Posted by resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2009 at 11:32 am
I have now identified my ultimate definition of irony:
I am now being forced to defend myself from further frivolous taxation being proposed by a well financed, well organized, politically connected, media savvy organization (with their own TV shows and “news” outlets) that is solely funded by … MY TAX DOLLARS!
I am well aware that any negative discourse on the parcel tax proposal is immediately labeled as anti-(child-education-teacher-union-government entity – pick your favorite), but I do feel that it is important to continue to point out that we will, at some point, have to face up to the fact that government services, and private citizens, MUST learn to function within their available budget.
Many do not feel comfortable creating confrontational situations that draw the ire of emotionally and financially invested District employees and parents of school aged children. But they know that they have their own crosses to bear. And that at this time it would be reckless and callous to assume that a Pleasanton address means unlimited ability to “dig a little deeper.”
So if you feel strongly about certain aspects of our education system, get involved. Donate your time and resources directly to the programs that you believe merit your valuable input. That is what being a community of character really means. But do not assess a new tax to augment the other taxes that already fund education. If you do the tax will never go away and you will not have solved anything.
Government and its supported service providers make it virtually impossible to identify where your tax dollars go in their ongoing interest of protecting any available revenue stream. Once the valve opens it will be virtually impossible to close.
I have said it numerous times on this site. Be part of the solution. Say NO to new taxes.
Posted by trekmtb, a resident of the Heritage Oaks neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2009 at 12:56 pm
Alameda County Sales and Use Tax is now 9.75%, every County is different. For instance Contra Costa County and Santa Clara County are 9.25% The range statewide is 8.25% (many) to 10.25% (parts of LA County).
Posted by John, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2009 at 7:33 am
No parcel tax!
It's not needed to balance the PUSD budget or to retain teachers or programs even BEFORE federal stimulus funds. Legislative analysts are predicting federal stimulus funds will be sufficient to offset CA State budget cuts.
Currently, our taxes are being used to fund $120k PER YEAR for administrator car allowances. Many of the administrators not only get a monthly car allowance, but also a district issued gasoline credit card.
Currently our taxes are being used to fund $150K PER YEAR for district issued cell phones.
Now how many of you have employers who pay all your transportation costs so you can get to and from your job each day? And give you a district paid for cell phone to boot!
Ask PUSD to do what they are legally obligated to do - ask them to show you expense reports and all gasoline credit card statements.
While teachers are reaching into their own pockets to purchase classroom supplies, PUSD administrators who already make substantially more than the average PUSD teacher salary, are enjoying perks paid for with our tax dollars.
But are the administrators willing to give up these perks? No Way!
They realize that unlike work days, once they give up their car allowances, their gasoline credit cards and their completely paid for by the district cell phones, it will be a tough sell to get these back.
So they pretend to be part of the solution by offering up a few work days which they can anticipate being reinstated in the near future.
Their behavior not only sticks it to the taxpayers, their behavior sticks it to the teachers as well.
A NO vote on the parcel tax is a yes vote for fiscal responsibility and integrity.
Posted by amadorparentdan, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Apr 2, 2009 at 8:25 am
As a 15 year resident of Pleasanton, I feel compelled to share my thoughts regarding the proposed parcel tax. I am the owner of a relatively new small business, and I have a daughter that is a freshman at Amador Valley and a son who is a 5th grader at Fairlands. Like many people I am disgusted by government waste and the huge corporate bailouts. I certainly feel I pay my fair share in taxes, and although I am registered as an independent I have usually been more aligned with the Republican Party when it comes to tax policies and government spending. No one in my family is a teacher or a school administrator. Yet, I strongly support the proposed parcel tax. Let me try to explain why I think paying even more money is a good idea.
First, I firmly believe that the parcel tax is (if it is possible to use the following oxymoron) a “good tax.” The money will be used by our own schools – it literally stays in Pleasanton. This is not federal or state tax money that will be used for nebulous (and questionable purposes) such as paying for junkets or bonuses at AIG. I have heard the arguments that our schools need to be run like businesses, when, in fact, many corporations have been managed incompetently and unethically with disastrous results. Pleasanton schools have a sterling reputation; the two high schools are among the top rated public schools in the country. That certainly is an indication of a well managed enterprise. I am very proud of our schools, and my children are fortunate they have the opportunity to be educated in Pleasanton. I am not an advocate of “throwing money” at a problem, and I don’t believe there is necessarily a correlation between increased spending and improved education. But let’s be honest: the Pleasanton schools have done an admirable job, and we need to trust and believe in the people who have delivered proven results.
Sadly, the parcel tax is not designed to improve the Pleasanton schools; the goal is simply to maintain the high quality of education in our community. The university system in California has already announced that it will likely cut enrollment in future years significantly. The competition to get accepted to quality colleges will become even fiercer. Other communities (Livermore, Dublin, etc.) have and will make the commitment to their children to keep them competitive. We need to make that same commitment. It makes absolutely no sense to cut school services and programs at the same moment that the bar is being raised for our children.
