Milpitas voters reject card room

Voters in Milpitas have dealt a bad beat in Tuesday’s election to a ballot measure that would have allowed a large new card room to move from San Jose into the city.

Measure E, a proposed law to permit a licensed card room, with the city of about 66,000 residents receiving proceeds from a 10.5 percent on the room’s gross revenue, was the most closely watched of the 18 ballot measures before voters in Santa Clara County on Tuesday.

The card room measure was a loser with 5,685 voters against it, more than 74 percent, compared to 1,963 or under 26 percent favoring it, according to complete unofficial election results.

The measure would have had voters endorse a 25-year deal between the city of Milpitas and the Bay 101 card club, owned by Bumb & Associates, which would have moved from San Jose to a 15-acre spot in Milpitas near the Newby Island landfill off of McCarthy Boulevard.

Some city officials, notably City Manager Thomas Williams, recommended Measure E, saying that Milpitas was still recovering from the Great Recession, has had to lay off 54 city employees since 2009 and had no other source of revenue to raise $220 million to fund backlogged road, water, sewer and other public improvements.

With tax money from the card room, the city had hoped to add two police officers and an administrator for on-site law enforcement once the room opened and hire several new city firefighters, according to Williams.

But opponents, including volunteer groups of residents, retirees and clergymen, said the card room, which would feature poker-type games allowed in California, would promote gambling addiction among citizens and tarnish the city as a center for gaming and crime.

Elsewhere in the county, Measure A, to amend Mountain View’s city charter to give City Council members base salaries of $1,000 a month, was headed for passage with just under 60 percent of the vote after all 38 precincts were counted.

In Palo Alto, Measure B, a 2 percent hotel/motel tax for earthquake preparedness, roads, parks and recreation facilities, passed with 75 percent of the vote. Measure C, a telecommunications tax, passed with 85 percent and Measure D to reduce City Council seats from nine to seven won with 54 percent of voters for it.

Voters in Gilroy defeated Measure F, a proposed half-cent sales tax to pay for various city projects and services, with more than 55 percent voting against it.

In San Jose, Measure G, to permit the City Council to establish one or more retirement boards, appeared to barely win the required majority vote, with 51 percent voting in favor after all 495 precincts were counted.

School bond Measure H in the Santa Clara Unified School District won with 68.8 percent support, as did Measure I in the East Side Union School District with 67 percent. Each needed only 55 percent to pass.

The Fremont Union High School District had 69.8 percent of voters approve Measure J with all 115 precincts counted, above the two-thirds needed to pass.

Measures K, L, and M in the Fremont Union, Berryessa Union and Evergreen school districts, respectively, all passed with well over the 55 percent needed, but Measure N in the Los Altos School District appears to have fallen just short with 54.9 percent voting for it.

Measure O in the Alum Rock School District won with 74 percent — more than the required two-thirds — and Measure F in Oak Grove School District also passed.

Measure Q, the $24 per parcel tax for 15 years to raise funds to protect parks and other land overseen by the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority, appears to have barely passed with 67.03 percent of voters in support – it needed at least two thirds — with votes tallied from all 730 precincts.

Measure R, a sliding annual parcel tax for 32 years for road repair in the El Matador Maintenance District, passed with 88 percent voting for it.