Measure T Aims to Aid Emergency Situations

Mayor Sam Liccardo addresses media and community members at a Measure T briefing in the Rock Springs neighborhood of San Jose on Thursday, October 25, 2018. Photo Credit: Arturo Hilario

Mayor Liccardo among advocates for a bond measure which would prepare and help after disasters

Arturo Hilario
El Observador

On Thursday, October 25 there was a Measure T briefing at Rock Springs Park in the neighborhood of the same name. Last year it was there that became a ground zero for massive flooding which displaced hundreds from this particular community, as well as many more along the flood path of the overflowing Coyote Creek.

Measure T is on the November 6 midterm elections in Santa Clara County. A “yes” vote would authorize the city to collect up to $650 million through a tax rate of $0.0184 per $100 in assessed property value. (The assessed property value is determined by a city tax assessor and is generally less than the market value of a home)  

These funds collected through Measure T would be allocated to fund emergency preparedness, disaster responses and infrastructure repairs – this includes upgrading 9-1-1, police and firefighting response services, and preventing flooding and water quality contamination.

The briefing included main speaker Mayor Sam Liccardo, as well as District 7 councilman Tam Nguyen and members of the Open Space Authority, the latter group said they were there on their own behalf as citizens of the community.

Alice Kaufman, Advocacy Director at the nonprofit Committee for Green Foothills, was also there to promote the environmental aspects of the measure should it obtain enough votes. Measure T would require a ⅔ majority to successfully pass.

One of the overlooked aspects of the measure, according to Kaufman, is the what she says are the environmental benefits.

“When I talk to people about Measure T they know that it’s very important to protect our roads and repair our emergency facilities, to keep San Jose safe. But they’re not always prepared to hear it’s actually an environmentally beneficial measure as well.”

One of the pieces of the Measure T bond would benefit open spaces in Santa Clara including creating systems which would allow water to overflow in case another situation like last year’s flooding were to occur again.

Mayor Liccardo said, “We’re here at a site where I stood upon only twenty months ago when we were announcing how we were committing dollars to help residents who were devastated by a flood in this neighborhood. Those were very trying times you know, for thousands of families in our community.”

The flooding in the area last year left as many as 14,000 households displaced from necessary evacuations, and the following months left swaths of the neighborhood to clean up.

“We recognize that there were lessons to be learned, most critical, lessons about preparation, about investment, that we need to make to keep our community safe. Our failure to invest, collectively in flood infrastructure and flood protection, and emergency response. Our residents paid the price for that, and I want to ensure that our residents never again pay the price for a lack of investment.”

One of the sole oppositions to Measure T is the Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association.

Mayor Liccardo reiterated that the necessity to help communities avoid a repeat of this incident is to put the money into the natural resources and invest in safety.

“We are telling voters that we’ll commit up to 50 million dollars to buy land in the Coyote Valley. Why is this so critically important? Because we know that there is a creek that flooded and caused so much devastation in our community. We know that water comes from the Anderson Dam, that caused the inundation in many of our neighborhoods. We need to critically find a way to divert that and store it before it gets into our dense areas in our city. Coyote Valley offers us an opportunity to be able to retain water that is spilling over.”

Mayor Liccardo added, “I think it’s a monumental investment. With Measure T, we’re moving forward with a $650 million-dollar investment in keeping our community safe.”