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Falling tax revenue concerns Pleasanton officials

Original post made on Dec 17, 2009

Pleasanton's Finance Director Dave Culver warned the City Council Tuesday that lower tax revenues could hamper the city's efforts to maintain its current levels of services, programs and staff in the year ahead.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, December 17, 2009, 7:37 AM

Comments (70)

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Posted by Why is this?
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 17, 2009 at 9:09 am

My property taxes were the highest ever this year???? This article makes me wonder where my tax dollars are going.


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Posted by little m
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2009 at 9:16 am

Translation of Cutler's statement: We are going to raise your taxes so we don't have to cut management salaries ... opps ... I means valuable services.


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Posted by Pleasantonian
a resident of Mission Park
on Dec 17, 2009 at 9:24 am

Pleasantonian is a registered user.

Posted by Why is this?, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, 13 minutes ago

My property taxes were the highest ever this year???? This article makes me wonder where my tax dollars are going.


Chances are you've owned your home for a long time. People who bought
more recently can have their property taxes lowered if their value goes down.


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Posted by erryja
a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on Dec 17, 2009 at 9:47 am

It's time that our city managers get after the forecast. The 14% shortfall will soon translate to 35-42% shortfall. Time to CUT !


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Posted by Terry
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Dec 17, 2009 at 10:39 am

Reasonably, During these times, we all have to learn to accept less services, Staff salaries and benefits. Maybe, some parks will need to be closed. The times demand tough decisions.

I have confidence in our Pleasanton City Staff. It might be necessary for Staff layoffs. The economic outlook is not good for the next few years. Our State Leadership will not be any help, or our Federal government

Another consideration is that our standard of living might not be the same going forward as we have had in the past


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Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 17, 2009 at 11:06 am

How about cuts starting right at the top. Why does the senior planning commissioner make nearly a quarter million dollars? We are not exactly in an expansion mode these days. Why does the city manager (who was responsible for the ice rink fiasco, among other things) make over $200,000 AND have something like 4 full time assistants, all making nearly that much? Check out the data for public employee salaries and you will be astounded at the waste. Don't forget that Hosterman and her cronies gave a raise to the outgoing city attorney in order to spike his wages and increase his retirement benefits for the rest of his life -- at our expense.

Revenues down by 14%, then cut salaries ALL OF THEM by 14% as a start. There is no way that city employees should be exempt from economic hardship, yet they have been. Walk into city hall and look at all of the people sitting around looking for something to do. Then ask yourself why they should have their salaries, benefits and pensions protected at our expense.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 17, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Resident,

You're proposing to solve 100% of the revenue shortfall by cutting away at only 75% of the expenditures.

I'm confident in the City management. It is a well-run organization that plans its finances well. They've shielded the City from the local effects of State ERAF takeaways. They've squirreled away reserves for economic downturns during the good times. They worry about unfunded liabilities and work towards funding them. They worry about issues with retirement and have been working on future sustainability. They've even won awards several years in a row for their prudent fiscal management. They attract top talent due to this reputation.


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Posted by dublinmike
a resident of Dublin
on Dec 17, 2009 at 1:04 pm

Perhaps some of you can run for City Council and show your fellow residents how to do it right... I nominate "resident, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood".

I think "Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows" is spot on.


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Posted by get real
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Dec 17, 2009 at 2:14 pm

"35 vacant positions in the city government that we have not filled ..."? Wow, I guess it takes a serious economic downturn for our government to get real about their human resource needs. How many years were these positions filled/funded before someone realized they weren't needed. I've always known there's a lot of fat in government (and I don't mean around the belly :).


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 17, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Maybe we should ask for our $4 million back that we loaned to the state of CA.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 17, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Is anyone really surprised by this report? Sky high public employee salaries and unsustainable pensions coupled with an economic recession could yield no other result. "resident" is right...time for government to take their cuts because the tax well is dry.
I'd be interested to know exactly waht the city is paying in pensions and for active on the job employees. I don't know, but I would guess that the pension bill might be higher than the salary bill. I've seen the "salary site" and its maddening, but does anyone know where a "pension" site would be?