Other valid and legitimate arguments in favor of the parcel tax have already been stated. The effect of schools on property values can hardly be overstated. My wife and I relocated to Pleasanton because of the public school system. It is a harsh reality that if my house was located in Dublin it would be worth significantly less (and it is not because of the particularly balmy climate south of I-580). Ironically, newer and younger families in Pleasanton who bought their houses more recently will truly be hurt by losing the smaller classroom sizes. Yet, these are the same families that already pay significantly more property taxes. My children undoubtedly benefited from smaller class sizes. The rest of us need to ensure the younger generation realizes that same benefit.
I recognize that educated and well reasoned people may disagree with me. I know many of those people truly care about Pleasanton. I am, however, ashamed and embarrassed for the people who have denigrated the extraordinary and generous pledge made by the Pleasanton teachers to give up two days pay. Our children and our community are fortunate to be served by such loyal and devoted educators. It is time for the parents and the community as a whole to step up and do our part and maintain the standard of excellence in education that makes Pleasanton such a great place to live.
Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2009 at 8:57 am Parent of Two is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I respect your views, and understand your concerns. One point to be made about the "pledge" by the teachers' union: they're only giving up pay IF voters pass the parcel tax. Paradoxically, if the tax doesn't pass (lowering the revenue), they'll KEEP the days off, meaning they'll exacerbate any budget shortfalls.
That's hardly "extraordinary or generous", more like "conditional and childish". It's the union equivalent of "I'll show you mine if you show me yours".
Posted by jon, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2009 at 9:22 am jon is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
It’s amazing how you Tea Baggers don’t even understand the basic historical premise of the Boston Tea Party. So here is a little history lesson for all of you Republican geniuses.
The Boston Tea Party was ultimately precipitated by a massive corporate tax cut. In 1773, the only major multinational corporation at the time, the British East India Company, was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. According to that obviously liberal organization, the Boston Tea Party Historical Society, one solution was to bail out the corporation by offering it a government loan. But instead, at the urging of the East India Company's powerful lobbyists and supported by King George III, Parliament passed the Tea Act which almost entirely eliminated the duty -- the tax -- on British tea exported by the East India Company to the American colonies.
The rationale was that lower taxes meant lower prices, which meant the East India Company would sell a lot more tea. Your basic free market precursor to Reaganomics and supply-side economics in action. In other words, the British government's solution to the East India Company's financial crisis was, in effect, a TAX CUT. Exactly the same economic solution that's been pushed by congressional Republicans and the tea bag revolutionaries 236 years later.
It turns out that that the tea baggers, led in part by Michelle Malkin, Glenn Reynolds and the Coward Rick Santelli, are politically more in line with the tax policies of King George than the views of the Sons of Liberty and the colonial patriots. The tax baggers emulating a protest against a corporate tax cut -- but, oddly, in support of tax cuts for the rich and corporations. Furthermore, King George was against a corporate bailout loan. And so are the tea baggers. And I don't think it'd be a stretch to suggest that many of the tea baggers are recipients of the president's middle class tax cut.
Posted by Mflanagin, a member of the Donlon Elementary School community, on Apr 2, 2009 at 10:06 am Mflanagin is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I am glad that the parcel tax will be going directly to the school and not throught the state where they can not balance a budget. The Pleasanton school district has balanced their budget year after year and will do so again whether the measure passes or not. Not only that, but thank gosh they had a reserve as if they did not, you would have seen schools closing now like other cities in California. The school board is full of integity and compassion for the education of our children. Closing schools lower rankings means lower values for our homes. I don't want to see that happening here.
I respect all views and hope that all can see the best in both sides.
Posted by Brian, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2009 at 6:50 pm Brian is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
It's clear that Jon is a liberal statist that has misrepresented the facts in order to confuse and promote his ideas. Next comes the character assassination of those who plan to join the TEA Party and put a stop to the overtaxation and wasteful use of OUR MONEY (see the home photo in Jon's last post).
Unfortunately this is the same strategy used by the liberal in schools, media, and legislatures across America.
Below is the part of the Boston Tea Party story that Jon fails to mention:
British Parliament passed the Townshend Revenue Act of 1767, which levied new taxes, including one on tea, in the colonies.
This was the controversy between Great Britain and the colonies when Parliament, for the first time, tried to directly tax the colonies for the purpose of raising revenue. The colonists objected to the new tax program, arguing that it was a violation of the British Constitution. Britons and British Americans agreed that, according to the constitution, British subjects could not be taxed without the consent of their elected representatives.
Colonists did not elect members of Parliament; therefore, the American colonists argued that the colonies could not be taxed by that body.
Posted by Jeb Bing, editor of the Pleasanton Weekly, on Apr 3, 2009 at 8:04 am Jeb Bing is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Just a reminder that we are restricting all posts related to the June 2 parcel tax measure to registered users of the Pleasanton Weekly Town Square forum. We have found that this keeps the conversations more civil and focused without any restriction on what posters say or the opinions they express.
