No on Measure C Placing Their Signs in the Wrong Spots and Other Reports on the Campaign

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chalkboardThe Election is rapidly approaching for Measure C, the extension of the district’s current parcel tax for another five years.  We have received some reports from around the community about illegally-placed signage.

It appears that the No on C people have an inadequate understanding of the laws on permissible sign usage.  They posted a complaint on the Davis Enterprise comment section that “No on C signs are being stolen all over town. Is this the way C supporters are supposed to act?”

There are two problems, from what the Vanguard has been told, with the placement of signs.  The first problem is placement on private property without the permission of the owner.

One person on the Enterprise page commented: “You have put some of your signs in places where the owner didn’t want them.”

The No on C commenter then argued that the signs were placed “on the Mace curve on public property… I doubt anyone owns the land that close to the street.”

First, they did not check to see if someone owns the land.  But second, even if they do not own the land, you run into THE LAW.

Davis Municipal Code section 12.01.120 states:

“(7) Placing of political campaign signs on public property is prohibited. No political campaign signs may be placed, fastened or affixed in any manner to any sidewalk, crosswalk, curb, street lamp post, pole, bench, hydrant, tree, shrub, bridge, electric light or power or telephone wire pole, or wire appurtenance thereof, or upon any street sign or traffic sign, or upon any other object located within the public-right-of-way, nor may signs interfere with public safety, including visual, traffic and pedestrian impacts.”

Alan Fernandes, in a letter to the editor, meanwhile argues that “a no vote on C solves nothing.”

He writes, “With due respect, to merely ‘send a powerful message by voting NO on Measure C,’ as encouraged by the opponents, lacks precisely the type of action needed to achieve the better outcomes we all desire for our schools.”

He adds, “Never mind for a moment that it actually sends the wrong message, namely, that we no longer choose to invest in education and our future generations. We do not need ‘messages,’ we need action in this time of fiscal crisis for our state and our community.”

“I admit, Measure C does not solve all of our problems,” Mr. Fernandes adds, “but it does solve some, and does so by proactively maintaining the quality education that our schools and community provide to our children.”

Camille Kirk, in an op-ed, notes, “At the recent budget town hall meeting, as the Davis school district staff presented their grim and grimmer slides, it was hard not to gasp at how bad the cuts will be without passage of Measure C.”

“The funds from C alone would constitute almost 10 percent of the district’s budget. It is misery-making to contemplate the impact on our children’s futures and our community if C does not pass,” she adds.

Yesterday the Vanguard published an op-ed about the impact on the school music program – which is a program that can be very important for a number of students and a program that many school districts have cut back on.

But some yesterday misconstrued that article as suggesting that this election was only about music programs.  In fact, it is about a lot of programs – in total, think about what $10 million in cuts is likely to look like.

Ms. Kirk presents one picture in her op-ed.

She writes, “Let’s also remind ourselves that, without passage of Measure C, the shocking changes to our schools will include closure of school libraries (imagine that, in an age when information science and media savvy is ascendant, and California is already dead last among all 50 states in funding for public school libraries), elimination of elementary science (imagine that, in a college town with a university that has among the world’s foremost biological, agricultural and ecological sciences programs); increase in class size (this, after the huge state push in the 1980s and ’90s to build schools sized to support smaller classes due to measured improvement in learning); and reduction in reading support programs, athletic programs, nursing and counseling services, and access to core classes in secondary grades.”

She also addresses both of what I call the ludicrous arguments that the No side has concocted, due to a lack of having a case.

The first argument is that this is really not an extension, but rather a new tax.  It is based on the idea that the length of the tax is five years rather than four, combined with the inflation adjuster clause.

That is a thin argument, as basically the tax is the same rate that the current tax is.  If there were no inflation adjustment attached to it, then you would basically get less spending power as now, perhaps by as much as 10 to 15 percent in five years from now.

There is a reason why you have to adjust for inflation, to compare spending from the past to the present and future.  That does not make it a new tax or a tax increase.

Writes Ms. Kirk, “No doubt you’ve read letters and voter information that outline that this measure is essentially a combination and renewal of two existing parcel taxes; it is not an increase; it is a five-year renewal, which allows the district more stability in planning budgets for the next few years; the vote is happening now because we need to know what revenue we can count on next year; and that a strong public school system demonstrably supports higher and more stable home values.”

The other phony argument against Measure C is the mail-in ballot complaints.  The lack of security and secrecy has been so thoroughly debunked that the fact that the opponents even raise the issue demonstrates their intellectual dishonesty.

Ms. Kirk writes: “There are those in our community who are opposed to the mail-in ballot. I, too, happen to like going to my polling location, and showing my child representational democracy in action. But, moving to mail ballots for single-vote elections is more cost-efficient and responsible stewardship of public monies, and is analogous to the already common practice of mail-in absentee ballots.”

I understand those who wish to oppose this because they have trouble making ends meet given the economy.  But I view overall education as an investment in the future.  The more we spend now, hopefully the less we spend in the future on social programs and incarceration.

The kids of today who receive Davis’ fine education will be taxpayers in the future and will pay back our small investment in huge future returns.  But ultimately that is a decision that each voter needs to make for himself or herself.  That is the great thing about democracy, everyone has different values and priorities.

We can have differing sets of opinions, but we need to start with the fact base.  When the No on C people make disengenuous and dishonest arguments, it serves to undermine the process.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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28 thoughts on “No on Measure C Placing Their Signs in the Wrong Spots and Other Reports on the Campaign”

  1. Mr.Toad

    “The more we spend now, hopefully the less we spend in the future on social programs and incarceration.”

    The younger the intervention the cheaper the cost.

