Voter’s Edge California
Get the facts before you vote.
Brought to you by
League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
KPCC's My Ballot@KPCC
November 8, 2016 — California General Election

City of Lafayette
Measure C - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results


6,002 votes yes (41.81%)

8,352 votes no (58.19%)

100% of precincts reporting (17/17).

15,400 ballots counted.

To provide funding that will stay 100% in Lafayette, to maintain the City's quality of life by funding general City services prioritizing: * Protecting open space; * Reducing downtown congestion; * Enhancing police protection; * Increasing downtown parking; * Acquiring land for downtown parks; * Revitalizing the historic Park theater; shall the ordinance enacting a general 1% sales tax, for 29 years, providing $3 million dollars annually, with citizens' oversight, all funds spent in Lafayette, be adopted?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

City Attorney

On July 25, 2016, the City Council placed Measure C on the November 8, 2016 ballot. If approved by a majority of Lafayette voters, this Measure would authorize a one percent (1%) retail transactions and use (sales) tax within the City of Lafayette. It is estimated that Measure C will provide an additional $3,000,000 in annual local funding for open space and parks, traffic and parking improvements, police services, revitalization of the Park Theater, and other general City services. This tax would be a “general tax,” meaning that revenues raised from the tax would go into the City’s general fund to fund any lawful City program, improvement, or service.

California Revenue and Taxation Code section 7285.9 authorizes the City to levy a general transactions and use/sales tax at a rate of one percent (1%) so long as the tax is approved by two-thirds (2/3) of the City Council and a majority of the voters voting in an election on that issue. If approved, the sales tax would become effective on April 1, 2017. Measure C will expire on April 1, 2046, unless extended by Lafayette voters voting at a subsequent election.

The tax would be paid in addition to current sales taxes and would be collected at the same time and in the same manner as existing sales taxes. All revenues raised by the tax would belong to the City and would not be shared with the State or any other agency.

Measure C requires annual independent audits to verify that tax revenues are collected, managed and expended in accordance with its terms. Measure C requires the City Council to establish a “Citizens’ Oversight Commission”

to review the collection and expenditure of tax revenues or to assign those duties to an existing City committee or commission. The terms, composition and specific duties of Commission members shall be established by the City Council.

By placing Measure C on the ballot, the City complies with Article XIIIC of the California Constitution (Proposition 218), which requires a majority of the voters to approve an ordinance which establishes a general tax.

A “yes” vote on Measure C will authorize the 1% transactions and use (sales) tax.

A “no” vote on Measure C will not authorize the 1% transactions and use (sales) tax.

The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure C. If you desire a copy of the Measure, please call the City at (925) 284-1968 and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you.

Mala Subramanian
City Attorney

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

Lafayette residents live in a special community. Our public schools are outstanding, the setting is beautiful, the weather is grand, and we enjoy a semi-rural lifestyle only minutes from the most exciting cosmopolitan area in the world. Crime rates are low, our roads have been rebuilt, and the City has had a balanced budget for twenty consecutive years.

Still, we can improve. During last year’s Community Conversations, and in two detailed surveys, we learned that residents want – and are willing to pay for – the City to preserve open space, add downtown parking, ease traffic back-ups, ensure our police have adequate resources, create downtown parks, and revitalize the Park Theater.

These improvements cost money and current revenues are insufficient to fund them. Measure C thus proposes a 1% sales tax increment, all of which will stay in Lafayette. The tax will raise about $3 million annually and, with matching funds, grants, and private donations, deliver exceptional improvements to Lafayette. These other funds might not be available without the leverage that a local sales tax fund would provide.

A sales tax in Lafayette will also be paid by the many residents from neighboring communities who shop and dine in Lafayette, just as we now pay higher Orinda and Moraga sales tax rates when we shop there.

The members of your City Council unanimously support Measure C and pledge that the following projects you requested will be the priorities for use of the tax increment:

Protecting open space from development

  • Reducing downtown congestion
  • Enhancing police protection
  • Improving downtown parking
  • Acquiring land for downtown parks
  • Revitalizing the historic Park Theater

The use of the funds each year will depend on the opportunities that arise that year.

Join us and many others to further perfect this place we call home.

