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Lawyer: no conflict seen between school board member, union official spouse

Original post made on Feb 25, 2011

The Pleasanton school district's attorney doesn't see a conflict of interest issue regarding Board Member Jeff Bowser and his wife, Patty, who is an official with the Association of Pleasanton Teachers (APT). It recently came to light that Patty Bowser, a third-grade teacher at Hearst Elementary School, is a member of the elementary at-large committee.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 25, 2011, 3:33 PM

Comments (77)

Posted by still a duck, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 25, 2011 at 4:49 pm

quack quack quack
This is still a duck by this or any other name. They will reveal things to eachother that should remain on one side of the table or the other. No honesty here, deception all the way.


Posted by Unbelievable, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2011 at 4:55 pm

They also said there was no problem with the out of district board member. The thing is that unless someone has the money to fight this legally, the district will find a lawyer to issue statements based on loopholes.

There is definite conflict of interest, and the only thing I can do to voice my disgust (given that I did not vote for Bowser) is to let my wallet and vote speak for me.

No on parcel taxes.

NO on CORE.

No to any fundraisers.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2011 at 5:02 pm

"Union President Trevor Knaggs has said that Patty Bowser was a member of the union team before Bowser ran for the board and called her "above reproach."

Trevor also started a forum in defense of step and column, and there he mentioned that teachers pay for healthcare.

Trevor, will you ever answer our questions about how many teachers in PUSD pay for health care and how many enjoy the boost in pay because they get health care through a spouse?

Since Bowser works, does his wife pay for health care as a few teachers do?

Trevor has no credibility because, imo, he avoids the hard questions, imo, he knows that if he answers the teachers will no longer be able to use the "I pay for health care" excuse as a way to justify their higher than average pay.


Posted by long time parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2011 at 5:38 pm

"Lawyer: no conflict seen between school board member, union official spouse". Probably the same lawyer who said that trustee Pat Kernan lived in Pleasanton.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 25, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Timely: "Appearances do matter in government" Web Link


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 25, 2011 at 8:47 pm

The lawyer's opinion is credible. As far as state law and its interpretation is concerned, there is no LEGAL conflict of interest. HOWEVER, in the arena of COMMON SENSE ETHICS, everyone knows that there exists a very high probability of bias in favor of the spouse's position as both a teacher and union representative. Therefore, it is not a perception of conflict of interest, but is a real conflict of interest measured by common sense.


Posted by Here we go again, a resident of California Reflections
on Feb 25, 2011 at 9:21 pm

How many times have we heard from the District the phrase "our lawyer said it was okay."

The District's lawyers Lozano Smith said the same thing about the funding agreement for Neal school. And said it was okay to delay opening Neal school in spite of a clause regarding expediting the process.

How many millions dollars later have taxpayer dollars been diverted from children to paying legal bills? And there is no school and probably there never will be one.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2011 at 10:16 pm

According the the post above, the district uses Lozano and Smith. I do not know if that is correct, but if it is, that law firm is not to be trusted. Read on:

"Things might start getting lively if judges used this sanction more often: "A federal judge in Fresno, Calif., has ordered the entire 80-lawyer firm of Lozano Smith back to school for a refresher course in ethics as a sanction for repeated misrepresentation of facts and the law in a dispute over aid for a learning-disabled student.""

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link


Posted by old person, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 25, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Quack Quack Quack


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 25, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Didn't the district hire Signature's lawyers to sue Lozano Smith after they lost that lawsuit? I wonder how that suit went...


Posted by Crazy Stuff, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2011 at 12:18 am

Anyone with half a brain in their head knows that there is a conflict of interest here.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Avignon
on Feb 26, 2011 at 12:41 am

"Anyone with half a brain in their head knows that there is a conflict of interest her"

And to think the majority of voters voted for this guy....wow!


Posted by AV Mom, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 26, 2011 at 7:13 am

Our school board should represent the entire community and not just one constituency group. Just because a lawyer gives you safe harbor ethically does not mean that your actions are appropriate. Every vote and every statement of Mr. Bowser will be perceived as being straight from the union board. Perceptions are very important, especially with a parcel tax vote coming up in the near future. (I will disclose that I did not vote for Mr. Bowser because I thought having his wife working for him in his capacity as a school board member would diminish his effectiveness.)


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 26, 2011 at 8:17 am

Stacey, lawsuit still going last I heard. Oh, and Kingsley started out as the lawyer the district used in negotiations. Guess that was going so well for the previous administration, they took him on for everything once they canned Lozano. Conjecture on my part, of course.


Posted by Vote NO on E, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2011 at 10:03 am

I do not know how many registered voters we have in Pleasanton, but I know there are about 50 thousand residents.

