Blogging Bayport Alameda

February 16, 2011

Connect the dots, la la la

Filed under: Alameda, Election, School — Tags: , , , — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

So about those Erwin & Muir  invoices, despite the fact that  many people who bothered to open the PDF have pointed out that it doesn’t prove what CAMA says that it proves, it seems to fall on deaf ears of the folks who believe — without a doubt — that AUSD is plotting some nefarious actions and using political consultants to do their dirty work.

Of course, it might have been the the structure of the PDF was just too confusing, there were a lot of open POs and the invoices were largely out of order.  So I went through and extracted all the invoices and separated them out in easy to digest smaller PDFs by date.

So here is a list of the invoices:

The file actually contained four different copies of the Open Purchase Order for $64,000 that the work would be charged against.  That purchase order was created in July of 2009.   The total of these invoices is only $65,065.60.   There could be additional invoices floating around somewhere, but since CAMA’s style is generally to throw everything and the kitchen sink at the issue, if there were more invoices I am shocked that they didn’t throw them all in the larger PDF file.   So far, if these are all the invoices then it doesn’t reach the  $100,000 number that parcel tax opponents have been trotting around.

Additionally, as pointed out by Susan Davis, a large chunk of the money purportedly assigned to Erwin & Muir were actually for reimbursements for direct costs like mailing, design, data, and postage.    Specifically these amounts:

So that was a total of $26,613.62 that more likely than not did not directly go into Erwin & Muir checking account, but rather to various vendors.

I do want to point out how ironic this attention being given to Erwin & Muir is in light of parcel tax opponents insistence that the administration of AUSD is too bloated or that there is room to cut out more costs somewhere in the central office.   The outsourcing of public relations services is exactly what the district has to do if it has to cut permanent staff in order to scale down the size of the central office.   That parcel tax opponents are now criticizing an outsourced contractor because of the lack of the ability to handle the job internally is really quite an amazing feat.   If Erwin & Muir were providing services duplicated somewhere else in the school district already, perhaps they would have a legitimate complaint, but that is not the case.

But back to the invoices.  For the December 2008 ($1875) invoice this is the itemized list of services:

  • Meeting with Supe. Dailey
  • Prep of mailing to Alameda property owners regarding Measure H
  • Draft letter to business community
  • Review of website
  • Draft release to business community regarding Measure H lawsuit
  • Draft Business Advisory Task Force letter
  • Draft Charter School Forum planning memo
  • Attend Charter School Forum
  • Draft Kirsten Vital Press Release

For May 2009 ($5100) this is the itemized list of services:

  • Meeting with Supe. Vital
  • Call with Supe. Vital to discuss April letter
  • April Supe letter
  • AUSD Master Plan work group
  • Website meeting
  • Meeting with Supe. Vital and B. Rosati
  • Revised website work
  • Call with S. Jubb
  • Presentation of revised website
  • Community meeting review
  • Community meeting postcard and flyer
  • Dear Teacher letter
  • May Supe. letter

For June 2009 ($8450) there was no itemized version in the packet.

For July 2009 ($5475) this is the itemized list of services:

  • Master Plan meeting and pre meeting with S. Jubb
  • Call with Supe Vital to discuss LGBT issue
  • Preparation of Power point presentation for community meeting
  • Master Plan Community meeting #1
  • Meeting with Supe. Vital
  • Master Plan Community meeting #2
  • Preparation of Power point presentation for community meeting #2
  • Drafting of graduation speeches
  • Drafting and edits of letter for Chamber of Commerce
  • Drafting and edits of June Supe. letter
  • Meeting with B. Briggance and A. Norris

For August 2009 ($4237.50) this is the itemized list of services:

  • Website redesign
  • Master Plan Team meeting
  • Draft Measure H summary judgement release
  • Draft series of letters and press releases
  • Meeting with Supe. Vital
  • Parcel tax meeting with KV
  • Conference call with D. Houck re. Measure H Chamber letter
  • Attendance and preparation for community meeting #3

For December 2009 ($4650) this is the itemized list of services:

  • Draft and design newsletter mailing
  • Draft community workshop sign in sheet
  • Communications meeting with A. Norris, meeting with KV, Parcel Tax Administrators meeting
  • Communications meeting with A. Norris, B. McMahon, A.
  • Communications meeting with KV
  • Call with R. Zepeda about Math initiative
  • Master Plan meeting with KV, R. Siltanen, S. and A.
  • Drafting of Supe. letters, Chamber letters, press releases, Op Ed, and flyers