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Posted by Fiscally Responsible
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm

A hugh reasonable step would be for all of Staff to pay their own 7.00 % employee pension contribution instead of the City paying those contributions.
Another would be the remove Fire Captains from Union representation.
Another would be to completely revamp and set a maximum on firefighter overtime pay. 46 of them AVERAGED $ 52,619 on 2008- OVERTIME !. Whoever came up with the concept of paying firefighters more than we pay teachers ?
The Council members and City Manager should engage a new technique-TAKE BACKS!!!


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Posted by Another fiscally responsible citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Enjoyed reading this string.

Re-emphasizing one previously stated fact:

-Mayor Hosterman and City Council raised outgoing City Attorney Michael Roush's salary to $195,000, which indeed raises his retirement income (90% of that) at taxpayer expense. Disgusting cronyism at its worst.

Other facts to consider:

-City officials hired a Public Information Officer 2 years ago at a then-starting salary of $96,000, plus benefits. Ask yourself if that is really an essential position.

-City of Pleasanton Economic Development Director Pamela Ott makes over $150,000 a year. Ask yourself if she's done much to develop business growth in this city during the past two years. I'd like to examine her track record for 2008 and 2009.

-Pleasanton Library Commission and others propose building a new library at a cost of over $70 million--in today's dollars, that is. Ask the City where their printing press is, since unless they're going to be printing dollars at City Hall, I'd like to know where they plan to get that money from after reading this article. Ridiculous.

Time to hunker down and cut the fat, and frankly, that means electing a new Mayor and some new City Council members who are like-minded in reducing City operating expenses, just like the rest of us are doing with our own household budgets and reduced salaries.

Proposal: Across the board 10% pay reduction for all City employees for the next 2 years.

Some of the other suggestions mentioned are also worth considering.


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Posted by didja READ the article?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2009 at 7:58 pm

the biggest expected drop is in sales tax receipts. it sorta brings home the importance of the old merchants plea to buy local - in pleasanton, not livermore or dublin. maybe some of you are willing to name the services you are willing to go without. police? fire protection? the library? trash pickup? fiscally responsible, how much do you really think it would save to take the captains off of union representation? your idea about the employee contribution to CalPers is a good one - they started doing that as a recruiting tool because all the other local governments were doing it. but right now most of these guys are happy to still be working, so giving them back the responsibility to make their own contribution could be a good way to save seven percent of a big piece of the salary budget.


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Posted by Einstein
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Dec 17, 2009 at 8:21 pm

Einstein is a registered user.

Joe,

The salaries of retired Pleasanton employees is a staggering number and the website was posted earlier on one of these blogs. Remember California is the only state with a 3 point retirement program. All of these people are able to retire as early as age 50 with 30 years of service at 3 points means they could draw at age 50, 90% of their salary for the rest of their lives and the next day get another job. Do not forget the healthcare package at 100%. Unfortunately, there are only 2 ways out of these contracts, renegotiate (unions would never do it) or file for bankrupcy in which case all contracts are null and void and must be renegotiated.


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Posted by LiveStrong
a resident of Avila
on Dec 17, 2009 at 8:26 pm

While I hate the phrase "trim the fat" we currently have a mayor who could care less about fiscal responsibility. She has agendas and money is no object.

I have troubles believing we need to cut services before cutting employees. I don't know the answer to this, but if the economy is bad and not much building is going on do we still need as many plan checkers, inspectors, etc? And honestly how many people do we need in the planning department...I have not seen much in the way of actual planning in the last decade.


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Posted by Einstein
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Dec 17, 2009 at 8:30 pm

Einstein is a registered user.

LiveStrong,

I went down to the permitting office about 8 months ago and literally there were 12 people in the shooting the sh.... and I was the only person in there and had to wait while they drank their coffee and did nothing. I do not know why they need so many people when nobody is building anything. I agree with you about our Mayor and the city council for that matter. They are in over their heads.


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Posted by Einstein
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Dec 17, 2009 at 8:41 pm

Einstein is a registered user.

Joe, here is the link or story I was looking for:

Posted by pension facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 6, 2009 at 11:06 am




There is a good editorial in the Sacramento Bee today on the public employees who are making more than $100,000 per year in pensions. You can find it at: Web Link . They reference a website www.californiapensionreform.com where you can do a search by agency to see those making more than $100,000 in pensions. For Pleasanton, there are currently 22 retired Pleasanton personal making over $100,000 per year in pensions.










