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Ballots on their way for March 5 primary; Belvedere City Hall drop box opens on Feb. 6

Residents will begin receiving their vote-by-mail ballots next week ahead of the March 5 presidential primary election.

 

A 24-hour drop box at Belvedere City Hall will open Feb. 6 until polls close at 8 p.m. Election Day.

 

All Tiburon Peninsula residents will have the ability to vote on Measure A, a $517 million bond initiative to repair and upgrade schools in the Tamalpais Union High School District, which includes Redwood High. Property owners would be taxed at $30 per $100,000 in assessed value — a total cost to residents of about $1.04 billion with interest. A 55% majority is required for approval.

 

Belvedere voters will also see Measure C, which asks whether the city can continue to spend collected property taxes that fund roughly half its contract for fire and emergency services. Belvedere doesn’t have its own fire agency and contracts with the Tiburon Fire Protection District.

 

While known colloquially as the “fire tax,” the initiative is neither a new tax nor an increase. The actual tax was approved by voters in a separate measure in 2000, and it never sunsets, but every four years residents must vote to allow the city to adjust its budget appropriations limit to keep spending the money it’s already collecting.

 

The tax rate for fiscal 2023-2024 is $994 per parcel, $1,131 per commercial structure and $199 per vacant parcel. Simple-majority approval would increase the spending ceiling through June 30, 2028.

 

California has just one statewide initiative, Proposition 1, a $6.38 billion bond from the so-called “millionaire’s tax” to increase capacity for mental-health and substance-abuse treatment and for supportive housing. The initiative stems from 2004’s voter-approved Mental Health Services Act, or Proposition 63, which imposed a new 1% tax on those making more than $1 million a year for mental-health services.

 

Proposition 1 wouldn’t generate new revenue, but it would reduce counties’ 95% share of Proposition 63 revenue to 90%, and the state would use its 10% share to repay the new bonds.

 

In public offices, Southern Marin Supervisor Stephanie Moulton-Peters will appear on the ballot, though she’s unchallenged.

 

California Assemblymember Damon Connolly, D-San Rafael, is facing challenges from Republicans Andrew Podshadley of Novato, whose family owns Trek Wines, and correctional officer Eryn Cervantes of San Quentin. The top two finishers will advance to the November general election.

 

U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, is being challenged by Republican small-business owner Chris Coulombe and Republican vintage vehicle restorer Tief Gibbs, as well as no-party candidates and entrepreneurs Jason Bisendine and Jo Kangas. Again, the top two finishers will advance to the November general election.

 

The U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Laphonza Butler, appointed after the death of Dianne Feinstein, is also up for grabs. Butler isn’t running to keep her seat, but the leading contenders are Democratic U.S. representatives Barbara Lee of Oakland, Adam Schiff of Burbank and Katie Porter of Irvine, with the top two finishers advancing to November. The race will appear on the ballot twice — once for a short-term seat between November and January 2025 and the second for the full six-year term starting next January.

 

Registered Democrats will see President Joe Biden on the ballot alongside the party’s longshot candidates.

 

Republican voters will see former President Donald Trump and his only remaining serious challenger, former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, plus longshots and those who’ve dropped out, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. There are also seven candidates seeking four District 3 seats — representing Southern Marin — on the Marin’s Republican Central Committee.

 

On other ballots, businessman James Bradley is the only presidential candidate for the American Independent Party, physician Jill Stein is on the Green Party ballot and physician Charles Ballay is on the Libertarian Party ballot. The Peace and Freedom Party has three presidential candidates, organizer Claudia de la Cruz, nonprofit-director Jasmine Sherman and academic Cornel West.

 

California has a modified closed presidential primary. Voters must be registered as Republican, Green or Peace and Freedom to receive those respective ballots. No-party-preference voters will get a ballot without a presidential candidate, though they may request a crossover ballot to vote in the Democratic, Libertarian or American Independent primaries; request a crossover ballot at marinvotes.org.

 

Other key dates ahead:

 

• Feb. 5: Ballots are mailed and in-person voting begins in the Election Department of the Marin Civic Center.

• Feb. 20: Voter registration deadline. Register and check your status at registertovote.ca.gov.

• Feb. 21: Conditional registration with same-day voting begins at the Civic Center; California allows same-day registration with a provisional ballot.

• Feb. 24: 11-day voting centers open.

• Feb. 26: Last day to request a ballot be mailed.

• March 2: Four-day voting centers open, including at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Tiburon.

• March 5: Election Day. Polls are open 7 a.m.- 8 p.m.

 

Track your ballot online at wheresmyballot.sos.ca.gov. For more election details, visit marinvotes.org.

 

Reach Kevin Hessel at 415-435-2652.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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