Sacramento voters appeared ready to approve the 1-cent sales tax Measure U based on early returns Tuesday night.
At the Urban Roots Brewery and Smokehouse, elected officials and supporters of Measure U and Propositions 1 and 2 gathered for beer tastings and southern barbecue election night.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg told the crowd of about 200 people at 8 p.m. the early lead was promising, and would later claim victory.
44,000 votes counted, nine points ahead, I think it’s time to declare victory! The voters of Sacramento have said they love our city but they want much more. pic.twitter.com/CR7DNFTy2h— Darrell Steinberg (@Mayor_Steinberg) November 7, 2018
"I think they (the voters) want to take this great renaissance that we're experiencing and take it to the next level while including everyone who has been left out from the neighborhoods," he said.
Steinberg’s specific ask is for voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax increase, which he hopes will be spent on everything from police and firefighters to homelessness and job-development in communities of color.
Critics worry the money will go to pay of the city’s mounting public-employee retirement benefits and pensions instead of programs and amenities for low-income communities.
Eight blocks away in a tiki-themed community room of an apartment complex, Eye on Sacramento’s Craig Powell served as bartender to about 20 people. He said the No on Measure U campaign was proud of the impact it's had.
"Before, I think Sacramentans were reflexively approving every new tax that was put before them. That's not happening anymore. Now we're seeing a rigorous debate and I think the close results in this election is a sign of that," he said.
Measure U would double the previous half-cent tax that was approved by voters in 2012 and set to expire in March.