They are:










Search by First, Last or Full Name Search by Employer






CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO TOP 10 LIST






Name Monthly Annual Employer Name






TIMOTHY NEAL $14,035.34 $168,424.08 PLEASANTON






STEWART GARY $13,168.05 $158,016.60 PLEASANTON






SUSAN ROSSI $12,499.04 $149,988.48 PLEASANTON






GARY TOLLEFSON $11,854.06 $142,248.72 PLEASANTON






JOHN GOODWIN $11,482.71 $137,792.52 PLEASANTON






BRIAN SWIFT $10,523.83 $126,285.96 PLEASANTON






DAVID RADFORD $10,451.79 $125,421.48 PLEASANTON






THOMAS BRAMELL $10,361.76 $124,341.12 PLEASANTON






ERIC CARLSON $10,271.48 $123,257.76 PLEASANTON






WILLIAM EASTMAN $9,770.95 $117,251.40 PLEASANTON






JOSEPH BUCKOVIC $9,407.05 $112,884.60 PLEASANTON






MICHAEL STJOHN $9,275.80 $111,309.60 PLEASANTON






CHRISTOPHE DICKINSON $9,092.33 $109,107.96 PLEASANTON






SEAN CHAPMAN $8,856.90 $106,282.80 PLEASANTON






CARL COUSINEAU $8,821.74 $105,860.88 PLEASANTON






MAUREEN LAURENCE $8,780.15 $105,361.80 PLEASANTON






PAUL HELMS $8,691.66 $104,299.92 PLEASANTON






GREGORY WIXOM $8,593.63 $103,123.56 PLEASANTON






STEVEN ROSS $8,583.76 $103,005.12 PLEASANTON






PAUL MOLKENBUHR $8,555.76 $102,669.12 PLEASANTON






DONALD SAULSBURY $8,408.28 $100,899.36 PLEASANTON






WILLIAM HALVORSEN $8,382.22 $100,586.64 PLEASANTON










My guess is Roush will be near the top of this list once he retires, especially since the Council is voting to give him a raise JUST BEFORE RETIREMENT and MAKING IT RETROACTIVE so he can get an even higher pension. I think this would be a great article for the weekly. Hope they pick this up and be trule informative to our residents on our pensions. On top of this we also have a mostly unfunded liability on retiree medical to the tune of over $100 million! That is just Pleasanton. The Pleasanton School District has a completely unfunded liability of over $11 million in retiree medical. Now with the losses in the pension fund, the taxpayers are on the hook since these retirees have guaranteed income (defined benefit). The retiree medical will also eat us alive since insurance rates keep going up. While the city has a little control at the high end for payout in the end of the next contract, the school district has no cap, and we as taxpayers are on the hook for the medical insurance, no matter what the cost is.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Wake Up
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Dec 17, 2009 at 8:57 pm

Maybe this will be the city manager's and council's wake up call to make the difficult decisions that obviously need to be made. Even taking into consideration the 35 unfilled positions, there is obviously a lot of waste yet to be trimmed (and I don't mean services but service-providers). Personnel is by far the largest part of the city budget, and there has got to be room to save money there. Not to mention right off the top the 7% employee contribution to PERS the city is now paying on behalf of all city employees. What a boondoggle now, but those decisions were made during better times (which may never return, unfortunately). Out!


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Posted by End to Defined Benefit
a resident of Grey Eagle Estates
on Dec 18, 2009 at 12:01 am

Do I smell an end to "Defined Benefit" retirement programs (e.g. fed, state, county, city, special district and school employees)? I'm not jealous 'cause I used to be one, but I see the Titanic coming, folks! It's time to reevaluate our priorities, and maybe this economy has caused many to begin looking for other alternatives (or are they being FORCED to look for an answer). Time will tell :)


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Posted by Reminiscant
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 18, 2009 at 6:57 am

I miss the good old days when being a civil servant meant that you had a secure job but low pay. Now I feel like a chump paying the salaries and pensions of all these people making more money that me.

This is just another example of how our elected officials and beauracrats have mismanaged our money and betrayed us. They have gorged themselves at the public trough, padded their retirement years, and failed to adjust their spending to economic conditions. It's time for actual change in our government and we won't get it if we keep voting for the elitist lawyers and career politicians.


