News

Mixed results in parcel tax voting across the Bay Area

12 measures decided in five counties with some results still too close to call

A mail-in election wrapped up in several Bay Area counties Tuesday, where votes weighed in on a number of school parcel tax measures and, in one county, elected a member to its county Board of Supervisors.

Votes concluded in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara and in Santa Cruz counties, where 12 school parcel tax measures were decided in special all-mail elections. As of late Tuesday night, preliminary results for several of those measures were too close to call.

As for the parcel tax measures, in Alameda County Measure E calling for a $98 annual parcel tax in the Pleasanton school district failed by a narrow margin. A similar measure in the New Haven Unified School District in Union City was too close to call as of late Tuesday night. Of the roughly 74,500 registered Alameda County voters included in Tuesday's election, 42.7 percent cast ballots.

Voters in Contra Costa County decided the fate of parcel tax measures for the John Swett Unified School District, which failed with only 59.3 percent voting in favor, and the Lafayette School District, which passed with 74.3 percent affirming the measure. Roughly half of the 25,030 registered Contra Costa County voters included in Tuesday's election weighed in, with 50.4 percent of the 25,030 registered voters casting ballots.

In Santa Clara County, voters weighed in on proposed measures that would benefit the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District, the Sunnyvale School District, the Cupertino Union School District and the Los Altos Elementary School District. Of the four parcel tax measures, all but that of the Los Altos Elementary School District appeared to garner passing votes, according to preliminary results, with 72.6 percent, 69.6 percent, 70.0 percent and 67.3 percent, respectively, voting in favor of the measures. The Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District also includes part of Santa Cruz County, requiring the input of some residents in that county.

Of the 3,350 registered Santa Cruz County voters participating in Tuesday's election, 43.8 percent cast ballots and 64.1 percent voted in favor of the parcel tax. In Santa Clara County, 147,036 registered voters could participate in the election, with 44.9 percent electing to do so. The combined results for the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District's parcel tax showed a passing vote, with 71.8 percent of the 15,720 voters in favor of the measure.

In San Mateo County, where three measures were on local ballots voters in the Ravenswood City School District narrowly affirmed their measure, with 68.4 percent voting in favor, according to Tuesday evening's tally. The San Carlos School District parcel tax easily passed, with 81.1 percent affirming the measure. The measure for the Jefferson Union High School District failed, with only 59.5 percent voting in favor of the tax.

The school parcel tax measures in all counties needed two-thirds approval.

In San Mateo County, voters also elected San Mateo Union High School District Trustee Dave Pine as District 1 supervisor. This is the first time the county has filled a seat on the board through an all-mail election. As of late Tuesday night, Pine had garnered the most votes, with 27.2 percent of the vote, edging out San Mateo County Community College District Trustee Richard Holober, who had 26.0 percent of the vote. Of the roughly 341,300 registered voters in the county, 81,641, or 23.9 percent, cast ballots in Tuesday's election.

Millbrae City Councilwoman Gina Papan came in a close third, with 25.8 percent of the vote, according to numbers available Tuesday evening. Burlingame Mayor Terry Nagel, businessman Michael Stogner and retired technical writer and project manager Demetrios Nikas trailed, with 10.1 percent, 7.5 percent, and 3.4 percent of the vote, respectively.

Pine will fill the seat vacated by Mark Church, who became the county's assessor-clerk-recorder on Jan. 1.

Patricia Decker, Bay City News

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by sad
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 4, 2011 at 8:40 am

Too bad that 7,180 voters can overrule the majority.

And how about the 57 percent who didn't vote? Really, in a mail-in election, it's not that hard.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Start Afresh
a resident of Country Fair
on May 4, 2011 at 9:07 am

In Pleasanton over 50% of registered voters participated in the Measure E vote. Let's keep increasing civic participation in the dialogue, voter education, and voting. We become a stronger and more engaged community as a result. Let's move on to broadening the solutions that PUSD and the unions will consider to improve PUSD Fiscal Excellence.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 4, 2011 at 9:10 am

If you want quality schools, move to Cupertino or Lafayette. Pleasanton is OK with average schools. They passed their parcel taxes easily. That is the bottom line. It is a free country. People are free to move.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Let Down Once Again
a resident of Val Vista
on May 4, 2011 at 9:26 am

