The precoital council

Don’t be surprised next year if Bill Harrison buys you a drink, Anu Natarajan shows up at your door with cookies or Dominic Dutra lets you touch his hair.

The City Council is in full-on courtship mode, and in their minds you guys have been playing hard to get since 1956.

Usually when a city wants to pass a tax, things are pretty straight forward. The powers that be get a few handsome firefighters to knock on doors; they get the police union to pony up for some mailers; they form a campaign committee that hires the consulting firm with the ex-mayor’s daughter on staff. Wham bam … blah blah blah.

But not the Fremont City Council. They apparently want to spend the next few years re-enacting When Harry Met Sally with voters playing the role of Sally and the money scene not getting shot until 2014.

Never mind that the school district easily got a parcel tax passed last year on a shoestring campaign budget.

A prediction. No matter how many brainstorming retreats the council takes, no matter how many outreach meetings they hold, no matter how much they crow about the declining state of city streets, this is going to be public safety parcel tax.

Nobody is paying more to live in Union City because its street pavement index is higher than Fremont’s. People move to Fremont for schools, safety and convenience. The council doesn’t control schools and it can’t tax its way to an even more convenient spot on the map. That leaves police and fire.

For the masses in Warm Springs worried about burglaries, the council can scream out that they’ll get more cops. And for the 13 people who really care about the potholes, the council can whisper that a public safety tax really just dedicates a new funding source for police and fire, allowing the city to spend a little more of its operating budget on other items such as street maintenance.

Matt Artz

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