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Posted by Mali
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 18, 2009 at 7:00 am

Those people make that much money in retirement and can retire that young? That is hard to believe.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2009 at 9:55 am

There are almost no private, non-union companies that offer pensions anymore. Why do public and union employees feel that they are entitled to this as well as lifetime free health care? Unions are killing this country. New hires of public entities should not have this benefits in today's world and the huge majority of people who work in the private sector should not be forced to pay for this through taxes, making it extremely hard for them to fund their own retirement. It is not a matter of jealousy it is just a matter of fairness to all Americans. I actually am a democrat, but believe strongly that unions may be a huge contributor to America no longer being able to compete in the global market as well as a major factor in the downfall of our economy.


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2009 at 12:03 pm

We have been trying to bell the cat of public sector salaries,pensions and retiree medical benefits for years. We are finally reaching the point of no return. Livermore Police officers and other city employees have taken pay cuts along with reduction in medical benefits. We need big cuts in Pleasanton for everyone from the City manager down. It is time that the City Council stepped up to the Plate instead of caving in to the unions and doing disgraceful things like boosting the city attorney's salary before retirement. We need clawbacks to reverse all the prior pension boondgles as well. It is time that the citizens went on the warpath and hold the council and city management accountable. The real deficits are going to be huge.


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Posted by Mary
a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 18, 2009 at 3:18 pm

If we are in such difficulty why are we not putting a hiring freeze in place? Didn't we just hire another city attorney and aren't they looking for another superintendent? This is developing into a joke.


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Posted by Warren
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 18, 2009 at 3:47 pm


Based on the above and the article below, we need to figure out a way to cut city spending and redirect or tax resources toward the Pleasanton schools.

Web Link


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Posted by Mary
a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 18, 2009 at 3:52 pm

No on any type of tax and yes to cost reduction. I voted for G last time but this time I have no job and will vote no. Not until I am convinced all costs have been eliminated.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 18, 2009 at 3:53 pm

Mary, the positions you mention are replacements for someone who is leaving. Although, I agree that we could do without either of those based on the lousy job they have done.
The city has not filled 35 or more positions -- has the world stopped turning? No? Then maybe those positions are just more fat and they should not ever be filled. Someone mentioned going to city hall, as I have done many times, and watching the abundance of employees sitting around doing what appears to be nothing of value. Don't forget, they can retire at age 50 with 90% of their pay and fully paid medical benefits for life. Guess thinking about that gravy train makes it hard for them to actually do any real work.
Have you seen the "economic development" being jumpstarted in these past few years? Have you seen anything that even marginally appears to have improved? I see more vacant storefronts and more non-retail businesses that have been granted parking exemptions that only make it more difficult for shoppers to get to the retail merchants downtown. For this we pay Pamela Ott $150,000 per year. With the opportunity to retire at 90% pay for life. What will it take to get the people of this town angry enough to DEMAND accountability from the city council that grants these outrageous pay packages?
We may well have the opportunity to void all of the contracts in place if the spending keeps up and the revenue continues to drop. It's called bankruptcy and it allow all contracts, union and otherwise, to be voided. Maybe that's not such a bad option.


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Posted by Mary
a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 18, 2009 at 3:56 pm

So the article is really funny if you read where Pat Kiernan who does not even live in the city says "we need to start thinking out of the box" and the only thing they can come up with is a parcel tax to cover teachers raises.


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Posted by Mary
a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 18, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Resident,

I am only one person but I will vote against every one of the incumbents both on the city council and also the school board. These people have done a lousy job in my mind and we need to start anew. Unless we do something different there will be nothing left to our lovely town. I guess we are just like the state and the country as a whole and that is we have refused to live within our means.


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Posted by Warren
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 18, 2009 at 4:48 pm

Mary, I agree that the city council and school board have done a horrific job. The legacy they leave will be a much diminished town and school system. The economy is no excuse, they inherited Pleasanton not Tracy. They seem as a group unwilling to lead, to offer a real vision and yet somehow act arrogant and self satisfied.

I am OK cutting the city budget to the bone. The Mayor shouldn't be allowed to travel outside city limits on business. However, I am a bit to pragmatic to standby and watch the school situation deteriorate further while waiting to be happy with the district and board. I don't want to current students to suffer, I don't want to pay to rebuild the reputation the schools currently enjoy and I don't want my property value to tank.

