For the most part, there was no organized opposition to the parcel tax and only a few yard signs urging a No vote on Measure E. So we don't know why Measure E failed. Charles Heath of TBWB Strategies, a consulting group that was paid $250,000 to develop strategy for passing the parcel tax, remarked Tuesday night that the measure would have "won by a landslide" if it were not for the state's requirement that a tax increase must receive two-thirds of the vote. We all knew this going into Tuesday's parcel tax vote -- the second to fail in the last two years -- but we relied on the costly expertise of Mr. Heath and fellow consultant Bryan Godbe that this time, because of their surveys and campaign strategies, victory was a sure thing.
Perhaps three times is a charm, which is why some school board members already are calling for another try at a parcel tax. We doubt that will happen this year or next. In the meantime, the 65% of us who supported Measure E have little recourse but to watch as more teachers are terminated, more programs cut, class sizes increased and programs for our most needy and vulnerable students reduced or paired with neighboring school districts. With another 3,000 residents expected to move to Pleasanton in the next few years as the result of state housing department and Superior Court orders, Pleasanton will need to provide at least one more elementary school to stay within its 600+ elementary school population policy. But with a $7 million budget deficit for the coming school year, an anti-school tax controlling minority, and a governor whose tax and budget plans are stalled by the same radical minority in Sacramento, we can expect school populations here to increase in the short term and the historic lure of the city's quality education program to start to fade.
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