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Deadline for filing arguments on school parcel tax measures

Original post made on Feb 13, 2016

The deadline is fast approaching for submitting an argument for or against the two parcel tax Measures A and C proposed by the Menlo Park City Elementary School District for a special election on May 3.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, February 13, 2016, 10:15 AM

Comments (32)

Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 13, 2016 at 10:59 am

From the "Resolution, Measure, Full Text, and Tax Rate Statement" for Measure A:

"The Board of Education shall establish an independent Citizens' Oversight Committee (which may be the existing Measure C oversight committee)"

(source, page 7: Web Link )

Side note: they scanned this doc to JPEG, then converted it into PDF. The result is that this document is not searchable within a PDF viewer. You have to parse it manually.

*********
Who is on the existing Oversight committee?
Where do they meet?
When do they meet?
*********

My gut is that this group is bound by the Brown Act, just like other similar committees (Peter Carpenter, can you comment on that? I view you as our resident expert in that area) A Google search turns up lots of matches for a "Menlo Park Measure C oversight committee" search, but none in Menlo Park.


Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 13, 2016 at 11:30 am

Found the web page for MPCSD committees: Web Link

Perusing the site, it appears there are no per-measure or per-tax committees. It's just 1 committee.

Here's there most recent minutes: Web Link


Whoa...this:

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED JUNE 30, 2015

Total Revenues:
2015: $ 48,132,760
2015: $ 46,230,277
Difference: + $ 1,902,483

These revenue numbers are substantially higher than the budget numbers were in the other MPCSD budget docs. That strikes me as odd. Maybe the committee numbers are audited versions (which means the previously reported numbers underreported revenue).

All the more reason to reject these measures. MPCSD isn't swimming in additional revenue, it's DROWNING in additional revenue!


Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 13, 2016 at 11:32 am

That should have read:

2015: $ 48,132,760
2014: $ 46,230,277


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 13, 2016 at 12:10 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"As a Board Committee, the Board Finance and Audit Committee is subject to the Ralph M. Brown Public Meetings Act of the State of California and shall conduct its meetings in accordance with the provisions thereof."

It is not clear if the Finance and Audit Committee will also serve as the Parcel Tax Oversight Committee.

IF a Parcel Tax Oversight Committee is appointed by the Board then it would also be subject to the Brown Act.

It should be noted that the current MPCSD Measure W Bond Program Citizens' Oversight Committee has FIVE of its eight positions VACANT.

The only three filled positions are filled by Parents in the District.

School Leadership Organization representative - VACANT
Community Member - VACANT
Senior Citizens' Organization - VACANT
Bona Fide Taxpayers' Organization- VACANT
Business Community - VACANT

Who is protecting the interests of the community and of the taxpayers?

Evidently MPCSD doe not take seriously having any outside oversight.


Posted by JU
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 13, 2016 at 1:31 pm

Seems to be taking them a long time to come up with a pro parcel tax argument. Let me guess, it'll be some version of "it's for the children", the sky is falling even though we're swimming in $$$$$, and "we don't spend as much as our cherry picked comparable schools."


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 13, 2016 at 3:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

To give some insight on how the MPCSD fufills its oversight responsibilities this is from the By-Laws of the Measure W Bond Program Citizens' Oversight Committee:


"5.1 Number. The Committee shall consist of a minimum of 7 members appointed by the Board of Education based on criteria established by Prop 39, to with at least: (a) one representative of the business community within the District; (b) one person active in a senior citizen’s organization; (c) one person active in a bona fide taxpayers’ organization; (d) one person who is a parent or guardian of a child enrolled in the District; (e) one person who is a parent or guardian of a child enrolled in the School District and is active in a Parent-Teacher Organization or School Site Council."

At present there are only three members whereas the By-Laws requires a minimum of seven.

There are no members of the "Citizens' Oversight Committee" who do not have children in an MPCSD school.

And yet this committee meets on a regular basis without a legal quorum and conducts business.

Again, just who represents the taxpayers???


Posted by JU
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 17, 2016 at 5:51 pm

The deadline for arguments is past and we're supposed to have a 10 day period to review the arguments. Curiously, the against arguments have been posted since last week but the argument in favor is nowhere to be found. Not only is the pro-tax side is given extra time to submit their argument, it's not even posted the full 10 days for public review. Talk about having the deck stacked against the parcel tax opponents.
Web Link


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 17, 2016 at 6:22 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is the California State Election Law:

9502. Based on the time reasonably necessary to prepare and print
the arguments, and to permit the 10-calendar-day public examination
as provided in Section 9509, the person conducting the election shall
fix and determine a reasonable date prior to the election after
which no arguments for or against any school measure may be submitted
to him or her for printing and distribution to the voters. Notice of
the date fixed shall be published pursuant to Section 6061 of the
Government Code. Arguments may be changed until and including the
date fixed by the person conducting the election.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 17, 2016 at 6:36 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

