tax. The tough road would be to tackle Prop 13 and those under it who can afford to pay for BASIC services, not nice-to-haves like hometown days, farmers market, etc.

    These “services” as you refer to them are not services and are not enjoyed by all San Carlos residents.

    I would characterize a cut as drastic if we don’t have the farmers market, but we would survive without it. When we can afford to have it again, we will.

    Cuts regretably have to hurt and I see no evidence that any of our residents are in danger of serious hurting. City Hall should not be immune to cutting jobs; we al lhave or know those who have lost jobs…we should save them when we can, butI and many of my fellow property owners are paying MORE than our fair share.

    Just like the parcel tax, it is not about the amount out of my pocket…it should not be coming out of my pocket.

    If things like Hometown Days and the Farmers Market are SO important to SO many, charge a modest admission to those events.

    Unfortunately things cost money and until recently, our budget has been able to absorb those costs. Until we can do it again, we have to lose some nice-to-haves.

    It’s time for our one step back after our 2 steps forward.

    Perhaps whem our city administration experiences another surge of revenue as they enjoyed the earlier part of this decade, they will bank the money and save it for when the next downturn comes along.

    Simple lesson of budgeting (or failure to do so)

  11. Bill on September 29, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    I am voting NO on U!! The city needs to make more reductions on their retirement benefits, salaries and medical benefits just like all of the other cities are doing. They need to re-negotiate current union contracts now to lower costs! They also need to trim the fat and I am fine with eliminating more filled positions. No new taxes!

  12. Concern over Waste! on September 30, 2009 at 1:05 am

    No is my vote as well.

    Over the past 10 years I have repeatedly seen the government of San Carlos make irresponsible financial decisions: (SCOOT(with no wheelchair access); bike lanes up and down Cedar with signs blocking wheelchair and stroller access; Turf!…to name a few!) These frivolous decisions were made when there were other more pressing issues: sidewalks in horrible disrepair, our streets flood every year, etc.

    And, yes, 50 cents on every 100 dollars spent does not sound too bad. Until I look at what I spent in San Carlos last year!!!

    I figure my family and I spent somewhere in the neighborhood of 20K in San Carlos last year. Not hard to do with grocery, home improvement and electronics…not to mention the little shops that I like to support.

    The tax increase proposed would be closer to 1000 dollars!

    NO ON U

  13. C on September 30, 2009 at 4:08 am

    When it comes to reducing or “tiering” retirement benefits, while other cities have talked about studying this, San Carlos is the only City in San Mateo County to have actually implemented it!

    And the reduction affects new employees of all types – Police, Management, Clerical, Maintenance and Part-Time. Not to mention the same reduction in retirement benefits over at the Fire JPA.

    See the City response to the Grand Jury report on Salary and Benefit reductions on the City’s web site. It’s reduction # 1 of the 11 shown by the City.

  14. Michael on October 2, 2009 at 1:01 am

    then if cuts are being made, why are they asking us to pay more in sales tax? So they can restore whatever they have cut?

    Suffering breeds appreciation (sorry for the depression era reference) but there is some truth to that.

    It seems that the minute we are asked to give up something, we have to find a way to keep it. Afterall, we have not had the level of “services” as long as San Carlos has existed and it has done just fine throughout the years.

    I realize needs change, but when do individuals step up and take responsibility for their own wants and needs?? I and many other residents are paying for MANY services that we currently don’t and/or may never use. How fair is that?

    Do I get a rebate from the “users” of these services for the drain on my pocket? No, I do not.

    We have a budget and we have to stick to it. Whatever we cannot afford, we do without. This tax increase is not essential and I hope the majority will speak to that next month.

  15. B on October 3, 2009 at 3:02 am

    Wow! I am surprised by the lack of support! I think America has too low of taxes. There are a lot of people who need help. Help only we (the fortunate) can provide. I hope single payor health care passes too! It is about time we provide care to the poor, the unfortunate!

    The more you have, the more you should share!!
    Shame on you right wingers, you greedy capitalists!

  16. Anonymous on October 3, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    well, I don’t know that I have seen anyone resort to name calling on this blog (and I will not as you have).

    Labeling people as right-wingers and greedy capitalists is so unfair. We ALL have contributed to help those that have less here in San Carlos, not to mention the charities that many of us donate to. However, we are not talking about charity and this sales tax is going to people who largely can afford to pay for these services. Why is a library card free? Couldn’t we require those who use it to pay $5 out of their pocket per year? Would people be willing to pay $2 to go to the farmers market or hometown days or the art and wine festival?

    Sure, we may want to have those events remain free, but why not charge admission “in the name of preserving San Carlos infrastructure”?

    Having an opinion that we are being forced to “share” even more of our hard earned dollars is pushy, to say the least. Many of the programs in question are enjoyed by people that can provide funding themselves. What is wrong with the city supplementing certain programs, but requiring the people who use them to contribute a little out of their pockets?

    I am truly fatigued over all the rhetoric about so many unfortunate people who cannot afford to live when we are talking about non-essential programs.

    Frankly, I say if you think our taxes are too low, write a check to your local government and tell them you wish to pay more. I myself would like to retire some day and I plan on paying for it myself, not expecting my neighbors to pick up the tab.

  17. William on October 3, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    B – If you don’t like it here in the USA go live somewhere else!

    I am voting no on U too.

  18. J# on October 15, 2009 at 12:05 am

    Guys it’s not a utility tax, it’s a sales tax. You are sharing this with other shoppers from neighboring cities as well. Its for 6 yrs. Come on.. stop being soooo petty. A lot of us live in million dollar homes..we are richer than most of the people in the Bay Area. There is so much wealth in and around our city, surely we don’t want it to become another EPA/Oakland type city? I don’t care if the city looses employees, we have all had to deal with layoffs. But I don’t want the city to become scummy & thrashy because I can’t pull 50 cents out of my pocket, for a $100 purchase! That is nothing my friends.
    I am going to Vote YES on U and I think we all should help our City or move out.

  19. J on October 15, 2009 at 4:38 am

    Please keep in mind that this sales tax is a mere attempt to bridge the gap in the budget from what the STATE is taking from our City- 2.7 million dollars this year alone. Services come at a cost. The City of San Carlos is the lowest staffed city of it’s size in the county- what else should be cut??? Vote as you will, but please don’t complain if Measure U doesn’t pass and services that you use are gone. When your property value goes down because people don’t want to purchase a house in a neighborhood where parks aren’t maintained, public safety isn’t valued and the little things that make San Carlos special are no more. Times are hard for all of us- the state is not making it easy right now so we all need to pull together to fight for our City.

  20. Love my City of San Carlos on October 15, 2009 at 5:00 am

    I am for Measure U. DO YOUR RESEARCH.
    For those who are yacking away about paying more taxes:
    1. I’d like to see them walk in the city’s shoes & resolve the issue. Do you have any suggestions if the measure doesn’t pass? Cutting employees won’t fill the 2 mil annual gap. The City is in tatters. And it’s not because of mis-mangement. The STATE comes in and takes a big chunk out of thier budget. It’s like someone coming and taking your hard earned money right out of your wallet. WE NEED MEASURE U TO PASS OR SAN CARLOS is SUNK.
    2. For those that think they can shop online FROM BEST, instead of paying the 1/2 CENT SALES TAX. I have news for you – “Do you really think you are saving your pennies by shopping online?” What about those shipping costs? More than 1/2 cent huh? REAL SMART!!
    And Oh Palo Alto is down the road.. so how much money are you really saving by going there? aren’t you paying for gas and parking meters around University Ave? or paying extra $$ on regular items when shopping at the Stanford Shopping Center?
    San Carlos doesn’t have any parking meters, and businesses as well as the San Carlos Chamber of Commerce have supported the Measure.
    3. The city has a budget, and it’s going to stick to it.. whatever it can’t afford, it will do without. There will be drastic cuts. Just remember, Next time when your sewer backs up, clean it yourself. When there is no one available to pick up the trash, you do it yourself. No Youth Center for the kids. What if there is an emergency and you call 9-1-1? and there is no one to help you, because the city has “trimmed it’s fat”. Emergency services will be affected if Measure U doesn’t pass.
    4. Let’s talk about City Employees. Unlike the private sector, City employees don’t get stock options. When there is a boom, nobody wants to be a civil servant, because you are making so much more than that finance manager or engineer, or a I.T. professional. But when economy turns sour, you envy those poor employees (who cleans your sewer and picks up your trash), and say the city has a bloated bureaucracy? San Carlos has the lowest number of employees compared to other cities it’s size. They are also the lowest paid. Yet, they are required to do more with less.

  21. concerned citizen on October 15, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    I know many are you are busy with work, taking kids to soccer practice, and other activities, and you may not go to council meetings or read the minutes. You should. Fortunately I have had a chance to pay attention – and I can say whole-heartedly I am YES on Measure U.

    First – this money is for the General Fund, which pays for our operations. Police, fire, maintenance… etc. Money for turf, etc comes out of a Capital fund and BY LAW cannot be used for operations purposes – Citizens voted that revenue for capital expenses can ONLY be used for capital expenses – so the argument about money being spent for other things should be used to fill the gap are ill-informed.

    Second – San Carlos only gets 13% of your property tax dollar. Our neighboring cities get 20% +. Your money is going up and down this state – wouldn’t you like to have control of where you live? There’s a reason you live here vs. RWC or Belmont. This money directly goes to SC and the state can’t touch it.

    Third – we are not alone. There are 2 other cities with an increase sales tax (including San Mateo – anyone shop at Hillsdale?) and up to 20 cities that have other various tax initiatives.

    Fourth – the city has not asked for money in 10 years. The school board has asked for bonds, but that goes only to the schools – not to the city.

    Fifth – This tax measure is only for 6 years.

    Do you know the city cancelled the DARE program? Do you also know that there has been an increase in drug related activity in SC? There is a correlation.

    And for you working parents, what happens when the Youth Center can’t stay open during your work hours? It will cost you a lot more for sitters than the price of this tax… Or worse, you get no sitter and kids find other things to do…

    And I could go on and on about the technical expertise that is now needed in our government staff and our protection services. If you don’t, get informed before voting.

    Neighbors, I don’t like taxes either. In fact I don’t vote in favor of most tax measures. But this is where I live. And I live here for a reason. It’s safe, a great place to raise kids, and has a real community. If you value those things, why wouldn’t you want to pay another 50 cents for every $100 you spend? To me, it’s a small price to pay. And I don’t live in a million-dollar home.

  22. 30 Year Resident on October 15, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Revenues are down and the state has grabbed $800,000 of our money. The City Council, city staff, and unions have worked in good faith to contain operating expenses, reduce staff, re-work contracts, and increase employee productivity. City employees continue to work for the common good — they are not on the dole, nor out to pillage the city coffers. Like the rest of us, they take their jobs seriously and serve in good faith. But the point has now been reached where valued services will be substantially impacted without new revenue. 50 cents on $100 for 6 years seems a reasonable investment for the return. The San Carlos Chamber of Commerce agrees. VOTE YES ON MEASURE U.

  23. Christine D. Boland on October 15, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    We’ve done all that, Bill.

  24. Christine D. Boland on October 15, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Because the State keeps taking the CITY’s (your) money. It doesn’t matter if you have an iron-clad budget, when Arnie determines he needs a million or two, poof, there goes your money and the City can’t do anything about it. In comes Measure U (which State can’t touch).

  25. grewupinsc on October 15, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    The San Carlos Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Measure U. Business owners in San Carlos understand the Measure. A utility tax would affect their bottom lines. A small sales tax increase for 6 years is a pass-through. You can talk to members of the Chamber Board or business members. But don’t buy the opposition’s scare tactics that Measure U will destroy SC businesses. That’s simply not true.

  26. San Carlos First on October 15, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    There isn’t a single economist on the planet who would agree that raising sales taxes during a recession is a good idea.

    Suppose you live in Belmont. You could go to the Home Depot in San Carlos OR you can go to the Home Depot in San Mateo, where you can buy the exact same goods for 1/2% less. Where do you think you’ll go? Heck, I *live* in San Carlos and I’ll wind up going to San Mateo, particularly for large purchases.

    You know, this isn’t San Francisco where they have specialty shops and a locked-in tax base. I’ll wind up going to Lunardi’s and not Bianchini’s, etc. so you’ll wind up closing businesses AND not even solve the problem you’re setting out to solve!

    Join this website:

    The Yes on U are clearly organized — but 60% of the people on this site say it’s a bad idea. So if you think that this is a bad idea, make yourself heard!

