There’s one issue regarding the School Board appointment that has been hinted about but I haven’t touched at in detail. I might have mentioned it in my “cons” section when Anne McKereghan was reduced as the “parcel tax” candidate as though that were the only qualifications that she had to offer.
At the end of the meeting during the reopening of public comment, a lot of people came up to tout Gray Harris’s parcel tax experience in order to counter-balance this particular narrative about Anne McKereghan.
As you can see, a few people went slightly overboard in their effusive praise about Gray Harris which — unfortunately — reflected poorly on her even though she wasn’t the one endorsing this particular line of messaging.
Between this and the dismissing the next parcel tax as being “easy” to pass because the demographics of the Alameda community has changed, I imagine that the community members who put in the real work on all the past parcel tax and bond campaigns must have felt their contributions minimized and co-opted. Look, I’ll be honest, as supportive as I am of parcel taxes I do very little to help out the actual campaigns themselves. I think I might have helped out once like three campaigns ago by agreeing to schlep some boxes of materials from San Francisco to Alameda. And that’s only because I was already in San Francisco, it was close to my work, and I had a car that could haul it.
I don’t think any of us that are on the outside looking in can fathom the amount of effort and labor that it takes to get a parcel tax campaign passed. Two-thirds is definitely a threshold that is hard to meet and it’s going to take the skills of all of the veterans of past campaigns to get this next parcel tax passed.
Which is why, even though a decision was made, it probably wasn’t the right one, here’s why: while teachers are an important and powerful constituency to keep happy what it sounded like was that relationships between the unions and AUSD are better than ever. In fact — if we’re talking about union solidarity — one of the union officials (speaking not as a union official) questioned during the second public comment if no one had heard what Mrs. Tam had said. The widow of Niel Tam had endorsed Anne McKereghan in her public comments.
What was really important, and was mentioned by one of the other public commenters was that the lead up to the next election for the School Board is important because it will also lead up to the parcel tax campaign.
While teacher relationships are important, the passage of a renewal parcel tax is critical to retain important programs for the students of AUSD.
I don’t believe that supporters of Anne McKereghan are going to abandon the parcel tax campaign because she wasn’t appointed to the seat, but what is — understandably — a turn off is minimizing the contributions of these supporters to the success of past, and future, campaigns.