Thank heaven, the 35% of Tuesday's voters who managed to quash the Measure E $98 a year parcel tax vote in Pleasanton don't have a similar controlling voice in the rest of our city's or the state's operations or most of us would be heading for someplace else. That's all it took to deny more than $2 million in desperately needed funds for school children and education in our community. The opponents of Measure E, including the right-wing and Tea Party advocates who spoke against the parcel tax at recent school board meetings, couldn't find a majority of like-minded voters if they had campaigned openly. Yet because of California's peculiar system of "direct democracy" and its two-thirds-plus-one vote requirements for tax measures to become law, the minority rules. In its current magazine, The Economist offers a special report on California's dysfunctional democracy. It could have substituted the word "Pleasanton," where two-to-three speakers with loud, demanding voices can scuttle a tax measure to support our schools or, across First Street, to cause the City Manager to go back on his handshake agreement with the city employees union on an already negotiated contract.
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posted Friday, May 6, 2011, 12:00 AM