  27. No new taxes on October 16, 2009 at 2:52 am

    You lived here 30 years? Good for you, you are paying about one tenth of what I pay in property taxes while your home value is twice as high.
    Of course this sales tax does not bother you, you are already saving a great deal of money while others have to make up the difference.

  28. No new taxes on October 16, 2009 at 2:56 am

    “… its for 6 years only”
    And 6 years from now they have another panic scenario to scare people in extending the tax or, even worse, make it permanent.
    The reasoning will be: “Well see, this little tax did not hurt you, so why not keep it?”

  29. GetOverIt on October 16, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    The old farts have moved out and the new farts are passing School parcel taxes all the time, so what’s a few more pennies to help our local government? If the motto in this beautiful town is “City of Good Living” shouldn’t we help keep it that way? I would not like to see broken sidewalks, police come “when they can”, or drug and gang activity, like East Menlo/East Palo Alto. We are blessed to live here. Let’s pay for it.

    It’s fine to hate taxes (does anyone like them?). Maybe the CIty should use volunteers to clear your backed-up sewer lines and mow the parks. Volunteers who don’t show up because Johnny has soccer practice. Measure U is the best of both worlds; shared by shoppers and helps out a little. I’ll send you the 50 cents when you make a purchase over $100. (How much gas will you spend to get to San Mateo/Palo Alto/Burlingame? Get over it.

  30. grewupinsc on October 17, 2009 at 4:56 am

    Downtown San Carlos is hopping tonight. Do you really think if the sales tax was1/2% higher anyone would be deterred from spending their money down there? Come on. And if, as in the example above, you would actually stop shopping at stores like Bianchini’s (which regularly supports the community with additional cash donations to many San Carlos organizations including the schools), and go to Lunardi’s or to other towns to grocery shop, then you don’t give a darn about supporting San Carlos anyway.

  31. grewupinsc on October 17, 2009 at 5:03 am

    I also find it interesting, if not completely hypocritical that the “no new tax” crowd’s poster boy on the council has said publicly (I’ve been at the forums), that he supports a utility tax. A model that will equate to a heck of a lot more per $100 than 50 cents. So even Measure U’s official opposition acknowledges the need for a revenue measure. Sorry to burst your bubble.

  32. Dave on October 18, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    I have worked as a consultant for several local governments and here are my thoughts.

    Even if U passes, the city will continue to have budget issues now and in the future because the city pensions are unfunded liabilities. So, if U passes be prepared for many other requests by the city (as well as all government agencies) to increase taxes. This is a much larger problem than just Measure U. Government pensions (as well as government medical costs) will require increased taxes unless they are altered significantly for all new hires. The public sentiment is changing and voters no longer believe fat government pensions are needed or fair. The City of San Carlos claims they have changed pensions, but they have only made small insignificant changes for employees that were/are recently hired. There needs to be more substantial changes to all government pensions to really make a difference and prevent the need to constant tax increases.

    Also, the notion that it is difficult to recruit people for government jobs is not accurate. People are lining up to take government jobs because of the security offered as well as the extremely generous pensions and medical plans. Also, government wages are more in line with the private sector than in the past decades.

  33. No new taxes on October 19, 2009 at 3:17 am

    What the tax-and-spend liberals just don’t want to understand is that voting NO ON U is not so much for the money as it is an educational exercise:
    This city’s administration needs to learn that they can not just raise the taxes each time they don’t have enough funds.
    Cutting “nice to have” services in hard economic times? Being tough on unions in times of 12% and more unemployment?
    YES WE CAN!!!

  34. Fred on October 19, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Measure U should be called the “leave no city employee behind” measure. When about three quarters of the city budget goes for employees and their pension and health care benefits, it doesn’t leave much money left for city services. Vote NO on U and require the people at city hall to make the tough decisions.

  35. Michael on October 19, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Having attended the “debate” at the museum a couple weeks ago, I really take exception to Randy Royce’s reply to my question about parking meters. Essentially he said that he didn’t like the way they look, and he likes being able to drive downtown and park for free. Every neighboring city charges for parking downtown and it hasn’t hurt them…just one suggestion. It certainly hasn’t made customers flock to our downtown, but then maybe no one realizes because it is not promoted through the chamber of commerce? A few simple banners hanging from light posts could help promote this at major intersections…again, just a Non-Tax” thought.

    In a nutshell, his statement says how “entitled” some of our decision makers are. Any suggestions about alternatives to raising the sales tax were shot down for vague and superficial reasons.

    For 25 years of service, San Carlos pays retirement benefits of 75% of their last inflated salary…that’s INSANE! Who needs that much to live on in retirement? Especially when our seniors get so much preferential treatment…

    It’s too easy to come up with more ways to tax us rich residents. And to call this a 6 year tax is also manipulative; just ask the folks who are trying to extend the first school parcel tax that was supposed to expire after 6 years. They snuck the latest one in on the premise that the other was about to expire…so much for that…

    Face it, any tax that gets pushed through will be with us until the end of time. Our city government will continue to overspend and come crying about how police and firemen are so hard to recruit without top pay.

    Why not pay less for the tradeoff of the lower crime we have and less risk of peral overall. What must the east Palo Alto police officers earn? I know if I had a choice to be a police officer in San Carlos for $75k per year vs. the same in East P A, the choice would be easy.

    Again, San Carlos city government: make the hard choices.

  36. grewupinsc on October 19, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    So city employees should make how much? And you’ll be there to volunteer to work on sewers and infrastructure, right Michael and Fred? Should we have a volunteer fire department too? Auburn does and over 60 houses burned down there this past summer.

  37. Dave on October 20, 2009 at 1:15 am

    I am pleased to see so many more NO on U signs around the city. I think the San Carlos voters are becoming more educated about this measure. To obtain a sign for your yard or for more information go to

  38. JJ on October 20, 2009 at 6:45 am

    I entered this debate with an open mind but after researching it further, I’m a little surprised at the lengths some are going to avoid something that would provide the city with much needed funds at a nearly negligible individual cost.

    Do folks realize we’re talking about an increase in $5 of sales tax for every $1,000 spent in San Carlos? That seems like a pretty small price to pay for potentially losing some of the services that make our community great.

    Yes, I get that people don’t like the concept of government spending or taxes. But let’s take a practical approach here. The city is in a tough budget situation largely because of things going on in Sacramento. As much as people want pensions or salaries further cut, the reality is the cuts are going to come from things that we enjoy as a community.

    This just doesn’t seem like the appropriate time to fight a moral battle against spending and taxes. Again, we’re talking minimal personal sacrifice for something that can positively impact both our home values, and more importantly, our community. Is it really worth risking that for the extra burden of $25 in additional annual costs?

  39. Michael on October 20, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Let me just say that if you bought a new car for $20,000, that’s an extra $100 just for the car. If the state decides to tax services, that’s 9.75% on doctor visits, car repairs, plumbers and electrician visits, etc; something we currently don’t pay.

    The thought that this is just a small amount is exactly what got us to this point.

    It always seems to be argued that the individual costs for certain services is not so much until you add everything up and we are in deficit.

    We simply need to cut more, not tax more. A little here and a little there adds up to a LOT.

  40. grewupinsc on October 20, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Hey Michael, this is a local city measure generating funds the state can’t take. If the State decides to take even more from the cities, that’s a separate issue. Why arent you working to repeal prop 13 if that’s your concern? Because having to generate revenue at the city level is the legacy of Prop 13. Just like the schools. You don’t seem to make that connection. Again, your “No on U” folks are have a council “leader” who advocates for a utility tax. How do you justify that if you’re against taxes?

    And you never answered my question about being ready to volunteer to work on sewers and maintain the parks. You’ll be there, right? We’re counting on you.

  41. Michael on October 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Trust me, Prop 13 is unfair by nature and it would not be here if it could be cracked, but it is iron clad. As I have said in past posts, the state needs to determine what basic services cost each parcel and charge that to those property owners, not the token amounts they are currently paying…but it won’t happen. Instead there is talk of eliminating it for commercial porperties…sure that makes a lot of sense. What will happen to commercial rents? Think they will stay down? Think prices for consumers will not go up? All private citizens should have to pay their share, very simple. Instead, those of us paying the bulk of the fees for infrastructure keep having to pay more and more. Aren’t you tired of being the go-to guy for money to support a broken system? I certainly am.

    As far as your second point, I already do my share of cleaning in my neighborhood (I wish more people would do the same) and it will not come to private citizens cleaning sewers…do you really believe that will happen? You may have fallen victim to the scare tactics they are using to get this through so they once again don’t have to do their jobs. Plus, if you are willing to have a farmers market and hometown days in exchange for cleaning sewers and fighting fires, be my guest.

    As far as the utility tax that Matt Grocott is proposing; I firmly believe that even if this sales tax hike goes through, the utility tax discussion and eventual passing is right around the corner.

    It’s just the natural trend. This is why I and the majority on this blog believe it has to stop and we will vote no on U. If the city council would make the tough cuts, we would not need this tax hike. $2 Million may sound like a lot of money, but a little here and a little there will add up to that amount IF they are willing to do it.

    There are a lot of better ideas to solve the spending problem, but the problem has to be recognized before it can be fixed.

  42. JJ on October 20, 2009 at 4:54 pm


    I’m noticing a pattern where many of your posts are introducing false choices.

    A vote for Measure U doesn’t validate Prop 13 and prevent any sort of future reform with Prop 13. Likewise, a vote for Measure U doesn’t prevent any sort of future pension reform or studies from being conducted.

    On the flip side, a vote against Measure U doesn’t preclude the state from taxing services if it decides to.

    Yes, these are all ultimately fiscal issues that are related. But Prop 13, state tax decisions, and further pension reform aren’t on the ballot. That’s not to say that those aren’t worthy topics of discussion or investigation; but I do feel like those complicated issues provide smokescreen to what fundamentally is a simple question posed by the Measure.

    Simply put, would folks prefer a cut in programs and services in the city or a 0.5% increase in sales tax? And I’m just having a hard time understanding how the $25-$50 in incremental costs is worth losing some of the programs and services that make this city special and contribute to our home values.

    Would I like to see Prop 13 reworked? Absolutely. Would I like sensible pension plans? Absolutely. Would I like the state to get it’s own business in order and stay out of our city’s coffers? Absolutely. But will defeating Measure U solve any of those problems? Of course not…all that will happen is we’ll add unforutnate cuts to police, parks, and infrastructure to go with these existing global problems.

  43. Dave on October 20, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    No nU Taxes! Does anyone know how many previous “temporary” sales tax measures have been passed in the history of San Carlos? I am curious how many times this has happened before?

  44. Mike in SC on October 20, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Well, I went to the townhall meeting on this. I asked a question about how many of the city staff were making salaries in excess of $100K, and no one would answer me.

    The problem has been increasing personnel costs, taking an ever larger share of the city budget. Obviously, this can’t continue – or we will end up like Vallejo one day, or the state government itself.

    The city either has to cut salaries across the board – try 10% each and a hiring freeze for 2 years, or cut staff.

    Or look at some innovative solutions, such as sharing a police department with Belmont. Why does each small city on the Peninsula need its own police chief and dispatcher? We have combined the fire services, why not police. As far as I can see, no one is even considering that possibility – just straight to tax increases.

    Incidentally, the State of California is increasing oversight of sales taxes for purchases made out of state. Soon, all business, including small businesses, will have to account for all their out of state purchases – AND PAY THE STATE AND LOCAL TAXES (INCLUDING THE NEW SAN CARLOS SALES TAX) on those purchases.

    I understand the Franchise Tax Board are setting up these new sales tax accounts this year and asking small businesses to go back 3 years and voluntarily pay the tax – enforcement and 8 year audits to follow for those who don’t. I guess high net worth individuals will soon follow.

    I’m voting NO on Measure U. We already voted to increase the sales tax earlier this year at the state level. 9.75% is too high.

  45. City Clerk on October 21, 2009 at 12:46 am

    Mike in SC,

    We’re happy to provide all the salary information you want, and it’s public information. However, the City Council can’t answer your questions directly at a meeting because of The Brown Act.

    Indeed some folks make over $100K and here’s the reason….the City has to pay competitive wages and benefits to hire the talent to run the City. Talent, like getting grants for railroad grade separations (huge), using political cache to build a new library and community support to create a youth center, improve Laurel St, Industrial Road, etc., etc. While all of these projects are getting old now and harder to maintain (hint, hint), they are not just picked off a tree. They are carefully thought out and planned by the hired talent we call “City Manager” and “Department Heads.” The Council makes the final decisions but it’s the hired talent who is making the recommendations.