Bowser received a little over 14,000 votes

Web Link

I did not vote for him. I guess his votes were from all the teachers who live in Pleasanton (contrary to arguments, these teachers are not going to quit their cozy job where they live if step and colum were to be suspended), some uninformed voters who made decisions based on what was on the ballot at the voting place, and some PTA types like all the Laursen supporters.

But with this parcel tax, PUSD will need more than 14000 votes to pass the tax.

Wake up Pleasanton! Vote No on measure E. Send a message to Bowser this way. He needs to resign even if the lawyer tells him otherwise.

Even if the district no longer uses Lozano and Smith, the fact that the law firm which is largely used by school districts was fined for ethical violations, means that lawyers will try to get away with anything they can. Look, Kernan was not a Pleasanton resident, and the PUSD lawyer said it was OK! If someone had challenged that legally, we might have had a different opinion, but that takes money and many years.

Vote NO on E as a quick way to tell the district that you are not buying their nonsense.


Posted by Vote NO on E, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2011 at 10:19 am

Correction, I wrote:

"But with this parcel tax, PUSD will need more than 14000 votes to pass the tax."

But that was wrong. Measure G failed, with about 10,000 in favor and 6,000 votes against.

Web Link

So unless people who voted for Bowser for whatever reason vote NO on E, or we have more people voting, measure E might pass.

Make sure you vote, vote NO and tell everyone you know to look for that ballot in the mail the first week of april and send it in asap!


Posted by Vote NO on E, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2011 at 10:26 am

I do not know if the information on this site is accurate but matches what other sites say as well.

It says Pleasanton has about 40,000 registered voters:

Web Link

So we more than the 14,000 or so voters that went to the polls las november.

If more voters cast a ballot and vote NO, measure E can be easily defeated.

But if only the 14,000 voters who elected Bowser vote, we may have a parcel tax that I am sure most do not want.


Posted by Just the facts, a resident of Avila
on Feb 26, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Here goes the hysteria again - calm down folks. Mr. Bowser is quoted in the paper as saying, "She's (his wife) not part of the negotiating team. Neither am I.". Where is the conflict exactly? Any vote against the parcel tax is a vote against the kids and vital programs - not a vote against the school board. They will still all be on the board tax or no tax, but core reading and other crucial programs will be gone.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 26, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Just the facts: The board directs the district side of the negotiating team--they just happen to be administrators who have me too clauses in their contracts that entitles them to whatever is negotiated. And the input from the district team occurs in closed session with the board (to be fair, that's allowed by law). Mr. Bowser's spouse, as the site rep, has input to the negotiating team for the teachers on behalf of the teachers at her school.

Mr. Bowser telling me he and his wife aren't part of the team is (a) not accurate and (b) hardly reassuring. So, it is a bit of smoke and mirrors.

Vote yes or no on the parcel tax, but be clear on what the facts actually are.


Posted by Yet Another Teacher, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Feb 26, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I've no comment on the alleged ethical conflict of Mr. Bowser, but as for the parcel tax...well, it's not going to pass in any amount.

While I support the idea of a parcel tax, it's become quite clear to me that pursuing it is a waste of time, money, and that most precious commodity of all, political capital. Whoever advised the new Superintendent of PUSD, Ms. Ahmadi, to try for even this modest 17 cents-a-day parcel tax has given her bad advice. It does not matter if a majority of the Pleasanton community want the parcel tax; under the law in California, two-thirds of the voters must support the tax, and it's very clear that a two-thirds majority does not exist for this tax. If I had to hazard an educated guess, I'd say this parcel tax will fall a bit short of passage, garnering perhaps 62%-63% of the total vote. That percentage of the vote would be a resounding mandate in any other matter, but does not satisfy the stricter requirements for passage of a parcel tax.

And so it goes.


Posted by To Resident, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 26, 2011 at 3:34 pm

On the healthcare % question, the head of HR
for PUSD said approximately 40% of teachers
have to choose a plan thru the district. This was
on a televised board meeting two weeks ago.
This number would be higher before all the
younger teachers were fired when the budget
crisis began. So much for perception vs reality, 40%
is significant. He also said the cheapest family
plans run about $17,000 per year- other plans are
more expensive. The salary difference between
PUSD and other districts at the starting levels
is between $8,000 to $12,000 more in Pleasanton, but no
benefits included. So not exactly a windfall if you
need healthcare. You are better off starting in Livermore
for 46k with benefits included than in PUSD for 52k and have to
buy healthcare with rates rising every year.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2011 at 3:55 pm

So basically teachers that need to purchase healthcare are not making more than surrounding districts, but still are doing OK. Those who do not need the healthcare are getting a huge windfall benefit. And the unions go on about social justice.


Posted by doing OK?, a resident of Castlewood
on Feb 26, 2011 at 4:03 pm

sorry but last I checked a 52K salary is not "doing OK" if you want to live in Pleasanton...


