Sat down this morning with my wife, Arlene, and we went through the ballot together, then walked downtown and dropped our signed, dated and completed ballot in the drop box in front of the Monterey library. This is so convenient and your ballot will be picked up daily and brought directly to the election office to be counted. Just be sure you follow directions that come with your ballot and above all, sign and date it as directed. Ballots dropped off now will be counted first and will be part of the election night report.
I know people are rightfully focused on the national election, but local elections impact you directly in so many ways. In addition to supporting me for Monterey City Council, I hope people will support Congressman Jimmy Panetta, John Laird for state Senate, Mark Stone for state assembly, and Mayor Clyde Roberson for Monterey Mayor. Mayor Clyde is a kind, inclusive and collaborative Mayor. He supported my proposal to limit campaign donations to less than $500/individual, he supports our efforts to build affordable housing, and he has been a steady leader during the Covid crisis. Mayor Clyde has deep roots in Monterey as a former MPUSD teacher and thanks to his leadership Monterey enjoys a Monterey Bay Recreation Trail, Window on the Bay, and the Monterey Sports Center.
There are also two local ballot measures that are extremely important. I am supporting City of Monterey's Measure Y, which will raise the tourist hotel tax 2% and generate 2.8 to 5.6 million annually. Without Measure Y, the city will not be able to bring back the programs in the library, sports center, and parks and recreation that had to be cut to balance the budget due to the Covid 19 crisis. 16% of the additional revenue from Measure Y also will go to our Neighborhood and Community Improvement Program, which funds projects that our neighborhood associations propose. The hotel-tourist tax hasn't been raised in 35 years, is currently below competing cities, and residents will not pay it but tourists.
Another important local ballot measure is Measure V for MPC, Monterey Peninsula College. MPC needs revenue to repair and renovate its aging buildings and the last facility bond was 18 years ago and ran out of funding long ago. MPC is so important to our community and educates 6,600 students annually, training our local workforce. Yes on V for MPC!
But however you vote, vote. This is what makes us Americans. I sometimes hear folks say that it doesn't matter or that the politicians are all the same. As someone who works with many local elected officials on regional boards and commissions as well as city council, I can say with certainty that they are not all the same and the people who are at the table make a huge difference. When regular people surrender their right to vote, it empowers those who have the most wealth, power and influence. No matter how much or little money or power you have in your daily life, when you fill out that ballot we are all equal--as long as you fill it out. Please vote and if you like, take advantage of the convenient drop box outside our city library.