    Take a jaunt outside of the City of Good Living to Burlingame and try to get down Broadway. No grade separation; more cause for train accidents and traffic backups. (No Youth Center either). Talent, my friend, is what runs a City. I have 26 years of being a City Clerk and I work with the 14 men who are running your City. They are worth every penny. Yes, they make over $100K indeed! I would hate to find out what the city would be like if we did not hire the best and brightest.

    No one was ever interested in “how much people made” until the economy went south. I was here in 2000 when we could not possibly hire a webmaster. Private sector folks laughed at our “cute” salaries and government pensions because they were selling bandwith and making $250K a year with huge 401K plans. But alas, we were here running your city. And we’re still here. Yes, pension needs a reform perhaps, but we’re not in the position to change the retirement system of the entire State. You see, government workers have contracts and it’s easy to say for everyone to “take a 10% pay cut across the board”, but we’re not Private Sector, we’re Public Sector and all of the contracts won’t be open for a few years, save the Police Officers’ Association.

    I invite you to come on down to City Hall and see our empty Police Dispatch center. We laid them off three years ago to – yes – save money. Our Fire Department is a joint powers authority with the City of Belmont – to save money. We don’t have a separate agency to combine police forces with because we at least have our own department, thank goodness.

    We’ve been cutting for 10 years. We’re not cutting paper clips – we’re down to the bone and we’re about to cut the people that run the services for this great city.

    I hope I can speak for all the talented men and women who are running the City who are proud to work here – and live here, for those that do. We ask for a tiny bit of support from the public at this time. Who likes taxes? No one. But it does take a village. I am happy to give my 50 cents for every $100 I spend in San Carlos. It’s up to U.

  46. Mike in SC on October 21, 2009 at 1:28 am

    CityClerk – If you guys were so eager to provide the salary information I asked for, how come you are only just now providing some of it in your post above? The townhalls were months ago. You still haven’t answered exactly, Are you saying that the city employs 15 people with salaries over $100K – or are there more?

    I feel offended by your cavalier attitude that “it is just 50 cents for every $100”. You appear to have no idea of how much belt tightening the residents of your city have been forced to make this past year or so or how the burden of paying the highest sales tax (or close to it) in the nation will affect residents and businesses here.

    I may have misremembered, but I was sure I was told at the meeting that there were police to cover various shifts as well as dispatcher. Just what is the number of full time positions in the police department? Have you investigated combining police with Belmont or another neighboring city and seeing how much that might save in overhead? If so, what was the outcome? If not, why not?

    As for saving money, I still remember the more than $2 million you guys spent on that free bus program that very few residents used. A little more financial prudence then might have saved us from the current financial pickle we find ourselves in.

    It seems to me that the public sector has been relatively insulated from the rigors of this recession – compared with the private sector. Your post above does little to persuade me I was wrong.

  47. Anonymous on October 21, 2009 at 4:54 am

    “…how the burden of paying the highest sales tax (or close to it) in the nation will affect residents and businesses here.”

    Please explain how paying an additional 50 cents on a $100 bill is going to dramatically impact residents. Likewise if the impact on businesses will be so severe, why is the San Carlos Chamber of Commerce in favor of the measure?

    This is a no-brainer. Cutting services for police or park maintenance or repairs will definitely impact residents and businesses far greater than an additional 50 cent surcharge on $100 spent.

  48. Mike in SC on October 21, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Anonymous, I am truly happy for you that you have so much cash floating around that you can afford to give another half percent to the city and not miss it.

    The truth is, many and perhaps most of the folk here have been facing a severe recession and have been forced to cut back on non-essential expenses, not just newspaper and magazine subscriptions and cancelling unused memberships, but cutting back on or eliminating eating out, vacations, home improvements, and perhaps supporting their kids in college.

    I’m just asking the city to exist in the same world as the residents. Most businesses have cut back employees, had wage freezes, furlough days as well as slashing other business expenses.

    San Carlos has a lot more it could do. It seems the city government is more interested in placating the public workers union (and guaranteeing jobs) than working for the city residents. City employee costs are taking an ever larger share of the budget. It is time to draw a line in the sand and say “No more”.

    So, Mr. Anonymous “It’s just a bit of money”, perhaps you need to keep in mind others less fortunate than yourself. There is nothing to stop anyone from voluntarily donating as much extra money to the city government as they would like. Are you willing to see people move out because they can no longer afford to live here?

    You also seem to have forgotten, we agreed already to pay the state more in sales tax earlier this year – and the state is already back in the red again. Giving more money to government is rarely the answer. Cutting waste and unnecessary programs is.

    For the life of me, I do not understand why the Chamber of Commerce sold out. This will impact businesses. Don’t forget, there are also discussions to start charging sales tax on services, not to mention coming increases in our Federal taxes. There is a tsunami of taxes ahead for us. Perhaps it is time for you to reconsider your own position.

    This is the same city government that squandered $2 million on that fleet of buses a few years back. Don’t tell me that there is no more waste they could trim.

  49. Anonymous on October 21, 2009 at 7:32 pm


    There is a point where reality needs to be separated from dogma.

    Reality #1: Don’t confuse the issue by talking about sales taxes on service and other “tsunami” of taxes ahead. That is hyperbole and not on the ballot. As an earlier poster mentioned, you’re creating a false choice by introducing those into the discussion. Voting for or against Measure U does nothing to address those issues.

    Reality #2: Let’s stop pretending that the city is somehow immune to the cutbacks we’re all making. City Clerk has a long post describing the various cuts that have already been made.

    Reality #3: You state “are you willing to see people move out because they can no longer afford to live here.” What is that based on? Where is the evidence that an additional 50 cent surcharge on $100 purchased is going to force people to leave? I’m sympathetic that times are hard and people have cut back on consumption. But let’s avoid the hyperbole that someone who is willing to spend an additional $5 for every $1,000 purchased has money to burn. The reality is the quality of services in our community will have a far greater impact on who decides to live here, not some minimal surcharge. When people decide to move here, they examine schools, crime, culture, neighborhood infrastructure, and parks/recreation. They don’t do a micro-analysis of what it costs to get a permit or what the fractional differences in sales tax basis points.

  50. Mike in SC on October 21, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Anonymous – the reality is that taxes keep going up as a proportion of our income. The second reality is that, as a result of the severe recession we are in (another reality), most people’s income is going down.

    As other posters have pointed out, this tax creep is a continual assault on our pocketbooks, a little here, a little more there. The reality is that we are being taxed to death, with no end in sight. You’ve heard of the straw that breaks the camel’s back? This latest sales tax increase may well be that straw for many people.

    To look at the bleak future that awaits us regarding forecast public spending and taxation, is not confusing the issue – it is all part and parcel of the same issue. San Carlos is in California. Like it or not, problems at the state level will affect all of us – and we are only just beginning to wake up to how bad the situation is. The same can be said for the Federal deficit spending and new income taxes that are virtually inevitable at this point. We would be foolhardy in the extreme to ignore this

    Sorry. But your arguments don’t hold water.

    The principled thing is to live within our means, all of us, that includes the City of San Carlos.

  51. Pastrami Lover on October 22, 2009 at 12:13 am

    If you walk down Laurel, you wouldn’t know there’s a recession! Every restaurant last week was packed to the gills, and spilling onto the sidewalks, and it was not farmers market. I can’t get a table at Refuge and I can’t get a table at Ozuma….Yes, folks have lost their jobs, which is truly unfortunate. But can somebody tell them they need to start cooking at home? Lotta Beemers around here too.

    I think San Carlos, as a city, has done a good job of keeping it glued together. For God’s sake, there wasn’t enough sewer capacity last week because the plant is 30 years old….Where do you think the stuff went? Mike, did you have sewage outside your White Oaks house?

    Who knows where the hell the State is going. We may have a 15% sales tax. I rather give it to SAN CARLOS, not Arnie. But let’s not confuse folks. I can smell a Liberarian on the blog – and it stinks. I agree with Anonymous. I’m definately voting yes on the measure. Give a little, get a lot.


  52. A concerned citizen of the Brittan Highlands on October 22, 2009 at 12:15 am

    I agree with pastrami lover. Maybe we can meet at Refuge? Go U.

  53. Michael on October 22, 2009 at 1:39 am

    I wonder when we will be discussing the debate how $2 per $10 should not break each other’s wallets…that would be 20% sales tax my Pro-Measure U buddies…when it’s minimalized in these posts, yes, it sounds like so little, but it is significant.

    I remember when 1/4% sales tax hike was a HUGE debate and sometimes it went through, sometimes it didn’t. Have any of the “earthquake” temporary tax hikkes gone away or the bridge toll hikes? No, we are still paying them, just under another name. Politicians will always try to extend taxes ont he ruse that we have become accustomed to paying them, so what’s the big deal? (i.e. the proposed renewal of the 2003 parcel tax for schools)

    But like it or not, the sales tax rate is creeping toward 10% and it wasn’t so very long ago that we were paying 7%. How much money have we all spent over the years with each sales tax hike and where is that money now? What coould each of us done with that money and if the city did without it, would it have shut down?

    The same argument that we can all afford the little extra out of our pockets may be valid when we ask the city if they coudl do with a little less.

    If the City manager was truly doing his $234k per year (I think) job so effectively, he would have figured out a way to budget without panhandling those shopping and living in San Carlos for spare change. Anyone can beg on street corners for money…it take REAL talent to SOLVE the problems.

  54. SC Lover on October 22, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    I don’t like voting yes everytime someone puts a measure on the ballot that helps to fund our schools here in San Carlos but I do. I don’t have children but I vote yes everytime in support of the schools because I know that many people move here because of our schools. Those schools are, in part, what makes the value of my property continue to rise in these sorry economic times. I also understand the need for Measure U. Those schools will not be so desirable if our core services are cut to the bone. If the parks aren’t kept up, if the sewer service maintenance reverts to the homeowners entirely, if emergency services are sourced out because we can’t afford to maintain our own police and fire departments. We might as well live in Redwood City because that is what San Carlos will start to look like. I love it here and my friends who visit from other cities are always in awe of how clean and beautiful our city is but someone needs to pay for those things and it is up to us people! Get a clue, VOTE YES ON MEASURE U.

  55. Michael on October 22, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    So you think that we will continue to have all these nice-to-haves while forcing the residents to maintain the sewers?? I don’t know what is more frightening to me…the constant taxing by our city government or the fact that people like SClover are allowed to vote.

    I too love this city and do not wish it to fall into disrepair. I am also not convinced that there will be any visible changes if the city does not pass this tax increase. I think things will get done because they have to get done. They are trying to scare us into paying to perpetuate their cushy jobs and healthy retirements.

    It’s very clear that at least on this blog, no side will convince the other that they are right.

    I truly hope common sense prevails and that those currently wanting to vote yes on this measure will see the light that we cannot continue to further tax the people that are propping up our government. Force our government to do something else besides resort to pulling more money from our pockets. They need to do what we pay them to do…EFFECTIVELY manage this city instead of always dipping into our bank accounts to pay for their irrespnsible and selfish spending.

  56. Mike in SC on October 22, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Michael, I too, am somewhat astonished by the attitudes of those who say they support Measure U. Many of them don’t sound like real people to me, but more akin to astroturfed comments by city workers pretending to be real people and pushing to get this measure passed.

    How does someone assume that all San Carlos residents are rolling in cash just because the restaurants are full? Count the tables in all the city’s restaurants and then look at San Carlos’s population. Most people eat dinner at home, most nights, I would wager. Almost certainly, more do now because of the recession than did before.

    Don’t the fat cats who don’t mind paying additional taxes worry about the effect of this tax on retired folk living on fixed or declining incomes? Have they no empathy that others may not be as well off as they are? Everyone knows that sales taxes are regressive, and hit the poorest the hardest. Do these tax and spenders really not care about those less fortunate?

    And what is all this nonsense about the sewers? They are hardly going to fall into disrepair if Measure U does not pass. Incidentally, I am paying $525 every year for the San Carlos sewer on my property tax bill, along with another $20 for storm drains and a further $7 for a FedCA&NPDES storm fee. That’s already more than $550 a year for sewers and storm drains. Why make the charge that if Measure U fails, the sewers will fall apart.

    The more I look into this, the angrier I get. Our city government has let us down and is NOT responding to our concerns. Time to make some changes.