For June 2010 ($8664.48) this is the itemized list of services:

  • Communications meeting with KV
  • Communications meeting with KV, DH, RM, RS
  • Communications meeting with KV, RS, DH
  • Communications meeting with DH
  • Call with R. Shemwell about budget
  • Communications meeting with KV & RM
  • Drafting of Supe letters
  • Drafting of Chamber letters
  • Drafting of press releases
  • Drafting of letters and remarks
  • Drafting and production of AUSD newsletter

As part of the June 2010 invoice there was $976.98 for reimbursable expenses (aka not paid to Erwin & Muir).

So if you notice a lot of the costs had to do around fairly typical public relations type work, drafting press releases and letters and meeting with administrators to understand how to frame those issues in literature for the public.   But somewhere, somehow, CAMA and friends are able to connect the dots from these invoices to the conclusion that they want you to see.   It would be helpful if they could make the relationship between the itemized details and their main thesis more clear, but that would require the relationship existing in the first place.

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65 Comments

  1. This is like all the hooha about what City Hall was spending on things the critics felt were not necessary and so believed the City was overspending. It’s indicative of the lack of understanding among those who have never been in business, or who were in business years ago, as to what things cost today. Printing, postage, and advertising in newspapers — even if you use volunteers for much of the process like we did at ACLO– are amazingly expensive. We aren’t talking about a copy machine and some colored paper here. As impressive as the effort to go Old School might have been had AUSD wanted to bare bones it, the message would be lost and the money wasted in any case. It reminds me of that scene in Austin Powers when Dr. Evil comes out of the deep freeze and believes that demanding ONE MILLION DOLLARS will bring the world to its knees, and everybody snickers. Get used to it. Gas, clothing, and food prices are all going sky high. You have to stay current on costs if you are to accurately judge what’s waste and what’s necessity. Alamedans are also now used to glossy mailers telling them how to vote (courtesey of They Who Must Not be Named). It costs money to attract money and AUSD was just doing what has been known to work. Get over it and work on ideas to help the school district make the best use of its money: educating students. If measure A passes, maybe they won’t have to spend so much trying to convince voters they are worthy of their support and can get on with their mission.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — February 16, 2011 @ 7:00 am

  2. (Now comes the part when somebody misconstrues everything I just said and takes offense. Wait for it.)

    Comment by Denise Shelton — February 16, 2011 @ 7:03 am

  3. That somebody will not have a real time behind it, Denise.

    Comment by Jack B. — February 16, 2011 @ 7:06 am

  4. 1.
    LD named today’s Post, “Connect the dots, la la, la.”. Don’t know if she connected the dots but you sure as hell supplied the, la la, la.

    Comment by Jack Richard — February 16, 2011 @ 8:14 am

  5. Erwin of Erwin & Muir loosening up after the meeting with Supe. Dailey right before writing the Master Plan.

    Comment by Jack Richard — February 16, 2011 @ 8:30 am

  6. (bring back the copy machines and some colored paper…please)

    Now is the time when we juxtapose

    Denise Sheldon Feb 16 2011…”. ..for much of the process like we did at ACLO– are amazingly expensive. We aren’t talking about a copy machine and some colored paper here.”

    ACLO Feb 16 2011…”ACLO TO BRING ITS FINAL CURTAIN DOWN AND SAY A FOND FAREWELL TO ITS PATRONS & SUPPORTERS:”

    Comment by Jack Richard — February 16, 2011 @ 8:46 am

  7. Because of the title of this post, I have to share this video, ’cause it’s brilliant (now I hope the embedding works):

    Comment by Sue T. — February 16, 2011 @ 9:24 am

  8. I would actually appreciate the opportunity to have an open and straightforward discussion of Measure A based on the facts and the merits, but CAMA seems to want to sabotage an honest, open, and fact-based discussion at every step:

    1) CAMA pulled out of the League of Women Voters’ February 3 forum after (falsely) claiming that the objective and informational League agenda was “biased.”

    2) CAMA has turned that information on its head and subsequently criticized Alameda SOS for withdrawing and being unwilling to attend CAMA-sponsored “public” forums that, by definition, could not be fair and objective.

