Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 12, 2008

The results…uplifting!

Filed under: Alameda, School — Tags: , , — Lauren Do @ 7:01 am

As we have been hearing everywhere tied to this Measure H race, never doubt the power of your vote, your one lone vote.   It has been a bit of a wait and the wait has been oh so excruciating, but in the end, I think we can pretty much safely say that Measure H is passing and will pass.   Brief roundup of the news coverage on the issue.

From KCBS:

A four year parcel tax measure in the city of Alameda has passed, according to the county Registrar of Voters.

The registrar says there are still a few ballots that need to be counted,but it won’t affected the outcome…


…Alameda County Registrar of Voters David Macdonald said election officials tried to count all of the provisional ballots from the city of Alameda today, so he doesn’t believe that many, if any, of the several thousand remaining provisional ballots in the county are from Alameda.


However, Macdonald said the results are still unofficial and will remain so until he certifies them at the end of the month, around June 27…

Alameda Journal:

…”We have climbed from behind the whole way up,” said Bill Schaff, a member of the Board of Education. “It’s been quite exhausting for all those who have fought so hard for this campaign.”…

Alameda Sun:

“Alameda has stepped up,” said Ron Mooney, treasurer for the Yes on H campaign. “A little higher than I expected, but I’m not going to complain,” said Mike McMahon, who chalked up the victory to the campaign’s get out the vote work on Election Day, which he termed “phenomenal…

Eve Pearlman’s Blog:

As of a few moments ago, for the first time, Alameda’s Measure H, the school parcel tax, officially has more than the two-thirds of the vote. Go check it out! There are now 11,397 ‘yes’ votes—for 66.87 percent…

The Island aka Michele Ellson’s blog:

…With an additional 540 votes from Alameda counted today, the measure has 66.87 percent, or 11,397 votes for, to 33.13 percent, or 5,646 votes against…

And a special shot goes out to School 94501/94502 aka Rob Siltanen’s blog who has the most interesting commentary on the subject:

…Today’s batch appears to have been 73.33% yes on H (with 396 votes) and 26.67% no (with 144 votes) on H. My initial hypothesis is that these provisionals included a disproportionate number of 18-year old student first-time voters (many students who registered to vote did so just before the registration deadline but not early enough to receive their voter materials) who had to vote with provisional ballots. So, my presumption is that this provisional pool was skewed young and that the young were skewed yes.

There were 540 vote results posted today, which is 8.31% of all 6500 provisionals that were reported to be left for the ROV to vote. Since Alameda’s percentage of the total County vote is about 8%, it appears that the batch released today is all or very close to all of the provisionals…

If Rob S.’s hypothesis is correct that the provisionals swayed toward the first-time young voter, then perhaps we are seeing locally a trend that was evident in our national Democratic primary of young people really stepping up and making a difference at the polling booth.    While the previously it was always the older residents that made the time to get out and vote and therefore were able to guide government to the beat of their drum, it would appear that this next generation has determined that they want their voices heard as well.  Witness the latest polling regaring same-sex marriage, as Mark Morford opined:

…This, I think, was perhaps the most fascinating tidbit of insight to emerge from the most recent poll of Californians where, for the first time in state history, a majority of those polled said they support the idea of gay marriage and/or oppose a new and vile push for a state constitutional amendment to ban it outright. And that majority consists, by and large, of the young…

And while I was going to talk about the highly disturbing posts left in the comments section of the SF Chronicle article, I am now just happy to say that thank goodness those angry angry folks were in the minority of voting Alamedans.   Although clicking on the profile of some of the more puzzling comments turned up a host of other comments in which to reference, which then made it clear why these folks were saying what they were saying. 

