Reasons to Vote No on City's Refuse Rate Increase

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I am voting no on the City of Berkeley's proposed refuse rate increase, on a mail-in ballot due by July 7, 2009, even though the chance of defeating this measure is infinitesimal because of the corrupt voting procedure.

Following are my reasons for voting no:

Local taxes and fees are too high already and many Berkeley taxpayers are suffering financially;

A 20 percent refuse increase plus annual inflator is out of bounds, and another 20 percent or more increase is already in the works for next year. We already had an 8 percent increase last year;

Our general fund should pay for essential services like refuse instead of nice but nonessential services like free YMCA memberships for city employees who don't even use it; I believe that since 1996, the city has been overcharging for refuse and not using proper process under Prop 218;

The current voting process is corrupt-i.e. counting unsent ballots as yes, no voter receipt for voting, no opposition arguments permitted on ballot, not a secret ballot, and not a secure counting system by an independent third party (the Berkeley City Clerk is holding and counting the returned No votes).

I am not particularly happy with many city policies, particularly on high density development and disrespect for Berkeley's beautiful neighborhoods, and I do not want to support the current regime with more dollars.

There are about 30,000 parcels in the city and 30,000 ballots mailed. Many of these ballots will never reach the parcel owners or they will be tossed as junk mail. Not voting counts as a yes vote! 15,001 affirmatively no votes are needed to defeat this measure!

Because of the flawed voting method, it is unlikely that this tax/fee increase will be rejected. However, if voters want to oppose they need be sure to return the ballot with proper postage.

Silence equals consent to always-increasing local taxes and to current city policies and budget mismanagement.


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