    3) CAMA co-opted the League’s library reservation (after deliberately sabotaging the original LWVA community event) in order to hold its own self-serving ant-Measure A “forum.” And CAMA dares to claim to be “fair”? I don’t think they have any credibility in that realm…

    4) The substantiation CAMA cites does not pass muster as being reliable information that accurately depicts the reality of AUSD and Alameda.

    5) Data manipulation and selective citations are CAMA’s stock in trade, rather than basing their objections to Measure A on information that is widely recognized as reliable and accurate. (The Erwin & Muir invoices are a case in point.)

    Comment by Jon Spangler — February 16, 2011 @ 9:34 am

  9. Not sure where you’re going with that, Jack, or what you think it proves. Please step back respectfully and don’t try to make hay with my heartbreak.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — February 16, 2011 @ 9:38 am

  10. Since Denise’s at ACLO don’t really shed any light on this issue, nor Lauren’s parsing of those invoices released to date, and nobody trusts my judgment, (last mailer produced by LGA in 2009), and this whole subject is drawing so much attention…there’s an easy solution: call for an independent audit of all the work done by Erwin & Muir for AUSD. Demand specifics about those many meetings and projects. Put E&A on the witness stand, under oath, and grill them: “How much of the Master Plan and Plan B were you responsible for strategizing and composing? Did you those discussion groups tomreach certain conclusions? Why were business people told, from the outset, that the parcel tax cap was ‘Non-negotiable? Etc.”

    Very easy to clear all this up and save Lauren all that time speculating. Of course, this is such a hot topic it might also ruin her fun. I’m not an official member of CAMA, but I want to see the best for our schools, and the best use of taxpayer money, since they are so under-funded, but political consultants, high-priced attorneys and protecting the status quo is not the way to go.

    Comment by Dennis Green — February 16, 2011 @ 9:52 am

  11. An update: Michele Ellson over at the Island covered this issue this morning as well and asked Erwin & Muir point blank about the allegations, highlights:

    “It’s absolutely a false statement. It’s a lie,” [Maggie] Muir told The Island on Tuesday. “We did not write one word of the Master Plan.”

    Muir said she and Erwin were placed on the master plan group to help communicate its efforts to the public and that her firm hasn’t done work for the district since May 2010.

    Comment by Lauren Do — February 16, 2011 @ 10:04 am

  12. In. Other words, Erwin & Muir were fired when Measure E failed. And of course they signed a confidentiality oath, so their claims now have to be viewed in light of that oath. When Maggie says they sat on the advisory board “to help them communicate,” she is already contradicting her statement that they “didn’t write” the Master Plan. You don’t help a group communicate without putting their sentiments into words.

    Comment by Dennis Green — February 16, 2011 @ 10:27 am

  13. That’s right Dennis, Erwin and Muir were fired a month before Measure E was held, based on a prediction of future success.

    And then, using your (and CAMA’s talking points) the district used the same work to support Measure A because everything is based on the work of Erwin and Muir, despite it being terrible and their being fired.

    Which is it? They are integrally involved all the way through the process in a dastardly conspiracy to force people to pay taxes for a plan created solely by two people, something you have to be able to see with your gut, but for which no proof exists.

    Or were they fired for being inept, and therefore not responsible for Measure A, making the whole issue pointless and yet another windmill CAMA tilts towards?

    Or, it could be, that after the district fired their Public Information Officer, to keep money flowing directly to classrooms, the district hired E&W to help with outreach on two projects, and was paid far less than the full-time employee that they replaced. Which would mean that the whole issue is made up out of thin air by folks who can’t get any traction on their main issue.

    Comment by John Knox White — February 16, 2011 @ 10:55 am

  14. From la,la,la “It’s absolutely a false statement. It’s a lie,” [Maggie] Muir told The Island on Tuesday. “We did not write one word of the Master Plan.”

    Maybe they should have! It’s a stretch to believe that they weren’t used.

    From http://erwinandmuir.com/bios.html

    Since joining forces in 2008, Maggie and Maureen Erwin have passed a parcel tax for schools in Alameda,

    Comment by Jack Richard — February 16, 2011 @ 10:55 am

  15. Jack R.: I believe that Erwin & Muir are citing their work on the Measure H campaign (not through the school district) as opposed to their work (or in this case non work) on the Master Plan. The Master Plan process began in 2009, Measure H was voted on in 2008.

