As you can plainly see, ANY mention of the civic center project is conspicuously and quite intentionally absent. Our city officials new that selling an overblown construction project like their dream civic center would never fly with the voters if the voters knew of the real plan for the Measure W funds. And sadly, even the funds generated by Measure W are not going to be enough to cover this massive project, much less any of the purposes asserted in the voter guide.
In the November 25th, 2017 edition of the San Mateo Journal…well after the the passage of Measure W…an article about the civic center project states, “A majority of the funding for the center, proposed on city property near El Camino and Antoinette Lane, will be generated through Measure W, the city’s half-cent sales tax. [City Manager] Futrell said the project is expected to cost as much as $172 Million and the funding not covered by the tax will come from other city funds or private donations.” So they were well aware of the cost of this project long before Measure W was passed, and also knew that even the considerable funds generated by Measure W were very likely not going be enough to cover their grandiose civic center project. Quite clearly, everything stated in the voter’s guide meant to persuade us to pass Measure W was in fact a blatant subterfuge. There never was any intention of using the funds for “maintaining our streets”, or “fixing potholes” or “improving the quality of life” of the citizens of South San Francisco, except of course for a new city hall for our bureaucrats. Yes, it certainly improves their quality of life!
In a letter to ESC dated March 22, 2018, regarding Measure W and the civic center project, SSF resident Elise Warner points at that the rules were quietly changed to pass the Measure W from 2/3 to a simple majority because the City’s own polling showed that the initiative would not pass otherwise. As it was, the measure “….passed underwhelmingly in an off-year election, when the lowest voter turnout guarantees to pass unpopular tax increases. The community was never told it was for a library and a civic center and how much it was going to cost.” She goes on to say, “There was not ONE Town Hall Meeting ever PRIOR to discuss how the community was going to spend the money or that there was even going to be a sales tax increase to pay for it or that it was a planned project. The community at neighborhood meetings prior to the surprise Measure W initiative, expressed a long held desire for a new swimming pool at Orange Park. We’ve wanted one for over 20 years to replace the crumbling old pool. I think the community would rather have a new pool than a library.” She adds, “We are surrounded by libraries, why can’t we renovate the ones we have?” Regarding the City’s recent call for citizen input on the new project she states, “Now, after the fact, the City wants the community’s opinion, like it matters.” She ends her letter with, “More political tactics imposed on our small City courtesy of the politico City Manager and our aging City Council who have lost touch with working families about what is important in modern life.”