  57. William on October 22, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    I am voting No on U. The city should follow what the County is doing. My brother in law works there and all management employees are taking pay cuts in order to deal with the economic challenges. San Carlos should do the same – all management employees should take a pay cut. I have lived here a long time and the city has added some very expensive management positions in the past decade, like the Development Director & Housing Director positions. If you tally up their salary, benefits & retirement, I bet those 2 positions are costing us over 400K per year! How many Directors do we need at city hall?

    Finally, I am so disappointed at the scare tactics used by the city for U. They are threatening to close parks, stop Farmers Market, etc. Why aren’t they looking at pay cuts or reducing retirement costs instead of threatening us? Everyone else around here has made sacrafices during these tough times and I want our city to do the same.

  58. grewupinsc on October 23, 2009 at 12:43 am

    No on U people, do your research. You haven’t. Do you realize how many of our city department’s duties are mandated by the state? All but Park & Rec. So when the cuts come, you can bet your kids and your parks and your property values will suffer. Do you have any idea that San Carlos like every other city has to work within the confines of existing contracts to make personnel/pay/benefit adjustments? San Carlos has been diligent in working within those parameters that are required BY LAW. Hate unions, hate city staff and those who work hard to make this a great place to live all you want. But it’s too bad…you’re really vilifying folks that care a lot about this community and work hard just like we all do at their professions. And you’re not acknowledging that there are intrinsic realties to running a government body that don’t apply to private enterprise or personal finances. Just a fact. So while your analogies are great and your “no new tax” mantra is nice, it does not take into account the reality of the situation. San Carlos city staff (total of 111…again, many doing state mandated jobs), ratio to resident 1:249. I’m a U supporter. I’m a real person, and I’ve done my homework on San Carlos specifically. The information is available to you as well. But crying “no new taxes” is so much easier isnt it?

  59. Michael on October 23, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    grewupinsc, it’s not about “no new taxes” or some mantra. Explain to me how when the money is rolling in, new programs and spending seem to constantly be implemented, yet when the revenues are reduced, no one at city hall wants to cut back. It’s a fact of budgeting that adjustments clearly need to be made.

    I have also done my research and have become involved as a private citizen. When our councilmembers clearly state that they don’t want to make certain changes that could help solve this money crunch, they are NOT doing their jobs. What they care about is their conveniences and their comfort and not solely San Carlos and the people of this town.

    111 city employees could each take an $18K pay reduction and this would all go away, right? But that would also be very unfair to these employees. If this was presented in a way that some pay reductions were occuring and they wanted a 1/4% tax increase to make up the difference, it would be more attractive to us and would CLEARLY show that our city leaders care and are making sacrifices as we all have.

    I have not had a raise in 6 years, but am glad to have a job. My income has also gone down due to increased sales tax (have we forgotten that the sales tax just went up 1%) as well as the parcel taxes, property taxes, bridge tolls, gas prices, etc.

    Our city government appears to have a sense of entitlement and it is not an attractive quality to the voters.

  60. William on October 24, 2009 at 2:15 am

    Michael, I completely agree with you. If all city workers were taking a pay cut (even a small one) I would be more likely to consider U. I have taken a pay cut and I would like the city to do same. Everyone needs to tighten their belt now.

    GrewupinSC, I don’t think anyone on this blog “hates” city workers. We just want our city to live within their means and that means reducing personnel costs.

    No nU taxes!

  61. grewupinsc on October 26, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Michael, you seem to have all the answers AND have the ability to know what the people who work for San Carlos think and feel. Amazing! I’m not a city staffer but I know many of them because I volunteer in this community and they work hard. So do you, so do I. Again, I hope you’re ready to volunteer when critical services get cut. It was your idea! Maybe you should run for office. Come on…participate! And that means more than just complaining on the blogs during a revenue measure campaign. Get to know these nameless, faceless “greedy” “entitled” city staffers. Or do you just want to sit back and criticize?

  62. Michael on October 27, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Well. please don’t single me out; I have a lot of company that appear to share my view on this topic (at least on this blog).

    And you are not the first to suggest I run for local office; I am considering it.

  63. Mike in SC on October 27, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Glad to see the two flyers come in the mail yesterday, one against Measure U and one for it. I thought the Against flyer was well done – factual and informative, while the For flyer employed nothing but scare tactics and misleading information.
    I also read a few days ago in the local Palo Alto paper that the funding to promote both sides arguments on Measure U was very lop-sided. Apparently, the major and another city council member, came up with about $6000 to promote the measure and one very rich citizen also threw in $5000. On the against side, we have Matt Grocott and and about $700. That the measure remains so close is a testament to resident’s will to defeat this tax and spend attempt. I am still incensed that 3 people would spend more than $10,000 to convince everyone else to pay even more in taxes so that the city can give raises and avoid laying off city workers. I guess it’s clear the major doesn’t work for me. I will be remembering these names when the next elections come up for the city council. I’ve also been taking tallies of the curbside signs for and against – it is very even, it seems to me, (with perhaps a slight edge on no signs. I suspect the yes signs belong to city workers or at least public worker union families – they are the only ones who will really benefit from this passing. If it does pass, things will perhaps remain as they are – only we will all be paying the highest sales tax in the state, and perhaps the country.

  64. grewupinsc on October 27, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Cool Michael! I hope you do run. I respect that very much. And I mean than. Apathy is the worst enemy in the political process.

  65. Heathermom on October 27, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    The against flyer is factual and informative if you do your own math on the example of the car purchase…with that disingenuous presentation of the “facts” I suspect the $700 underdog gets a lot of bang for his buck.

  66. 14_yr_SC_resident on October 27, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Ms. Boland,

    With all due respect, San Carlos has NOT done all it can do to reduce expenses. Just off the top of my head:

    – implement an appeals process for the planning and building department and STOP SUING YOUR CITIZENS at the drop of a hat. Let’s say you can cut $150K of the nearly $400,000 the city spends to sue it’s residents (not even 50%), and over the course of 6 years, yield $900K in savings.
    – I see on the City org chart that there are SEVERAL senior managers who have only 3-4 direct reports. Where I work, you are not a manager unless you have 10 direct reports. Eliminate JUST one or two of those senior manager positions, at over $150K per year, and there’s another $1.8M in savings.

    Poof, with just two SIMPLE acts, I’ve saved the city over $2.4M in costs over six years, more than making up the expected revenue of Measure U.

    Now, that wasn’t rocket science, was it???

  67. WECSG on October 28, 2009 at 3:12 am

    Well perhaps some facts will help everyone appreciate the magnitude of the decision that is about to be made. I recently submitted a data request from the city and below is their response. Under the California Public Records Act, they were obligated to privde this data. Below are the salaries for 5 of the top paid employees in the City. The first number was their salary (less bonuses and other comp) in 2007, the second number is 2008 comp.

    Mark Weiss, City Mgr – $193K / $207K
    Brian Moura, Asst Mgr -$162K / $165K
    Mendenhall, Finance – $122K / $125K
    Al Savay, Cmty Dev – $133k / $155K
    Deb Nelson, Plng Mgr – $119K / $123K
    J. Matlbie, Admin Svc- $143K / $156K

    These 5 people have a combined base salary of almost $1,000,000 per year + another $75K in bonuses and other comp. The city is crying poor mouth and when push comes to shove, they contemplate creative schemes to gouge the citizens instead of making the tough decisions internally. Several questions should come to mind:

    1) why do we need an Administrative Services Dir ($178K/yr base + other comp)?

    2) Why do we need an Asst City Manager ($186K/yr base + other)?

    3) Why were $60,000 paid in raises + $78,000 in bonuses and other comp for a total of $138,000 for these 5 people when most of us in the private sector experienced pay cuts and/or lay-offs?

    Raises and bonsues are given for performance, they are not automatic, nor should they be. These 5 people are getting pay increases and bonuses as an expectation and not delivering a balanced budget. There should be no raises and bonsues given for this level of performance. Mark Weiss has been at the helpm for 4 years and he’s operated the city in the red during his entire tenure. Force the City to make the tough decisions by eliminating administrative waste by voting “NO” on U.

  68. Kathy on October 28, 2009 at 3:45 am

    I am voting No on U after much consideration for both sides of this issue. What it comes down to for me is the city needs a balanced budget and the city manager has failed to do so. I am not willing to pay more in taxes because our city management has spent more money than we have in revenues year after year.

    I do appreciate all the city staff – especially the firefighters and police officers, but city management has failed them in this process too. I did support the Firefighter measure that failed a few years back, but if that failed I am going to assume U will fail too.

    I would like to see the Council mandate that the city set aside substantial funds every year to prepare for years when we are in a recession. This clearly has not been done up this point, or not up to the level we need, and that would help a great deal. Recessions will happen again and again as anyone who has taken a basic economics class understands. I know the city has made cuts over the years, but clearly the cuts have not been enough. I would like to see our city learn from this financial mistake and correct it in the future by proper financial planning instead of penalizing San Carlos citizens with tax increases.

    I really feel bad for the city staff who are counting on this measure to pass to save their jobs. It is not fair to them either that the city has been poorly managed and is counting on Measure U to protect jobs. Again, if the city budget had been properly managed we would not be in this position. Let’s think of the future and work together to have a balanced budget every year.

  69. 14_yr_SC_resident on October 28, 2009 at 7:14 am

    Thanks, WECSG, for the interesting info. I can only imagine how much the combined bonuses and ‘other comp’ is for the top 10-15 city administrative positions. Just eliminating one or two of those upper management jobs, and cutting back on bonuses and raises due to economic realities could save the city MILLIONS over the course of the next 6 years. Without cutting vital services like police and fire.

    Clearly our city management hasn’t done their job. They should not be rewarded by passing this measure.

    NO on U.

  70. WECSG on October 28, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Thanks “14_yr_SC_resident”. I’ve only lived here for 4 years and can only imagine how disturbing this is for you and others that have lived here for so long. Seems like the City of Good Living has a special meaning for the top 5 paid individuals in the city.

    Just a note of correction in my previous BLOG, I mentioned the Asst City Mgr (Moura) and the Admin Svcs Dir (Maltbie) earned $186K + Other Comp and $176K + Other comp respectively. This was their total comp in 2008 including bonuses. Not only did each pick up nice raises from 2007 to 2008, they each picked up close to $30K on top of their base salaries in 2008.

    I can say from experience that most executives who operate their companies in the red for even a few quarters, are usually looking for new jobs. Mark Weiss is the “CEO of the City”. I have deposition testimony in a recent legal matter where he agreed with this moniker. he has had 4 years to figure the budget out and hasn’t. I don’t know how he is formerly measured in his position, but it’s hard to imagine a situation where the budget crises wouldn’t be a factor in his performance reviews. He picked up a 7.7% raise in 2008 from his 2007 base salary which cost the city $15k. either the city council hasn’t been watching the store or they are ambivalent about the state of the city and for them raising taxes is the most prudent path.

    By supporting Prop U, it makes it easy for the city to reward the wrong behavior. Let’s all work together to fix the root of the problem. force the City to make the hard decisions and vote “NO ON U”.

  71. posterboy on October 28, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Being the “poster boy” on the council that “grewupinsc#” says is in support of a utility tax, I can tell you he misrepresents my position. My position is that given the choice between the two taxes, I would favor the utility tax to put in front of the voters to choose. I did not say I favored a tax in general; I do not.

  72. Michael on October 28, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    I think it is so important for the city employees to answer as to why they received (let alone deserve) raises over the past couple of years. It is even more important to ask if similar raises are in the budget that they are asking us to further supplement with this tax proposal.

    Those who support measure U should realize that if they allow this hike to go through, you are also part of the problem.

    Our city government needs to take a global view of the budget and realize that nothing is sacred, including their compensation, from cuts.

  73. SC Mom on October 28, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Mark Weiss needs to be completely accountable for the budget failures for the city. I am appalled at the raises listed above by the top 5 managers at the city. All city management need to take pay decrease whether or not U passes. Mark Weiss needs to balance the budget or find a new job.

    I am voting No on U too.

  74. Mike in SC on October 28, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    Wow WECSG. Those salary figures really tell the story, don’t they. No wonder the city tried so diligently to keep them from us. The No on U flyer that hit the mail the other day said that the total cost for salaries and benefits for the City of San Carlos was now at 60%. It seems to me that we are in danger, if nothing changes regarding these costs, of becoming the next Vallejo – bankrupt due to bloated salaries and too much staff. Couple this with all the wasted work these guys do handling inane demands for studies for the state – probably just filed by other bureauocrats, and you can see how we have become undone.

    I’m definitely voting NO on Measure U – and making sure we have new blood in the city management. Shame on them for trying to disguise this and for scaring residents into voting them a tax increase so they can continue in their unaccountable ways.