    Comment by Lauren Do — February 16, 2011 @ 11:01 am

  16. Yes, I know. That’s why I stated, “Maybe they should have.”, since they had previously been successful in raising taxes.

    Comment by Jack Richard — February 16, 2011 @ 11:10 am

  17. The fact that E&M were hired to promote the parcel tax initiatives at all is dicey, since the education code limits how much the district can legally advocate for such taxes at all. But as I say, all these petty quibbles about their involvement can be settled very easily with a special, independent audit.

    The Transparency Fans should be delighted by such a prospect — put Erwin & Muir, Superintendent Vital and at least one other senior administrator engaged in the community discussions on the witness stand, under oath, and subject to felony perjury charges if they aren’t truthful and forthcoming. If Lauren and the CAMA critics have nothing to fear, they should get behind this big time and prove their case once and for all.

    Otherwise, they can all just go on claiming that all those invoices are for innocent press releases and letter writing, claims which have no more substance nor reliability than they claim CAMA’s do.

    Comment by Dennis Green — February 16, 2011 @ 11:17 am

  18. Dennis: What is the point of an audit? I thought you said that the invoices proved up CAMA’s claims definitively.

    Now, it’s audits and sworn statements under oath and that is the only thing to prove Erwin & Muir’s “innocence” and then what?

    Comment by Lauren Do — February 16, 2011 @ 11:24 am

  19. 1

    “Get over it and work on ideas to help the school district make the best use of its money: educating students.”

    Per capita spending: California actually spent 6 percent more than the national average per state resident on K-12 education (2010).

    http://theeddy.sceducation.org/2010/09/10/sorting-out-how-california-ranks-in-school-spending/

    Comment by Jack Richard — February 16, 2011 @ 12:01 pm

  20. On the one hand, Dennis critcizes the district for hiring high priced attorneys and consultants. In the same breath he calls for the district to hire attorneys and consultants to perform an audit/investigation. That would be a terrific use of the District’s funds, Dennis!

    Seriously, who really cares who “wrote” Plan B? What seems to be getting lost in all the rhetoric about who wrote what and when is the fact that without Measure A, we’re facing millions of dollars in cuts over the next two years. CAMA can’t seriously contend that the District won’t be facing serious cuts if Measure A does not pass.

    It’s really a binary choice, vote for the parcel tax to help alleviate the funding crisis, or vote no and watch as we face increased class sizes, elimination of programs, fewer instructional days, and widespread school closures. I don’t care who wrote Plan B (even though I’m convinced that Erwin & Muir didn’t do it.) I only care about what will happen to our community if the parcel tax does not pass. That’s why I’m voting yes on A.

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — February 16, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

  21. With all the disingenuous claims and denials around Plan B, one way to convince the deniers would be an audit, no more wasteful than political consultants, who replaced the former PR person, and now call themselves “Public Affairs” consultants. No longer working for the district, just SOS!

    One shell game after another. No wonder so many of us don’t believe that all those cuts will be as dire as OtheIrony claims, just another misstatement on top of all those in Plan B. We were told that if Measure E didn’t pass, 15 schools would close, now that closing schools takes a long time. And if Measure A doesn’t pass, only five schools will close.

    “Doing more with less.” that’s becoming the theme song of American workers everywhere but in government and in the schools. But the current bubble of public overspending has to pop! Closing a few schools, teaching as much in fewer days — Hey! That’s a challenge any good citizen, good teacher, should welcome.

    But we don’t hear much from those teachers — only from the union and spousal stooges. Don’t forget, no matter how many lesson plans and papers to grade, teaching is still a part-time job!

    Comment by Dennis Green — February 16, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

  22. My wife told me we received a letter from Ron Cowan in the mail, urging a “Yes” vote on Measure A.

    Comment by Dennis (not Green) — February 16, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

  23. And if AUSD hired Erwin & Muir “to save money over a full-time staff member,” why dis they put them on administrative leave when Measure E failed? Is it because their main task was always to get parcel taxes passed? And now that they’re working for SOS, what are they doing there? Or is SOS just a front for AUSD? Thicker and deeper…

    Comment by Dennis Green — February 16, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

  24. SOS is independent of AUSD and is funded by private contributions, as is CAMA.

    Comment by dave — February 16, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

  25. Dennis, you just continue to make stuff up. it’s funny, but a little disappointing.

    I love the “we have proof” screeching becoming the “there’s no proof, but an audit will back up my gut assumption” rhetoric.

    Glad to see you’ve got your sense of humor back.

    Comment by John Knox White — February 16, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

  26. Are the district’s finances not regularly audited already???

    Comment by dave — February 16, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

  27. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110216/ap_on_re_us/us_wisconsin_budget_unions

    We really need something on similar lines here … maybe that will shake things up at AUSD and finally install a meritocracy where good teachers can be retained and the underperformers let go … instead of the job protection measures they have in place that make it difficult to fire the slackers.

    Comment by Huda L — February 16, 2011 @ 1:52 pm

  28. Dennis, you’re one of the biggest stooges that ever lived and full time asshole to boot. The teachers are generally too busy working to be bothered with the likes of assholes like you. GFYS.

    Comment by M.I. — February 16, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

  29. 28.
    “Dennis, you’re one of the biggest stooges that ever lived and full time asshole to boot.”

    I resent that. I claim that title!

    Comment by Jack Richard — February 16, 2011 @ 2:29 pm

  30. 27

    Or similar to this in Indiana.

    “The bill — a key part of Gov. Mitch Daniels’ education agenda — would be another step in an ongoing effort to shift education funding policy in Indiana from a system that funds schools to one that primarily funds students, wherever they choose to go.”

    http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20110216/NEWS02/302160121/School-voucher-bill-advances-full-Indiana-House?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CHome

    Comment by Jack Richard — February 16, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

  31. Thanks, Jack, for the true LOL moment of the day!

    Pardon me for being dumber than the average bear (to paraphrase Yogi), but why does it matter who wrote/contributed to/authored Plan B? As a former consultant, I used to write things for clients to use for their own business purposes. For all intents and purposes, and according the the consulting services agreement, once they contracted with me to do it, it became their property to use as they saw fit. If their contract was similar, Erwin and Muir became hired hands to come up with Plan B for the district.

    OK, so then what? How is that material to the fact the we will likely have to make some pretty serious cuts if there is not some replacement funding, like a parcel tax, for the taxes sunsetting in 2012. This seems like a distracting arguement to me. Is what you’re trying to say is that there should’ve been an alternative to Plan B? That Plan B should’ve been vetted differently somehow (for the record, there were public hearings on it)? Tell me, Dennis Green, what is your arguement with authorship of Plan B?

    Comment by Fur Princess — February 16, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

  32. #23

    “And if AUSD hired Erwin & Muir “to save money over a full-time staff member,” why dis they put them on administrative leave when Measure E failed?”

    Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that because Measure E had failed, the district had to cut costs right and left to stay solvent. (Just as a reminder, the district made $7 million in cuts for the 2010-2011 year.)

    And Erwin & Muir wasn’t put on administrative leave. The district just didn’t hire them to do more work.

    Comment by Susan Davis — February 16, 2011 @ 2:51 pm

  33. # 29. Sorry Jack, the title goes to Dennis, he wins by a mile.

    Comment by John piziali — February 16, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

  34. And one more thought: I fully understand why some folks are opposed to Measure A, Measure E or any new taxes. There’s homeowners that can’t afford any more money, there’s people who don’t think that taxpayers should fund the schools, there are people who think the school district and government agencies should live within their current funding means, and a whole host of other reasons. All are valid arguements and not to be cliche, but that’s what makes our election system great. Ya know, the ole I may not agree with your opinion, but I’ll die defending your right to have it and all that rhetoric.

    If CAMA would pick any *valid* arguement and defend it, I’d be more inclined to entertain their viewpoint as an informed voter. However, they mostly seem to be grasping at straws and inventing paranoid conspiracy theories than making valid points for why Measure A shouldn’t be passed.

    Comment by Fur Princess — February 16, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

  35. 33.
    To John, Mark and the Furry Chick in 31 (and now in 34)

    As much as I respect you all’s opinion and especially Mark’s but I’d place my resume along side ass hole Green’s anytime. For one thing, I’ve only seen Green on this blog fairly recently. I don’t know for sure but I think Green was out smoozing with the City/County/State Greats until fairly recently. So if tenure is okay for teachers in the school after two years, than It ought to be good enough here…and for me. So he loses on the count of me having tenure and he doesn’t.

