By putting any consideration of a parcel tax aside for this year, Casey has a more realistic approach to voter appeal. It's just not the right time, he told the board, although the proposal could come back next year if there are new and more onerous cuts in the state education budget. As it is, the governor's May budget revise leaves most funding intact, although Pleasanton will see some restraints, but nothing major. Casey no doubt looked at the same June 3 results that buoyed the bond measure advocates in the park district and saw things differently. In Alameda, for example, a see-saw battle had that city's school district watching its proposed levy of an emergency tax of $120 per residential parcel pressing back and forth election night just short and then just over the two-thirds majority vote it needed for passage. Finally on June 29, after all provisional, absentee and ballot box votes had been counted, the tax levy was approved by the barest of margins. Nearby San Ramon was not so lucky, with voters rejecting Measure D that would have extended and increased the current parcel tax to support school programs and services. In 2004, voters approved a $90-per-parcel tax which expires June 30, 2009. A similar proposal had been defeated two years earlier.
Voters approved school bond and tax measures June 3 in Hayward, Antioch and Palo Alto, as well as a whopping 70 percent "yes" vote in San Francisco for a parcel tax that will go mostly to boost teacher salaries. But voter concerns over the economy were also factors in the defeat of parcel taxes in Pacifica, the Gravenstein Union School District in Sonoma County and three local districts, also in Sonoma County.
As for rolling the dice based on these June results and continued economic concerns, it looks to us as if Casey made the right call to hold off for another--and better--time while the park district will face a challenge to convince enough voters that more parks are worth the price.