For people that voted no and/or think that Pleasanton teachers are over paid. Please contact a teacher and ask to shadow them. Most likely the teacher lives out of town because the can't afford to live in Pleasanton. Take a look at the salaries AFTER they pay their own benefits. You just might be shocked. By the way, don't forget it is your child's education. Way to go Pleasanton.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by pity party
a resident of Birdland
on May 4, 2011 at 9:47 am

To Pity Party,
This was never for the kids. Ptown teachers are well compensated for working 180 7hour days a year. I can't shadow them on all of those days off, I have to work.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Oy Vey
a resident of Birdland
on May 4, 2011 at 11:07 am

I guess other communities care more about the quality of education. I am so sick of hearing how public employees and unions (teachers, city workers, government workers) are bringing down the country. Like they did it all on their own.
When times were good and Silicon Valley was producing more millionaires than most people could count, these public employees were making chump change comparitively. Their salaries slow and steady. Well managed retirement packages because they weren't thrown into the 401k's. They didn't receive bonuses of thousands.
These people provide a necessary service to our communities. Without them, children would be uneducated, we would be putting bars on our windows because there wouldn't be enough police officers to cut crime, people would wait longer for firefighters to come to their aid, the city parks and grounds would look trashy.
If you were employed by a city, school district, government I bet you wouldn't be feeling the same way. These people work hard for their money and we as taxpayers have a duty to invest in our cities, state and country.
Quit whining. I am sooooo sick of it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Shocker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 4, 2011 at 12:08 pm

What a shocker - Lafayette leads the way again. Way to go Pleasanton!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 4, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Hey "Shocker",

You can always move to Lafayette if you like. If you want to pay more, that is your choice. A lot of people were happy with the way things were in Pleasanton 20 - 30 years back, and maybe we don't like to see our town changed this way.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 4, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I'll take "street smart" over "book smart" any day. That is the problem with a lot of these kinds of people that moved in. Let Em go to Lafayette if they like.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on May 4, 2011 at 1:42 pm

There was no money spent on a no on E campaign, no high priced consultants, no district or community resources used, no glossy fliers sent. The yes on E camp spent over $70,000 in community contributions, they phone banked and did a last minute push for those yes votes. They annoyed 150 voters enough to submit last minute NO ballots. Imagine the outcome if there had been a no campaign. The facts spoke for themselves.

The only ones who won here are the high paid consultants, no wonder they want to do it again.

ROV just posted an updated total:

An additional 520 ballots were counted, all of the yes phone calls generated 150 last minute NO votes.

13,800 65.31% Yes

7,330 34.69% No

Last night:

YES 13,430 65.16%

NO 7,180 34.84%


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Julie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 4, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Julie is a registered user.

Oy Vey, loved your post...so true!

I've read on other threads that some people are offended that a teacher would make more than them. One person even wrote something like: "The teachers are great, but shouldn't be making more than ME". What is that about? The person did not volunteer what they do for a living, but really that's irrelevant. It sounds like they think teaching is a lowly job that shouldn't be earning decent or even *good* pay. Jackie Speier allegedly said that we pay people more money to watch our money than to watch our kids. She was referring to child care, but I think it could apply to school age teachers as well.

And I'm SO sick of the whining about how many days / year a teacher works. If you all are so jealous of that...why didn't you study to be a teacher? It's not like a teacher's schedule is a secret. What's the deal? You didn't want to go to school for that long? You wanted to earn 6 figures in less than 20-25 years and without going back to school? You wanted prestige? You have no patience? What???


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Big Money Teechaz!
a resident of Val Vista
on May 5, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I have to agree with Julie. If teachers are so overpaid and overcompensated for such easy work then why didn't these people just go into teaching? Come on, you could have lived the extravagant, lavish teacher lifestyle too and retired with your huge pension to your teacher-mansion in the Pleasanton hills just like us!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by kk
a resident of Stoneridge
on May 5, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Measure E peeple were too pushy... I know personally several people were annoyed by too many phone calls. They even tracked who didn't post ballot and send repeated email.. I support good school district.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by jj
a resident of Stoneridge
on May 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm

I am sure everyone is concerned about increase of kids in calss rooms. But, why are parents not complaining about too much time sepnd on partying on class rooms. Actual teaching happens between January to April only. Before and after, too much time spend on partying... Can't teachers spend some of that time to help kids learn more...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Wilma
a resident of Willow West
on May 5, 2011 at 5:04 pm

I argree jj is right. The teachers party and bad behavior. They spend more time calling me and writing to be here then teaching math.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joanne
a resident of Birdland
on May 5, 2011 at 5:12 pm

With the $355,000 the PUSD spent on the election (=$20,000 mailer + $250,000 election + $85,000 consultants)) and what was spent by Support Pleasanton Schools ($70,000), that is $425,000. With that money, Barton and the reading specialists could have been saved.