Although there is one outstanding question though, will there be a recount?  Is anyone coughTomPavelticcough really, honestly considering gambling with his/her own money to have a recount done?   After all, according to the Elections Code (link provided by Michele E.):

15624.  The voter filing the request seeking the recount shall, before the recount is commenced and at the beginning of each day following, deposit with the elections official a sum as required by the elections official to cover the cost of the recount for that day.   The money deposited shall be returned to the depositor if, upon completion of the recount, …the position on the measure (affirmative or negative) for which the declaration is filed is found to have received the plurality of votes cast which it had not received according to the official canvass… The depositor shall be entitled to the return of any money deposited in excess of the cost of the recount if the … position on the measure has not received the plurality of the votes cast… Money not required to be refunded shall be deposited in the appropriate public treasury.

And with rates around $3,000 for the first day of counting and $2,000 for each subsequent day (2004 rates), who knows how long (and how much) it would end up costing to do a recount and whether it would turn out in favor of the No on Measure H position.



  1. Congratulations!

    Comment by Tony Daysog — June 12, 2008 @ 7:12 am

  2. Congratulations to all the folks who worked so hard to get this measure passed.

    Comment by notadave — June 12, 2008 @ 7:29 am

  3. As long as you are quoting headlines, don’t leave off our dear ADN, which is leading today with “Dennis Green Responds to Gretchen Lipow” Oh wait.. Never mind…

    Comment by notadave — June 12, 2008 @ 7:36 am

  4. Now let’s be fair, ADN has headlines on Measure H. However notice the subtle difference after yesterday’s shift.

    Prior Headlines:
    Measure H Fails

    Current Headline:
    Measure H Passing

    To be consistent the prior headlines should have read, Measure H Failing to capture that the process was still ongoing.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — June 12, 2008 @ 9:17 am

  5. Mike remind again what we elected you to do. Was it to push litigators with all your might and face up to the cogs of the machine in Sacramento, or was it to prattle on about grammar?

    You gloating about the bridge loan I and the rest of the parcel tax payers just gave you doesn’t sit well…

    Comment by Matt Reid — June 12, 2008 @ 12:31 pm

  6. Mike, I think you and the rest of the B.O.E. have a very tuff and thankless job. So you have my permission to gloat a little, then get back to work.

    Thanks for serving Alameda.

    Comment by john piziali — June 12, 2008 @ 12:53 pm

  7. Hmm…I thought I voted for Mike in order to be one of five volunteer citizens to help steward our local school district. I didn’t realize that we all had tasked Mike with the Herculean task of doing what several prominent state legislators have been unable to do.

    We do expect a lot out of our local elected don’t we?

    Comment by Lauren Do — June 12, 2008 @ 12:56 pm

  8. If that is “gloating” then what do you call the behavior of the anti-H posters here back on June 4?

    Comment by dave — June 12, 2008 @ 1:06 pm

  9. A Guide to California’s School Finance System

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — June 12, 2008 @ 1:19 pm

  10. Dave- Not holding elected officials to a higher standard – over and above the other posters on this blog, for instance, smacks of cynicism, particularly given how the issue of mismanagement – perceived or otherwise, was emotionally central to this debate.

    Lauren – your nittering-nanny mockery aside, yes we DO expect a lot. If we don’t then we are cowards, and they all the more prone to corruption and incompetence.

    Comment by Matt Reid — June 12, 2008 @ 1:19 pm

  11. Matt,

    You must have missed the posts in which Mike has solicited ideas for fixing Alameda’s long term funding problems. See e.g. If you have a suggestion for Mike and the other BOE members, you should share it.

    There seems to be a perception among some people that simply lobbying legislators or filing litigation can solve AUSD’s funding issues. If it were that easy, it would have been done. Both legislative change and litigation are incredibly difficult processes.

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’ll repeat something I said in a previous post:

    One thing to keep in mind is that for every Alameda that is getting less than its fair share, there’s a Dublin or similar that’s getting more than its fair share. Appealing to a sense of fairness doesn’t seem to go very far in politics especially when there is an equally powerful interest in maintaining the status quo. And “throw the bastards out” doesn’t seem to be making much headway either.