Mark Mitchell, Mayor, City of Lafayette, for the City Council
Dennis Garrison, President, Lafayette Chamber of Commerce
Teresa Gerringer, Lafayette School Board
Tom Steuber, Lafayette Citizen of the Year
Richard Whitmore, President, Acalanes Union High School District Board

— Contra Costa Registrar of Voters

Arguments AGAINST

What the City Sales Tax ballot measure DOES NOT tell you: 

  • The measure does not require the funds to be used for any specific purpose. So what is the purpose for the increase?
  • The City can borrow up to $50 million against the tax measure revenue stream. Again, for what purpose?
  • With this borrowed money, some in the City want to acquire land and build a $30 million City Hall. Do we need it or is it a luxury for City officials?
  • Adequate City budget funds already exist for police protection enhancement, Park Theater revitalization, and downtown parkland acquisition.
  • No tax measure funds are needed to protect open space, which has and can be done with proper zoning, but needs to be enforced by the City.
  • The City has adequate revenues as demonstrated by budget surpluses.
  • The City has not shown why the funds are needed, nor how they will be used.
  • Only one local organization supports the measure – the Contra Costa Tax Association and other local organizations have all chosen NOT to take a position, as they CANNOT support it.
  • Sales taxes will increase by over 18%, if this measure and the CCTA sales tax pass.

Further, our City government is not truly representing Lafayette citizens as demonstrated by their denial of our right to vote on a major project, not upholding our General Plan/Ordinances on recent applications, and yet another legal complaint filed for multiple conflict of interest violations of State Law.

With this lack of information, honesty and trust, are you comfortable handing the City a blank check for $50 million? We are not.

Please Vote NO on Measure C.

Michael Griffiths, President, Save Lafayette
Laurel Stanley, Attorney-At-Law

— Contra Costa Registrar of Voters

Replies to Arguments FOR

Sales Tax

Needed Not Needed Comments
Protect Open Space   X All publicly owned or protected by zoning and ordinances
Reduce downtown congestion ? ? Maybe – the City has not told us. Most plans to date not acceptable to the community
Enhance police protection   X Police services contracted with County – sufficient funds in General Fund for equipment
Increase downtown parking   X 75% owned by private landowners and according to City staff City does not have a parking problem. However the City has millions of dollars in reserve to handle more parking
Acquire land for downtown parks   X City has millions of dollars in parking funds for acquisition and collecting millions more from all new development
Revitalize the Park Theater   X Not needed – theater recently purchased by investors who will fund improvements

If not needed for priorities, then what is the $87 Million for? The City is planning to build expensive city administrative offices.

This is the same city city government that took away our right to vote on a major land project, has multiple complaints filed against it for wrongdoing under the California Political Records Act, has one City Commissioner already fired by the State and is not enforcing its own General Plan and Ordinances.

Does the City of Lafayette think its residents can be fooled this easily?

Prove it wrong – join thousands of other residents who do not trust their city government with a blank check for $87 Million.



Michael Griffiths, President, Save Lafayette
Colin Elliott, Real Estate Consultant
Andres Caicedo, CEO Small Business
Laurel Stanley, Attorney at Law

— Contra Costa Registrar of Voters

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

We support Measure C because it will fund the improvements in Lafayette that residents want. Foremost among these are:

  • Protecting open space from development,
  • Reducing congestion,
  • Enhancing police protection,
  • Improving downtown parking,
  • Acquiring land for downtown parks,
  • Revitalizing the historic Park Theater

They are also willing to fund those projects.

Due to careful budgeting and management, the City has balanced its budgets for years. However, an independent citizen’s committee concluded there are not sufficient funds to take on new endeavors. The committee recommended and citizens concur that this additional 1% sales tax, all proceeds of which remain in Lafayette, is the best method to raise the necessary funds.

ALL members of Lafayette’s City Council have pledged to prioritize the six projects chosen by Lafayette’s residents. To be clear, building a City Hall will not be a priority for tax increment funds. Lafayette will endeavor to leverage the funds through grants, donations, and matching funds to achieve more benefit. An independent citizens’ oversight committee will monitor how funds are spent and will report frequently to citizens.

The Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, whose retailing members are directly affected by the tax, supports Measure C. The Chamber is joined by many citizens who have stepped forward to endorse Measure C.

The claims in the argument against Measure C are based on misinformation and are not supported by the facts behind Measure C.

MEASURE C will enhance the lives of Lafayette’s residents and deserves your vote.

Don Tatzin, Councilmember, Lafayette City Council
Toni McShane, Past Stanley School Administrator and Citizen of the Year
Anne Grodin, Past Lafayette Mayor and Citizen of the Year
Cameron Burks, Chair, Lafayette Crime Prevention Commission
Seth Hamalian, President, Lafayette Library & Learning Center Foundation

— Contra Costa Registrar of Voters

More information

Opinions & Analysis (1)

Use tabs to select your choice. Use return to create a choice. You can access your choices by navigating to 'My Choices'.

Please share this site to help others research their voting choices.