So instead of money going to help the kids, this money was diverted to fatten the consultants' wallets instead.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sal
a resident of Downtown
on May 5, 2011 at 7:25 pm

The anti-parcel tax group provides a "last stand" mentality for conservative, long time residents who are troubled by the recent diversification of our community and our school district. A lot of their motivation is the result of genuine spite for a changing community. They want the 1980s, homogeneous, Reagan-era Pleasanton. History will not be on their side.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on May 5, 2011 at 9:03 pm

OK, Folks. Show's over. Move along.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 5, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Mike,

Measure F is just getting started.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on May 6, 2011 at 12:59 am

Concerned Parent,

My point is that all the back-and-forth between the two sides of this issue is adding nothing new.


Mike


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pensions were never the problem
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 6, 2011 at 11:39 am

The problem is that government employers got a free ride when times were good.
When interest rates were very high, pension funds were invested so well that governments were allowed to reduce or stop paying toward employee's pensions, because of the interest or return on the investments.
UC, who at that time ran LLNL, had professors who volunteered to watch the investments and they out performed the market and the investment counselors.
They did so well that UC did not have to pay or charge the employees for years and was worried that the State of Ca would "borrow" their money.
But when interest rates came down, pension funds just burned away their funds, and did not promptly ask employers to pay, or to pay enough. Eventually that caught up to them, and employers not only have to pay, they need to make up for some of the prior free ride. CalPERS and the teachers pensions are similar.
If you ask the employees to pay more, it really just costs more in the long run because that money comes out of their salaries, which the employer pays,and is taxed, too,
Employees did not cause the recession, and cutting the pensions that they are entitled to, based on years of service, will not solve today's problems.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 6, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Let Down Once Again:

Way to go Pleasanton? Over 65% of voters (including me)voted Yes on E. The fact that the teachers' union insists on raises (step & column) every year gave ammunition to the small percentage of people who voted no. Many folks in the private and public sector are seeing reductions in compensation and increased costs in benefits.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Yet Another Teacher
a resident of Hart Middle School
on May 8, 2011 at 1:26 am

Sal wrote: "The anti-parcel tax group provides a "last stand" mentality for conservative, long time residents who are troubled by the recent diversification of our community and our school district. A lot of their motivation is the result of genuine spite for a changing community. They want the 1980s, homogeneous, Reagan-era Pleasanton. History will not be on their side."

Sal, I have the same idea, but you expressed it more concisely and clearly than I. The reasoning--such as it is--goes like this: "The non-whites coming to Pleasanton are attracted by the good schools. If we make sure the schools are just average, these newcomers will stay away and Pleasanton can turn back the clock to the all-white community it once was."

Problem is, it won't work. It never does. Time only moves forward, never backwards.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tubby McPhersen
a resident of Happy Valley
on May 8, 2011 at 4:58 am

Whats wrong with having average schools? I grew up Catholic and the nuns always taught us not to be proud. It is the great sin before the fall.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 8, 2011 at 7:35 am

YAT,

"Problem is, it won't work. It never does. Time only moves forward, never backwards."

Yes, but maybe you can slow it down. A lot of people moved here because they no longer felt like they were living in the America they knew and loved. It is not just having people who look the same way, it is also the values they have. The workaholic attitude that some of these minorities bring can also be a problem. Some people like a slower, simpler life.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 8, 2011 at 9:59 am

Hasn't America always been the melting pot? What does it say on the Statue od Liberty? "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of you teamming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" This poem is called the New Colossus and it was written by Emma Lazarus.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 8, 2011 at 10:47 am

"Hasn't America always been the melting pot?"

Yes, but Pleasanton doesn't have to be. Maybe a person likes to take a walk in his neighborhood and hear the children playing and speaking English to each other for a change. Or maybe just hearing kids playing at all and not just doing lessons, lessons, lessons, drill, drill, drill.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 8, 2011 at 10:49 am

I don't have a problem with test scores going down a little in Pleasanton and I bought my home 35 years ago, so I don't care if the value goes down, and it won't go down that much anyway. We didn't have college classes when I was in high school.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Yet Another Teacher
a resident of Hart Middle School
on May 8, 2011 at 11:02 am

Thanks for your honesty, John. I don't think you represent a majority of Pleasantonians, but it's clear you do represent the view of a substantial minority who defeated the parcel tax.