    If you are suggesting litigation, that may be a viable option (and I know that it is being investigated), but it could take years and the cost of litigation is oppressive. In a recent education funding case, the attorneys fees and costs for the Plaintiffs exceeded $14 million. So unless AUSD can come up with an attorney with extremely deep pockets who is willing to take on litigation on a pro bono basis, the cost would be prohibitive.

    So I am asking, sincerely, what ideas do you have for getting the funding formula fixed?

    Comment by pagebarnes — June 12, 2008 @ 1:22 pm

  12. Page- If Mike showed me phone logs he’s been meticulously keeping, and receipts from lunches he’s had with state DOE officials, in his effort to really be a BULLDOG about this issue, not by soliciting ideas from the ethernet, but by pounding the pavement and calling repeatedly and being a real pain in the neck to the lower-level bureaucrats in Sacramento whose sense of self-worth and professional achievement syncretize around the veto and stalling power they exercise in the manufacture of public policy (and here yes, I betray my own cynicism) – then MAYBE i would accept a little gloating.

    But the irony here, Page, is that from my experience the type of person who is likely to play BULLDOG around the issues in a manner I’ve outlined, and actually build a career out of pursuing change, over time comes to respect all sides and voices which participate in the debate, to such an extent that he or she could NEVER gloat about something like this because they understand in their hearts that their opponents are speaking and acting with sincerity.

    So when I see this type of behavior, I have to question how seriously the actor is taking his or her role and to what extent (s)he respects and honors the trust you and i have conferred.

    Comment by Matt Reid — June 12, 2008 @ 1:36 pm

  13. Matt,

    How are the members of the AUSD BOE to pay for these lunches etc? If they spend the endless hours being a “BULLDOG”, how are they going to make a living? This is a volunteer position.

    Comment by Victoria — June 12, 2008 @ 1:55 pm

  14. I never intened to have my comment taken as gloating. I made a weak attempt at humor by trying to point that Don Roberts usage of headlines was telling. Oh well, I should stick to providing information about AUSD Board of Education.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — June 12, 2008 @ 2:05 pm

  15. Matt,

    First off, there’s something on which you and I agree — that is, that people of differing opinions can and should recognize that those whose opinions differ from their own may be speaking and acting with sincerity. In some cases, both proponents and opponents of Measure H have utterly failed in this regard.

    And while I agree that some bulldogging is in order, you suggest that school board members be expected to undertake the tasks that are necessary to “build a career out of pursuing change.” To the best of my knowledge, most members of the school board have careers and families and not looking to become professional lobbyists. What you are suggesting in terms of keeping meticulous phone logs and wining and dining bureaucrats is an awful lot to ask of a volunteer school board member with no expense account. Professional lobbyists are paid big money to engage in those sorts of activities. I do not expect a volunteer school board member to completely put aside his/her family and business obligations to represent me as a full time lobbyist in Sacramento and pay for it on his/her own dime. Perhaps the answer is to hire a bulldog lobbyist (but the funds for that would have to come from somewhere.)

    And although this is really kind of beside the point, my perception of Mike’s comment above was that he was ironically remarking on how the headlines of an award winning daily newspaper changed from an erroneous report which effectively declared measure H completely dead as compared to the current headline which more accurately states that Measure H is currently winnning but that the results are not final. So perhaps gloating can sometimes be in the eye of the beholder.

    Comment by pagebarnes — June 12, 2008 @ 2:14 pm

  16. Local boards of education are just vassals of the State. The problems with public education cannot be solved at the local level because Sacramento calls the shots and controls the funds. California school finance reform must take place at the state level. All that scores of local parcel tax measures do is exhaust local activists.

    The Governor, Legislature and Judiciary have the power to make the changes necessary. The system of taxation that supports all levels of education needs to be reformed. Why do we have a sales tax on diapers but not on legal services? And the problem isn’t just with “them,” it is with us too. How many people voted to recall Davis because of the vehicle license fee?