Posted by jon, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2009 at 9:27 am jon is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Thanks for the history lesson Brian. What was your source, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, or Sean Hannity?
Lets be honest about the Tea Party and who goes to these events. It’s a joke to think a Tea Party is “Bi-partisan” event as Dr. B wrote. These Tea Parties are nothing more than a group of homogeneous Republicans engaging in an exercise of pure selfishness and divisiveness. And unless I'm mistaken, the basic idea of the tea bag revolution is to protest against government bailouts and in favor of tax cuts for the wealthiest five percent of Americans. Ultimately, the tea baggers (can I call them that?) appear to be against allowing the Bush's tax cuts to expire. Strangely, they also appear to be against President Obama signing into law the largest middle class tax cut in history. They're also against helping middle and working class "losers" keep their homes. (By the way, your neighbor's mortgage is your problem. Just watch your property values plummet as soon as there's just one foreclosure on your block.)
This series of Obama policies, they say, portends tyranny in America. Of course none of the policies of the Bush administration were considered tyrannical by many of the current tea bag leaders. You know the list of Bush trespasses. The illegal searches and seizures, the illegal electronic eavesdropping and torturing. The suspension of habeas corpus, the record deficits, the doubling of the national debt and so on. None of that was tyrannical. But allowing the tax cuts for the wealthiest five percent to expire is absolutely the vanguard of totalitarianism.
Sorry right-winger, Obama won the election and he is popular with the American public (Boohoo!!! Call the whambulance!!). Where was all this outrage when the great GW Bush ran up America’s debt?
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2009 at 2:26 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Amador Parent Dan wrote that originally on another thread. Since he also posted it here, I'll repost my response to him.
amador parent dan wrote: "we need to trust and believe in the people who have delivered proven results."
You mean the same people who...
- Have allowed the Measure B bond oversight committee to get away with not watching what's been going on with our millions for the last four-five years? Measure G also requires an oversight committee, but with this poor track record, can property owners really afford to "trust and believe" that the next $4.6MM will be handled any differently?
- Were too busy "delivering" that it required a parent to do their job for them in order to show them that State money that was available?
- Wasted nearly $100K to relocate FHS solar panels to correct an avoidable mistake?
- Have decided to nearly DOUBLE the cost of running an election because they didn't want to put Measure G on a cheaper mail-in ballot or the same ballot as the coming State election (this is a common parcel tax manipulation tactic) and that the funds will probably come from what precious little reserves the District has remaining?
- Wasted our money on indefensible lawsuits for the past SEVEN years and are STILL going at it by suing their own lawyers! To add insult to injury, they even got the City of Pleasanton to waste money on putting in then pulling out traffic circles for the phantom Neal school they never wanted to build in the first place.
Some may feel that this is an opportune time to reward mediocrity. I, for one, do not.
Posted by Brian, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2009 at 4:49 pm Brian is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Re: History Lesson - Your welcome.
It is just too bad that your partisan rhetoric has clouded your thinking.
To tell you the truth, I wouldn't trade two dead flies for Bush, Obama, the Congress, or the State Legislature. They are all corrupt and waste our hard earned tax dollars.
I does not matter which party is wasting my money.
Jon, do you think the years and years of deficit pending is good for any American?
Don't tell my your one of those Marxists that believes that a 100% income tax rate would solve the homeless problem in Pleasanton? From each according to his (her) ability .... To each according to his (her) need, right?
It's time to wake up! Everything good that you have is because you live in this country! Don't give up on our principles of hard work, personal responsibility, freedom, and capitalism just yet !! Its time to grow up and learn to take care of yourself. When you succeed - don't forget to give back (its the Christian and the American way). We don't need the government to decide how to spend our money.....
Jon, see you at the Pleasanton Tea Party! I have a Tea Bag for you !
Posted by Russell, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on Apr 3, 2009 at 10:19 pm Russell is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I don't get it. Are you saying that because the Pleasanton school board is makes mistakes that Pleasanton schools are mediocre? How do they compare with other Bay Area schools? The test scores and college placement numbers are among the top in California. Do you deny that?
Do your children attend Pleasanton public schools? Do you think budget cuts are helping them? These schools are a lot better than I had when I was growing up. We moved here from Fremont and payed more for our house because of the schools.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2009 at 10:50 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Mistakes? Those aren't mistakes. I looked up the solar panel issue again. It was a blatant disregard for PUSD's own good neighbor policy in which they're supposed to meet with neighbors to review any new construction, modifications, or other site improvements.
It was a conscious decision to double the cost of the election by putting it on the June 2nd ballot.
It was a conscious decision to engage in the fiasco with Signature and to now hire Signature's lawyers to sue the District's lawyers.
It was also a conscious decision to not stick with a previous policy of maintaining a 7% reserve that would have seen the District through the budget cuts.
That's not mediocrity in the performance of Pleasanton children on tests, that's the mediocrity in the performance of management.