Seaside – In the past ten years, the population in Seaside has grown by 35%, and with the acquisition of old Ford Ord, the city has doubled in size. Despite this growth, many essential services haven't grown.
On an average day four police officers patrol the city. That number hasn't chanced since Sergeant Judy Stradan joined the Seaside Police Department ten years ago. "It's not uncommon for us to have a serious crime happen and all four of our officers be tied up. To where if something else happens, residents are going to have to wait until we clear what we're doing," said Sgt. Stradan.
Funding from Measure R would increase the number of police officers in Seaside from 45 to 58. The proposed 1% sales tax increase would raise Seaside's sales tax to 8.25%. The money would go into the city's general fund to pay for essential services including more firefighters and street improvements.
Lawrence Samuels is leading the effort against Measure R. He says the sales tax increase would be bad for business because people can easily leave Seaside and shop in nearby Sand City, Marina or Monterey. Samuels says he's not against upgrading essential city services; he just doesn't think taxpayers should foot the bill. "Go back to the budget see what you can cut. Sell some of your assets, they own that Automall. I mean it could be sold to private people and let them pay taxes on it and that'd bring more money in," said Samuels.
Measure R needs a majority approval to pass. It is one of four local measures on the ballot in the tri-county area on Super Tuesday. There are three education funding measures in Santa Cruz County and none in San Benito County. Because of the competitive presidential primary, elections officials are expecting high voter turnout.
Polls are open Tuesday 7:00am to 8:00pm. If you still have your absentee ballot, bring it to a polling station or designated drop off point in the county where you are registered to vote. Also, Santa Cruz County is still looking for more poll workers. If you'd like to help call 831-454-2060.