    Alameda’s public education problems cannot be solved on the island; it needs to happen at the State level. Our Senators, Assemblymembers and Governor need to be made accountable. Lobbying needs to take place on a statewide basis. This simply is not a problem that can be fixed by our local school board.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — June 12, 2008 @ 2:19 pm

  17. Re: Post 16
    Thanks for the sanity check. I realize that Matt Reid needed to vent, but we all need to work together on this issue, putting the heat on our legislators to work on a statewide solution.

    Comment by Linda Hudson — June 12, 2008 @ 3:12 pm

  18. P.S> I just can’t help myself: Hurrah for Measure H!

    Comment by Linda Hudson — June 12, 2008 @ 3:13 pm

  19. Mike -I appreciate your willingness to address my concern.

    Page- yes- I unambiguously DO expect school board members, as I do all elected officials, to aspire to build careers out of pursuing change. Anything otherwise is simple bigotry of low expectations. They are signing up for public office – they have a calling. They are willing to make sacrifices. It’s the same way I feel about teachers who dig into their own pockets to pay for school supplies- YES they shouldn’t have to, YES they need a champion who pulls for better pay and supplies, but NO it’s not tragic, it’s stunningly beautiful because it strikes at the core of what it means to be a human being. I’m not going to condescendingly weep for them, I respect and admire what they do.

    But moving on from what may be a simple philosophical disagreement concerning the roles and responsibilities of our publically-elected officials I’m having with.. most of the commenters on this Board I suppose… there seem to be two mechanical issues which become conflated very quickly – a) whether or not the AUSD is financially efficient, and b) the narrower issue of how to get the state to reformulate the per-pupil financing it currently provides. I think anyone tasked with the stewardship of the AUSD has to address both, and I don’t see (could be my ignorance here) what they’re doing about the latter.

    The former issue (efficiency) is a whole different discussion and tends to get bogged down in comparative admin overhead observations like “well, we’re better than [insert district name here]”. I still don’t understand half of the non-teaching job titles listed in the Encinal High School Staff Directory, and noticed that Alameda High’s directory link is dead. From the dollars and cents point of view, now that I’m a direct investor (and not just indirect through a mutual-fund like state income tax) , stewards of the public trust owe you and I more transparency.

    Comment by Matt Reid — June 12, 2008 @ 3:23 pm

  20. #5

    Lighten up, Francis

    Comment by ChrisO — June 12, 2008 @ 3:34 pm

  21. Matt…. Mike McMahon is a godsend as far as transparency goes.

    I think your brain is in the right place though. We need long-term solutions… because I don’t think school boosters will win another parcel tax anytime soon.

    Comment by Jack B — June 12, 2008 @ 3:43 pm

  22. My guess is in four years the school board will put a ballot measure to make this temporary tax into a permanent tax.

    Comment by Zone — June 12, 2008 @ 3:53 pm

  23. re #22;

    My guess it will be less than 4 years before AUSD comes back to request parcel tax support because we have to submit 3 year budgets each year. I am also willing to bet dollars to dimes that no matter what the final State Education budget is this year, next year there will be a bigger delta between our planned need and the State’s planned expenditure for us.

    These are some of the reasons I was critical of MH as it was written and BOE approved. To protect the quality of education in Alameda we simply will need to kick in more $ locally. I don’t think the amount of $ in MH that homeowners voted on had very much to do with the outcome. Looking at the 10 school parcel taxes in the Bay Area that were voted upon last week – it looks like 5 passed and 5 failed. One failing parcel Tax was just slightly more than MH ($166/yr), the other 4 failing parcel taxes we less than MH. All the other passing Measures were significantly more than MH. It could almost be said that the lower the amount requested to support education, the less likely to pass.

    I thought MH should have asked for a more significant amount – an amount that would actually do ‘good’ for the students of the district and not this little amount that might be enough to stem the State loss for a year. If MH had been $300 – $500, and not mentioned trying to “minimize school closures”, then it could have perhaps slightly increased the quality of educational offering, and we could just ask for consolidation and permanence of the taxes on the next ballot.

