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Final week to vote as Election Day nears

The presidential primary election is March 5 and features two local ballot measures, a state proposition and a host of candidates for office, including congressional and state Assembly seats.

 

The peninsula’s only polling place opens this weekend at Westminster Presbyterian Church, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 2, noon-8 p.m. March 3, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 4 and 7 a.m.-8 p.m. March 5.

 

A 24-hour ballot dropbox is already available at Belvedere City Hall until the polls close at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

 

Measure A

 

Tiburon Peninsula residents will be among those voting on a $517-million bond measure to modernize the Tamalpais Union High School District’s five campuses.

 

If approved by 55% of school-district voters, Measure A, as it will appear on the ballot, would levy an annual tax of $30 per $100,000 of assessed value on properties in the district, which includes Tiburon, Belvedere, Strawberry and more than a dozen other communities along the Highway 101 corridor south and west of San Rafael. The assessed value is based on the purchase price of a home and cannot increase by more than 2% each year.




The tax is expected to generate about $36 million annually to repay the bond, which will be used for campus updates, including repairing and replacing roofs, as well as plumbing and heating and cooling systems; updating classrooms; completing Americans with Disabilities Act upgrades; repairing or replacing portable classrooms; and installing, repairing and replacing security, fire lighting and other safety systems.

 

Advocates say the funding is needed to make critical upgrades to decades-old buildings. That includes the League of Women Voters of Marin County, U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman, the Marin superintendent of schools, District 3 Marin Supervisor Stephanie Moulton-Peters, Fairfax Town Councilmember Stephanie Hellman, former district board member Chuck Ford, Performing Stars Executive Director Felecia Gaston and Play Marin founder Paul Austin.

 

Critics have questioned the total cost of repaying the bond, estimated at about $1 billion after interest over its 30-year term, and claim the improvements are unfairly focused on the district’s two largest schools, Redwood and Tamalpais. That includes Mimi Willard of the Coalition of Sensible Taxpayers; Susan Kirsch of Livable California; Julia Violich, a board member of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition; former San Anselmo Mayor Matthew Brown and former Corte Madera Mayor James Andrews.

 

Measure C

 

Belvedere residents will vote on whether the city can continue to spend property taxes that fund about half of its contract for fire and emergency services through the Tiburon Fire Protection District.

 

The initiative is neither a new tax nor an increase. The existing tax was approved by voters in a separate measure in 2000, and it never sunsets; however, 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 Belvedere Fire Measure Renewal Committee, which backs the measure, is chaired by Jena Watson, also a member of the city’s Parks, Open Space and Lanes Committee, and includes former mayors Tom Cromwell and James Campbell along with Planning Commission Chair Pat Carapiet and Belvedere-Tiburon Library Agency Chair Roxanne Richards.

 

There are no ballot arguments against the measure.

 

Also on the ballot

 

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 Republican 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 other 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 Part 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.

 

Emily Lavin and Naomi Friedland contributed to this report. Reach Executive Editor Kevin Hessel at 415-435-2652.

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