Unsurprisingly the group that was against Measure E: Alamedans for Fair Taxation, have come out against the next Parcel Tax that will come up on the ballot in March of 2011. I mean, did anyone really think that regardless of the format that Alamedans for Fair Taxation was going to support any Parcel Tax for schools?
And with any campaign that has any connection to “Action Alameda” and its social media reliant head you get, that’s right, Facebook pages (and websites) galore! The newest campaign slogan plays up on the “unfairness” of the tax and goes with the tagline “32 to 1 Ain’t Fair.” For those who have not been tracking comments on this topic, this is the argument that has been shopped around by anti-Parcel Tax spokesman Ed Hirshberg that while everyone else is paying $0.32 per square foot any large scale owner with lots of building square footage will be paying $0.01 per square foot because of the cap on business taxes of $7999 that was requested by Boardmember Trish Spencer. When you drill down to the core of their argument, the only large scale property owner they are really complaining about is Alameda Towne Centre. And when you further drill down through that complaint, it turns out that they are only referring to one parcel out of the 13 or 14 that Harsch Investments (the owner of Alameda Towne Centre) actually owns.
Therefore “32 to 1 Ain’t Fair.”
Let’s put aside the fact that the tagline uses a word that we all know is not proper, grammatically. It does make it funny that there was a conscious decision to use an improperly constructed contraction to fight against a parcel tax for SCHOOLS, but as we all know “folksy” is the vernacular of our current political climate.
As pointed out by Jack B.: while 32 to 1 is the comparison between Ed Hirshberg’s potential parcel tax bill vs. Alameda Towne Centre’s one massively huge parcel it is — more notably — the ratio of students per teacher that would go into effect if the parcel tax were to fail. So, AFT is right: 32 to 1 ISN’T fair. It definitely would be unfair for those Kindergarteners, First graders, Second graders, Third graders and so on to have to fight for the attention of one teacher with 31 other students.
It’s sort of sad when opponents are unable to come up with a talking point that that isn’t easily co-opted by the other side with a much more compelling argument. What is more sad? Ed Hirschberg and his $0.32 per building square foot commercial property? Or a little First Grader sitting in a class with 31 other students? I’m going with the First Grader.