.Letter to the Editor: ‘Special Ballot Measure’ Not So Special

Re: “Puff, Puff, Pass” (GT, Oct 27): Thanks to the Good Times for shining journalistic light onto the darkness of the Santa Cruz City Council majority’s decision-making. Thank you for exposing the “$141,804-$177,255” cost of an election that does not have to be. The taxpayers are getting bamboozled once again and who is to blame? 

This past month we all received a long and mostly blank ballot, except for that one question: should 20% of the Cannabis tax that is collected be set aside permanently for children’s programs? Who could be opposed to that? Frankly, very few in this community. As a member of the city council, I supported the original 12.5% set-aside and would support 20% now, but why a “special ballot measure” to make the tax permanent? Because there’s political king- and queen-making afoot.

Wasting up to $177k of taxpayer funds for a measure that could just as easily have been added to next year’s June primary or to the Nov. 2022 regular election is a costly rookie mistake. City Councilmember Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson is running for 3rd District supervisor and needs something for her political resume. She could’ve stopped this “special election ballot” because it was not an emergency. Arguably, the 1/2 cent sales tax measure referenced in the article was needed, but a cold-hearted council majority refused Councilmember Sandy Brown’s entreaty that city leaders first demonstrate a commitment to spending the new revenues responsibly, to address the low pay of frontline city workers, as well as homelessness response and affordable housing. That was mistake number two by Kalantari-Johnson, who expects the supervisor nod from city voters while padding her political resume with manufactured issues like passing this tax now. The council this year could have, and would have, voted for the 20% to go to children’s programming and placed the measure before voters next November. It’s just that the supervisor election comes in March. Thank you Good Times, for exposing this $170k politically manufactured tax-payer campaign contribution. Given this smoke and mirrors ballot placement, let the voters decide now, and in June.

Chris Krohn

Santa Cruz

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