Said it before and I'll say it again: we aren't getting a parcel of any size in Pleasanton. If we can't pass a 27 cent a day tax to help the schools, then it's time to divest ourselves of the fantasy that if we only do this and do that, we'll get one next time.

There is no next time. The future is mediocrity and "just ok" and the non-whites who moved here to enjoy the low crime rate, well-maintained city services, and excellent schools will go elsewhere, leaving John and the fellow old-timers to enjoy "their" Reagan-era Pleasanton.

As John wrote: "I don't have a problem with test scores going down a little in Pleasanton and I bought my home 35 years ago, so I don't care if the value goes down, and it won't go down that much anyway."

And there are enough "Johns" in Pleasanton to make sure that by the time they pass on, the schools will be past the point of renewal. Time moves forward, but going forward doesn't mean progress. I see a future of deteriorating test scores and declining property values in Pleasanton, and all because of the mistaken notion that taxes can't be passed even when you have a majority vote of 65%.

Oh, well, so long, PUSD's five-star rating, it was good while it lasted.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 8, 2011 at 12:08 pm

John, I'm sorry you feel that way. Don't agree either.

YAT, Sorry about how you feel as well. I don't see the Pleasanton either of you describe.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 8, 2011 at 9:05 pm

John and Kathleen,

Maybe bad schools aren't a concern to you, but that just goes to show you are too shortsighted to see that the FUTURE of this country rests on the children you are currently depriving.

Get out of your little bubble.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 8, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Anonymous, I was disagreeing with both John and YAT. I agree the only hope for the future are the children who will inherit it, as has always been the case. They are also inheriting the debt, and I worry about that just as much.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joanne
a resident of Birdland
on May 9, 2011 at 12:12 am

Democrats normally do not support parcel taxes because they agree with the California Supreme Court ruling Serrano v. Priest that all schools should be funded equally, particularly if these democrats see unsustainable salary increases every few years (barely able to be caught up by COLA) for the last 20 years in the District.

Also, 1/3 of the housing stock in Pleasanton is rental housing. Renters in Pleasanton that want to buy a house make up a fair percentage of the registered voters. The Yes on E propaganda of "Yes on E will raise property values nonsense" thus served to disenfranchise all the renter voters who are saving their money to buy a house in Pleasanton one day.

If the Contra Costa Times salary database came out in March showing 279 teachers and administrators cost the district more than $100,000 per year rather than just a few days before the deadline for the mail in ballot, far more people would have voted No on E.

Also, if the union Tentative Agreement showing no furlough days were being offered came out in March, thus resulting in a 2.78% overall raise in the certificated pay schedule rather than just a few days before the deadline for the mail in ballot, far more people would have voted No on E.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Democracy
a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on May 9, 2011 at 7:15 am

I reluctantly voted for E; having voted against the parcel tax the last round. While I still feel that CA has taxed itself into huge trouble and the public employee unions and their lobbies are a big part of the defict problem; I also feel that local teachers have probably given back more than their fair share.

I keep reading and hearing how the economy is coming back...does anyone really believe this? This state is in a huge mess; but it's not not the teachers fault, it has been poorly managed. Saying this, democracy sometimes doesn't produce the desired result. I am disappointed that E didn't pass, but I understand why folks voted NO on it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by James
a resident of Highland Oaks
on May 16, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Just have to say that the ~$400K that was referenced is just the cost (with benefits) of roughly 5 teachers. If we think an educated population is important, then we should support it... It's how many in the valley have made their money and contributed to our community.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 16, 2011 at 6:22 pm

"Maybe bad schools aren't a concern to you, but that just goes to show you are too shortsighted to see that the FUTURE of this country rests on the children you are currently depriving."

What good does continually giving in to union demands do for education? Crearting a higher employee cost structure doesn't solve anything; it does add to the problem. What do you think will be accomplished by giving the same people more money? And why are public sector employees escaping the economic realities that everyone else is facing? Who continues to give raises while budgets are shrinking? And why does one group think it is acceptable to try to tax people more during a recession?


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