Posted by to parent, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 26, 2011 at 4:11 pm

If the poster above has the numbers correct, then a new teacher in PUSD with a family might have a 52K starting salary. If they have to pay healthcare with the district, and must choose the cheapest plan (17K) - then they are now making $35K!!.... you don't sees those numbers flying around the blogs very often!


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2011 at 4:28 pm

I think starting salaries are around 60k for FTE and there are not many on this level at all. Even minus the healthcare that is comparable to other districts and well over the national and state average.


Posted by to parent, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 26, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Parent - you may be right on the starting salary - the PUSD website salary schedule file link does not work but this link was in the downloads, it is old but states $58K

Web Link

At 60K less healthcare (17K) you would be at $43K.....Livermore still has PUSD beat at $46K starting salary...


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Yeah, there is a more up to date schedule out there and it is more like 60k now. I can't remember the exact figure, but I think there are very few at this level and I suspect they are all on the pink slip list, which makes it even worse. The system in place doesn't seem that socially just to me.


Posted by Does Bowser's wife pay for health care, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2011 at 7:32 pm

"At 60K less healthcare (17K) you would be at $43K.....Livermore still has PUSD beat at $46K starting salary..."

Not for the PUSD teachers whose spouse provides healthcare. Trevor has refused to answer if Patty Bowser is among the teachers who do not pay for healthcare and therefore enjoy the salary boost.

If this healthcare deal is so awful and hurts the majority, why not re-negotiate? But that means going down in salary as well. So the MAJORITY of teachers whose spouse provides healthcare will have to see a paycut in order for the teachers who do pay for health care to get a more fair situation salary wise.


Posted by long time parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2011 at 8:30 pm

For health insurance, if you are single, the district price is $6K. For married, $12K. For family, $17K. 39% of the teachers receive the health insurance but the district has not broken this down by how many have it for themselves, how many for themselves and their spouse, and how many for their family. I would guess that most of the 40% have insurance for themselves because if they are married, and their spouse is working, they probably receive health insurance through their spouse's insurance plan.

When a teacher retires they can receive 84 months of medical insurance at no cost to them (60 months for insurance for themselves and their spouse). The District pays 100% of the cost.


Posted by Yet Another Teacher, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Feb 26, 2011 at 8:48 pm

No, health care costs are $650 a month for singles, double that for married. That's $7800 for a single person each year, $15,600 for coverage of a spouse/children.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2011 at 10:51 pm

From YAT: "No, health care costs are $650 a month for singles, double that for married. That's $7800 for a single person each year, $15,600 for coverage of a spouse/children."

From Mr Knaggs in defense of step and column: "they have to pay for their own medical benefits and the costs have escalated to the point where current Kaiser rates for a family medical plan and family dental plan have risen to $22,147 a year."

So is shows you have to read the fine print.


Posted by Yet Another Teacher, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Feb 27, 2011 at 1:06 am

When I first accepted my position with PUSD, I was stunned to learn that I had to pay for my own medical benefits. Seems that whoever negotiated that deal had a spouse with a gold-plated medical plan and threw the rest of us to the wolves.

We have two types of teachers in our union: those with wealthy spouses and those without. The ones with the wealthy spouses control our union, which is how we've ended up with boneheaded salary schedules that have no progression for years once you reach a certain step and have to pay for our own (skyrocketing) medical insurance.

Not that I expect anything to change, just venting :)


Posted by hmmm, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 27, 2011 at 3:56 am

?Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, 12 hours ago

Just the facts: The board directs the district side of the negotiating team--they just happen to be administrators who have me too clauses in their contracts that entitles them to whatever is negotiated. And the input from the district team occurs in closed session with the board (to be fair, that's allowed by law). Mr. Bowser's spouse, as the site rep, has input to the negotiating team for the teachers on behalf of the teachers at her school.

Mr. Bowser telling me he and his wife aren't part of the team is (a) not accurate and (b) hardly reassuring. So, it is a bit of smoke and mirrors."

Smoke and Mirrors is an understatement!

Doesn't the school board attorney have a conflict also, which would help explain his legal comments that disregard any ethical substance. And why even bother getting a quote from a union rep - does anyone really beleive anything these bozos spew?


Posted by still a duck, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 27, 2011 at 8:40 am

The solution is to just vote down the salary tax and let the Bowsers know that we are on to them. Legal or not (yeah, Kernan is a "resident" of Pleasanton per that same attorney) we have the opportunity to invalidate his participation in this issue.
The teachers who have spousal insurance outvoted those who do not and their greed shows up in their paychecks every day. The union demands S & C and tenure for those teachers who need to be purged from the schools. These things alone make a salary tax, whch will go ONLY for teacher raises and the election, a slam dunk for failure.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2011 at 9:33 am

"The solution is to just vote down the salary tax and let the Bowsers know that we are on to them. "

How will that solve anything? It will lead to program cuts. Step and column will still have to be paid either way.