The City can build all the baseball fields it wants, the schools are the reason people want to move here. If we have resource limitations, let's focus them on the schools.


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Posted by Mary
a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 18, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Warren,

The only thing I can tell you and I mean this with respect is that until they cut and reduce and start making good decisions and have been replaced I will be against a parcel tax or any tax for that matter in this city. I have lost my job in the last 6 months and quite honestly do not have the money to spare for a parcel tax or any tax for matter. I do not believe a tax from those who do not have a job to give a raise to those who are fortunate enough to have a job is quite fair in this environment. After seeing and being educated about step and column in the last go around I can tell you that my husband and I as well as our neighbors on both sides have not converted from the yes vote to a no vote so that is a 12 vote swing.,


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Posted by Warren
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 18, 2009 at 5:33 pm

Maybe we can agree on this. The school funding is a big problem! So big in fact that there is not gong to be a quick and dirty solution. By the time the state budget is done it will be near $10 million shortfall. That would make it $20 million in shortfall to the budget 2 years ago.

And maybe we can agree on this. The more people involved the better. Keep the school board honest, try and make-up for the fact that Casey (whose reputation is forever stained) has checked out and ensure fresh new ideas are considered.

End of the day, the teachers have to give (from what I've read they will have talks with the union starting in January), the district has to be cut, parents will have to pay user fees for some programs and a parcel tax will be needed.

I think you and your neighbors should participate in all that before you decide your vote. We can all dig our heals in and the people that suffer will be the kids, the young teachers and City itself (property values, community values, etc).

I hope the New Year brings good fortune in your job search.


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Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 18, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Speaking of money, how's that golf course investment doing? And how deep is the city on the Fire House Theater?


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Posted by Mary
a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 18, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Warren,

I and my neighbors are very set in our votes and we are speaking with others about changing their votes from last time and because of the economy and bad feelings about the way our school district and city are being managed many are going to change as well.

On another note, I do not believe that our schools are in trouble at all. I went to school the other day and felt just as much energy and engagement as I have for years.

I and we have simply been taxed to death and my tank (money) is pretty empty. Nothing left to give I guess I might say. I would strongly suggest that even putting something like this to a vote be rethought prior to consideration and I do not want to hear again about the district hiring another consultant to study it.........another waste of money. I have a suggestion....why don't we cancel the $70,000,000 library and use the money for schools or how about cancelling the $250,000 swat response vehicle approved. How about the city employees just hanging around city hall doing nothing? Many things to consider before asking me for money while I am trying to figure out how to keep making my house payment.


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Posted by LiveStrong
a resident of Avila
on Dec 18, 2009 at 10:36 pm

Jack - don't worry we will just strong arm funds for the theater from any investor who wants to build in Pleasanton. That will show them that they can't just come into this town and expect to make money.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Mary,

You keep talking about teacher raises, but there is no parcel tax proposed, so why are you talking about teacher raises, when you don't even know what is in the any proposal.


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Posted by LiveStrong
a resident of Avila
on Dec 18, 2009 at 10:44 pm

It seems bizarre that somehow on this thread we have once again reached the "teachers are overpaid union joining wastes who don't deserve to be paid more than a Jamba Juice shift manager" state. By the way, your local tax dollars have nothing to do with how much money the PUSD currently receives (yes, a parcel tax would change that).


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Posted by LiveStrong
a resident of Avila
on Dec 18, 2009 at 10:48 pm

"On another note, I do not believe that our schools are in trouble at all. I went to school the other day and felt just as much energy and engagement as I have for years."

Mary - So you are saying that the teachers and administrators are doing a good job despite the increase in workload (larger class sizes, etc), yet you want to pay them less???????????


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Posted by LiveStrong
a resident of Avila
on Dec 18, 2009 at 10:56 pm

The biggest problem with cutting school funding to dangerously low level is exemplified by Mary's comment. The change is not going to be dramatic. Our schools are not going to go from some of the best to some of the worst in CA overnight. The change is slow. A few points in test scores here, a dropping a few programs there and in a decade or so the schools just aren't what they used to be. But if that's where we have to go, that's fine. I'm guessing most of us graduated from schools that were not considered the among the best in the country and are doing just fine. But don't be alarmed when people start preferring neighboring communities because their schools are better. Again, its not like housing prices are going to drop overnight. This is the danger. Its a slow decay that nobody really notices.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2009 at 11:16 pm

LiveStrong,

I think it is a minority of voters who don't care if the quality of schools here in Pleasanton declines. Pleasanton is a town that cares about and supports its schools. I think the coming parcel tax effort will be well supported by citizens of Pleasanton. The recent years have seen a lot of Silicon Valley people moving to Pleasanton for the quality of schools.

