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    Text of Agendizing Memo by Councilmembers Colonna & Carroll Seeking City Mgr. Report on Feasibility of April, 2002 Tax Increase Ballot Measure For Parks

    (August 21, 2001) -- After voting last month to expand a police station on Scherer Park land, and co-authoring last year's failed attempt to derail Prop J's 5% utility tax cut with half the taxpayer relief, Councilmembers Frank Colonna and Dennis Carroll have teamed up again.

    This time, the 3d and 4th district incumbents have agendized a Council item (text below) asking the City Manager to report on the feasibility of putting a tax increase meaure for park related items on the April, 2002 city ballot.

    Colonna and Carroll's jointly agendized Aug. 21 item comes barely a week after the City Manager's budget message revealed City Hall has reaped a windfall from energy related revenues amounting to roughly $13 million. (The City Manager proposes returning part of this by lowering the utility tax on natural gas to 5% by April 2002; the Council will decide the issue next month.)

    Last week, after members of the public (including Prop J leader and Mayoral candidate Norm Ryan) criticized City Hall's record on QW Bay, Councilman Carroll decried the potent political alliance of LB environmental and tax cut advocates, accusing them, in effect, of trying to have it "both ways" by demanding more park space while trying to reduce City Hall revenue to acquire and maintain parks.

    In August, 2000, after Mr. Ryan's Prop J had qualified for the ballot, Councilmembers Colonna and Carroll (and Vice Mayor Baker) agendized a proposed competing 3.0% utility tax reduction measure, but under circumstances not publicly explained, Councilman Carroll opened the presentation by proposing only a 2.5% reduction, then proceeded to narrate graphic slides for a 2.5% (not 3.0%) cut apparently prepared by city staff.

    After the Council put the 2.5% anti-Prop J alternative measure on the ballot as Prop I, Councilman Carroll mounted a cable television crusade for it, using his own money to buy ads featuring himself. Prop J beat Prop I in every Council district, including Mr. Carroll's 4th district.

    During his campaign for Council office, Mr. Carroll used an endorsement letter from Mr. Ryan. (Despite invoking Mr. Ryan's name while seeking votes, Mr. Carroll never endorsed Mr. Ryan's ballot measure and the endorsement letter didn't say he did.)

    Last month, during the City Council's Scherer Park hearing, Councilman Colonna raised the possibility of a smaller "footprint" for the police facility with underground parking (an idea panned by city staff, including the Chief of Police). Then Councilman Carroll proceeded to interrogate appellants Ann Cantrell, Gigi "Fast Elk" Porter and Don May, demanding "yes" or "no" answers on whether they'd forego suing City Hall on Scherer Park in exchange for plans (not yet developed) to reduce the size of the police station expansion in the park. The appellants stood their ground.

    Below is the text of the agendizing memo by Councilmembers Colonna and Carroll:

    Date: August 17, 2001

    To: Mayor O'Neill & City Council Members
    From: Council Member Frank Colonna & Council Member Dennis Carroll

    We respecffully request the City Manager to provide a report to the City Council regarding the feasibility of a Park Bond measure for the April 2002 citywide election.

    The scope of the measure should include parks, beaches and rivers, wetlands, preserves, green belts, pocket parks, and other open space opportunities.

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