By Stuart Soffer
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,