Second parcel tax attempts in high quality school districts frequently pass. We are following the same pattern as in Palo Alto with Measure I. Now that growth and development are slowing in Pleasanton due to being built out, a parcel tax can help keep are schools well funded and competitive.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 18, 2009 at 11:32 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

LiveStrong wrote: "By the way, your local tax dollars have nothing to do with how much money the PUSD currently receives (yes, a parcel tax would change that)."

Actually....

That's what those ERAF takeaways are. But what isn't clear is if the money taken from the City was actually then given to PUSD. The transparency at the State level isn't there. And the answer is... most likely not.

The State is rather fuzzy in the way they distribute property tax revenue back to the localities it was collected from.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 18, 2009 at 11:43 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

LiveStrong also wrote: "The change is not going to be dramatic. Our schools are not going to go from some of the best to some of the worst in CA overnight. The change is slow."

Exactly. I wrote about this before because of all the doom and gloom during the Measure G campaign, as if suddenly test scores are going to drop. We've got time to do things right. Measure G was rushed. Mary may not agree with me on this, but there really should have been a consultant hired for Measure G. I'd rather spend $30K to tell me things aren't going to work out before spending $300K on a gamble. That's part of being a responsible leader, making sure you have high quality information before proceeding. Instead, the school board decided that the self-selection occurring at board meetings was a better indicator.


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2009 at 11:51 pm

I'm thinking of printing out "Einstein's" list of retirment salaries for retirees in Pleasanton and make hundreds of copies and leaving them on cars and all around town. Most people here have no idea....




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Posted by Mary
a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 19, 2009 at 9:49 am

Karen,

I think that is a great idea. It is public knowledge and paid for by us so the citizen of this city should know how their money is being spent. I wonder how many of the retirees actually still live in Pleasanton? I bet less than half. I wonder if they would be willing to donate half to the schools since many of the citizens are trying to extort from those of us who cannot afford it .


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Mary,

"since many of the citizens are trying to extort from those of us who cannot afford it ."

My understanding of the definition of extort is

" to secure (money, favours, etc.) by intimidation, violence, or the misuse of influence or authority"

Web Link

Isn't that a little extreme? People are suggesting putting it to a vote. No one is extorting anything.

Did you file for unemployment? If you did, do you think it is a good thing that people were taxed to pay unemployment benefits?


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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 19, 2009 at 3:11 pm

Doesn't unemployment benefits have something to do with your former employer contributing...

Can't your former employer challenge you collecting unemployment benefits, under certain circumstances...


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Posted by encouraged (for the moment)
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2009 at 5:44 pm

I am hopeful and encourage, even if for just a moment, to see the number of people that are outraged. If we stick with it maybe we can save Pleasanton before the officials destroy it. I can remember the Mayor at a meeting for public employee raises saying, the city has plenty of money....we can pay (& benefit) city employees like they are royality.
Fiscally Responsible, Another Fiscally Responsible, Einstein, Karen, you are all restored my hope in awareness and solutions. Let us all atudy and distrubute what we are paying our retirees, get lists of current employee pay, distrubute, demand council REPRESENT US, have OUR There are ways to tread for awhile. This is a separate issues from stopping the inevitable collapase of our public employee load.


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Posted by Encouraged
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2009 at 6:01 pm

I just got too excited for the moment. We need to list the coming retirements of our employees, then have them pay their 7% contributions themselves, like 80% of us pay into our own retirements. WHY weren't residents paying attention before now ???
Additional property tax should not be mingled with this issue. There are ways to tread for a bit longer...too many owners would still have to say NO ! Personal situations might be better if delayed a bit. School property tax is a very separate issue from the inevitable collapse of our outrageous public employee program..which needs fixes ASAP.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2009 at 10:23 pm

"School property tax is a very separate issue from the inevitable collapse of our outrageous public employee program..which needs fixes ASAP."