And here is the San Mateo County "reasonable date":

"February 16, 2016
Primary Arguments in favor of and against local measures are due by 5:00 p.m. EC §§9162-9163, 9282-9283,9286,9315-9316,9501-03"


If any ballot arguments submitted to the county's Registration & Elections Division after 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16 are accepted then this election will be challenged in the courts as a violation of State law.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 17, 2016 at 6:52 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"February 26, 2016 March 7, 2016
10-Calendar day review period begins February 26 at 5:00 p.m. and ends March 7 at 5:00 p.m. for Rebuttal Arguments filed in favor and/or against measures. Between these dates any registered voter or the Elections Officer may seek a writ of mandate or injunction requiring any or all of the materials to be amended or deleted if found to be misleading or inaccurate.
EC §§ 9190, 9295, 9380, 9509"


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 17, 2016 at 7:58 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

addendum:

February 16, 2016 Feburary 26, 2016
10 Calendar day review period begins February 16 at 5:00 p.m. and ends February 26 at 5:00 p.m. for Primary Arguments filed in favor of and against measures. Between these dates any registered voter or the Elections Officer may seek a writ of mandate or injunction requiring any or all of the materials to be amended or deleted if found to be misleading or inaccurate.
EC §§9162-9163, 9282-9283, 9286, 9315-9316, 9501-03


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 17, 2016 at 8:29 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

So why would this "wonderful" school board not get an argument filed in time? They're so good at what they do, after all. Could it be because they figure they don't need to? All they need to do is play the old "it's for the kids" card? Or could it be they figure by making it a mail-in ballot that only people that actually pay attention to what's going on in our town (a minority, I know) will actually cast a vote and that they can overwhelm those numbers (no votes) by the koolaid drinking parents of the district? We've already seen some of them here spouting their non-factual nonsense. I suspect it's the latter.

Those of us that are rightly opposed to these unneeded parcel taxes need to make sure we let others know and urge them to cast their NO vote. Remember, these will be PERMANENT parcel taxes.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 18, 2016 at 1:30 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I went to the County Elections Office today and the arguments in support of A and C were submitted between 3 and 5 PM on Feb 16 and therefore complied with the filing deadline.

In my opinion both arguments contain misleading and inaccurate statements and both are misleading by what they do not say regarding the duration of the proposed parcel taxes.

My slogan is simple:

A + C = NO


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 18, 2016 at 2:41 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

When I first contacted the elections department on Feb. 9, I was told that the deadline for filing Primary Arguments was Feb. 12. (81 days before the election) I was also told that Arguments Against were already filed, and was sent copies by e-mail.
Late Friday afternoon, having ascertained that no Argument in Favor had been submitted, I sent an e-mail to Michael Lui in elections: "Michael, if no argument in favor is submitted before 5 P.M. there will be none in the Sample ballot, nor will there be a rebuttal to the argument against, correct? Has this ever happened before?"
His response: "Thank you for your email. The deadline has been updated to 5pm on Tuesday February 16"
The author of the Argument Against told me that "Someone from the Yes campaign came in last week and got a copy"
Dave Boyce, originator of this story, told me that he received a press release sent out by Elections, on Thursday, Feb. 11 after 3 P.M. It appeared to be the "official" announcement of the election with a different deadline for filing Primary arguments. No mention was made of an extension of time. Web Link
How convenient that the proponents were given more time to file. I actually was beginning to think they were going to cancel the election. There's still time.


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 18, 2016 at 2:49 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Here's the actual press release:
Web Link


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 18, 2016 at 2:56 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is going to be a wonderful demonstration of democracy in action.

Usually there is no opposition to school parcel tax measures but that is clearly not the case with the unnecessary and overreaching Measure A and Measure C.

I look forward to an informed citizenry voting on these measures.

The best reasons to vote NO are the numerous false statements in the arguments supporting these measures.

A + C = NO


Posted by JU
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 18, 2016 at 3:21 pm

I see the county has finally uploaded the arguments in favor on the website. Not only are the arguments misleading and dishonest, proponents also threaten to cut teaching positions and raise class sizes to 31. All while failing to mention they are enjoying year over year of INCREASING revenue. I wonder if we have any grounds to challenge their statements.


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 18, 2016 at 4:23 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Proponents(signatories) are as yet unknown. Their argument gives a campaign link: Web Link which was used for YES on W, but has not been updated.


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 18, 2016 at 5:04 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Elections has posted the information for the Arguments in Favor:
Web Link
Author: Jody Buckley
Signers:
Charlot Singleton, Community Volunteer
Allen Weiner, Sequoia Union High School District Trustee
Tom Lemieux, Realtor
Shari Conrad, Community Volunteer
Mark Box, Retired Business Executive


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 18, 2016 at 5:35 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Tom Lemieux.