  75. No U on October 28, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    You do not think that contractors that spend hundreds of dollars at Home Depot will look somewhere else with less tax? Or penny pintching students looking for computers or others consumers making a big purchase to look elsewhere or even online? I know I would. Same goes for Office Depot.

  76. nonewtaxes on October 29, 2009 at 6:16 am

    Tiering retirement plans? Need to educate myself on the city benefits but I am assuming that means city employees are getting pensions…
    Anyone notice the corporate world has long ago moved away from the defined benfit concept (pensions) to defined contribution plans (401k). Time for govt employees to start saving in the 457 plans (401k plans) and perhaps the city can have a match program just like most corporations. (Many of which are currently suspended due to economy and will reinstate again when economy turns.)
    Simple fact is the vast majority of folks reading this are very likly not getting a pension when they retire…yet you are paying for one for city employees. Time to bring govt benefits in line with corporate benefits.

  77. Michael on October 29, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    It’s still not too late to put a “No” sign in your yard, available at Birder’s Garden on El Camino Real.

  78. Ken on October 29, 2009 at 4:41 pm


    For those who believe that nothing much happens in San Carlos, or that we could easily cut public safety budgets further, consider the string of events last weekend that compelled our understaffed police department to call for outside help, not once but twice.

    On Friday night, a fight broke out at one of the bars – in what has become a regular weekend situation – and the first two officers who responded found themselves threatened and outnumbered by a surly, alcohol-induced mob. Our police had to call for backup from Belmont police, who are themselves thinly deployed in their city.

    Then on Saturday night, police were hunting for a suspect in a sexual assault case when they got the call that a man with a gun fired a shot at another man near Laurel and White Oak Way. Concerned that the suspect might flee – perhaps into the White Oaks neighborhood – the police department rolled every unit on the shift, including the officers who were busy hunting for the sexual assault suspect. At the same time, they called on Belmont once again for help, and that city responded immediately. Police quickly caught the shooting suspect, but the sexual assault suspect got away.

    The shooting incident created a huge ruckus on Laurel Avenue just as many people were out shopping at Trader Joe’s and Walgreen’s, or going to dinner, and it is a miracle that no one was killed or injured. I personally came out of Trader Joe’s just 10 minutes before the shooting, and now I think about how close I might have been to a flying bullet. But if you believe this was a fluke, a one-off incident, think again. In the last three weeks there have been arrests here for three weapons violations.

    We should be grateful that Belmont, our neighbor to the north, is so responsive to our calls for backup. We should also be grateful to the men and women of the San Carlos Police Department who continue to perform admirably in a city that largely seems unaware of how much they stretch themselves each week to protect our community.

    I would like the opponents of Measure U to consider that city government has reduced staffing in our police department by nearly one-fourth over the last eight years, that our officers are working hellish 12-hour shifts (from 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.), that they put in many overtime hours routinely – hours they could be spending with their families – and that we have been very, very lucky so far in dealing with crime and bar fights in our city.

    The officers don’t complain publicly, or brag about their great police work. They just do their jobs like professionals.

    Now it’s time to do our jobs as responsible voters, and vote Yes on Measure U. We can’t afford to put our public safety programs – and the lives of our residents – at risk.


  79. WECSG on October 29, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Here’s some additional data that I analyzed and thought I would share with folks on the Blog. I’m in the middle of building some analysis to show how San Carlos stacks up against a peer group of other cities within San Mateo County along a number of metrics. In this peer group I included RwC, Blmt, SM, MP, HMB & FC. In this sample analysis I looked at Legal expenses as a % of the budget. I picked legal expenses to see if it’s not just the City employees that are driving excessive costs but also the contractors. SC does not have an on-staff city attorney, this is a contracted position with a local law firm. note, this data is unaudited.

    In the 2009/2010 budget published in Jul/Aug of this year, SC is budgeting $340,000 for legal expenses which equates to roughly 1.42% of the overall published budget. our legal expenses as a % of budget are only 2nd to HMB. Incidently HMB just suffered one of the largest judgements against a city in the history of Californa. they’re currently running 1.71% of budget (peer worst). the peer average is a little over 1%. if you’re curious, Belmont is peer best at .59% of budget.

    What does this mean? you can draw your own conclusion, but it appears the City’s finances are not being managed appropriately at any level. As a result, the city is asking for relief from the tax-payers. One consideration might be to put a hold on Prop U and give the Ctiy some time to regroup and make some tough decisions around the management of the city.

  80. Michael on October 29, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    More excellent information that supports those of us wanting to vote No on this measure that there are other cuts to be made and NOT to Police and fire protection.

    Ken, I don’t think any San Carlos resident supports unneccessary cuts to police and fire, but the scrutiny to discover waste within those agencies as well as the entire city government has not convincingly been done.

    Based on some of the numbers that have been shared on this blog, there are clearly thousands of dollars that are not vital in our budget and can be eliminated or at least reduced. That is all we are asking for.

    When I asked my parents for a short term loan to buy my first house, I had to submit a detailed accounting of my finances to them and sign a promissory note (which I repaid within 5 weeks). But these were my own parents, yet they held me accountable for the money.

    Perhaps the city should look at the residents as family and supply the substantive proof that they need this money from us, not the manipulative gloom and doom rhetoric that we have seen thus far.

  81. Chuck on October 29, 2009 at 7:40 pm


    This is really interesting. If these drunken bar fights are becoming a weekly occurrence, the Police Department should be sending a bill to the bar owners. That’s one way to recoup some costs… With all of these storefronts becoming available I hope there won’t be more bars opening up. I think we have enough already.

  82. Mike in SC on October 29, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    I question the timing of this scare story of the police actually having to respond to a bar fight – on the same day that another scary “Vote Yes on Measure U” flyer landed in my mailbox. This one, screaming “When you call 911 … Who will answer?”

    Whoever is responsible for this ought to be ashamed on themselves.

    So, we vote for the tax increase, and end up with more bloated adminstrators giving fat raises and benefits to each other – there is no guarantee that any of this will go to firefighters or police, nor that any would be cut if we vote the measure down.

    As others have said, the city is being grossly mismanaged. Time to replace the management and get some people who will really put the city first and not their own pay. Vote NO on Measure U.

  83. 14_yr_SC_resident on October 30, 2009 at 3:25 am

    I am opposed to Measure U, and I am COMPLETELY in favor of keeping police and fire coverage at current levels. San Carlos PD and FD are great, and I support their efforts.

    Where the City needs to make cuts is in three main areas, AT A MINIMUM:

    – HUGE RAISES to senior management: Why do they get raises, bonuses, and ‘other compensation’ when they haven’t done their job of managing within the City’s budget and the economy has gone south?
    – legal fees to SUE SAN CARLOS RESIDENTS for bogus building code ‘violations.’ There is no appeals process, so Bob Lanzone’s law firm rakes in the dough (at the City’s expense) to sue YOUR NEIGHBORS for trumped up ‘code violations.’
    – TOO MANY MANAGERS, NOT ENOUGH WORKERS. Why are there senior staff with only 3-4 direct reports? Why was there a new Community Development Director position created just two or three years ago? Why do we have an Assistant City Manager job for a city the size of San Carlos? This is waste, pure and simple.

    i work for a Fortune 500 company, and manage a P&L in excess of $4 million. If I had managed my budget the way Mark Weiss does, I’d have been fired long ago. And yet he and his staff get bonuses and raises. It’s outrageous that their performance is rewarded, and now they are asking San Carlos citizens to give them MORE money to mismanage. SHAME ON THEM.

    No on U.

  84. 14_yr_SC_resident on October 30, 2009 at 3:34 am

    What should be cut? Have you looked at senior management salary, raises, bonuses and ‘other compensation’ numbers from the city budget? Have you looked at the legal fees San Carlos pays out compared to other cities in the area (see WECSG post on this blog)? Have you looked at the ratio of employees earning over $100K to under $100K on the City’s roster?

    I suggest you look in to JUST those three areas, and then reconsider your position.

    NO ON U

  85. Respect Our Money! on October 30, 2009 at 7:59 am

    Sorry Christine, Arnie is not the one taking our money! The CA government is run by the longstanding DEMOCRAT legislature majority. They have been in power for a very long time and that is a fact. The Governor in this state is always very weak unless they are fully supported by the radical leadership of the state legislature. Why do you think we end up with so many silly propositions? That is the result of their ineffectiveness to accomplish much of anything!

    What would be really nice is if we the taxpayers of this failing state would use the ballot initiative against the elected elite and get a proposition on the ballot to vote them all out effective immediately and institute strict term limits. I am tired of seeing the same old people “leading” this state and they clearly do not have the people’s best interest in mind. This move would be legal but would be fiercely protested! I would also move for a part-time legislature as they do not need to be full-time.

    I am no fan of the Governator but he is as weak as Grey Davis before him and Pete Wilson way back when…

  86. Respect Our Money! on October 30, 2009 at 8:48 am

    First I need to let Ken know that the incident on south Laurel St was way overblown by the police. Their response was way overboard. I was there as units were initially responding and as each police car showed up with officers carrying their assault weapons. These guys were jacked up for some action and the supposed victim was outside and appeared fine while the suspect description was given and was ultimately found nearby not long after. Half of the units that showed up would have been plenty… To use this as an additional “scare” is just ridiculous! Bar fights outside of Clooney’s are becoming more regular. Bill the owner for any police calls and that will change. Better yet, park a unit outside and you will see most people leave early. I don’t mind, it is mostly non-San Carlos people that are frequenting that establishment these days.

  87. Respect Our Money! on October 30, 2009 at 9:05 am

    City employees salaries need to be cut, period! Welcome to the real world people! Also, the contacts in place for bloated pensions and other benefits need to be busted up. Sorry, but obama has opened the door for busting contracts and this is a great opportunity to do it here. It is right time to have government accountable for its actions and we should have tight control over our local government. Yes we can!

    The city clerk’s assertion that we need to pay in excess of $100,000 to get good people is absurd. The city manager is making well above that mark and he is clearly not doing a good job. Factor in the cush pension that he will suck out after he is gone and that salary is much bigger than stated. Those spots would be filled instantly for half the current salary and a big slash to the pension. This needs to be done. I know the state has taken some money from cities but I am also tired of hearing that blame game. Figure it out and quit bringing in the straw man!! If you don’t want the state to take your money, than quit reelecting the same democrats that have a stronghold on the purse strings at the state level.

    I am sop sick of the scare tactics used by the Yes on U folks. Police and Fire are needed and will always be there as voters will cut just about everything else first. We do also need to figure out ways to run those services more efficiently going forward. I am still waiting for another underhanded way to get us to pay more for Fire services and to further subsidize Belmont. They lost that tricky mail-only ballot measure a while back but don’t be fooled, it will come back around soon…

    Hey, thinking of that, where is my next installment of the “community update” propaganda that the city sent around trying to push the parcel tax? That was a regular mailing by the city just to keep us all informed right? Otherwise it was an illegal action and a waste of taxpayer money to push an issue that lost and only benefitted the Firemen, their union and Belmont.

    No new taxes!!! Give an inch, give a mile…

  88. WECSG on October 30, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    WECSG Back with more data. I see there’s a lot of discussion about the impact to public safety if Prop U doesn’t pass. Perhaps we can look at the data before we jump to any conclusions. I did a little digging on crime rate in SC along with all other cities within San Mateo County. As of August 6th 2009, SC had the 2nd lowest crime rate per thousand residents in San Mateo county. (1.2 per 1000), Hillsborough was the lowest at .6 per 1000, and you guessed it, East palo Alto was the highest at 9.7 per 1000.

    What does this tell us? You can draw your own conclusion, but the data suggests that we may not need more police officers. Moreover, I really hope the City is not suggesting they will be eliminating police and fire services before cutting the Asst City Mgr or the Admin Svs Dir position. those are overhead positions that are both expensive and quite possibly irrelevant to a city the size of San Carlos.

  89. WECSG on October 30, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    I think our 14 yr resident is on to something. Interesting perspective that this person has a similar role in the private sector to our City Manager yet the performance standards are much higher. I would feel pretty embarrassed and ashamed if I were mark weiss right now. He’s pressing for more money from the already pinched citizens and jeopardizing the fragile business environment given his own performance and the frivolous use of public funds for his own personal benefit.

    I think the term “green city” has a very special and unique meaning for Mark Weiss and his top managers.

  90. San Carlos First on October 30, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    See why the San Jose Mercury News is urging citizens to VOTE NO on Measure U. $212,000 for the City Manager? $191,000 for the Assistant City Manager? Wow. Wish I made that kind of money.