Yes.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2009 at 10:48 pm

In the 90s I was told I was dumb NOT to seek a private sector job, that only people who couldn't do anything else teach.

Now I am being told how conniving I am because I opted for a stable honorable job that serves the community. I am expected to keep up the same level of excellence with higher class loads and less resources. (Which I do, because I chose to teach and I love what I do.)

I should be "lucky" because I am paid for my experience (step) and for my increased knowledge, (column, which comes out of my pocket by the way.) and now I should NOT get the retirement I was promised, the one I steadily paid into and one I won't be able to collect until I have taught for 37-40 years. Oh yes, I paid for my own health care too, the increases which have swallowed any raise I have received since about 1995.

And this should be stopped because private sector companies lied to their employees and did not fulfill their promises. It happened to you so it is only fair that it happen to teachers. This, of course, is the teachers' unions fault. If it wasn't for them, teachers' pay could be cut just like the private sector. Where was the great pay for teachers when the private sector was flush?

Oh and I should be grateful that this wonderful community would allow me the opportunity to teach here because. . .you are so supportive of education.

I do love to teach. I do it because I make a difference in kids lives and I do it well because I am well educated myself and I care about what I do and what the students get out of it. I am worth what I am paid and more and I am worth the retirement that will come my way when I am done teaching. Most of all I am proud of what I do and get rewarded daily by the students I teach and the vast majority of parents who say thank you.

I am sorry for you that you life is not fulfilling and you have to measure mine by your misfortune. I will not apologize for the work I do or the compensation I receive. And I will work hard to teach every child who comes through my door.


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Posted by ok
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2009 at 11:27 pm

maybe you should think about getting out of the profession-
sounds like its time


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Posted by Beth
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2009 at 11:53 pm

Do not confuse school district's teacher pay, with the city public employees. Different unions, different conditions. Teacher's have different union, shorter years, sometimes in and out of employment. City employee even has different unions. Fire & police leave on 50th BD with 1 1/2 - 2+ times pay during retirement, compared to working. Think of the exponential multiplying as more retire each year, while more live decades longer than in the past years. With each contract, the latest officials elected with the exuberant zealousness of the 'safety' (police & fire) employees, call for 'sweetning' of more & better benefits, to the point all CITY employees are now out of control.....always with the excuses that 'this positio went up, so now we need to raise the others to be fair, duh ! then the 'well, to get the best qualified firemen with have to 'be competitive'. The same scam is repeated up & down 580, all having taken the blood 'buddy' oath, each demand more, so the neighbor can demand more, so the other neighbor can demand more. There's always an elected ready with OPM (other people's money) to toss in the air, and think we're stupid enough to not pay attention...don't think that's working so good these days. We ARE paying attention !!!! Time to get honest. Time to get real. Any tales from the poor people who retired 10 years ago is IRRELEVANT to 2009 benefits.


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Posted by Warren
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 20, 2009 at 11:05 am

To the teacher who wrote under the name "anonymous"

Please don't assign the lack of appreciation shown here by a few to the feelings of the majority. You are correct in pointing out the hypocrisy of people who complain of taxes while they skip to the mailbox for their ever extending unemployment benefits or underfunded social security draw. There is no justice that their property values have increased largely due to the great school system here built by people like you.

As I said before, the school funding problem is so big that the solutions will require sacrifices from all sides, including the teachers. However, most here do appreciate what you do and will work hard to keep the Pleasanton schools as top performers. As people become more educated to the issue the silent majority will speak. As for the minority, they assign the failures in the school board and city leadership to the people that work hard everyday in the trenches. Forgive the ignorance that is born of this frustration.


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Posted by Donna
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Dec 20, 2009 at 11:23 am

I believe a lot of people are going to shocked if any type of tax goes on the ballot, parcel or otherwise. It will be defeated by a very large margin.


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Posted by Donna
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Dec 20, 2009 at 11:25 am

By the way, 4 voters in house household who voted yes last time but now will vote no on any tax.


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Posted by Donna
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Dec 20, 2009 at 11:28 am

I believe a lot of people are going to shocked if any type of tax goes on the ballot, parcel or otherwise. It will be defeated by a very large margin.


