Merced County Times Newspaper
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Councilman details stance on Measure C

Editor’s note: Merced City Councilman Fernando Echevarria provided Times Publisher John Derby with the following information outlining his stance on Measure C. During a recent meeting, a majority of the Council (four) voted in support of placing a Measure C renewal on the November ballot. Measure C is an existing half-cent sales tax that supports staffing levels at the Police Department and the Merced Fire Department.

The four “Yes” votes, however, fell short of the five required for approval. Echevarria was one of the three who voted “No.”

(1) The proposed resolution had almost a month ahead of the Aug. 12 [ballot entry] deadline yet we weren’t aware of the correct deadline and leadership at staff level was deceitful and fabricated a response to multiple questions concerning the correct dates. To this date, no staff members have owned up to the huge mistake.

(2) The stakes were raised when discussion was made to have no sunset [clause for the new measure].

(3) The survey was rushed and excluded many members of our community in the impoverished area of south Merced. A UC Merced statistical expert has expressed concerns about the survey and used the old adage, “Garbage in, garbage out”.

(4) Numerous requests were made regarding Senate Bill 566 Tax and revenue code regarding the resolution containing the language of a 2/3 vote by council members and the voters. Once again the art of fabrication came into play with city staff assuring council members that it would only take four votes to pass. Not the case, as you are aware, when I ran the numbers and asked the city attorney for clarification.

(5) The public was instrumental in swaying the vote. The public is requesting a new resolution that are including different approaches and components that are completely being ignored. They are asking for fairness in the direction of funding.

(6) The measure would have a higher chance of passing in 2024.

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