Posted by sinbad, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 27, 2011 at 9:58 am

you are right, concerned parent. but we need some kind of rationale for not paying the higher taxes. and this is fun -- blaming the teachers. patriotic too.


Posted by Yet Another Teacher, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Feb 27, 2011 at 10:22 am

Sure, public employees are being scapegoated for an economic crisis that was 100% the fault of the thieving Wall Street "bankers" and the corrupt politicians they carry around in their pockets. So what's new?

I and others like me are expected to pay with our pensions and our salaries for crimes that had nothing to do with us. No matter how many concessions we make nor how many sacrifices we make, it's never going to be enough. The object, you see, is to reduce us from professionals to peons with no legal rights and a subsistence wage.

It's working, too, slowly but surely. Ah, well.


Posted by GERTRUDE S., a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 27, 2011 at 10:47 am

YAT, that's right. My husband loses his job on account of the Wall Street fiasco, and now as a teacher I'm expected to take the hit for it. In my opinion, this blame game is being directed at the wrong players.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 27, 2011 at 10:53 am

YAT, Blaming Wall Street and politicians is an oversimplification. Few innocents there to be sure. However, even in a fat economy, tenure, step and column, and pensions for public employees are unsustainable. And unions' unwillingness to look at new models for learning, different compensation and evaluation plans, and the ability to remove an ineffective teacher easily exacerbates the problem and frustrates those picking up the tab.

Most people on these blogs respect your profession and want to pay strong salaries and be able to reward the best.


Posted by Member, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 27, 2011 at 10:54 am

The attorney is being paid to provide an opinion that is consistent with what his clients are already doing. His opinion on this subject is "bought" and is a foregone conclusion.
To get a reliable opinion on the subject, have it reviewed by someone who is not on the payroll and how doesn't have a dog in the race.
I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a change of position by the attorney or the Bowsers. When a conflict of interest or an appearance of impropriety exists but the person(s) involved refuse to recognize it, they will just dig in their heels the more the subject is discussed.
The lawyer's opinion does not go far enough. He is parsing words. He says that there is not a technical conflict of interest. That part is debatable.
But the more important question is: Is there an "appearance of impropriety"? On that question, the answer is clearly Yes.
The local voters have already spoken on the subject of "appearance of impropriety". Just read the comments related to this article and the earrlier article. At least 90% of those who have spoken say that this is an appearance of impropriety.
The next step for local residents is to remember all this, and to use the "power of the ballot box" in the future any time anything comes up where we can vote our disapproval.
Public servants serve based on the will of the public that elects them. When public servants instead act out of self-interest or personal economic interest, or conflict of interest, or when they do not serve their constituents, then the voters respond by throwing the bums out.


Posted by optimistic mom, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 27, 2011 at 10:55 am

If you want to send a message to Bowser, write to him. His address is on the district website (he receives mail at the district office.)

Voting no on a parcel tax does not send a message to Bowser any more than it does to any of the other board members who put the parcel tax on the ballot. They all voted in favor of it.

I don't think we could consider a recall unless he votes for something really outrageous that the other board members don't support. Though I wasn't pleased about him referring to Barton and summer school as "rounding errors" in the budget.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2011 at 11:31 am

" However, even in a fat economy, tenure, step and column, and pensions for public employees are unsustainable"

I think you mean to say that the rates of step and column, the retirement age and amounts of pensions promised are unsustainable. None of those things is inherently unsustainable. We can have public pensions, tenure, and step and column and have a completely sustainable system if the amounts we pay out can be supported by the amount we take in right?

Also YAT is entirely correct in blaming the recession on Wall Street. Public pensions and salaries for public workers played no role in causing the recession. It is strange that the problems with Wall Street (most importantly the too big to fail problem) are still with us, and likely to cause another global recession of depression if not addressed, yet the problem is getting so little attention. It is both sad and shameful.


Posted by still a duck, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 27, 2011 at 12:17 pm

As usual we can count on YAT to make ridiculous generalizations:
"public employees are being scapegoated for an economic crisis that was 100% the fault of the thieving Wall Street "bankers" and the corrupt politicians they carry around in their pockets".
I would agree that finding an honest wall street banker would not be easy. However, failing to fault the greedy homeowners who agreed to repay loans that they knew they could never afford, the real estate brokers who sold them houses that they could not afford, the loan brokers who gave them loans they could not afford is to fail to blame some of the most guilty. If the greedy brokers had not sold the homes to the brainless buyers who got the loan from the bottomfeeding brokers, where would Wall Street have found the loans to package and sell? It is all inter-related, a chicken and egg argument.
None of that, however, is relevant to this situation. With or without a economic crisis the public employee pensions, allowing retirement as early as age 50 with full benefits, ARE NOT SUSTAINABLE. It was only a matter of time until that was discovered. The economic meltdown brought it out sooner.
Asking for an additional tax to fund raises for teachers, whose union supported the insurance agreement, is not justified. Not in this economy and not until major hurdles are overcome. S & C and tenure being the largest of those hurdles.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 27, 2011 at 12:25 pm

CP, I've been clear that I do not support tenure or S&C; i think there are better ways to reward the best and move out those who underperform. Retirement age change would work, but I don't think defined benefits are sustainable; here I would favor moving everyone to 401k or 403b plans where the district may give a match, but where individuals are responsible for their own planning. Many STRS and PERS members are not watching their investments or the election of those entities board members. Benefits are guaranteed, so there is little need to watch.