    The City of San Carlos does not have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem. $212

  91. Linda Teutschel on October 30, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Dear Friends and Neighbors — Some of you may have already cast your ballot in the upcoming election. For those who have not, I hope you will vote approval for Measure U.

    In addition to possible cuts in city services, including police, fire and parks and recreation, the future of San Carlos Hometown Days is in doubt. Since its inception, the City of San Carlos has provided generous in-kind services to our committee in the form of help from staff in the Parks & Recreation Department, the Police Department and the Public Works Department. Without this help, Hometown Days would not be possible.

    Hometown Days is part of what makes San Carlos “The City of Good Living”, providing a safe, family-oriented event, organized and staffed entirely by volunteers…an event which celebrates the best of our community. In 2010, Hometown Days will celebrate its 30th Anniversary. It is my hope this wonderful tradition will continue for many more years to come. Supporting Measure U will help ensure the future of this event. Please join me in voting YES on November 3rd.

  92. Andy Klein on October 30, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    I have yet to chime in on this blog, but the post quoting the SJ mercury news is ridiculous. It is from the Redwood City Daily News and the SJ Mercury picked it up. The San Mateo Daily Journal endorses Measure U. But neither of those endorsements actually matter. Are you going to listen to an editorial staff who is not from our city and choose to vote their way, or are you going to listen to the actual citizens. Here is the list of endorsers for Measure U:
    San Carlos Chamber of Commerce
    Bob Grassilli – Mayor of San Carlos
    Omar Ahmad – City Councilmember
    Brad Lewis – City Councilmember
    Randy Royce – City Councilmember
    Tom Davids – Past Mayor and City Councilmember
    Sally Mitchell – Past Mayor and City Councilmember
    Eric Sevim – Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
    Martin Miller – Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
    Chris Wuthmann – Resident and Past Chamber of Commerce Board Member
    Seth Rosenblatt – Member, San Carlos School Board
    Beth Hunkapiller – Member, San Carlos School Board
    Bernie Mellott – San Carlos Citizen of the Year, 2008
    Scot Marsters – Past President, GESC (Greater East San Carlos)
    Barbara Billings – San Carlos Community Volunteer
    Thomas Davids – Past Mayor and City Councilmember, City of San Carlos
    Linda Teutschel – Chairperson, San Carlos Hometown Days, and Community Volunteer
    Mary Jo Hoffman – Vice Chair, General Plan Advisory Committee
    Ronald Collins – Board Member, San Carlos Chamber of Commerce
    Mike Aydelott – Past Chair, San Carlos Arts and Culture Commission
    Pat Bell – Eastside Resident and Community Volunteer
    Vera Lindeburg – Community Volunteer
    Cameron & Bonnie Miller – Community Activists
    Howard Girdlestone – Community volunteer, businessman, Member, Park and Rec Foundation and Youth Center Foundation
    Bob Bredel – Community volunteer and author of “The San Carlos Blog”
    Connie Barton Barba – Community volunteer and former President of the San Carlos Lions
    Steve Aguirre – Chair, San Carlos Arts and Culture Commission
    Pat Leeper – Past Chair, San Carlos Fine Arts Association
    Ken Castle – White Oaks Neighborhood Watch
    Brian Perkins – Resident
    Cathrin Callas – Resident
    Cecily Harris – Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District Director, Ward 7
    Gary Wiessinger – Member, Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC)
    Joyce Strauss – Past Chair, San Carlos Arts and Culture Commission
    Megan Mahar – Commissioner, Arts and Culture Commission
    Lisa Hane – Commissioner, Arts and Culture Commission
    Melanie Yunk – President, Melanie’s Fine Foods
    Laura Teutschel – Community Volunteer

    Show me the list of No on U people. Is it full of community volunteers and leaders who give up countless hours to make sure our city stays the “City of Good Living”? If you can show me a list that rivals this, then you will have my attention. The newspapers don’t matter, San Carlans matter. Unlike many people on this blog I sign my name when I write things. I am Andy Klein your future councilman, I both support and will vote for Measure U.

  93. WECSG on October 30, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    Hello Linda,

    I can sure appreciate your point of view on this. Hometown Days is certainly something we always look forward to in the city. I’m just not convinced giving the city more money solves their blatant irresponsible behavior. the SJ Mercury News talks about a SC patrol officer who made $66,000 last year in just overtime. I don’t know exactly how much Hometown Days costs, but I think $66,000 would go a long way. The city of Vallejo filed for bankruptcy. After a deeper look into the problem, they discovered fishing trips, cocktail parties, Lobster dinners that were all charged to the public.

    Please consider the facts. Mark Weiss has operated the city in the red and has been rewarded with bonuses and 7-9% raises every year since he started. If history is any indicator of the future, he will squander every nickel we give him and continue to line his pockets with public funds in the form of bonuses and raises. This is irresponsible conduct of our City Council for allowing this level of incompetence to continue for as long as it has.

    If we all vote NO on U, it will send a message to the City Council that they need to start making some tough decisions internally before looking to the already strapped public for more money. I am convinced there are a number of very creative solutions to this problem that can be implemented without Prop U, and without compromising events like Hometown Days or public safety.

  94. Andy C on October 30, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    Linda – Please stop using fear for loss of Police and Fire protection if we don’t pass Measure U. That will not happen and it is a ridiculous argument. I like Hometown Days but if there is no money to pay for it, then it needs to raise funds privately or ultimately be scaled back. Keeping a program going that can’t be paid for is the root of our problem here and we need not go down that path any longer. Furthermore, Measure U alone, if passed, will not solve much of anything and you can count on seeing a number of additional proposals to extract more money from the San Carlos tax payer!

  95. Andy C on October 30, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    Andy – It is a shame that there was no opposition for the council this election. It sure would have been nice to see your true colors before you get to “run” our city.

    You are young and naive. I guess that is to be expected.

    Showing us a bunch of names, including two Tom Davids, really means nothing to me and to other voters. Most of the people you list fully supported SCOOT – A huge waste of taxpayer money to the tune of $2M+.

    I guess the papers should stop covering San Carlos matters? i’ll call and tell them that council member Klein said so.

    After being attacked personally by the union thugs for opposing the past Fire Dept retirement bonanza (Parcel Tax), I have decided not to display my full name on sites like this. You people do so well with opposition…

  96. Antonia Binetti on October 30, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    Well, Mr. Future City Councilman, there are some of us who find it ridiculous that we pay city administrators more than $200,000 a year while claiming police might be cut if we don’t support a tax increase. Many of us have lost jobs or seen our salaries cut, and are going to have to tighten our belts even further if this tax increase passes. I’m basing my decision on these facts and what I believe, not what others believe — no matter how impressive the list.

    You would serve yourself well to be less dismissive of those who disagree, particularly if you mean to serve all of San Carlos and not just those on your list.

  97. Mike in SC on October 31, 2009 at 1:43 am

    It seems all the pro tax increase crowd can do is use the tactics of fear to make their point. Shame on them. The more I hear from (and about) these city leaders, the angrier I find myself becoming. I’m voting NO on U. I encourage my fellow San Carlans to think twice about voting for more taxes for these irresponsible ‘leaders’.

  98. grewupinsc on October 31, 2009 at 2:01 am

    Personal attacks by negative people who do nothing in this community but whine. With no facts about the specifics and reality of the sitution. Only what Matt Grocott skews and spits out. He has a history of this you know. Did he tell you he voted for a raise for the Fire Chief? Didn’t think so. The uninvolved are easy to misinform.

    The city MUST by law negotiate with the unions on contracts. they will continue to do that. If you want to union bust take it on, but the city still has to work within those paramters.. this isnt private industry. Deal with it. And Measure U is not all about staff salaries. But you don’t care to hear it. Again, I will look forward to seeing all of you out volunteering if critical city services get cut. But you won’t show. You’ll criticize the way that gets done, too.

    I’d insult you all like you insulted Andy Klein but none of you are worth it. Go sulk and frown together at the Plantation. Some of us have morre constructive things to do.

  99. Antonia Binetti on October 31, 2009 at 4:34 am

    grewupinsc, you should not complain about “personal attacks” in the same paragraph in which you level one at someone else. It undercuts your credibility, to say the least.

    If you have grown up in San Carlos, then you’ve watched the sales tax go from 5%, to 6%, to 6.25%, to 7.25%, to 8.25%, to 9.25%, and now proposed at 9.75%. I simply believe that continuing this trend is not the answer, because the evidence clearly shows that none of these increases have been the answer in the past. Something else has to change.

  100. Andy Klein on October 31, 2009 at 5:20 am

    Thank you grewupinsc for coming to my defense, but it is not needed. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. That is why Revenue Measures are put on the ballot. Come Tuesday night we will know one way or the other what this community wants. This is the beauty of this country that we live in, we have the freedom to choose. The only thing in the posts about me I take exception to is the reference to my “true colors”. In a May 27th Redwood City Daily News article announcing my candidacy it was noted that “Klein said he also supports a revenue gener­ating measure, preferably a sales tax increase, to save city programs.” I don’t think I did a really good job of hiding my “true colors”. I have been in favor of this Measure from the beginning. But I agree that it is a shame that this election is unopposed. Our community is better served by a discussion about the issues that comes along with an election. I think we would all find that the things that separate us are far fewer than those that bring us together.

  101. Ken on October 31, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    It’s worth emphasizing that those who are working on behalf of Measure U are people who are engaged in this community, who give back to San Carlos time and again with no hidden agenda. We are out volunteering for city events, working with service clubs, supporting the schools when they need revenue measures passed, backing a clean environment, and helping to make our neighborhoods safer. We believe in this city and its people. We’ve spent the time to get to know our city employees, who are dedicated to the well-being of San Carlos. Many cities are not nearly as well-managed as this one. It’s easy to throw brickbats at tax measures (who loves taxes?) and city government. But if you want to contribute to a better San Carlos, don’t just criticize. Pick something constructive to support and volunteer your time.


  102. J on October 31, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    I can appreciate both sides of this measure, although I am choosing to vote yes on Measure U…

    Are there any other suggestions on ways that the City can reduce costs? I am all for them, but as was already brought up, the salary issue is not a possibility right now. Maybe in a few years when contracts are up, but for the present we should either be voting yes on this tax, or brainstorming TOGETHER (both sides) on ways to increase revenue and lower costs.

    We all seem like intelligent, passionate people. Anyone on this blog must truly care about San Carlos no matter which side you’re taking, so why don’t we put our heads together and stop the personal attacks long enough to come up with some actual ways to do this!

  103. Mike in SC on October 31, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    Times are hard, which the pro Measure U people seem to have trouble acknowledging. Perhaps they haven’t felt the impact of the economy in their own lives – but plenty of other citizens have. Too many of our city workers seem to think our city’s slogan, The City of Good Living, pertains to them alone, we get tax increases, surly comments and no sympathy from them, they get raises, generous overtime, and bonuses.

    How much of Measure U funds, if it passes, will find its way into the pockets of city workers? What percentage of our budget will they be costing us next year – or in six years when the Measure U funds expire (a highly unlikely fate)? We need to work within our budget – these spendthrifts clearly haven’t been – and they dishonestly use fear to sell their dishonest position. Shame on them all. I am voting NO on Measure U.

  104. Michael on November 1, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    Andy, I also noticed a vast majority of the parade of names you list are/have all benefited from the past spending practices and retirement benefits. Why would they vote no and betray the system if there is a possibility their pensions might be reduced due to lack of funds. I believe this hike (which will go directly into the general fund (translate “no accountability”) is going to end up chipped away to the point when the city manager wonders, “Gee, that money all went fast…”.

    And to address those who accuse the “no’s” of not volunteering and getting involved, that is also unfair. Speaking for myself, I try to do as much as I can, but I have to work and support my way of life in San Carlos. I have to think of that first before I spend time schmoozing with the folks downtown. I wish I had the time to fully understand their plights and how rough it is to spend my money. Perhaps many of the people who currently volunteer and are in favor of this measure have the time and financial wearwithal to do so, so maybe they can afford to be incessantly taxed…who knows? Many of us cannot donate our time or as much as we would like to because it is so pricey to live here and financially support our town.

    But the truth is that this problem needs to be tackled in pieces and putting a “fix-all” on the ballot and hoping it can scare the majority into voting for it is wrong. And we all know it will not fix the problem when the problem is “not enough money”, it’s “not enough discretion when spending the money”.

    Would putting parking meters on Larurel and making residents downtown pay for an annual parking permit generate some needed income? Sure it would, but Randy Royce and his cronies don’t like the way meters look…so we don’t get parking meters and that revenue.

