Alameda, Calif. - February 22th, 2011 - The Alameda League of Women Voters is trying to cover up for the Alameda Unified School District, proponents of a fair school tax here say, for using secret data unavailable to the public to structure Measure A, a regressive school parcel tax on the ballot March 8th. AUSD is using the League of Women Voters to skirt election laws that prohibit the District from using public resources to campaign in favor of their own tax.
"AUSD is using the League of Women Voters to get around election laws, and to cover their tracks for using secret parcel data as the basis for Measure A, a regressive tax that favors big corporations at the expense of homeowners and renters," said Leland Traiman, Secretary for the Committee Against Measure A in Alameda. "Ask the school district for a copy of the parcel database that SCI Consulting Group used for Measure A - they won't give it to you. They will tell you to buy a database from another provider at the cost of several thousand dollars - that's way out of the reach of the average homeowner." A newly released study from Pepperdine University shows that AUSD has increased spending on outside consultants by 76% in recent years, at the expense of hiring more teachers.
Traiman says that the League of Women Voters, which prides itself on promoting transparency in government, and on being a supposed impartial arbiter of the facts, has dishonored itself by colluding with AUSD to hide the controversy over their use of secret data. "They're not even doing a good job at it," said Traiman. In late January - before the League voted whether or not to endorse Measure A - Alameda resident and League of Women Voters member Jon Spangler called a "No on A" representative and explained that he was working on the League's Measure A committee, and that the League was helping the Alameda Unified School District develop their website to better make the argument for voters to support their own parcel tax, which taxes homes at $0.32/square foot but caps the amount paid by big business. He also tried to persuade the "No on A" committee to participate in a biased forum on Measure A that the League was organizing, which would have given 40 minutes of time to proponents of the regressive tax compared to only 10 minutes of time to the "No on A" side. Subsequently, the "Yes on A" campaign has dodged every invitation to a debate or public forum on Measure A.
On Wednesday, February 23rd, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., there will be a public information forum at Encinal High School organized by Alameda high school student Dylan Moore, one of his Leader's Institute (FLI) projects. It is presumed that the "Yes on A" campaign will not be there to defend their support of an unfair and regressive tax.
About the Committee Against Measure A in Alameda
The Committee Against Measure A in Alameda is a group advocating for a fair and progressive parcel tax for Alameda schools, combined with honest restructuring in line with the calls for school restructuring from President Obama and California Governor Jerry Brown.