    Comment by David Kirwin — June 12, 2008 @ 5:06 pm

  24. AHS Staff Directory link is not “dead”; it is simply in a very hard to use file extension called .mht which is apparently only readable by Internet Explorer. Firefox or any others, forget it. The AHS Web site is really hard to use, but it is set up by volunteer labor is my understanding. I don’t really understand why some of the students couldn’t do a better job creating a more user friendly site for AHS.

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — June 12, 2008 @ 5:36 pm

  25. With a full time “public information officer”, and over $5 million in new tech investments, a paid technology department staff as part of AUSD Maintenance, Operations, and Facilities Dept, (MOF), why should any taxpayer, or anyone else, not be provided all relevant publicly accessible information via the web? Why is the public required to actually go to AUSD Admin to see a video or audible record of AUSD BOE Mtgs? They will not even loan the videos – you must watch them there. They also don’t keep them, I’m told they destroy them. This is not my image of public openness.

    If the PIO position is saved by MH, (as I hope it is) she should be tasked with making informantion accessible via the web.

    Comment by D Kirwin — June 12, 2008 @ 5:54 pm

  26. Actually I know the ‘tech staff’ is way overburdened trying to keep all AUSD’s machines and networks running, not to mention all the wireless hubs need to be tweaked big time to run more efficiently. Also I know some of the staff (I think there are a total of 3 FTEs techies) who are also going to try to physically clean (remove blankets of dust) from all the district’s computer hardware this summer. …And I know most of the Measure C $ earmarked for tech is slated for in-classroom use.

    Still it may be best that the PIO be able to use web software that is simple enough for her to do herself, yet sophisticated enough to at least post all packet material when BOE notice is posted. Much of that software is freeware, and the PIO to Web should not have info that needs to be ‘privacy-secure’.

    Comment by d kirwin — June 12, 2008 @ 6:24 pm

  27. I’ve never felt such a direct connection between my vote and an outcome; it is an odd feeling.

    Changing things through litigation or legislation is difficult, but is it more difficult than passing a local parcel tax in difficult economic times? The outcome of this election doesn’t answer that question in my opinion, in part because legislators supported the parcel tax. I don’t whether any of them have stepped forward to support legislation or litigation to fix the funding problem, but I did read statements from them supporting the tax.

    Comment by Michael Rich — June 12, 2008 @ 10:42 pm

  28. Congratulations, Alameda, on passing Measure H! — from an old Alamedian. I live in Lafayette now, but fondly watch how things are changing for the better on the lovely island. Trader Joe’s, the new stores on Park Street. Nice additions. But the best thing you’ve done is pass Measure H. Here, we don’t have the magnificent Victorians, the beach, the City views, or the wonderful Bay weather, but we have terrific schools that attract huge numbers of potential buyers to our housing market, in both good times and bad. Here, almost all voters, whether or not they have kids, vote for parcel taxes to support the schools. Police and street repair measures fail, but school measures pass by almost 80%. Why? Because (1) they produces successful children, (2) they keep property values high and relatively rescession-resistant, and (3) they lead to a stronger community and safer streets than would additional police.

    If it wants, Alameda can do better than Lafayette. Alameda has its own school system, a stable population of largely homeowners, remarkable beauty, and a better environment than anywhere else in the Bay Area. If you can get the school system above the 80 percentile, it will be the next Piedmont — but a nicer and more integrated one. Whatever you invest in parcel taxes will be a fraction of what you gain in property values as the hordes on this side of the hill try to get back to your lovely island. I look forward to your next parcel tax measure. Incidentally, I still own a little Victorian (retirement home?) on the island, so I’ll be contributing, too. Mark

    Comment by Mark — June 17, 2008 @ 9:18 pm


    Now that we have numbers; how much of MH $ do we need for this year?

    What are the effects of this budget?

    It is easy to see that harder days ARE likely coming to State education budgets, but it looks like we dodged the bullet this year.

    Is this true?

    Comment by David Kirwin — September 16, 2008 @ 10:31 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog at