Reply to George Brumder, Citizens for Quality Schools, Measure CC Parcel Tax
REPLY: Mr. Brumder fails to mention in his Letter to the Editor of the Pasadena Star News (see below) some KILLER information about what PUSD's Measure CC Parcel Tax will fund. The activities and resources that can be funded by a bond issue can be switched after an election at the sole discretion of the PUSD Board. In other words there is no guarantee against a "bait and switch" scheme in the provisions of Measure CC.
For example in 1998 L.A County voters approved Prop A half cent sales tax increase for public transit projects with the promise that the funds would be used to fund overcrossings and undercrossings that would relieve traffic congestion caused by the Gold Line light rail. As soon as the bond was passed, Zev Yaroslavsky on the MTA Board unilaterally had the over/undercrossings provision removed without going back to the voters. Without that provision Prop A might not have passed.
Such sweetener provisions in a bond are called "Ginger Bread" and are included just to get the voters to approve the bond then removed afterward. There is no LOCK-IN for Measure CC which guarantees that bond funds will not be used for undisclosed activities (i.e., social service centers, health clinics, make shift jobs programs, consultant contracts for cronies, etc.). This is crucial because a Parcel Tax, unlike a Property Tax, can legally be used "for anything."
Another killer problem with Measure CC is that if the State of California does NOT cut ADA (Prop 98) funds as stated by Mr. Brumder, PUSD will reap a windfall while Pasadena's homeowners suffer through the Depression. The California Legislative Office has posted a state budget online for 2010-11 showing a 2% INCREASE in state funds for K-14 schools (see Sub Rosa). There is no guarantee in Measure CC that if the state fully funds PUSD or provides an increase that the bonds from Measure CC will be called and the bond cancelled.
The deceptive prior actions of PUSD to hide the wasting of prior bond monies, to fail to set up a real accountability oversight of bond spending, to build a new school building at Blair H.S. that is unneeded except to provide jobs for the well-connected, and the renovating of mostly vacant excess school buildings which are not being used does not lead the home voting public to have confidence in trusting PUSD that Measure CC funds will be spent in the classrooms or that if the State fully funds PUSD with Prop. 98 funds over the 5 year life of the bond that any excess funds will be rebated to the taxpayers.
We can argue back and forth irrationally and forever on both sides about whether PUSD needs Measure CC. But what cannot be argued is that PUSD provides no guarantees to home voting taxpayers that the funds from Measure CC will be spent in the classroom and that Measure CC parcel taxes will be cancelled if the State fully funds PUSD. These reasons are justification to VOTE NO ON MEASURE CC ("The Bait and Switch Parcel Tax Scheme").
Tracking CC funds – POSTED AT LETTERS TO EDITOR
PASADENA STAR NEWS (for more online comments go to:http://www.topix.net/forum/source/pasadena-star-news/T3473VKH4JNO7HOR2
To those who are concerned about how the proceeds from the proposed Measure CC (schools parcel tax) will be spent, what sort of oversight will be instituted and how the school district will be held accountable, I note the following:
The district and the campaign for Measure CC have both said that CC will generate a stable source of locally controlled funding that will help the district avoid the most damaging cuts forced by dramatically reduced state funding and, more specifically, that that money will help: preserve quality education and protect academic programs against state budget cuts; continue advanced math, science and technology courses; continue art and music programs; keep school libraries open; retain qualified teachers and maintain manageable class sizes.
The district and the campaign have said no CC money will go to building or administration.
The district and the campaign have emphasized the need for flexibility to address unforeseen circumstances arising over CC's five-year term, including possible further cuts from Sacramento. For this reason it's not possible or desirable for the district to specify now exactly how the money will be spent. We must rely on the judgment of the district's professional educators and, where appropriate, on the judgment of the board of education. The district has made remarkable progress on many fronts in the barely three years since Superintendent Edwin Diaz came on board.
The district is a model district noted for the excellence of all of its schools and because it makes good business sense, the district is committed to full transparency and accountability to the community. Because of this commitment, Measure CC provides for independent community oversight to monitor the spending of funds and report their finding to the community. Independent annual audits provide a further assurance.
Learning from the prior bond measure, the district is administering Measure TT with care. Of the projects completed so far, 92 percent are on time and on or under budget. Look for an early report from the TT oversight committee.
Measure CC's passing is critically important to our public schools and their students. The quality of our public schools and an educated workforce are critically important to the well-being of our economy and our community. Clearly, voting "yes" on CC is in the best interest of each of us and is the right thing to do.
George Brumder Chair Citizens for Quality Schools Yes on CC Committee Pasadena