    Another thing is that Green’s an independent apostate Democrat by his own admission and voted for Obama. So, just on that alone, he’s one of you all and part of your political clique. No one can accuse me of being a Democrat or voting for Obama, without it being a lie. So I’m automatically a fairly large ass hole because I’m out of the clique. Sure, you guys call each other names and stuff but it’s just collegial ribbing.

    I could go on, but I don’t have to pad my resume by being an ass hole by going into all the minutiae.

    Comment by Jack Richard — February 16, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

  36. I have a lot of competition!

    The reason it matters whether Plan B was written by community groups or by political consultants is because it reads like a political document designed to present a Doomsday Scenario. “Vote Yes or we’ll shoot this kid!”

    I wrote that in an op-Ed piece in the Sun back in early 2010, after interviewing AUSD Trustee Mike McMahon, from whom I got the stench of duplicity. The ultimate point is that if they lie to us about authorship, they may be lying to us about Doomsday. And if you boosters need to stay in denial, go ahead on. No skin off my nose.

    And Mark, why don’t you tell us how you REALLY feel?

    Comment by Dennis Green — February 16, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

  37. Dennis uses his own name and does not suffer fools lightly. Those things alone disqualify him for the biggest asshole title. That goes for Jack R too. Sorry guys. I believe the title “Great Satan” might still be up for grabs though.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — February 16, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

  38. Jack at least occasionally knows what he’s talking about.

    Comment by dave — February 16, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

  39. 36.
    First, I doubt too many people even bothered reading Plan B, especially “No” leaners. And if they did, I think it has a lot of good ideas in it, but they probably wouldn’t focus on those parts.

    It’s the A part of the MP that’s gobbledygook, there obviously wasn’t much time spent on that part.

    So, you could be right because the B scenario supplies the Yes people something they can point to, an “official” document, that promises the end of western civilization if A isn’t passed.

    37 Yes! Way to go Denise that’s good news. I suffer fools lightly and that gives me the title as the “real” ass hole.

    Please don’t give the overall title to some anonymous crybaby.

    Comment by Jack Richard — February 16, 2011 @ 5:38 pm

  40. Jack,

    Plan A is dead. It died with Measure E. I just don’t get CAMA’s obsession with who wrote Plan B. Are Measure A opponents seriously saying that there won’t be any additional cuts if Measure A doesn’t pass? Isn’t this just a case of “your terrible plan is more alarming than my horrible plan?” Because if Measure A doesn’t pass we’re getting a terrible plan or a horrible plan. What differnece does it make if the plan is terrible or horrible?

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — February 16, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

  41. 40
    Nobody should care about a “plan” because they wouldn’t work their plan, regardless. If A fails, life will go on.

    This state should look to some of the mid-west states as an example of education funding reform attempts.

    Comment by Jack Richard — February 16, 2011 @ 6:39 pm

  42. 40. And if Plan B comes to pass and Armageddon happens… they’ll be like: oops, sorry, my bad. ??

    39. I read the Plan B and did a lot of investigation/pushback of my own. Spent a lot of time w/ the assist supe and more. This I know for certain:

    – The plan did evolve last fall as the Pro-A people have been saying.
    – The CAMA folks and their assertions are 100% full of crap.

    Which takes me back to 34. I agree. These cowards should just man up to “I got mine — I don’t wanna pay” and at least that’s honest and acceptable. They are so twisted in their lack-of-logic they don’t even know what they are arguing about anymore.

    28. Right on.

    Comment by Jack B. — February 16, 2011 @ 7:15 pm

  43. I don’t own property, so won’t pay either way, but if I did I wouldn’t take the senior exemption and vote yes so my neighbor would have to. I’ve studied Plan B extensively and don’t see the Doomsday y’all do. Close a few under-enrolled school, boost class sizes, no music/art/pe classes until middle school, keep the lousy teachers so there’s an achievement gap in the West End schools, fewer counselors, lip off a few days, layoff a few of the newer teachers with no seniority, but keep the veteran teachers, don’t cut Votal’s salary, and spend $83 million a year, as much per student as a few years ago.

    What’s not to like?

