Measure C, the ballot proposition that would have funded rehabilitation of Berkeley’s four pools, won just over 60% of the vote, falling short of the required two-thirds.

Robert Collier, co-chair of the Berkeley Pools Campaign, said in an email exchange shortly after the votes were counted last night, “Measure C lost only because of the Prop. 13 two-thirds requirement for new taxes.” He continued:

In any other system but California’s, we would have won a landslide victory. We had a great response from a broad swath of Berkeley, from the hills to the flats, from Shirley Dean to Tom Bates to Kriss Worthington, and more grassroots participation than any campaign in recent Berkeley memory. But as in the state legislature, the Prop. 13 legacy gives the conservative minority the ability to block the needed revenue measures to save our state and our communities from crisis and collapse.

Collier also said the failure of Measure C raised a larger question for him:

The importance of Measure C stretches far beyond the pools. The latest news from Congress indicates it is unwilling to give enough federal aid to rescue states and municipalities from their fiscal crisis. So a wave of fiscal dominoes will hit American cities with a catastrophic series of budget cuts that affect schools, parks, and other needed services. Measure C is an initial indication of how communities will react — will we do what is necessary to save those services? Or will we allow everything to crumble and decay?

One immediate consequence of the lack of a two-thirds majority on the measure will be the closure of the Willard Pool on July 1. The warm pool at Berkeley High will close next year when BHS demolishes the building to make room for more classrooms.

The final tally according to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters was 10,421 votes for Measure C (60.38%) and 6,837 votes opposed (39.62%).

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Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...