    And Linda…no Hometown days…boo hoo. You would rather cut fire and police and save this event? A plea to us to financially support a single event is a poor rationale, but expected from the side who seems to always want more than they can afford.

    But expect when this measure does not pass, another revenue generator will appear before us and we will again waste time debating that increase and put off finding a solution to the spending.

    I will say it again, implementing a tax increase is not managing the city…scrutinizing spending and cutting where it needs to be cut is managing the city Mr Weiss. Perhaps a financial incentive to do so will entice you…

  105. Jan on November 1, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    Unfortunate as it is the problem with the City’s finances Started way back before the present
    City Manager started. As a mater of fact you can trace a lot of the problems back to the Previous City Manager and his Finance Manger at the time. For some reason everybody thought he was some kind of hero. Matt Grocott spent so much time going after Parvis he did not see the real problem with the others. Most of the people voicing there opinion on here are completely unaware how city government works. All they know is that it has its hand out again. I hate the idea of a tax rate too.Maybe they should take a cut too.
    So how much should that be?
    Has anyone done that research.

  106. Andy Klein on November 1, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    I don’t know why you think that the list of endorsers benefit from city spending and retirement benefits. The vast majority of them are all volunteers. They give their time because they take pride in their city and want to see San Carlos remain a great place to live. None of them are city employees, so your statement is completely false. When it comes to hometown days, to a lot of us it is incredibly important. Tha is why we volunteer at the event. It is part of our community character and has been for 34 years. Finally, the parking meters in Redwood City ended up costing them more money than they provide. That is why some of us don’t support that idea. It is an additional expense.

  107. Michael on November 2, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Andy, they are not all volunteers, since you lead off with almost the entire city council, retired mayors, school board members, etc. In addition, I and many others are not lemmings who vote a certain way beacuse of endorsements, no matter who they are from. We vote based on what we believe is best…a refreshing change from the unfair party politics we have all become victims of. Why is it wrong to decide based on merits of a proposition, measure or candidate for that matter??

    To your credit, you are the first person to have a response to the parking meter suggestion beside, “we just don’t want parking meters downtown”.

    However Redwood City is a very different situation and I am not sure if the “new” downtown area is what you are refering to. I know that whenever I have to go to any county office, I and everyone else that cannot park in the parking garage because it is always full pays to meter park down there and it is usually tough to find a space. The new downtown area is still a work in progress trying to lure customers in. San Carlos on the other hand is almost always busy.

    Based on some of the comments on this subject, there are quite a few people that refuse to walk a block or two whether they pay to park or not. I don’t see it as an idea to shoot down because it allegedly costs Redwood City more than it takes in, if in fact that is true.

    Redwood City has far too many parking spaces; more than they need based on the wealth of empty spaces. San Carlos on the other hand has very limited parking and it is rare that there are more than a few empty spaces during regular business hours. From that observation, I would be anxious to find out if it really is a proposal not worth studying.

    Bottom line, this sales tax increase is a bad idea and no one can convince me otherwise.

  108. J on November 3, 2009 at 2:05 am

    As far as city employees getting perks such as “generous overtime”- how is that a perk? I’d much rather be spending time with family and friends than being forced to work night after night because of staffing levels like some of police officers do. Hate to break it to you, but it’s not all about the money. A lot of employees actually CARE about this city and work hard (including some overtime) because there is no other option. San Carlos is understaffed as compared to other cities of comprable size.

    San Carlos has NO utility tax unlike most cities, receives far less from property taxes than other cities and have you even looked at the Civil Grand Jury Report on Employee Costs? It’s available right there on the City website – front page. Before you knock the City and the employees, do the research.

  109. Samantha on November 3, 2009 at 2:26 am

    Vote NO on Measure U. Relative to most of my neighbors, I am a newcomer to San Carlos, but I have come to know and love my community just the same. I am a frequent community volunteer and an even more frequent contributor to our school fundraisers. Contrary to some of the recent blog postings, I do not believe that I must continue to support a failing administration in order to support San Carlos. In fact, I feel quite the opposite—in order to support San Carlos I believe that we must make the most concerted efforts to ensure that our government is the right size and staffed with the right people. Neither is the case right now. Our city government simply has too many people making too much money. Further, I do not believe for a second that we have no recourse for this problem because we are dealing in the public sector vs. the private sector. Half Moon Bay experienced lay-offs—why would San Carlos be different? I won’t support a tax increase until our city leaders have made the hard decisions to cut as much as possible. I also won’t tolerate being threatened with loss of emergency, fire and police services so that over-paid city administrators can keeps salaries and benefits that I lost over a year ago. I have lost confidence in our current leadership and the best starting place to send that message is a NO vote on Measure U. San Carlos deserves better.

  110. Mike in SC on November 3, 2009 at 2:45 am

    Well, saw the plethora of Yes on U signs lining San Carlos Ave and the demonstration on the corners of Cedar and San Carlos Ave. My question is how many of those were city workers out promoting Measure U? Something unseemly about that if they were there. Aren’t these guys considered civil servants? They should not be involved in the political process – surely it is a conflict of interest. Doesn’t that make them Astroturf, as Nancy Pelosi refers to them, pretending to be citizens and voters but really out to solicit money for themselves? I can tell you this, if this measure passes, I am going to be very interested to see how much of our hard-earned tax money goes towards salary raises, bonuses, and overtime in the years ahead. If 70% of all our money is the cost of these guys right now, that percentage had better hold steady or decline for the next 6 years, or they are just paying themselves – and that has to stop. Maybe they will get away with this scam this time, by scaring trusting citizens, but this is going to leave a very bad taste in many people’s mouths and people are going to be watching what goes on in City Hall from now on. Things are going to change.

  111. J on November 3, 2009 at 3:18 am

    Samantha- comparing the public to private sector is like comparing apples to oranges. The state won’t come and take over $2 million dollars unannounced from a private company. Private companies hike up costs on a daily basis- look at what the banks are doing!

    Not all services come for free! There comes a time when communities need to step in and help out! Look at our schools- it still kills me that some parents feel like education should be free- such entitlement! We’ve all been hit by the economy in one way or another-this is a temporary sales tax that is backed by the San Carlos Chamber of Commerce!!!! Even business owners in San Carlos see the need for this. It isn’t about scare tactics- it’s about looking at the reality of things and how there is no possible way for services to stay in tact with lay offs (SNC is already below staffing), closures and such…

  112. Karen on November 3, 2009 at 4:36 am

    I will vote NO tomorrow. This tax increase is ridiculous. The city has not been straight forward with residents.
    The city is trying to pay for unsustainable programs and high salaries. Although the literature is trying to scare people with talk of no fire fighter to anser your call, it is the Youth Center, the Senior Center and other programs that are at risk. My kids don’t use the youth center.

  113. J on November 3, 2009 at 4:45 am

    Great mentality Karen- so if your kids don’t use the Youth Center, we should just shut it down right? And take down the Senior Center too!!!

  114. Jan on November 3, 2009 at 4:54 am

    It seems that we are just getting concerned with what the City Employees make. Next time you get pulled over by the Police tell them that you pay their Salaries and they make way to much.

    If everyone is focused on Salaries why are we just worrying about it now.
    Just because we lost a job or had to take a pay cut does not mean they have to also.
    I have worked in the Private Sector for over 30 years and you could not pay me enough to work in City Government. All the Crap you have to take from people and still be Civil.

    I think someone mentioned the fact that Civil employees can not be apart of the process to promote a Measure. I called and they can do it. There is no conflict of interest as long as it is done during non working hours.

    I also was told that the money for the robo calls came from Sacramento. My Guess is that the Jarvis/Gann people funded that one but I do not know for sure.
    Salaries are approved by the Council, they also hire The City Manager.
    So if you don’t like what is happening run for office or get someone to.
    I just hope we don’t end up with a council like Belmont where they can’t even keep a City Manager for more that 3 years.

    Andy I just wanted to say thanks for stepping up to the plate. It’s a tough job because no mater what you do some people will not like it.

  115. Samantha on November 3, 2009 at 5:29 am

    Jan–I am confused by your criticism of the Belmont city council. Belmont continues to have a balanced budget and does not have an initiative on the ballot for more taxes from tapped out constituents. Something is obviously working in Belmont and it may very well have something to do with the degree of involvement by their city council. I agree that San Carlos needs more astute city council members-Matt Grocott can’t do it by himself.

  116. WECSG on November 3, 2009 at 6:04 am

    Call to action. The yes on U campaign has done a very masterful job manipulating the uninformed and playing on unfounded fears. The language in the voter pamphlet is very unclear as to what specific cuts will occur if Prop U doesn’t pass. I have noticed much of the momentum is coming from those who would unfairly benefit from increased tax revenues, and not rank-and-file employees like police and fire.

    Don’t let the poll on this blog site lure you into complacency. It is critical that opposing voices are heard and the “No on U” voters show up at the polls. Cast your vote, spread the word and take your neighbor.

  117. Jan on November 3, 2009 at 6:40 am


    I think you might need to look a little closer at their Budget. They are heading down the same road as us. Maybe the revolving door with City Managers works for them.
    I think they might need Matt more than we do since he and Bob gave them the better deal on the Fire Dept Deal for the City. Bob was a novice in negotiation but Matt should not have that excuse.

    The Council made up of 5 people who get to make policy for our City. Now why is Matt the only one out there with all the progressive thinking and the right ideas.
    Are the other 4 against him all the time.
    If we need more people like Matt where are they. Aren’t the Council members suppose to reflect the Citizens of San Carlos. We voted for them right. Don’t the others know they they will get voted out of office if they stand behind this tax measure because we all know that the City of San Carlos waste our precious tax dollars.
    So go out and Get more Matt’s to run. There must be many people in San Carlos like him that will run for office. I give Matt a lot of credit for standing up for what he believes in. I just would not vote for him.
    But I will vote YES for measure U.

    If you want the City to live with in it’s means you are going to half cut services.

  118. Madeline on November 3, 2009 at 6:48 am

    Come on. Look at the big picture. There are businesses in San Carlos that sell more than $100 at a time. In many instances we are not talking about 50 cents. Aside from Best Buy and Home Depot, there are auto supply, electrical supply, and restaurant supply companies, jewelers and other businesses that might have a $10,000 sale (or more). That would be an additional $50 in sales tax. I don’t know about you, but I would go next door to Belmont or Redwood city for $50. I might shop elsewhere for an additional $5 in sales tax. The privilege of shopping in San Carlos goes just so far. I love San Carlos but it is obviously mismanaged if we cannot work within a budget. Those high salaries are not deserved if the City of San Carlos is in such bad shape financially. Most families have had to cut back and so does the city. Vote NO on U.

  119. Mike in SC on November 3, 2009 at 7:21 am

    J – name one temporary tax that did not become permanent? How stupid do you think we are? And how many city employees were part of that disgraceful stunt around 5 pm today – pretending to be citizens while promoting the tax increase. Disgusting. How many manhours on the public’s dime were spent planning that escapade? We obviously have way too many people on the city payroll with not enough to do. How about an investigation into that waste. Do you honestly think that there were no meetings, no use of government property to call people and arrange this? Where were all those signs made – were they brought into city hall? Made at city hall, paid for with our money? The more I learn about how this city government functions, the more I see deceit and self-serving behavior. I have not heard anyone from the city who truly has our interests at heart. It is time to clean house and sweep these parasites that feast from the public trough from our city and get some fresh honest hard workers in who will work for the people of San Carlos, and not to feather their own nest. That the mayor and the city council has allowed this imbalance to develop year after year shows gross negligence on their part. Time to say Enough is enough. No on Measure U. Rid our city of these leeches.

  120. 14_yr_SC_resident on November 3, 2009 at 8:11 am


    As far as I can see, no one on this blog (certainly not me) is questioning ALL city workers’ salaries. However, when you have the City Manager earning more than both the Mayor of San Jose and the VP of the United States, and he still can’t seem to manage the city within budget, something is seriously wrong. The five senior administrators earning the highest salaries have all enjoyed big pay increases, bonuses, and ‘other compensation’ the past several years, all while the city is operating in the red and the economy has gone south. (Incidentally, several of these positions were created in the past few years, and were part of the gravy train of pay increases.) And the City Council has done nothing to reign in their gross negligence. To date, these people have demonstrated complete incompetence in managing public funds and are now using fear tactics to manipulate their constituents in to giving them more.
    I don’t like what’s going on, and I’m doing something about it: I’m demanding that our city leaders — elected and appointed –do their jobs. The most effective way I can send that message is by voting NO on Measure U. Samantha is right: San Carlos deserves better.

  121. J on November 3, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Mike in San Carlos- You shouldn’t accuse people of doing improper and ILLEGAL things without having the facts. You made several references in your last post that were flat out wrong. It’s one thing to state your opinion on here, but to state the things you did about hard-working, good people is not right. Signs made at City Hall and made for by city funds??? GIVE ME A BREAK! All lies!

  122. Mike in SC on November 3, 2009 at 4:43 pm


    It is all about a breakdown in trust. When the city lies to us – threatening to cancel 911 service if we don’t vote in Measure U – but never mentions the handsome salaries, raises, bonuses, and benefits they are making – nor that they haven’t yet put any burden on the city staff to make do with less, in spite of the staff costs now accounting for a whopping 70% of our city’s budget – then something is wrong. When city staff starts saying salary cuts are automatically off the table for discussion – then something is wrong.

    Are you telling me that there were NO city workers at that demonstration near city hall? When the city seems so determined to pass this measure, it is a small step to seeing city staff plotting strategy and planning actions to ensure the measure passes on the public dime. As civil servants, I think that is a direct conflict of interest – they are demonstrating to save their own jobs – and they fail to point out exactly who they are. The same can be said for the city workers who come on this site and pretend to be ordinary citizens – but ones who have an uncommon knowledge of city hall and policies and an uncommon lack of sympathy for citizens who may find this tax increase a real burden. This entire episode stinks – and I am beyond assuming that everything is above board. Now, I am going to start assuming the worst – this city management and staff has lost my trust. Shame on them all. And I can also promise that I will be watching what goes in inside our city hall a lot more closely from here on out. There had better not be a penny of this new tax revenue used to pad salaries, give overtime, or increase bonuses for the next 6 years, should Measure U pass. If Obama can curtail salaries and bonuses of bailed out companies, then we, the citizens of San Carlos can do the same with a bailed out city. We are watching.

  123. Jan on November 3, 2009 at 6:15 pm


    I do understand what you are saying.
    So if you feel the this way get involved and make a change. Go to City Meetings and voice your opinions. Better yet run for City Council,we need more people to run. But I suggest you do your homework. Is everyone aware that The City of San Carlos gets about 13 cents on the dollar from Property Tax. Right next to us Belmont gets almost double that. Thank you Prop 13.

    If people are unhappy with what the City Manger gets blame the council.Look around on the Peninsula to see what other city managers make. I think it is inline with everyone else.

    Which of these position where created in the past 5 years. I would like to know.

    So what are these protest and disgraceful stunts that a few people mentioned.
    If you are so worried about it get out and ask them.

    So what if they are campaigning for this measure. There are no laws against it.

    I see no people going door to door or standing at Street Corners waving signs against the Measure. If there are all these people who are fed up with the system they should be spending time waving and going to door against the measure. I walk all around town and see none.The only thing I do get is a annoying ROBO call which I dislike anyway.

  124. John on November 3, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Instead of Protect our Services the yes for U should have been called protect our overly expensive total compensation packages! I can’t believe the city is saying they have cut back when really they have continued to overpay for incompetitent leaders. Weiss needs to be fired for this.

    Andy Klein, I wish someone like Matt had run against you. You clearly don’t represent the views many of us in San Carlos. We need a balanced budget – please keep that in mind as you take your seat on the council.

  125. Steve on November 3, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    More Matt Grocotts.
    You have got to be kidding.
    He has a very small following of people, that’s why there are not anymore like him.

    He is part of the problem. Screwed us on the Fire Board with his incompetence.
    Bob Grassali did not do much better either.

    We need some new people in the Council so lets see what Andy can do.

  126. 14_yr_SC_resident on November 3, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    Respectfully, Jan, based on your response, you do not understand one thing I am saying. I have done my homework: senior manager salaries all increasing at a pace larger than the budget can sustain, no checks on costs, and a senior staff that haven’t done their jobs of managing the budget. Period. All of this is backed up by numbers, posted by WECSG and others. I have seen no evidence backed by fact from any of your posts. Rather, you choose to engage in name calling, condescending comments, and rumor. I suggest YOU do your homework.

  127. Andy C on November 3, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Obviously, the minions for Matt Grocott are out in force in this discussion. I personally do not care for Matt Grocott and I believe that he is a very ineffective leader of our city. Far too often, he votes the opposite of the majority just to be that, opposite. It is tragic that we had no real choice this election will all running going unopposed. Next time…

    Having said that, I am STRONGLY against Measure U and just voted NO. We are not the federal government here in the City of San Carlos – We must live within our budget, period! Good times come and go but we seem to always try and project the city’s future based on only the good times. Time to come down from the clouds and into the real world.

    We do not have to live with contracts. They can be fought and the federal government has delivered plenty of recent precedent for breaking contracts. The current city staff getting pay raises in times of economic turmoil is just ridiculous! Not being held accountable for their failures is just unacceptable!

    Most of us probably assumed that people who choose to work for the public sector do so for lower salaries, good benefits and job security. Looking at our own city’s employees, I would say that they have fantastic salaries, healthy raises, iron clad benefits and retirement. Oh and despite doing a lousy job, great job security!!!

    We need to change that proposition and bring things back to reality. Remember, we are the ones allowing this to happen so we can be the ones to change it. No more business as usual.

    Asking tax payers to bailout the poor decisions of those entrusted to steer the ship is unacceptable. Vital services will not be cut first so please quit scaring the less informed.

    Seeing those city employees rallying for Measure U is gross but I guess it is their right if they are truly doing it all after work hours. It is not beyond the City of San Carlos to get behind certain issues and use our precious funds to illegally campaign. They did it a few years ago for the failed parcel tax scheme. This is a fact and I have copies of the expenses which I had to fight hard to get. They called it a “Community Update” but I have never seen one since…

    Let’s put the city and its workers on notice – Vote NO on Measure U.

  128. Andy C on November 3, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    By the way, after reading the flurry of recent posts I must say this:

    Being opposed to Measure U does not mean that you are not someone who volunteers in this city or cares about the many great things that it has to offer. I personally volunteer a ton of time to many great city programs and to our youth via sports and rec programs. I do feel that if you can’t afford something, you need to cut it until you can afford it once again. Our children should be taught this as it could benefit us all when they are older and in charge of the rest of us!

    Also, this tax if passed will not be temporary. Please show us the last time a tax that was retired after its initial period. It does not happen.

    Lastly, whoever the next Mayor is (I think its Randy Royce?) can you please place two entirely new members from the city council onto the Fire Board? Matt Grocott has never seemed to work for the citizens of San Carlos as much as he tilted the advantage of the split towards Belmont. Bob Grassili probably just gets bullied by Matt or he is just incompetent, either way, time to switch it up.

    That issue is next and will come around for more funds shortly… I don’t need someone representing me who calls himself an Architect when he is no such thing. He is a draftsman and seems to have a hard time living with that moniker. I don’t know any nurses running around calling themselves Doctor.


  129. Jan on November 3, 2009 at 9:54 pm


    No Disrespect to you but I think you Don’t get it.
    So let me ask again.
    First where did I call someone a name that was inappropriate.
    Okay where was I condescending. If I was I do apologize for that part . I get a little emotional at times because I am passionate about our City.
    And By the way I never did say ALL the City Employees.
    People just do not understand how City government runs. All they see are the salaries.

    Also You mentioned positions created in the last 5 years.
    Again what are those positions I have not researched that. Also you might know what positions where cut too.
    Also you mentioned the VP of the US. The Mayor of San Jose. I think you forgot the Governor too.

    Again you think he is to high compared to those people. What about the Peninsula Cities.
    Do you know when City Employees got a .7 Percent raise in their Retirement funding formula. Before the previous City Manager retired. This city Manager got rid of that for new hires. As a mater of fact the City Council at that time approved it.
    This City Manager inherited all the problems that his successor created.

    If you read my previous posts you would have seen that I mentioned that I said what is our property tax money was the City gets compared to Belmont.

    How did I get that info. I called them to find out.

    All of my info I got from watching or attending Council meetings and my contact with City Departments.
    Please feel free to contact “any” Council member or city Dept.

    I did not waste my time with Newspapers or Web Sites in looking up info. None of what I said is a rumor or what ever you mentioned.

    However please feel free to publish your research after you call City Hall.

  130. 14_yr_SC_resident on November 3, 2009 at 11:46 pm


    Just for fun, here’s some homework for you.

    Below are the top 15 earners for the City who are NOT associated with fire or police.

    Mark Weiss, City Manager, $212,489
    Brian Moura, Asst. City Manager, $191,498
    Jeff Maltbie, Administrative Services, $184,632
    Barry Weiss, Parks & Rec Director, $173,485
    Al Savay, Community Development Director, $164,302
    Constance Dillard, IT manager, $131,436
    Deborah Nelson, Planning Manager, $130,358
    Christine Boland, City Clerk, $129,025
    Robert Lanzone, City Attorney, $128,897
    Janet Beaugh, Human Resources Manager, $128,017
    Rebecca Mendenhall, Finance Officer, $126,771
    Mark Sawicki, Redevelopment/Housing Manager, $125,347
    Christopher Valley, Building Official, $121,037
    Paul Baker, Public Works Superintendent $117,378
    Marilyn Maytum, Senior Accountant, $103,499

    Note #10 on the list — Janet Beaugh. Wonder if she calls herself ‘Jan’???

    Number 4 on the list is Barry Weiss. Any relation to Mark? In the private sector, that would be considered highly unethical and would likely be disallowed. In government, isn’t hiring your relatives considered corruption?

    Also note #9 on the list, Bob Lanzone, who (according to the city budget on the city website) billed nearly $400K in legal fees in 2008. I have to wonder why, if he’s earning a salary, his law firm is also billing for legal services. Isn’t that double dipping?

    Incidentally, Community Development Director is a new position created in 2007. The pay for that position in 2007 was $135K, and in 2008 it was up over $164K. I’d sure like to have a $29K raise in a single year!

    For those who want to look in to this further, I found this info on the San Jose Mercury News web site:

  131. WECSG on November 4, 2009 at 1:12 am

    In reference to Samantha’s analysis of the financial condition of neighboring cities like Belmont, Jan replied with [Belmont] “they are heading down the same path as us”, blog posting #117. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any facts or data that would support jan’s remark. In 5 simple mouse clicks I found the following on the City of Belmont’s financial report for 2009.

    “In the midst of uncertain financial times, this budget implements City Council’s priorities while maintaining a reasonable financial position. Fund balances are up, costs are under control and, in general, the City fares well financially in comparison to some of its neighbors. Prudent financial management by maintaining prior budget correction strategies has avoided further budget cuts. The budget is balanced in both the near and long term and includes the provision of a new accounting pronouncement for post employment benefits beginning this fiscal year.”

    Jan, I can appreciate your passion and energy, however, it’s hard to take your arguments seriously when your arguments are not only unsubstantiated but are discovered to be incorrect.

  132. 14_yr_SC_resident on November 4, 2009 at 3:30 am

    WECSG, good info. thanks for sharing it on this site. just goes to show you that when doing one’s homework, it pays to do the research with unbiased sources.

  133. Antonia Binetti on November 4, 2009 at 6:14 am

    With 11 of 19 precincts reporting, Measure U is trailing 45% to 55%. Results from the remaining precincts would need to flip 2:1 for it to catch up. It would appear Measure U is heading to defeat.

  134. Antonia Binetti on November 4, 2009 at 6:38 am

    19 of 19 precincts reporting, Against: 3063, For: 2436. Unofficial Results: Measure U Fails, 44% to 56%.

  135. No new taxes on November 4, 2009 at 8:17 am

    As reported on Mesure U has been defeated!
    3,063 voters or 55.7% stood up against this nonsense.
    Thank you to all who voted NO on nU taxes!

  136. Michael on November 6, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    So, let’s all pay special attention and see what happens now that San Mateo is in the lead with the highest peninsula sales tax.
    After 60.8% of the voters passed a 1/4% sales tax hike (I had suggested this would have had a better chance than the ridiculous 1/2% hike), let’s see if San Carlos will benefit from it.

    It’s not that scientific of a process and will take some time to see if in fact it had a negative impact on San Mateo business, but worth looking at.

    I would much rather have the distinction of not having the highest sales tax on the peninsula and see what “creative” solutions our city government is now forced to come up with.

    There should have been a plan B…Mr. Weiss, what is our next step?? We are looking to you for guidance.

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