Ok, as move around the state recapping various elections Mike and I thought we would start in the fine city of Milpitas. Lying just north of San Jose in Santa Clara County moving up the east side of the Bay lays the bedroom community of Milpitas. Wikipedia says that there are some 70,000 residents in Milpitas. And a recent review of the voter rolls show that there are some 24,000 voters in Milpitas. Pretty even split between men and women, and like most Bay Area cities, more Democrats than Republicans by 2 to 1.
Also, like most Bay Area towns, Milpitas has had to make some serious cuts to its budget lately, including cuts to its police and fire departments. So, in an effort to recoup some of those lost dollars, the city placed on the November 2014 ballot, Measure E. In a nutshell, Measure E asked Milpitas voters whether they would be in favor of an existing card room in Santa Clara County relocate to Milpitas. If a cardamom did in fact move to Milpitas, the city would have eventually realized more than $8 million per year in added revenue. Revenue that could be used to fix roads, add personnel to its emergency service departments, helped parks...on and on.
Now mind you, should Measure E have passed at the local level, the relocating card room would still had to have received favorable legislation in Sacramento. Various media reports intimated and campaign contribution reports confirmed that the relocating card room would have probably been Bay 101. This is the same card room that wanted to expand a few years back in San Jose but was unsuccessful with San Jose voters.
Having worked on a number of gaming issues in California over the years, it's very easy to surmise both the pro and con arguments of urban gaming. The "NO" side will argue increased crime while the "YES" side will argue increased local revenue and more jobs. In a campaign like this, in a community like Milpitas, the outcome usually will always depend on messenger. Can credible third parties advocate for an issue like urban gaming? Or will residents rally?
Measure E was defeated. Soundly. By about a three to one margin. Why? Probably because those who signed on as early supporters either backed off from perceived political pressure or never showed up to advocate their support. Afraid of perceived political backlash at some point in the future or concerned about eventual neighborhood mistrust, supporters never rallied enough voters to show up. A little more than 25 percent of all voters even showed up.
Not sure what the solution is to make up lost revenue in a city. But it sure isn't increased taxes. So cities like Milpitas usually gaze their attention to development, which brings an added layer of concern like increased traffic.
What's next for Milpitas? Only time will tell.
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