Proposition 218 Threatens $100 Million
in Local Government Services

While local governments are still
scrambling to deal with the effects
of the Supreme Court's Guardino
decision, there is new trouble ahead
on the November ballot.

Proposition 218, the
so-called Right to Vote
on Texas Act, threatens
to derail city and county
funding for basic services
like fire protection,
lighting and water,
libraries,ambulances, and
redevelopment programs.

Prop. 218 would
prohibit cities,
counties, and special
districts from imposing,
extending or increasing
any fees, assessments
or charges unless
approved by a majority

Prop. 218 would also require
charter cities to submit general taxes
to the voters for majority approval.

Prop. 218 would establish school
districts and redevelopment agency
fees as specific, non-general fund

taxes-- therefore, all school and
redevelopment fees will be required to
meet the two-thirds vote requirement.

The proposition also requires that
before adopting or increasing
property-related fees, local govern-
ments must mail information to every
property owner, reject the fee if a
majority protests in writing, and
obtain voter approval.

In addition, these fees would be
required to meet several restrictions
by July 1, 1997: the fees may be
imposed for direct property-related
services only and cannot be higher
than the cost of providing the service

to the specified parcel of land; the
services must be immediately
available to the property owners;
and no fees may be charged for
services widely "available to the
public at large"&emdash;"including
but not limited to police, fire, ambulance
or library services."

Prop. 218 would make two further
significant changes. In legal
disputes over any tax or fee, the
burden of proof would be shifted
from the taxpayer to the local
government to prove that the
assessments are legal. The proposi-
tion would also amend the Constitu-
tion to enable voters to repeal or
reduce any local tax, assessment or
fee through the initiative process.

According to the Legislative
Analyst, Prop. 218 would slash
revenuesfor local governments by
more than $100 million annually.
Additional costs exceeding $10
million annually are estimated for
elections, notifications, fee analysis
and legal services.


According to a report released recently by the Bay Area Economic Forum, the Bay Area is a dynamic leader in the state and national transition to a knowledge-based, export-oriented economy.

The report, The Bay Area:
Leading a Transition to a Knowl-edge-Based Economy, compares the performance of the Bay Area economy with major metropolitanareas across the nation, including New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Boston, Seattle, Charlotte, and Phoenix.

Among the significant findings of this first-of-its-kind regional economic comparison:
  • The Bay Area leads all other regions in key indicators, with the largest share of college and advanced degrees; more and better research centers; more than double the average number of patents per employee; the largest share of high tech exports; and three times the number of commercial Internet domains.
  • The Bay Area has the highest number of top-ranked graduate programs in the nation for science, math and engineering.
  • The Bay Area per capita income of $29,200 is second only to New York and is growing faster.
  • The Bay Area has more fast-growing private companies than any region and attracts 35 percent of the venture capital invested in the U.S., while representing only 2 percent of the population.
  • Bay Area exports currently represent 17 percent of the Gross Regional Product, more than twice the U.S. average. Exports from the region have grown 50 percent over the last 4 years. The report also warns that the Bay Area must address several challenges to maintain its prosperity: improve primary and secondary education; increase affordable housing; relieve the tax burden; reduce crime and poverty; and reduce the costs of doing business in the state.
Copies of the report are available for $15 from the Bay Area Economic Forum at 415/981-7117.

$125,000 in New Subregional
Planning Grants

The Association is pleased to
continue its award-winning Com-
prehensive Subregional Planning
Program with cash grants and staff
assistance to support new subre-
gional programs, as well as
implementation projects in the pilot
subregions of Sonoma County and
the Tri-Valley. Enhanced by a
$25,000 contribution from the Bay
Area Air Quality Management
District, the Association will
distribute approximately $125,000
to localities in 5 subregions.

On July 17, the Executive Board
approved the recommendations of
the Regional Planning Committee's
review panel and awarded a total of
$100,000 to support new collabora-
tive subregional planning projects.

The Oakland/San Leandro
project is aimed at revitalizing the
border area between the two cities,
including improving commercial
thoroughfares and underutilized
commercial and industrial areas.

The project will create a blueprint
for cooperation in an urban setting.

As the proposal articulates, "In
joining efforts to reevaluate this area,
it is hoped that the cities can achieve
together what they could not achieve
separately: revitalize an area of
great economic potential and
regional significance."

The South Napa project (includ-
ing the Cities of Napa and American
, and Napa County) seeks
to integrate participants' planning
programs to equitably resolve growth
management issues in the South
County area where most future
urban growth is expected to occur.
A primary focus will be to maintain
strong protections for agricultural
land, open space, and environmen-
tally sensitive areas while offering
opportunities forbalanced residential
and economic development. The
participants will enlist a facilitator to
guide decisionmakers toward
consensus. A noteworthy feature of
the workscope is an interest in
exploring models for revenue-

The San Mateo Coastside
is comprehensive with a

focus on land use and transportation
for the Cities of Pacifica and Half
Moon Bay
, and San Mateo
. A major concern is the
relationship between expected
development and infrastructure

In addition, technical assistance
will be provided to SEDCORP
(Solano Economic Development
Corporation) to assist in preparing an
economic strategy for Solano
on behalf of all the cities
and the County of Solano.

