Measure A backers lying to the public
The letter of Jan. 25 sent by Superintendent Constance Hubbard and the proponents mailer and website state that without Measure A funds, the Piedmont Unified School District would need to reduce personnel by one-third.
In fact, in the event of Measure A failing, Measure B still continues to July 1, 2014. Measure B will bring in $9,433,243. Measure A would have brought in $9,431,520.
Would the proponents explain how the statement in the superintendent's letter and the proponents mailer and website is not misinformation?
We have ample time to vote on another tax, and the failure of Measure A does not take any funding away from the schools. In the interest of an honest process, this statement deserves a correction.
City's taxes don't give sufficient revenues
Over the years, I have served on many budget, finance, and investment committees, including the Piedmont Schools Annual Campaign, the Piedmont Education Foundation, two Municipal Tax Committees, and I'm the current chair of the city's Budget Advisory Committee. I am well-versed in financial matters relating to school and city funding issues in California.
We have two structural issues in California that put tremendous stress on school and city funding. The first issue is that the state takes local base property taxes and reallocates them based on state priorities, not local priorities.
As a result, education receives less funding than local communities would otherwise provide due to competing state priorities. The second issue is that our property tax system restricts tax growth to 2 percent unless properties sell, regardless of increases in the costs. Further exacerbating this restriction is Piedmont's very low property turnover. Almost one in five homes have not sold since 1980 and carry a very low property tax burden.
It is very beneficial for our city to have long-standing members who can rely on their basic property taxes not increasing out of control, but the result is that we just don't collect enough property tax to pay for the services we use -- it is true of every city in California.
In Piedmont, we are extremely fortunate to have a vibrant, active community where we can come together and provide the needed funding for our priorities. The simple truth is that the costs for the school system we desire -- the one that supports the high values for our homes and the high success rate of our children -- are not covered by our basic property taxes. Every year going back decades, Piedmont residents have paid an additional tax that has gone directly to our schools, and Measure A is that tax.
Piedmont has demonstrated over the years that our schools are a top priority, and we need the school support tax, Measure A, to provide a stable, locally-controlled source of funding to maintain the quality of our local schools. All of the money collected from the passage of Measure A will stay in Piedmont to support Piedmont schools and Piedmont priorities. Please join me, and vote "yes" on Measure A.
Property values, good schools go together
With a real estate practice in Piedmont, we are particularly tuned in to the direct effect high-achieving school districts have on real estate values. The relationship between housing prices and local public schools and services has been widely studied and established.
In an economic downturn, Piedmont homes have maintained value in large part because we are a community that prioritizes high-quality services for all our citizens, including our youth, our seniors and every age in between.
Measure A will keep Piedmont schools strong by renewing a stable, locally controlled source of funding. All money raised by Measure A will stay in Piedmont to support our local schools. It cannot be taken away by the state or used for other purposes.
Join us in voting "yes" on Measure A.
Debbi Di Maggio and Adam Betta
Animal welfare bills need introductions
Tennessee Williams once wrote that, "Cruelty is the only unforgivable sin."
With that thought in mind, I have in hand four unbacked animal welfare bills in need of an author:
1. To require on-site veterinary care at all rodeos and charreadas (Mexican-style rodeos).
2. To ban the charreadas' brutal "steer tailing" event (with Cesar Chavez's blessing).
3. To ban the giving away of live goldfish and other animals as prizes at our state and county fairs.
4. To ban the importation of live, non-native frogs and turtles for human consumption, for reasons involving environmental protection, public health and animal cruelty.
Feb. 25 is the deadline for introduction. All state legislators may be written c/o the State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814.
Anyone interested should contact Action For Animals at 510-652-5603, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
coordinator, Action For Animals Oakland
Unemployment leads to vicious cycle
With all the technology eliminating jobs, fewer taxes are collected from salaries that are no longer there.
Where are they going to try to make up for those taxes? Property owners? Eventually, the cost to own may be very high, or much higher than now, eliminating small business and putting society and its function in harm's way.
That said, I suspect that our purchasing power will continue to take a hit while government continues to pass the buck.
Say goodbye to the little man and hello to the new world order. We all have been responsible for the change.
Kenneth B. Tomlinson