School parcel tax rebuttal arguments due March 4

Ballot argument rebuttals for the May 4 parcel tax elections for the Menlo Park City and Portola Valley school districts are due by 5 p.m. on March 4, said Warren Slocum, San Mateo County's chief elections officer.

Information about the special, all-mail elections will be available at or by calling 312-5222. Arguments for and against the parcel taxes, as well as rebuttal arguments, will be available online once they are submitted, Mr. Slocum said.

The Portola Valley election calls for a four-year, $168 annual parcel tax, and the Menlo Park election calls for a seven-year, $178 annual parcel tax. Both require a two-thirds yes vote in order to pass.


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2010 at 9:09 am

Only mail-in ballots?! What a bunch of sheisters! The teachers' unions know full well that in such "special" elections the pro-vote always has an advantage. They know about the vote far more than those who would oppose it because they, the pro-vote, got it put on the ballot. They stack the vote thus. CHICANERY!!! THIEVERY!!! Why don't they just wait for the normal election when the turnout is far greater, when the majority could truly vote? Because they don't want you to vote. We need a civil rights act for taxpayers

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Posted by legally rigged
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Feb 26, 2010 at 9:22 am

From having worked on parcel tax elections, the strategy is precisely as Don't suggests, though I wouldn't go as far to call it "thievery." The district does not want anyone to know about the election except for those in favor of the tax. It may not be democracy at its finest, but it's perfectly legal.

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Posted by observer
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 26, 2010 at 1:22 pm

And you all are surprised why?

How was this different than the bond measure ballot?

How is this different than Ranella using his pulpit sending out pamphlets and emails to rile up the entitled masses to beat on neighbors who wanted more consideration from the district in the construction they planned? The neighbors lost, and that is fine. What was not fine were the methods. It never should have been a zero-sum battle.

They methods of this board are either strong-arm, dishonest, or divisive. Just take another look at the comment threads about MPCSD related articles in the Almanac. We expect this divisive behavior from politicians. We do not expect this from community organizations that theoretically want to work with the community they serve.

So, once again, why is anyone surprised?

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Posted by Local Mom
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Feb 26, 2010 at 2:02 pm

The parcel tax was put on the ballot for May because the funds are needed next year to save our neighborhood schools from devastating cuts. May 15th is the final day to notify teachers and staff members of layoffs, and that will give the district a few days after the parcel tax election to finalize a budget for the 2010-2011 school year. The timing of this election has been carefully set to try and protect our local schools. Our schools desperately need this parcel tax to maintain a quality education for our neighborhood kids. Anyone who lives in Menlo Park benefits from having good quality neighborhood schools. Please look at Calfornia Public Schools that are not supported by their communities if you want a comparison. We are fortunate to have a community that cares about public eduction. I'm very grateful our community has been continuously working to provide a great public school education for all our children. We need to continue this effort and support this parcel tax.

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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Wrong mommy, they do these parcel taxes always as special elections, regardless of extenuating circumstances. They did it in my town last year in the same way and the year before in the towns around me. The teachers unions are thwarting the will of the voters. It will no longer be tolerated

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Posted by Judy
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Feb 26, 2010 at 4:04 pm

The teacher's union didn't put the parcel tax on the ballot, the school board did.

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Posted by Don't fire til houser the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2010 at 7:07 pm

Oh like there's a difference

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Posted by MPCSD Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 26, 2010 at 8:35 pm

Regardless of whether one has an issue with a mail-in ballot vs.a walk-in election, having quality public schools in our community (that provide science, art, music, foreign language, character education, etc.) greatly benefits everyone in the community.

We are incredably fortunate to have a well educated populace that cares about the community at large. And due to our high quality schools, we continue to attract individuals and families who value a strong education and a strong community. Our existing homeowners, regardless of whether they have children, benefit from significantly higher property valuations than residents who live in communities with less desirable schools.

