By Stuart Soffer
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About this blog: Growing up in Brooklyn, NY I lived in high-density housing and experienced transit-oriented services first hand. During high school and college summers I worked in Manhattan drafting tenant floor plans for high-rise office buildi... (More)
About this blog: Growing up in Brooklyn, NY I lived in high-density housing and experienced transit-oriented services first hand. During high school and college summers I worked in Manhattan drafting tenant floor plans for high-rise office buildings. This could have been a career option, but my interest in computers - unusual at the time - led me to the computer science program at the University of Wisconsin. A programming job on Page Mill Road brought me to Palo Alto after college. Since 1993 I consult on bridging law and technology, and serve as an expert witness in Intellectual Property litigation. We moved to Menlo Park's Linfield Oaks neighborhood in 1994. Neighborhood traffic issues motivated my initial volunteering as a Menlo Park Planning Commissioner, followed by a stint as a Chamber of Commerce board member and most recently a finance/audit committee member. I advocate community volunteering for meeting people, the neighborhoods, and understanding the myriad issues that somehow arise. As hobbies I collect contemporary art and vintage cameras. And? fly helicopters, which offer rare views of the nooks and crannies of the Bay Area. (Hide)
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No on Measures A and C (or, "The School Board gets a 'Needs Improvement' in Public Process”)
Uploaded: Apr 27, 2016
The editors of both our local papers, the Daily Post
and Almanac News
, recommend voting NO on Menlo Park School District’s Bond Measures A and C.
Menlo Park School District’s upcoming Measure A ballot replaces an existing parcel taxes that is sun setting. I can see voting for this parcel tax as it just replaces the current tax, if it had a fixed period of time. However, both measures are problematic in how they are structured, and they ‘game the system’ by placing them alone in a special election apart from the major June and November ballots.
Measure C creates a new type of parcel tax keyed to school head count – sounds reasonable until factoring in the automatic revenue increases as properties resell and are reassessed at then market values – a step-wide increase which covers any new school children those properties may add to the district.
Another reason is that Measure C is a blank check – it does not sunset, and eliminates the periodic scrutiny that would be in the public interest to assure that elected Menlo Park Board members are diligent in appropriate allocations.
And finally, and if for no other reason, placing this on an isolated ballot games the system: those who support the measure will vote yes; those who don’t support may just ignore the vote – not having any other issue on the ballot that may be of interest. If you oppose these measure, unless you actually vote no, your sentiment has no voice – and the masses nor returning a ballot are voting for the measures – and taxing you on your behalf.
Our schools are great: we can be proud of our showcase schools and programs that benefit our children, and how good schools create demand for our neighborhoods. But that doesn’t excuse the chumming of the votes and silencing future votes by making the taxes perpetual. It reminds me of a weak form of voter suppression such as is reported during the primary season… running out of ballots too early,
What is it worth to you?
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