The Comprehensive Subregional
Planning Program began last year
with projects in Sonoma County and
the Tri-Valley. Having prepared
comprehensive planning strategies,
both subregions are now pursuing
specific implementation projects.

We are pleased to announce that
the program recently received a
national American Planning Associa-
tion award for Outstanding Effort in
Furthering Intergovernmental
Planning and Coordination.

Thanks, Summer Interns!

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank our summer interns for the hard work, energy and perspectives they brought to ABAG. We wish all of them good luck in their bright futures! Pictured left to right: Yvonne Choong, Ann Guy, Heather Baker, Eric Shaw , Emiliano Gaytan, Corrine Jew, Robert Davila, Christina Ramos,(not pictured: Claudia Albano, Bruce Angel, Jamon Larry).

Available to
Local Agencies
for Bay Trail

The Bay Trail Project was
successful in securing a $200,000
line item in the State Budget. The
funding will be channeled through
the California Conservation Corps
(CCC), and leveraged with local and
private matches.

Interested agencies along the Bay
Trail are invited to form subregions
and apply for funding. Grants will
finance CCC labor to develop trail

Receipt of these state funds
requires a match from private and
local sources. In addition to dollars,
the matching funds may include in-
kind contributions such as materials,
labor, maintenance, and even
previously-developed designs or

Local agencies should contact the
Bay Trail Project immediately to be
considered for funding.

For more information, please call
Karen Moonitz with the Bay Trail
Project at 510/464-7915.

Bay Trail Criterium a
Success at Lake Merritt

The "Chevron Bay Trail
Criterium," was a great success at
Oakland's Lake Merritt on August 3.

Racers sped around a 0.8 mile
course for cash, prizes, medals...and
glory. The main event of the day, a 36-
lap timed race for professional riders,
was won by local cyclist Fred
Rodriguez, a resident of Piedmont.

Karen Kurreck of Cupertino
placed first in the women's race; and
Lisse Hansen won the women's
division 4.

Larry Nolan took first in the 35 and
Over division; men's division 3 was
won by Dwayne Ward; division 4 by
Jonathan Owens; and division 5 by
Daren Taschi.

Local elected officials competed in
the "World's Shortest Political
Race"&emdash; a 100 yard "dash" in which
the winner is the one who finishes
last. Councilmember Carla
Woodworth from Berkeley and
Mayor Nora Davis from Emeryville
conceded defeat &emdash; by coming in
first. Councilmember Ronald
Raab from San Ramon finished
second, and Councilmember
Natalie Bayton from Oakland was
the winner, crossing the finish line
last with the help of an assistant who
sported a t-shirt reading "community

The annual Bureaucrats Cup was
won by Team BCDC, otherwise
known as the Mudsharks. East Bay
Park District's Park Express took
second, and Royal Flush represent-
ing the Contra Costa County
Sanitation District was third.

ABAG Vice President and Alameda County Supervisor Mary King accepts a plaque from Bob Hampton, President of NARC (National Association of Regional Councils). The Meritous Achievement award was received for abagOnline.

Wireless Communications Workshops with a Focus

As a follow-up to the Wireless Communications Workshop held at the end of May, the Association will soon be conducting three additional workshops to focus on the following topics related to wireless technologies: legal, planning and financial.

These half-day workshops will allow participants to delve into specific issues under the three separate categories. The workshops will present the latest information relevant to local government decisionmaking. These events are open to all elected officials, city and county staff, and local agency representatives. Understand your local options, maximize your opportunities, and stay on top of the developing technology and the changes in store. Registration is $64 for members; $80 for nonmembers. For more information, please contact Sharon Kendrick at 510/464-7964 or e-mail

Legal Workshop * Wednesday, October 2, 1996
8:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. * MetroCenter, Oakland

Financial Workshop * Monday, October 7, 1996
8:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. * MetroCenter, Oakland

Planning Workshop * Friday, October 18, 1996
8:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. * MetroCenter, Oakland

Local Options Under Electric Deregulation

Progress toward deregulation of the electric market has been slow but sure over the last eight months.

In December, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) announced its vision of a deregulated market by 1998 and charged a number of working groups with the responsibility of developing the implementation details.

These working groups, comprised of representatives of the utilities, independent power suppliers, large users, and ratepayers, have toiled all summer to develop recommendations for CPUC review this fall.

