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MPCSD Parcel Tax political activity?

Original post made by Jack Hickey, Woodside: Emerald Hills, on Feb 29, 2016

The Menlo Park City School District spent $37,200 listed as being paid to "Political Designs" Superintendent Ghysels contracted with The Center for Community Opinion(a.k.a. Political Designs), who then subcontracted with EMC Research which produced the MPCSD Focus Group Report.

Comments, please.

Here are the contents of that report:
METHODOLGY
One focus group of high propensity voters, January 28th, 2016.
–As a follow up to the two focus groups conducted in December, 2015.
Each group was a mix of gender and age.
The focus group excluded parents of current Menlo Park City School District students and people who had extreme opinions on measures providing additional funding for local public schools.
Topics covered included: general community positives and negatives, opinions on Menlo Park schools, support for the proposed two parcel tax measures, and reactions to ballot arguments for the two measures.
Moderated by Ruth Bernstein of EMC Research.

Key Findings -General
There is high satisfaction with Menlo Park in general and a strong belief that the schools are very good, very well run and a major contributor to good quality of life in Menlo Park;
The above leaves voters willing to give the District the benefit of any doubt around taxes and Menlo Park schools, i.e. they start any read of a ballot measure from a yes position;
These findings are consistent with the Focus Group’s conducted in December.

Key Findings –Reactions to Ballot Measures
Although there was some confusion about the language and intention behind Measure 2, because they trust and value the district and schools, participants were willing to support both measures.
The dollar amounts being proposed are considered trivial by the voters in the focus group;

Key Findings –Reactions to Measures and Arguments
Ballot measures and ballot arguments should be positive in their language and primarily about “maintaining” the quality of schools in Menlo Park;
Too much detail leads to more rather than fewer questions;
Voters seem willing to accommodate growth;

CONTACTS at EMC
Alex Evans
[email protected]
510.550.8920
Jessica Polsky
[email protected]
510.550.8933
Jenny Regas
[email protected]


Comments (28)

Posted by Mack
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 29, 2016 at 12:04 pm

Some folk don't believe in science.

Don't believe in government.

Don't believe in math.

Don't believe in research.

Don't believe in community supporting community.

I guess they're at least "consistent".


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 29, 2016 at 12:33 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Mack:

some people also don't believe our taxes should be spent in an effort to take more of our money. Especially when that money is not needed.


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 29, 2016 at 3:51 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Measure C Parcel Tax Expiration and Discussion
Menlo Park City School District
Dr. Maurice Ghysels, Superintendent
Ahmad Sheikholeslami, CBOO
Special Board Meeting February 1, 2016

Web Link

Excerpt:

Next Steps
ï‚¡ Discuss Resolutions, Ballot Languages, and Findings
ï‚¡ Action on Resolutions
ï‚¡ File on February 2 with the County for Special Election for May 3,2016
ï‚¡ Citizens Parcel Tax Election Campaign

Just what role will the District have in the campaign?
What about the Committee listed on the Ballot Argument in Favor?
Web Link
Web Link

There is still time to cancel this ill-advised election. Call or e-mail your elected officials. Web Link


Posted by Apple
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 29, 2016 at 3:55 pm

Frankly, what's most surprising is the report cost nearly $40,000 for what amounts to some high level political recommendations and analysis. The firm (or its subcontractor) points out a few issues, but no concrete actions to take.

If that is it, the district got a bad deal, which doesn't reflect well on its due diligence and spending choices. $40K is about what it costs to educate three more children in MPCSD.

Let's see. The board used our tax money to hire a consultant to figure out how to get more of our tax money.


Posted by JU
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 29, 2016 at 4:15 pm

Apparently some people don't believe in spending money effectively or accountability either.

I admit I had a good opinion of the district too before they proposed these taxes. After I started looking at their numbers, I was disgusted. They're no different than any other government bureaucracy. Except they hide behind "it's for the children."


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 29, 2016 at 4:32 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

The YES on W website just posted this:

Site Under Construction!

Information about Measures A and C coming soon!

Watch for their campaign filings. Their I.D. for YES on W was: 1359109

To view their previous website, see: Web Link


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 19, 2016 at 11:43 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Their new name is The Committee to Support Menlo Park Schools, Yes on Measure A & C, new Tax ID# 1383210. I could not find it on the SOS website.

Their website Web Link contains what I expect to be one of their glossy mailings.

Who is supporting them and how much do they have? I will check with County Elections tomorrow.


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 19, 2016 at 11:54 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

As of 3/16/2016 they have $961.75.

$1,000 from Robyn Wheeler, Treasurer.


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 19, 2016 at 11:59 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Scott Hinshaw, Co-Chair. See:Web Link


Posted by Arrrjjjj, one of the Trump Destroya's!!
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 19, 2016 at 12:50 pm

Invariably, the naysayers are all older, their kids have gone through the public school systems and moved out of the area, so let's all destroy the schools! We've got ours, let's pull the ladder up behind us!

Odd that the great local economy and industry (and therefore the naysayer's own property values) were BUILT on great school systems.

Odd that.

Gub'mint bad! Me keep me money - good!


Posted by Arrrjjjj, one of the Trump Destroya's!!
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 19, 2016 at 12:51 pm

(annnnnnd here come the denials!)