So, I'm hopeful that even if people for one reason or another are unhappy with something that happened in the past, they will put this aside and realize how important it is to protect our schools from the devasting cuts to personnel and programs that will take place if Parcel tax C doesn't pass in May.

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Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 27, 2010 at 12:30 am

I urge a resounding NO vote on this tax. Just cut the fat public sector benefits and wages. Do it for the children.

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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2010 at 6:44 am

MPCSD is basically saying, regardless of the will of the voters, we should give more money to schools. And no, the schools don't make good communities, good communities make good schools. You could put a state of the art school in Richmond and no one will move there because they'll be afraid for their kids lives. And so property values will still be low. Schools do not stop crime. Good parents do. The school system is full of usurpers who want to take credit for what we as a community create. The schools here are lucky to be in our community, not the other way around

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Posted by MPCSD Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 27, 2010 at 8:03 am

'Don't Fire' has really misinterpreted my point. The point is everyone in the community does have a vote and I'm hopeful, due to the benefits we all receive - high property values, low crime rates, clean streets, informed, caring citizens,etc. from having quality people and quality schools in our area, that the overwhelming majority will see the importance of mailing in the ballot they'll all recieve to vote for the Parcel Tax. What we have and I really hope we'll continue to have is this great reinforcing cycle - a fantastic community that created a great environment with high quality schools AND high quality schools that enable us to retain the caring citizens of our community.

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Posted by legally rigged
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Feb 27, 2010 at 9:13 am

I have to say I'm more than a little amused by the fact that the pro-taxers almost all have significant spelling and grammatical errors (not typos) in their posts. Makes me wonder if they know what a "good education" is!

By the way, our schools used to rely on volunteers a lot more than they do now. People in this community do care, and they are eager to help. If this tax fails to pass, volunteers will step up to help with science, art, music, math -- and I daresay some of us do a better job than the teachers do.

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Posted by Do Not Feed The Tea-Party Troll
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 27, 2010 at 9:36 am

"Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes" is a tea-party troll.
Don't respond directly and he will go away.
You have been warned.

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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2010 at 10:55 am

No I didn't miss your point. You're just not paying attention. I made it clear that such special elections are intended to thwart the will of the majority vote. And I also made it clear that your union talking points will not longer go unchallenged. Your assumption that good schools make higher property values is what's called a correlational fallacy. Good schools are an indicator of a good area, not a cause. The cause of a good area is the good people of the community who don't commit crime. We could place a state of the art school in Richmond, forking over billions of dollars to it, and it would not drop the crime in the community. The crime would remain and thus property values would remain low. The parents of this community raise good kids as opposed to little gangbangers, and so the schools are good because of their parents. The schools are thus merely an indicator of an area that has good and decent people, but is certainly not the cause of those people being good and decent

you want us to believe that without another parcel tax we'll all degenerate into immoral gangbangers. You are nuts!

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Posted by Skeptic
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 28, 2010 at 11:59 am

So there's a current emergency. Then why a SEVEN-YEAR tax?
Can't let an emergency go by without taking advantage of it?

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Posted by MPCSD resident
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 28, 2010 at 4:47 pm

The parcel tax has been set to run for 7 years because the district's demographers are projecting enrollment to continue increasing for 7 more years.

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Posted by Dawn
a resident of Oak Knoll School
on Mar 2, 2010 at 1:34 pm

I'm confused about the motivation behind some of the more negative posters on this issue who don't even live in the community about which they've invested so much comment time. Why do you care about a parcel tax you won't be paying? Maybe you're a landlord? I'm just curious.

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Posted by Parent of school aged children
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Mar 22, 2010 at 7:49 am

This parcel tax won't fix the problem. Most likely, it will beget another parcel tax as the problems with the state of California are not going to change because of this parcel tax. This is the most unproductive way to go about getting more money for schools. If you must assess a parcel tax, assess it and then give it to a lobby group who will lobby the state to get rid of Prop 13. There would be money well spent as it gets to the core of the problems in this state.

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