Recommendations to be unveiled include: 1) how to compensate the utilities for generation units which will be rendered uneconomic by deregulations, 2) how to establish an independent operator of the transmission system and a wholesale power exchange, and 3) how and when utility customers will be eligible to purchase power from independent power suppliers.

Encouraged by the progress to date, ABAG's Power Purchasing Pool is taking initial steps to evaluate potential electric prices in the deregulated environment by issuing an RFP for electricity later this year on behalf of the Bay Area's local governments.

For more information on electric deregulation, attend ABAG's Power Conference on Thursday, September 12 (see details below).

More People and Jobs in Contra Costa County

Once the rural outpost of the Bay Area, Contra Costa County is now the fastest growing county in the Bay Area. Nearly 300,000 new residents will be added in the next twenty years, approximately one-half of that in the East County: the cities of Antioch, Brentwood, Pittsburg, and the surrounding unincorporated areas.

Contra Costa County will also experience significant job growth during the same period, adding almost 150,000 jobs throughout the county. Richmond will be on the rebound with a gain of nearly 20,000 jobs by 2015. Concord will add almost 18,500 jobs, Antioch almost 15,000, and Brentwood 14,250. The City of San Ramon will lead the pack with more than 24,000 new jobs.

Contra Costa Economic Partnership Moves Forward

Formed in mid 1995, the Contra Costa Economic Partnership (CCEP) is a coalition of business, government, and citizens striving to promote a prosperous economy in Contra Costa County.

CCEP's goals include streamlining the permitting process, attracting and retaining high-wage jobs, linking training and education to develop high-wage job skills, improving the transportation infrastructure, and developing new jobs and affordable housing near employment centers.

Some achievements are the development of the Contra Costa Regional Permit Assistance Center, producing an Economic Vitality Master Plan, and the recent addition of an Ombudsman Panel to help resolve development roadblocks.

Library Study

Policymakers in Contra Costa County are grappling with the issue of how to equitably fund and operate their countywide library system. Concerns about the current system, operated by the County of Contra Costa with property tax revenue, were first raised last year when County budget cuts resulted in a reduction in services offered by the system's 23 branches.

Local elected officers created a taskforce and asked it to look at the cost-effectiveness of the current system. In August, an independent consultant presented the following findings to the County's Mayors Conference: 1) the current system is operated in a cost-effective manner compared to other library systems; 2) the option of creating independent library systems would not be affordable for most of the cities; 3) regional configurations could benefit some areas, but could create service reductions in other areas; and 4) an independent unified library system operated outside the County structure could be more costly than the current system.

The Mayors have asked the consultants to work with the city managers on a suggested course of action; a population-based funding mechanism or a customized regional configuration are two alternatives.

Mobility in the County

Extensive transportation improvement projects are taking place in Contra Costa County. The addition of a high occupancy-vehicle (HOV) lane in both directions on Interstate 80, the Richmond Parkway (connecting I-80 at Pinole directly to the Richmond Bridge), and continuous seven-phase reconstruction involving expansion and rebuilding of the Interstate 680/Highway 24 interchange are three of the major highway projects now in progress. In addition, the BART extension to North Concord opened in 1995; Bay Point/Pittsburg station is scheduled to open by the end of 1996.


A call for papers has been announced for the 20th International Making Cities Livable Conference. The conference will take place in Santa Fe, N.M. from April 15 to 17, 1997. Conference themes include: Containing Urban Sprawl, New Urban Neighborhoods, Maintaining Urban Identity, Creating Successful Urban People Places, The Good City for Children and Youth and Balanced Urban Tourism. A Cities of Vision exhibit will also be part of the conference. Deadline for all submittals is October 1, 1996.

For more information, contact Suzanne Crowhurst Lennard at 408/ 626-9080; Fax 408/624-5126.


The California Resources Agency has issued proposed revisions to its California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines. One controversial proposal relates to determining whether a project's environmental effects are "significant." The Resources Agency proposes a guideline establishing that "[a] change in the environment which does not exceed an existing state or regional agency standard governing that change is not a `significant effect on the environment'." This provision apparently would require lead agencies to use existing state regulatory standards, where they exist, as thresholds for determining significant effects on the environment and limits discretion to make a contrary finding if the pertinent standard is not exceeded. A final decision on the revisions is expected by the end of the year. For more information, contact Maureen Gorsen, Resources Agency General Counsel, at 916/653-5656.


· Proposition 204 - Clean Water Bonds Prop. 204, The Safe, Clean, Reliable Water Supply Act (S.B. 900), is a $995 million bond measure that will appear on November's ballot. The bill provides $995 million in general obligation bonds for Delta improvements, clean water and recycling programs, water supply reliability projects, flood control subventions, and Bay Delta ecosystem restoration.
· Reauthorization of Federal Safe Drinking Water Act H.R. 3604, Reauthorization of the Safe Drinking Water Act, was signed into law on August 6, 1996. It is the only environmental bill expected to become a law this year. The bill authorizes $7.6 billion through the year 2003 for a new state revolving loan fund that will provide loans to local water systems to improve infrastructure. The law sets more stringent standards on contaminants, and requires local authorities to distribute annual reports disclosing bacterial and chemical levels in consumer drinking water.