I acknowledged the issue is complex for WS--plenty of blame to share.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 27, 2011 at 12:25 pm

CP, I've been clear that I do not support tenure or S&C; i think there are better ways to reward the best and move out those who underperform. Retirement age change would work, but I don't think defined benefits are sustainable; here I would favor moving everyone to 401k or 403b plans where the district may give a match, but where individuals are responsible for their own planning. Many STRS and PERS members are not watching their investments or the election of those entities board members. Benefits are guaranteed, so there is little need to watch.

I acknowledged the issue is complex for WS--plenty of blame to share.


Posted by long time parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2011 at 12:26 pm

To YAT, you are paying that higher amount because you have chosen the premium HealthNet plan. The Kaiser plan is $6K/year. HealthNet is $7800/year.

Also, the reason the teachers received the previous pay raises was because of Wall Street. When Wall Street was out of control, the stock market kept going up, more people made profits, more tax was collected, schools received more money. So if you are going to blame wall street for the lack of funds now, you need to also blame wall street for the raises, and the pension increases, of the past.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 27, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I had a great conversation with a friend of mine who is in an union (non-public employee union). Most unions feel that public employee unions give private unions a bad name. Non-public unions do not have the excessive benefits because they have to compete in the market. There is also no seniority and no step and column. Pay is based on several categories of training/experience; not something that automatically increments each year. A union worker is not guaranteed employment. They can be at the top of the scale but employees are hired by the customer and they can pick the members; so seniority and lack of ability to fire tenured employees is not a problem.


Posted by Vote NO on E, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2011 at 12:49 pm

"Voting no on a parcel tax does not send a message to Bowser any more than it does to any of the other board members who put the parcel tax on the ballot. They all voted in favor of it."

The board members (except Arkin) also endorsed Bowser. No on E will send a loud message, both to Boswer, to the union (and his spouse) and the clowns on the board who endorsed Bowser knowing about the conflict of interest. Then again, those same board members also were OK with Kernan being on the board even though he was no longer a resident of Pleasanton.

NO on E. NO on a salary tax.


Posted by Vote NO on E, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Here is the list of people who endorsed Bowser:

"Pleasanton Unified School District
Chris Grant, President Board of Trustees
Pat Kernan, Clerk Board of Trustees
Jim Ott, Board of Trustees

Pleasanton Weekly
Association of Pleasanton Teachers
Trevor Knaggs, President APT "

For full list go to:

Web Link

They contributed to his election and the conflict of interest which is well known now even if the lawyer says no conflict exists.

And you wonder why the PW is running stories in defense of Bowser? And you wonder why Trevor defends Patty Bowser and sees no conflict?

Come on, those who were fooled by these clowns in November, wake up and fix your mistake.

Vote NO on E.

Send a message, they fooled you once and got you to vote for Bowser, let them know you will not be fooled twice with their unethical nonsense.

Vote NO on E. Tell everyone you know to vote NO on E.


Posted by woody, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Unfunded liabilities. Unsustainable. Do you know why? Because I say so. I won't give a nickel more to our highly valued, thieving teachers. This is a moral matter for me. I am morally opposed to step and column. I am morally opposed to tenure. Let them face the community every year and explain themselves when my kid's scores drop.

I'm so tired of all these whiners. I give my kid all the best. 52 inch television screan, ipod, blackburry, computer in his bedroom plus a laptop, and I provide every video game imagineable in order to help with his quik thinking and hand-eye coordination. All I expect is that these deadbeats educate my kid. I do my job. Why can't they do thiers? I loose sleep over this matter. Just like my kohorts, I just can't stand to look at myself in the mirror while this is going on. Let me tell ya, I'm chompin' at the bit and rarin' ta go as far as speerheading a community assessment team to seperate the wheet from the shaft. Let them answer to the likes of me and steve and princess bean counter. We'll have a education system like none other in California. We'll set the standard.


Posted by Citizen Sugar Cane, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 27, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Woody lmao. I luv it.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Feb 27, 2011 at 11:12 pm

We need to put woody on the school board to balance the power a bit.