    Comment by Dennis Green — February 16, 2011 @ 8:55 pm

  44. off topic but I hope you comment on it, LD

    http://www.eastbayexpress.com/ebx/an-alameda-power-play/Content?oid=2456260

    Comment by E — February 16, 2011 @ 9:23 pm

  45. Wait, Dennis, you’re point was that Plan B is a fake political document that is so egregious it’s a scare tactic used created by political consultants remember? It’s a fake, it couldn’t possibly be true. It had to be trumped up.

    It undermines your point to switch to “I read it, it’s not dooomsday, it’s really good, lets do it.”

    Which is it? A political scare tactic or a carefully constructed document that outlines a reasoned plan for what happens if the district doesn’t get more money?

    Looks like you’ve come around to making the same case that Alameda SOS is.

    Comment by John Knox White — February 17, 2011 @ 7:24 am

  46. JKW

    your lack of transparency follows you everywhere you go!

    Comment by Dr.Poodlesmurf — February 17, 2011 @ 8:06 am

  47. Wow – Really? It looks like AUSD has over 5 supporters here, but even of those – who believes AUSD wrote the Doomsday Plan B without the political consultants? Who believes Plan B will happen when A fails? Who thinks Loren or JKW have any credibility? (besides the LWV, or rather Kate and Helen and the rest of H.O.M.E.S that run LWV.)
    Mr McMahon – Is it true that both your wife and daughter work for AUSD and your daughter is the web person that worked with E & M?… Is there any other way AUSD can lose more credibility, or is it all gone now?

    Comment by Not4A — February 19, 2011 @ 2:04 am

  48. I don’t belong to H.O.M.E.S. Helen is not on the board and while a member of the LWV and keeps up with things, she is not in any way “running things”. Nor am I. All the lies in the world can’t make the fact that the AUSD held a ton of meetings and took a tremendous amount of input and committee work from parents, business owners and others in formulating its work go away. Why it is so darn important to make up that some secret cabal was behind the current plan beats me. Its not true; it is an insult to all those unpaid volunteers who worked so hard to try to find a way to deal with the consequences of further cuts, and it is damaging to our community. Please, just state your piece “we don’t want to pay for the schools” and the reasoning behind your stand and leave the personalizations, lies and smears behind. That is the civil, grown up way to conduct your campaign. Just do it!

    Comment by Kate Quick — February 19, 2011 @ 9:06 am

  49. Step through the looking glass just for a moment, Kate. Now turn around and look at the reflection.

    What you see is the Tea Party running the unions, school board, schools, city government, state assembly, US senate and presidency. Every teacher is a certified member of the Tea Party and totally supports whatever it is they support. Ninety % of the population in your little city is a Tea Party member. You are NOT one of the ninety %. You oppose everything the Tea Party stands for.

    Would you willingly encumber your property to further empower the Tea Party?

    Now step back into your world and continue.

    By the way, though I used the Tea Party as an example because, from what I’ve gleaned on this blog, ninety %+ of the owners of the comments here despise that group, you could substitute any group you despise in its place if you like.

    Comment by Jack Richard — February 19, 2011 @ 10:10 am

  50. I get it Jack. My world would have people of all beliefs engaged in civic life. In a democracy that would prevent any groups – the Nazis, Tea Partiers, whomever, from running everything. The Democrats have a good deal of power in California, especially in this area and in L.A., but there is balance and from the balance we have the appropriate checks in place. It is only when people stop civic engagement that there is likelihood of true “takeover”. Not all the Dems in office agree,and from all appearances, the Tea Partiers are giving the usual “lock-step” Republicans fits. Ah, democracy! (very small d).

    Comment by Kate Quick — February 19, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

  51. 50
    I judge, from your evasion, that you would gladly encumber your house to support the goals of the Tea Party.

    The fact is, every level of government in this state is controlled by Democrats (very large D), they have “taken over”. They define what’s taught, who’s taught, where they’re taught and how much the teachers are paid for teaching and by whom.

    The idea that there is balance can only be seen though your side of the mirror.

    Comment by Jack Richard — February 19, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

  52. I really, really disagree with you, and I am not willing, nor will I need to, encumber my house for any goals of any one Party. I was not trying to evade, only to say I disagree with your basic argument that our State is in control of one party with no balances. As long as we have to vote 2/3 to raise any tax and we have a firm hold on Jarvis-Gann as a “third rail”, the Dems are pretty hamstrung. Business is calling most of the major shots in California; especially the biggies. There is more corporate welfare under Jarvis rules than there is relief for the poorer homeowners.

