We strongly favor Measure G and those who support it. Therefore, our choices for Modesto Mayor and City Council are Garrad Marsh, Kristi Ah You, John Gunderson, and Doug Ridenour. Doug Ridenour does not support Measure G, but neither does his opponent. We feel Ridenour’s experience as a Modesto police officer gives him the edge over David Wright, who has far less experience in local government.
Arguments against Measure G boil down to the repeated claim that, “You can’t trust government.” This has been the mantra for anti-government and anti-tax advocates for almost forty years, ever since the success of Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann with Proposition 13 in 1977. The detritus is all around us.
We’ve got runaway crime, poverty, crumbling infrastructure, high unemployment, and low educational levels. The one thing we can say about anti-government and anti-tax hysteria is they have not worked for most citizens nation-wide. Things are even worse here.
Those who say our city and county governments are wasteful simply haven’t considered the facts: Stanislaus County was declared “rural” when Proposition 13 was approved. That means that over the years we’ve lost millions upon millions of dollars in revenue that went to the state rather than to our local government in a punitive policy known as the “negative bailout.” Nonetheless, we’ve never declared bankruptcy.
The City of Stockton, despite considerably higher percentages of tax revenue, declared bankruptcy in 2013. Even with more severe revenue pinches, Modesto has remained solvent, but the price in terms of cut services has been high.
It is always easy to gain widespread public approval by opposing taxes and assailing government. Talk show hosts make fortunes doing so on a daily basis. But anyone who looks back to days when we had more balanced tax plans and more faith in government can see quality of life was better then than it is now.
Those who say revenue from Measure G will not be used on public safety are saying we can’t trust city government. But even Dave Lopez, Garrad Marsh’s opponent in the race for mayor, has said Measure G is for public safety. It’s hard to imagine anyone in city government, whether incumbent or candidate, who doesn’t realize our critical need for neighborhood safety.
We also support Measure I, which would establish protection for farmland and groundwater recharge areas north of Modesto. We believe that when we support urban limits, we should also support safe urban cores and neighborhoods.
Those who are against safe neighborhoods and strong urban cores tend to be the same people who think we can grow our way into solvency. Advocates of unrestrained growth usually also oppose taxes and government oversight. We think urban limits and strong neighborhoods are better than sprawl and rotting urban cores.
Revenue from Measure G will help build a stronger downtown and safer neighborhoods. We need city officials who will keep working to restore public safety both downtown and where we live and who also understand the need to fund those efforts adequately.