Posted by Frankie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2011 at 1:57 am

Yeo Jerry. I'm placing my bets that you'd really prefer to have Wally as Mayor wouldn't you?


Posted by steve, a resident of Parkside
on Feb 28, 2011 at 9:21 am

For those citing, amongst other causes, the 'corrupt politicians', did you know your union unquestioningly supports the very politicians responsible in large part for the mess that Calif. schools have become over that last 40 years? That's right, the Dem majority in Calif. are joined at the hip with the unions, both public and private.
Don't expect any improvements in the educational system until you engage your brains and disengage this unholy alliance.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2011 at 10:03 am

"Don't expect any improvements in the educational system until you engage your brains and disengage this unholy alliance."

Steve, Pleasanton has an excellent school system. That is why my family moved here, and we've been very happy. Your post sounds like a generic "public schools are all bad" type post. Do you have any children actually in this school system? Have they ever attended schools in another school system that isn't good? We've had those experiences.

I'm voting yes on E.


Posted by Rufus, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2011 at 10:58 am

Hopefully voters will remember this and if Bowser runs for the school board again they should give him the boot.

It would also be good for voters to let the Bowsers and the school board know that if the parcel tax is going to pass, either Jeff Bowser resigns from the school board or his wife resigns her position before the election.


Posted by Vote NO on E, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2011 at 12:08 pm

To all supporters of Measure E:

Here is an article about a district that passed a parcel tax in 2009:

Web Link

It is Cupertino. The tax was a one year bandaid, and the next, the tax was not sufficient but Cupertino continued to give raises. So as expected, Cupertino gave raises and announced cuts to programs - the community raised over 2 million to save those programs and the district did not address the issue of raises once again.

Now, in 2011 and with the parcel tax approved in 2009 still in effect, they are again going to try to pass another parcel tax, this is in addition to the current parcel tax.

The same will happen in PUSD: measure E will NOT help unless the ROOT cause of RAISES is addressed. Those of you campaigning for E and working the phone banks are fooling yourselves and trying to fool others into thinking measure E will not be used for raises one way or the other and also fooling yourselves if you think passing E will prevent further cuts to programs. Nothing will help until the main problem of raises is addressed and dealt with.

"Voters will be asked to adopt another $125 per parcel tax, which would bring in an estimated $4.4 million annually and last for six years starting July 1.

The tax would be in addition to what property owners in the district already pay per parcel. In May 2009, voters resoundingly approved Measure B, a $125 annual per parcel tax."


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2011 at 12:21 pm

To "Vote NO on E",

I have a number of friends with children in Cupertino public schools who want teachers to have raises. They are willing to pay for them. Cupertino has excellent schools.


Posted by Vote NO on E, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2011 at 12:41 pm

"I have a number of friends with children in Cupertino public schools who want teachers to have raises. They are willing to pay for them. Cupertino has excellent schools."

Let's see what the outcome of E is. If it fails, it means that perhaps you live in the wrong community. When Cupertino passed their first tax in 2009, PUSD voters rejected measure G.

We will see if Cupertino's parcel tax passes again in 2011, and if E passes.

You say you moved to Pleasanton for the schools, but Cupertino also has good schools, and you work in Silicon Valley, why Pleasanton? Maybe because the housing is cheaper, but if you are so in love with the idea of taxing yourself for raises as they did in Cupertino, maybe you should re-consider your community of preference.



Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2011 at 1:07 pm

"Maybe because the housing is cheaper, but if you are so in love with the idea of taxing yourself for raises as they did in Cupertino, maybe you should re-consider your community of preference."

Or if measure E passes, maybe you will need to reconsider, but you're going to have a tough time finding a community without a parcel tax and good schools. A really tough time.


Posted by Mom of Four, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Cupertino has very involved parents who send their kids to after school tutoring programs, including Friday evenings and Saturdays. The parents are very much on top of their kids' education and that is the reason for their high scores. I know because my kids were there in younger grades. I don't think the teachers are any different.

As a classroom volunteer for many years, I always felt that every child deserved a teacher who would teach them and not rely on parents to teach at home. It is a shame that some kids (who lost out on the luck of the draw in the parent department) don't get the education that should be available to every child. In high school, kids can largely help themselves but in the lower grades, if they're not getting their math facts and grammar at home, they sometimes don't get it in the classroom. I felt bad about that because it puts them behind from the start.


Posted by Mom of Four, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2011 at 1:21 pm

In other words, I think it's the parents...and not the extra money.


Posted by Vote NO on E, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2011 at 4:31 pm

"Or if measure E passes, maybe you will need to reconsider, but you're going to have a tough time finding a community without a parcel tax and good schools. A really tough time"

I did not move to Pleasanton because of the schools. I liked being able to buy a nice and big house in a nice looking neighborhood for reasonable prices. And that will not change whether E passes or fails.

