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Oakland Council Member Calls Parcel Tax Measure 'Too Vague'

OAKLAND (KCBS) — Voting begins Monday in a special election-by-mail to decide if Oakland homeowners should pay an extra $80 a year to help pay for police and other services.

Voters have until November 15th to send in their ballots on the Measure I parcel tax.

The controversial measure is the centerpiece of Mayor Jean Quan's plan to hire more cops.

KCBS' Doug Sovern Reports:

City Council member Ignacio De La Fuente, however is vehemently opposed and along with other critics, raises the issue that there's no guarantee the money would really go to hire more police.

"Voters in Oakland and home owners are taxed to the max. I don't believe the explanation in the ballot assures the voters how the money is going to be used," he said.

De La Fuente said the $11 million a year is supposed to pay for parks and pothole repair aside from the police, but the Council could use it for anything.

Council member Pat Kernighan will bring a resolution next week to earmark the tax money for those services for the next two years.

Though it's not an ironclad, binding, guarantee, Kernighan said, "We're only talking about 80 dollars a year."

"Most people can handle that. That's only 25 cents a day. I as an Oakland resident would pay 10 times that much in order to get a bigger police department and also for these other basic services," she said.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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