    Comment by Kate Quick — February 19, 2011 @ 10:11 pm

  53. 52. Hear, hear … (re: “Business is calling most of the major shots in California”).

    That explains why Measure A has a cap for businesses, but not for the ordinary joe!

    Proposed increases under Measure A:

    – Alameda Towne Centre: 1 cent/sq ft
    – Svendsen’s Boatworks: 6 cents/sq ft
    – Oakland Raiders HQ: 8 cents/sq ft
    – Residential parcels: 32 cents/sq ft

    How do you justify this???

    Comment by NoOnA — February 20, 2011 @ 7:08 am

  54. That should read “proposed rates under Measure A”.

    Comment by NoOnA — February 20, 2011 @ 7:08 am

  55. 53.nice try. I don’t think the calling of shots at state level is that easily comparable or transferable to Measure A situation because of how the power is had at the state level and what is happening locally.

    I think the net loss of income from the cap is rather minor compared to the net impact of A not passing at all and to vote no based on objection to the cap is to shoot ones own foot off.

    After months of wrangling, protecting businesses like Sven’s became more important than any apparent windfall to Towne Centre, which pays the very lowest rate you cite on ONLY ONE of 14 parcels and which will be paying on all it’s empty retail like Borders. But leave it to you folks to overlook any detail which doesn’t suit your position.

    My sense of the no vote as a whole is that any argument which seems to bolster that position is thrown out there by people who would actually vote no under any circumstances.

    Taxes are not something which are often found to be applied with total equity or which satisfies every last tax payer, so we have to pick our battles. It’s insane that people are saying they won’t vote yeas until we have better schools because they claim to have some private sector experience as a business person and demand everybody be held hostage to their theories about free markets. I am thinking particularly of My Word this week.

    Comment by M.I. — February 20, 2011 @ 9:05 am

  56. Comment 53 is another example of relentless dishonesty and distortion from the anti-schools crowd. By an anonymous poster, of course.

    Comment by Jack B. — February 20, 2011 @ 9:11 am

  57. Kate # 52 “Business is calling most of the major shots in California; especially the biggies…”

    http://www.chiefexecutive.net/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=0CC7FBE04E534C16922586F98AF9AEB3&nm=Articles&type=Publishing&mod=Publications%3A%3AArticle&mid=8F3A7027421841978F18BE895F87F791&tier=4&id=9EF178B0EC7844DBA470BB928A65BF99

    Comment by Jack Richard — February 20, 2011 @ 10:46 am

  58. Times such as they are, big does not always equal safe. Borders for instance is going under while Books, Inc. is still up and running. Maybe the big guys do need a break. Just saying. Hate to see all those jobs go bye, bye!

    Comment by Denise Shelton — February 20, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

  59. 56. Care to point out what is incorrect in my post (53)? Are those numbers not accurate? Do tell …

    Comment by NoOnA — February 20, 2011 @ 7:56 pm

  60. #59 – that’s easy. As Mark pointed out Towne Centre will pay the rate you post on ONE of FOURTEEN parcels. The Action Alameda misinformation clearly tries to make it sound like they will pay that for the whole complex. Got any other misinformation you want to throw at the wall?

    Comment by david burton — February 20, 2011 @ 8:24 pm

  61. 60. What about the other commercial parcels listed above?

    What is the total amount ATC will pay under Measure A?

    Comment by NoOnA — February 21, 2011 @ 7:16 am

  62. Approx $45,000

    Comment by dave — February 21, 2011 @ 7:57 am

  63. That’s per year.

    Comment by Susan Davis — February 21, 2011 @ 8:30 am

  64. @62 … wow, what a bargain! AUSD is leaving a ton of money on the table as a result of the $7999 ceiling.

    Talk about sticking it to the common man.

    Comment by Harry — February 21, 2011 @ 9:34 am

  65. Well the voters will decide – Keep bussing the old folks to the polls and hand them their exemption form on the way in to vote! After all – everything is above board and fair in Alameda Politics, esp when the F***ups are in charge, as will the City’s new City Council

    Comment by Hey-on-A — February 21, 2011 @ 5:45 pm


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