In Silicon Valley, a nice looking house in a good neighborhood (whether schools are good or bad) it is twice what I paid here in Pleasanton.

But you seem to think schools are going downhill if E does not pass, and since good schools was the reason you moved to Pleasanton, you may want to re-consider your community and select one with parcel taxes if E fails. After all, you have friends in Cupertino, you think it is a good school distrcit and you work in SV, so....just a suggestion.


Posted by Pleasanton schools?, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 28, 2011 at 8:14 pm

I agree with the poster above - most of us moved to Pleasanton for the night-life, come on now.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2011 at 10:09 pm

To "Vote no on E",

Thanks for the kind advice. I'll give it all the consideration it is due.

"I did not move to Pleasanton because of the schools."

Of course not everyone did, but plenty of us did. Maybe you mean to imply that good schools and "nice looking neighborhoods" aren't in any way related? That would be an interesting thing to believe.

I can only suggest that maybe you look to another community that may be more to your liking. Pleasanton's demographics are changing, and many of the newer residents are the kind who value schools and quality education highly. Have you looked at Stockton? There are some very nice looking neighborhoods there, and they are a lot cheaper than Pleasanton.


Posted by Vote NO on E, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2011 at 10:29 pm

"Maybe you mean to imply that good schools and "nice looking neighborhoods" aren't in any way related? That would be an interesting thing to believe. "

No, I mean the physical appereance. There are in fact, good neighborhoods in SV without good schools, yet they are nice looking but quite expensive. Examples are areas near West Valley College with very big fancy houses but bad school districts (Campbell). It is a weird deal since you can still buy in either Saratoga or Monte Sereno but still get assigned to Campbell schools.

A co-worker bought a house over there, paid 2.4 million but the schools are not good. She likes it though because it is a really nice area, and if I could afford that kind of house over there, even with the not so good schools, I would have bought it too, but my budget was a maximum of 1.8, so I came to Pleasanton. I like living in a nice house in a nice looking area. Even now with the housing crisis, houses over there, with their bad schools have held their value better than in Pleasanton.

Most of my neighbors are voting no on E, so I am right at home, at least in my immediate neighborhood. And I get to live in a nice looking city with a downtown and all. Good deal for me. Not sure you will feel the same way if E fails, but that is your choice. A nice house in a place like Cupertino and Palo Alto (in a nice neighborhood because there are some bad looking, run down areas there too) are way too expensive. The Cupertino Foothills is way up there in price if you want a fancier house.


Posted by Vote NO on E, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2011 at 10:43 pm

"Stockton? There are some very nice looking neighborhoods there, and they are a lot cheaper than Pleasanton."

You are kidding, right? Stockton is run down, and it is far away from everything. I too work in SV, and the only reason I do not live over there is because I cannot afford the kind of house I have here in Pleasanton in the kind of neighborhood I live in Pleasanton. Pleasanton was a good compromise, not too far from work and yet I got a lot more house and nicer looking place than what I would have gotten over there for the same price.

A post above talked about parents in Cupertino being the key to the scores. I think they may have a point there. Good students from good families will score high on tests regardless of how good or bad the schools are. It just depends of the percentage of the population in a particular district that goes to the public schools vs. private. I think in PUSD the majority go to public schools with some going to private, maybe that is why we have good scores? Because the majority of Pleasanton residents send their kids to the local public schools? After all, here in Pleasanton we do not have the good private schools like Harker, etc. (although I did meet someone whose kids go to Bellarmine yet they live in Pleasanton but I think those are few since the drive is far for school purposes)


Posted by jasmine, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2011 at 11:48 pm

@Vote NO on E,
Just wanted to make sure I read you correctly. You're budgeted for a house in the neighborhood of 1.8 million and you are against Measure E. Because quality of schools don't matter that much. Got it. Thanks.


Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 1, 2011 at 6:11 am

To 'jasmine' - please help us understand how $2M will improve the quality of the schools? That is, after $1.6M is used to pay for the salary increases and longevity bonus increases?


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2011 at 8:14 am

To "Start Afresh",

That 2 million will save 2 million worth of programs that will be cut. We'll be paying for step and column either way. Do you understand now? If we don't pass the parcel tax there will be cuts in things like reading specialists, or increases in class sizes. If we pass the parcel tax some of that will be saved. We will be paying for step and column either way. Many parents are for keeping step and column in place.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2011 at 8:25 am

"Good students from good families will score high on tests regardless of how good or bad the schools are. "

So why not fire all the teachers and just use security guards?

