The upcoming midterm election on Nov. 8 not only holds national importance but is an opportunity for Berkeley residents to reinvest in their community. Measure L, also known as the Affordable, Safe, and Sustainable Berkeley Bond Act, will appear on the Berkeley general election ballot. Measure L is committing 650 million dollars in bonds to address local issues. We urge Berkeley voters to vote YES on Measure L.
Berkeley inhabitants, regardless of the length of residency, know that this city needs improvements. Housing needs to be accessible and affordable. Streets need repair. Public infrastructure needs restoration.
The evidence is in the average student’s complaints of high monthly rent costs. It is in the potholes on the streets and cracks in the sidewalks surrounding the UC Berkeley campus. It is in the recent extreme heatwave that can only be explained by the ongoing climate crisis. Many of Berkeley’s public buildings were built over 75 years ago and the Berkeley City Council has identified over $1 billion in infrastructure needs citywide.
Therefore, it is no surprise that Cal Berkeley Democrats, the ASUC, the Berkeley Fire Department and more endorse Measure L. This comprehensive measure is an opportunity for Berkeley residents to reinvest in and maintain our community. $650 million will go into improving street safety, such as pedestrian and bicycle lanes, maintaining parks and public spaces, investing in over 1,500 affordable housing units and reducing the impacts of climate change.
The cost? A $265 tax increase for the average Berkeley property owner for the next 48 years.
This is less than a dollar a day. Specifically, Berkeley property owners will experience an average tax increase of $40.91 per $100,000 of a home’s assessed value over the next 48 years.
This is a once-in-a-generation, urgent bond measure. If it is not passed, Berkeley will lose an opportunity to claim matching federal funds. Delays in addressing pressing local issues such as the housing crisis, street degradation and climate change will result in a more significant tax burden for the average taxpayer later. That is why the Berkeley City Council is actively assuaging opponent concerns and maximizing the incentives for this bond measure.
Fortunately, for those concerned about the guarantees of such a large-scale project, the Berkeley City Council passed the Bond Oversight Resolution on Oct. 11. This document details where the bond money will be spent and how the oversight committee will hold the Council accountable. Additionally, as Berkeley residents, we can actively participate in public comments and oversight of bond expenditures to prioritize local projects. Moreover, the measure requires public disclosure of all spending and annual independent audits, ensuring that funds will be spent as promised.
Berkeley students have spoken, and the Berkeley City Council is listening. Measure L will give us affordable housing. It will improve our streets and sidewalks. It will ensure a safe city in light of the climate crisis and infrastructure wear and tear.
Measure L needs the support of two-thirds of voters in the November general election to pass. It is time to invest in Berkeley. We must not delay.