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Posted by Bonnie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Karen, please follow thru on getting the several types of lists to positions, both pay and retirement, benefits for the several different unions, retirement age, etc. Dates showing number of retirees in each of the last 5 years. Some check of # per year 15 yrs ago, # 10 yrs ago, etc. I'd guess we have greater numbers and at earlier ages !!! As I'm writing they are shredding OUR PUBLIC information, since they have gone to great lengths to make sure this is not transparent info. Council considers 'voting' on
secretly agreed terms, as last item on agenda at midnight (which they did 4? years ago) as ?transparent?. They have stonewalled this issue with all press in the area. Maybe if we storm City Hall...as the employERS we are, we might succeed !! We'll see.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Every government agency will be clamoring for funds over the next few years. But you can't tax your way out of this recession.

And there isn't a snowball's chance in Hayward that a parcel tax will be approved in Pleasanton anytime soon.


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Posted by Rat Turd
a resident of Danbury Park
on Dec 20, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Resident,

I believe there are a core group of people in this town who were offended so to speak when measure G went down in flames and they are going to try and get something, anything passed even if it is no good. Sound familiar? Yes it sounds like Washington DC and healthcare.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2009 at 5:38 pm

"But you can't tax your way out of this recession."

That hasn't got anything to do with a small local parcel tax. Ending a global recession is an issue orthogonal to a parcel tax in Pleasanton schools.

"And there isn't a snowball's chance in Hayward that a parcel tax will be approved in Pleasanton anytime soon. "

But we haven't yet done any surveys or polls. We need to present the information to the voting public and find out what they will approve.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2009 at 5:42 pm

"By the way, 4 voters in house household who voted yes last time but now will vote no on any tax. "

I know that all of my immediate neighbors, number greater than twenty and both with and without children, are enthusiastic about getting a parcel tax on the ballot to help our schools maintain high standards.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2009 at 6:02 pm

"You should get those neighbors to speak up and get on this site "

Not very easy to be sure about that one. People can and do post under multiple names on this site. Occasionally PW deletes the multiple postings, and it is funny how it always turns out to be the anti-tax side that has the multiple postings.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2009 at 6:04 pm

"Yes it sounds like Washington DC and healthcare."

I don't know how this issue could be any more UNLIKE that. That is a national issue concerning regulating health insurance plans. A parcel tax is an entirely local issue concerning raising funds for schools.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 20, 2009 at 7:02 pm

To 'a reader' -
You said: "Occasionally PW deletes the multiple postings, and it is funny how it always turns out to be the anti-tax side that has the multiple postings."
How do you know this? Do you work for the PW? Or have a source inside the PW?


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2009 at 9:07 pm

To "Dark Corners...",

They state that they do it. Here is there stated policy.

"You agree not to post comments under multiple names. Postings within a single topic from the same IP address made under different names will be deleted. "

Web Link

There are multiple examples. Here is one from a poster named "Mary" from "a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood"

Web Link

"Do you work for the PW? Or have a source inside the PW?"

No and No.

It is just my observation that everyone I've seen deleted has been on the anti-tax side. I see the post first, then see it replaced with the message. Have you seen otherwise?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 20, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

A reader,

There's only one Mary from Country Fair?

You all should REGISTER.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Quote – "But you can't tax your way out of this recession."

Response – "That hasn't got anything to do with a small local parcel tax. Ending a global recession is an issue orthogonal to a parcel tax in Pleasanton schools."

I couldn't possibly disagree more with your response and view the race to tax currently underway (with you leading the cheer) as emblematic of the basis of California's financial crisis.

And you can leave the word small out of the discussion. I think everyone is smart enough to know that your parcel tax campaign is a "foot in the door" effort.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Atrontanodo
a resident of Ridgeview Commons
on Dec 22, 2009 at 6:12 am

I think you are right. But you should cover more on this topic.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 4, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Pleasanton unified six figure pensions:

MERLIN DONALDSON $14,283.20 $171,398.40 PLEASANTON UNIFIED
ROBERT KREITZ $12,392.06 $148,704.72 PLEASANTON UNIFIED
ROBERT KROETCH $11,288.03 $135,456.36 PLEASANTON UNIFIED
BILL JAMES $8,816.37 $105,796.44 PLEASANTON UNIFIED
JOSEPH KETTWIG $8,789.81 $105,477.72 PLEASANTON UNIFIED
PATRICIA LEONARD $8,556.81 $102,681.72 PLEASANTON UNIFIED


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