"After all, here in Pleasanton we do not have the good private schools like Harker, etc. "

Private schools? Why waste money on private schools when schools don't make any difference at all? It is just "good families", right? Are you changing your mind on this one? And have you heard or Carden West or Quarry Lane Schools? Are those not any good and that's why Pleasanton parents are forced to send their kids to the dreadful public schools? I'm having a really hard time following your reasoning here. I think you should probably spend some time getting to know what is going on in our schools and finding out that we've got a good thing going here. You may find yourself supporting a parcel tax before long.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Mar 1, 2011 at 9:04 am

Husbands and wives shouldn't and usualy don't keep information from each other, at some point Mr. Mrs. Bowser will share which way the wind is blowing. This is a blatant conflict of interest and should not be allowed to happen, What is the City Attorney thinking ?


Posted by Vote NO on E, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2011 at 9:29 am

"Private schools? Why waste money on private schools when schools don't make any difference at all? It is just "good families", right? Are you changing your mind on this one? And have you heard or Carden West or Quarry Lane Schools? Are those not any good and that's why Pleasanton parents are forced to send their kids to the dreadful public schools? I'm having a really hard time following your reasoning here. I think you should probably spend some time getting to know what is going on in our schools and finding out that we've got a good thing going here. You may find yourself supporting a parcel tax before long. "

I personally would not pay for private schools. I believe that kids from good families score high on test in spite of the schools. I simply mention it because many people do choose to send their kids to private schools if their local public schools are not good. This may explain why in SV's expensive areas with not so good schools like the ones where my co-worker bought, the scores for the schools are mediocre (because many students may be in private schools). Pleasanton however does not have any close by top rated schools. The ones you mention do not have the reputation of Harker or Bellarmine and I can see how it would be hard to justify spending money on a school that is not that great and that is similar to the public schools. So people send their kids to the local public schools; those kids take the test and the scores are high. Someone above mentioned it about Cupertino, how in that person's experience, it is the parents who are responsible for the high scores.

"Many parents are for keeping step and column in place"

Those parents are the ones responsible for the cancellation of programs. Who in their right mind would agree to give raises when the budget is shrinking? That is financially irresponsible.

How is that different from buying more house than you can afford and then HOPE the value will go up and you can re-finance and get money out? The district HOPES to get money from E, and before they know if it will pass, they already spent the money they do NOT have on raises. Sounds similar to me. It is all about bad financial practices.

"You may find yourself supporting a parcel tax before long. "

NO. I do not believe in spending money I do not have. That is why I live in Pleasanton, where I can afford the house I want, and not in SV where I could not afford the same house I now have. Likewise, I do not believe in others spending money they do not have. PUSD is spending money they do not have, they are spending it on raises. I will not contribute to that irresponsible financial way of operating.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2011 at 9:58 am

"Those parents are the ones responsible for the cancellation of programs. Who in their right mind would agree to give raises when the budget is shrinking? That is financially irresponsible. "

No, they would like to see a higher parcel tax that will cover both step and column and retaining programs. But you just said those programs don't make any difference at all so who cares right?

" I simply mention it because many people do choose to send their kids to private schools if their local public schools are not good."

But all local public schools are equally bad, so what difference does it make? Why would they waste all that money? Just foolish?

Schools and teachers do make a difference. I don't think you're going to find a whole lot of people who agree with you that they don't.


Posted by Vote NO on E, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2011 at 11:07 am

"No, they would like to see a higher parcel tax that will cover both step and column and retaining programs."

But that is not what is happening. The proposed parcel tax is for 98 dollars, that means that by continuing to support raises in times of deficit, you contribute to the problem, you agree with cancelling programs on behalf of the beloved raises. Yes, you and all who say raises are okay give the unions the power to continue to demand raises even though there is no money.

Some people also said they would love to live in a house they could not afford, so they borrowed, got variable rates, borrowed more and eventually foreclosed. You would love to see a higher parcel tax but the reality is the tax is for 98 and it is not a sure thing. SO you are very fiscally irresponsible, by supporting raises with money that is a "maybe" and even if the "maybe" (E) becomes a sure thing, it won't be enough money the second year. Talk about fiscally handicapped people!



Posted by Mom of Four, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2011 at 12:18 pm

The recent issue of Diablo magazine:

The 3 highest performing schools in Alameda county:


p/pupil spending SAT API Avg.Teacher Salary

Amador $7,631 1710 883 $80,000
Foothill 7,631 1775 889 80,000
Piedmont 11,350 1902 903 69,000

Pleasanton had the highest average teacher salary in the county but there were no figures for the schools in Contra Costa which would have been really interesting to see. Darn....


Posted by Conflict of interest, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Nov 27, 2011 at 11:56 pm

"Attorney Robert Kingsley advises the school board on conflicts of interest and recently conducted a workshop with the board on those conflicts."

It looks like Robert Kingley has hired former board member Pat Kernan as its legal counsel for the firm Kingley Bogard LLP ---

Web Link

Did Kingley's conflict of interest workshop cover the "revolving door provisions" for a year after leaving office for former elected local officials and school district officials working on or obtaining contracts or being in communication with their former local agency or school district?


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