The Alameda County Source Reduction and Recycling Board is presenting a hands-on manual to assist public agency buyers in locating and obtaining high-quality recycled content products. The manual addresses the basics, including recycled content standards and definitions, state and federal requirements, model purchasing policies, bid and contracting procedures, vendor identification, cooperative purchasing, product specifications, and strategies for waste prevention. To order a copy of Resourceful Purchasing, please contact Mark Cullors at 510/614-1699, or via e-mail at acwma


The Telecommunications 101 Infrastructure Partnership Project is hosting a roundtable discussion on "Linking Communities, Schools and Libraries" on Wednesday, September 18, 1996 from 9 am until noon at the Pacific Bell Executive Communications Center, 370 Third Street, Room 100, in San Francisco. The conference is free, but seating is limited and reservations are required. For more information, call 415/357-3100.


The San Francisco Estuary Project will hold its third annual State of the Estuary Conference on October 10-12, 1996 at the Officers' Club at the Presidio of San Francisco. Technical sessions will address: biological resources, wetlands, land use and watershed management, contaminants and impacts from reduced freshwater flows. Registration is $175 for three days, $150 for Thursday & Friday, $85 for one day (Thursday or Friday), or $40 for Saturday; the fee includes lunch, a State of the Estuary Report, and a CCMP Workbook and Abstract Book. More info is available on the conference homepage at To register, call the Estuary Project at 510/286-0460.

9/7 2 p.m. Ravenswood Preserve Volunteer Restoration Project. Bay Road, East Palo Alto
9/10 3 p.m. Bay Trail Steering Committee. Coyote Point Museum, San Mateo
9/11 9 a.m. Bay Trail Development Grant Forum. MetroCenter
9/12 8:30 a.m. Power Conference - "Optimize Your Power: Local Options in an Era of Deregulation." Oakland Marriott
9/12 8:30 a.m. Storm Water Pollution Prevention. MetroCenter
9/12 10 a.m. ABAG PLAN Finance Committee. City of Burlingame Finance Department
9/18 9:30 a.m. ABAG PLAN SHARP Meeting. MetroCenter, ABAG Room 106B
9/19 3:30 p.m. Legislation and Governmental Organization Committee. MetroCenter, ABAG Room 106B
9/19 5 p.m. Finance and Personnel Committee. MetroCenter, ABAG Room 102A
9/19 7:30 p.m. EXECUTIVE BOARD. MetroCenter Auditorium
9/20 8 a.m. HazMat Sampling. MetroCenter Auditorium
9/24 10 a.m. 5th Annual ABAG PLAN Golf Tournament. Blue Rock Springs East Golf Course
9/27 10 a.m. Regional Steering Committee for Homelessness and Housing. MetroCenter, Room 171
9/30 8 a.m. 8-Hour OSHA Training for Supervisors of Hazardous Waste Workers. MetroCenter Auditorium
9/30 5 p.m. Local Bay Trail Development Grants Due. ABAG Office

10/2 8:30 am. Local Government Challenges: Implementing the Telecommunications Act of 1996 - Legal Aspects. MetroCenter
10/2 1:30 pm. Regional Planning Committee. MetroCenter
10/7 8:30 am. Local Government Challenges: Implementing the Telecommunications Act of 1996 - Financial Aspects. MetroCenter
10/8 3:00 pm. Bay Trail Steering Committee. Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center
10/10-10/12 Third Annual State of the Estuary Conference. Officers' Club, Presidio of San Francisco
10/18. 8:30 am. Local Government Challenges: Implementing the Telecommunications Act of 1996 - Planning Aspects. MetroCenter
10/24 11:00 am. Earthquakes & Transportation Recovery Review Committee. ABAG Conference Room, MetroCenter

Service Matters is a publication of the Association of Bay Area Governments,the planning and services agency for the San Francisco Bay Area's 9 countiesand 100 cities.
Councilwoman Charlotte Powers, President; Supervisor Mary King, Vice President; Supervisor Tom Torlakson, Immediate Past President; Eugene Y. Leong, Secretary/Treasurer and Executive Director.
Michelle Fadelli, Editor. Jeannie Yee Balido, Associate Editor. Margo Yetemwork, Contributing Writer. Giovanni Luis, Graphics. P.O. Box 2050, Oakland, CA 94604-2050 · Phone: 510/464-7900 · Fax: 510/464-7970 · E-mail: · abagOnline:

Copyright ©1996 ABAG. All rights reserved. G. Luis 9/4/96