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By Steve Levy

Bay Area Residents Invest in Their Communities

Uploaded: Jun 4, 2014

The title of this blog is Invest or Die. It reflects my opinion that communities like businesses need to continually invest. There are new technologies and the continuing need to upgrade existing facilities and plan to maintain the quality of life as the region grows. For the region as a whole these investments are part of our economic competitiveness by building communities that are great places to live and work.

Yesterday as in most recent elections residents across California made that choice to invest in their community and future. In fact the approval rate for bonds and taxes on June 3 at 76% was highest approval rate in the past decade.

And Bay Area residents had the highest approval rate for yesterday's investments in communities of very different levels of income and wealth.

Bay Area residents passed 15 school bonds and defeated 2. The state had five parcel tax measures, all in the Bay Area, and they all passed. Four Bay Area local governments had votes to increase the sales tax, 3 by ½% and 1 by ¼%, and all passed. There were four general obligation bond measures, all in the Bay Area. Two passed ($400 million in SF for earthquake safety and $2 million in Kensington for a community center) and we are waiting for the final result on our local open space bond, which either has just over or under 2/3 support.

Palo Alto residents will have an election in November about partially funding our new infrastructure investment with an increase in the transient occupancy (hotel) tax?the remainder will be funded from the general fund and Stanford money allocated to us for infrastructure.

Will we choose to invest in our future and quality of life?
And while we are at it, can Palo Alto residents move beyond complaining about crowded schools (a legitimate concern) and invest in more capacity instead of waiting for someone else to pay to solve the problem?

Sometimes reading the posts on Town Square could lead to the belief that there is little faith in government and similar small willingness to open our pocketbooks to invest in the future of our community. Fortunately most every election day my faith gets renewed that a majority of residents understand that if we do not invest in projects that make sense (not all do) that it is we who will suffer.