Anything to make certain property values stay high eh, Tom? Keep the koolaid drinkers frightened.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 18, 2016 at 5:43 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Raising property taxes does not increase property values.

Spending more money on an education system that already fails to rank in the top 100 elementary schools in California is unlikely to increase property values.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 18, 2016 at 5:52 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

But Peter, all the koolaid drinkers think it does. Somehow the image (and image is all it is as you have aptly shown) of MP schools as being top grade will be ruined without these parcel taxes. Right?


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 19, 2016 at 1:03 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

"Former board member Scott Hinshaw said he is willing to work on the parcel tax campaign but would need additional help. The current board members cannot campaign for the measure." from: Web Link
Scott Hinshaw was expected at SMC Elections on last Thursday afternoon, Feb. 11,(one day before the original deadline for filing). Did he have a change of heart? Did he hear about the Arguments Against? Will he sign the Rebuttal Arguments? Which ones?


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 19, 2016 at 1:10 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The current board members cannot campaign for the measure. "

This is incorrect. The current board members cannot use MPCSD funds or resources to campaign for these measure but they have every right to campaign for them on their own time and with non-MPCSD resources.

In fact if the current Board members don't campaign for these measures then why should anybody vote for the measures.


Posted by Alex Keh
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Feb 19, 2016 at 2:46 pm

I am filing rebuttals to the pro-Measures A and C arguments. Measures A and C are the two Menlo Park City School District parcel taxes. These rebuttals will appear in the official voter guide that sent to all voters. They will include names of those who have signed onto the rebuttals.

If you are interested in being a rebuttal signatory, send an email to [email protected] with the following info by Monday morning (2/22):

* Name
* Title (does not have to be a professional designation)
* Organization (can be professional, citizen group, government body, or just yourself)
* Brief statement why you would like to sign on

Measures A and C, the arguments for, and the arguments against have been posted on the county election website for your reference:
Web Link

I am the author of the arguments against these measures. I am currently writing the rebuttals to the pro-tax arguments. All you need to do to join in is sign your name to these rebuttal arguments. I'll provide more details once we make contact via email.


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 19, 2016 at 3:20 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

On Feb. 3, I sent the following to the MPCSD Board: "Members of the Menlo Park School District Board of Directors. I urge you to cancel your plans for the ill-advised parcel tax measures you are pursuing. There will be opposition."

Today I sent this: "MPCSD Boardmembers. You can still act to cancel this election. Alternatively, you could enhance it’s chances of passage by offering across-the-board exemptions for all of the parcel taxes."

The first message was sent to [email protected] instead of [email protected] The link to Stacy Jones e-mail on the District website is [email protected]



Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 19, 2016 at 4:07 pm

Just read the "Argument in Favor of Measure A" pitch, and I'm furious at the audacity of some of the lies and deceptive statements made in Argument in Favor. There are numerous falsehoods, but these 2 are particularly egregious:

"Overall State funding to our schools
has declined from 19% of our budget
in 2001 to only 9% today"

The reason why it's only 9% is because revenue from property taxes and parcel taxes has grown at such a rapid pace that its made the State contribution a relatively smaller percentage of net revenue.

This statement is so deceptive that it should be actively fought.


"Growth in property tax and other funding
is insufficient to address current
enrollment. Without Measure A, we cannot
maintain existing high quality programs."

This is a flat out lie, proven false by previous posts showing that the projected increases in property tax revenue and the other parcel taxes far exceed the projected growth in the student population.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 19, 2016 at 5:27 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Growth in property tax and other funding
is insufficient to address current
enrollment. Without Measure A, we cannot
maintain existing high quality programs."


This is disgusting. At the very LEAST we should expect from our elected officials is honesty. The above is a LIE. Of course this IS San Mateo County where elected officials don't seem to care about honesty, integrity or honor.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 19, 2016 at 5:31 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Of course this IS San Mateo County where elected officials don't seem to care about honesty, integrity or honor."

This is not true for all San Mateo elected bodies.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 19, 2016 at 5:39 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Perfect Word of the Day for the Measure A and C supporters' arguments:

"rannygazoo, n.
[‘ Nonsense, deception; foolishness, fuss, exaggeration; "


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 19, 2016 at 5:53 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"This is not true for all San Mateo elected bodies."

That is true Peter. The Menlo Park Fire District is a notable exception. Unfortunately, much of the rest of the county is not as honest and honorable. One only need look to our county officials for proof.


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 19, 2016 at 9:44 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Unfortunately, the Sequoia Healthcare District on whose Board I serve as a Taxpayer's Advocate, is a devious agency.


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