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 19, 2016 at 1:30 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

No one's talking about "pulling the ladder up." We're demanding fiscal responsibility which the school board has decidedly NOT demonstrated. With increasing property tax incomes two parcel taxes are unnecessary.


Posted by 4 x parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Mar 19, 2016 at 11:41 pm

I have kids in the district but I also have enough brains and education (Stanford MBA) to understand the numbers and spot fiscal irresponsibility. But we knew what we were getting when the board hired Ghysels: empire building, lack of transparency, no benefit at all to our kids.

I worked the phone banks for prior parcel taxes but am voting no on this one.


Posted by Arrrjjjj, one of the Trump Destroya's!!
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 20, 2016 at 9:58 am

(right on cue!)

Uh-huh. And I voted no on all the previous ones, and am voting for this one.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 20, 2016 at 12:39 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Arrrr:

Anything of actual value to add to the discussion or are you just trolling?


Posted by Arrrjjjj, one of the Trump Destroya's!!
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 20, 2016 at 1:34 pm

@menlovoter: I've made two comments that were more substantial than "anything of actual value to add to the discussion or are you just trolling"

You just don't like two things:
- we disagree on supporting schools
- the prediction of the responses

Oh, and I mocked the "I used to be for this type of thing, but I'm here to (anonymously) publicly declare I'm not any more" type of trolling seen so often here.

But thanks, your concern (of only one type of trolling) is duly noted.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 20, 2016 at 4:56 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Arrr:

since you don't know me you don't know I support our schools. What I don't support is poor fiscal management and the predictable returns to the well for more money after they've pissed it all away. ie spending down a $27 million surplus, then asking for more money. Sorry, not buying it.


Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 20, 2016 at 6:09 pm

I've also previously voted in favor of ALL MPCSD measures, but won't be voting for these. If there was a way to look up my votes Arrrjjjj, you'd find out that what I'm saying is actually true.


Posted by Unfair
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 20, 2016 at 7:33 pm

Parcel taxes are too regressive. I support schools even though our kids are grown. There must be a better way than make the temporary taxes permanent and based on parcels.
The problem is that commercial,property rarely turns over and isn't paying its share through property taxes. So individuals get saddled with parcel,taxes. Large Commercial properties and multi family rental,properties in a single parcel pay the sa,e per parcel as a family. Large projects like those proposed by Stanford and greenheart will be on one or a couple of parcels. How is all this fair?


Posted by I vote
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 20, 2016 at 9:42 pm


I would contribute to any politician that does not support this or any more taxes.

Read my lips, NO MORE TAXES......


Posted by Voting no
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 21, 2016 at 11:10 am

I have kids in the district but am planning to vote no.

If the Measures are defeated we will increase our PTO and MPAEF contributions. Others who want to support the schools but express disapproval of the district's spending plans might consider doing something similar.


Posted by Voting no
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 21, 2016 at 11:36 am

I probably would vote in favor of another temporary parcel tax.

The proposed permanent taxes seem like a license to spend without the appropriate levels of accountability. The "Yes on A/C" folks will need to offer better arguments to change my mind. Yes, I read the materials on the website.


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 21, 2016 at 11:48 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

This post by JU in another topic on the subject, "After 2021 (all parcels are permanent), we will be paying over $1440 a year." really illustrates the problem with these parcel taxes. For some homeowners, this amounts to a doubling of their property taxes. The district should expand the senior exemption to all resident property owners.


Posted by JU
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 21, 2016 at 11:57 am

Seems to be standard operating procedure for pro-tax people to dismiss and malign any critics as "anti-school", instead of addressing legitimate concerns.

Instead, MPCSD wants to implement what will amount to over $700 increase in regressive taxes that hurts those families that are most vulnerable. In a time where property tax revenues are at all time highs.

According to PPIC, in San Mateo County approximately 61% of property taxes are allocated to School Districts (K-14).
Web Link


Posted by Apple
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 21, 2016 at 2:07 pm

If anyone is interested why people who normally vote yes on school parcel tax measures are against these two, read the arguments against these measures on the official ballot. They sum up the key points pretty well.

Argument against Measure A: Web Link

Rebuttal to Argument in Favor of Measure A: Web Link

Argument against Measure C: Web Link

Rebuttal to Argument in Favor of Measure C: Web Link


Posted by Jenson
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 21, 2016 at 5:20 pm

Permanent tax on Menlo park residents..... Do we want PERMANENT taxes for the schools. This is just a sad case of using schools and the kids as a platform to take our money and continue irresponsible spending for years to come. The schools are losing my respect by promoting the tax proposals. Shameful and totally irresponsible... VOTE NO !!!!!


Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 21, 2016 at 7:22 pm

Voting NO -- poor financial management, and please don't use the same old slogan "it's for the children". We all know who this is for.


Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 21, 2016 at 8:33 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

For those that don't believe property tax revenue has increased and will continue to increase see this link: Web Link

From that link: The economic outlook for 2016 in the US and Bay Area is excellent. This will foster homebuyer confidence, and we should see many people seeking homes where there are too few to buy. Consequently, in most areas price appreciation in 2016 should be on par with that of 2014 and 2015 with the possible exception of the priciest neighborhoods.
Over the decades Peninsula homes have proven to be an excellent investment.

Ya, we need a parcel tax.


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