  2. hpierce

    [quote]The No on C poster then argues they were placed “on the[b] Mace curb[/b] on public property… I doubt anyone owns the land that close to the street.”

    First they did not check to see if someone owns the land. But second, even if they do not own the land, you run into THE LAW.[/quote]I assume what was meant was MACE CURVE. First, somebody (or some entity) ALWAYS owns the land. Second. if the sign was on the Mace Curve, east of the Jr High, and north of the end of the bikepath (on the west side of Mace), the Davis Municipal Code, arguably, does not apply, as that land is not within City limits. The County had a street right of way, not fee title interest, and that right of way was transferred to the City for maintenance purposes. There is not enough info given as to where the sign in question was placed, in relation to the street right of way. You’re going to be much better off arguing the merits of the measure than trying to vilify those who oppose the measure, based on questionable “fact”. Perhaps your sign of line should be DG opining, rather than DG reporting, at least on this piece.

    With the exception of asserting that the sign was in an “illegal” location, your article is good, although I have yet to decide how I will vote.

  3. 91 Octane

    Oh, for christ sake david!! You know you are going to win the election in large numbers so give it a rest already…

    The No on C campaign never wins, you know this so stop trying to kick your political opponents while they are down okay?

  4. David M. Greenwald

    I see Octane – so the No on campaign under your theory gets carte blanch to say whatever they want because at the moment you think it’s unlikely they will prevail in their election?

  5. Rifkin

    [i]”I assume what was meant was MACE CURVE.”[/i]

    HP, it is the Mace Curve. If you read the Enterprise comments ([url]http://www.davisenterprise.com/opinion/letters/a-no-vote-on-c-solves-nothing/comment-page-1/[/url]), you will see that I pointed that out; and you will see that the code language David quotes above came from me, as well.

    [i]”… the Davis Municipal Code, arguably, does not apply, as that land is not within City limits.”[/i]

    That is a good point if it is outside the City limits. Although being beyond the borders of Davis would make it County land, it is almost certainly not land owned by the County, but rather private land where the landlord likely has the right to decide what goes where.

    The County actually has a guideline for campaign signs for this election. It says: [quote] [b]POLITICAL SIGNS[/b]
    The placement of political signs is subject to regulation by state, county, and/or city.

    [b]COUNTY: [/b]
    Political signs are handled in the same manner as outdoor advertising signs which are permitted in those zones allowing such uses with limitations on height, size, and spacing. For additional information, consult Yolo County Planning Department at 530-666-8775. [/quote]

  6. medwoman

    hpierce

    A question. Since you apparently still have not made a decision on this issue, what factors are you currently weighing ? I am curious because this is certainly not a new issue in Davis. Weighing how best to support our schools in changing economic times has been around as long as I have been in Davis. What set of circumstances leaves you on the fence this time ?

  7. hpierce

    Quite frankly, part of it is the disparity of statements made months ago by those who on one hand, oppose renewal of the City’s Park Tax ($49/yr), AND wanting significant concessions by City Employees (which I’m sure will happen on at least some items), and on the other hand, we have the DJUSD employees (teachers, classified employees, AND Administrators) promoting the extension and inflation provisions of Measure C, who apparently are not even willing to discuss any salary benefit concessions.
    At the end of the day, if I knew that the community would support both levies (and both City and DJUSD employees, and expected the same level of concession from each), I’d even be willing to support a somewhat higher levy to support both the District & the City. The arrogance of the message from the DTA president, along with no indication since then that DJUSD employees are willing to at least talk about putting some “skin in the game”, is ‘off-putting’.
    I’m betting that Measure C will pass, and all DJUSD employees will be either kept whole, with minimal layoffs (and perhaps some token increases to compensation), while the community will fail to maintain the Park Tax, ask (and get) compensation reductions from City employees, AND either layoff or not fill vacant City positions. That, to me, is a bitter pill.

  8. Rifkin

    [i]”… part of it is the disparity of statements made months ago by those who on one hand, oppose renewal of the City’s [b]Park Tax[/b] ($49/yr) …”[/i]

    Speaking of the City’s parks and greenbelts … Has anyone else noticed that 75% or more of the water fountains along the greenbelts and in the parks are out of order? And that some of the non-functioning potable spouts have been unusable for 5-6 months or more?

    I would imagine this is budget related, that perhaps the staff (public works?) is overwhelmed with other work and drinking fountains are not deemed a priority. However, as the weather heats up, not having an available drinking fountain makes a walk on the greenbelt or a game in a park less appealing.

    [img]http://coldwellbankerdougarnold.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/greenbelt6-234×300.jpg[/img]

  9. 91 Octane

    vanguard: I see Octane – so the No on campaign under your theory gets carte blanch to say whatever they want because at the moment you think it’s unlikely they will prevail in their election?

    David (if that is your real name) – there is such a thing as being a bad winner and a bad loser. Granda and Coleman are bad losers, because they are trying to desperately attack process because they cannot win at the ballot box… you are being a bad winner because you know they have nothing left to fight with, are defenseless and are going to lose by large margins and still have a desire to kick them while they are down, and throw acid on their wounds – it makes you look petty and childish…

    If it pleases the vanguard: I will go on record saying that their ballot arguments were not convincing to me, nor were the ones they put in the enterprise…… there I said it, you can gloat now….

    I also remember when you referred to them as partners in crime- my guess is that the school taxes are in your religon so fiercely so, that you feel an insatiable desire to attack people merely for opposing the tax, not simply for good or bad arguments……..

    GROW UP.

  10. David M. Greenwald

    Under the existing system, there is no such thing are losing by a large margin. In 2011, the no side garnered all of 33% of the vote, under most senses of the word it would have been a landslide and yet in fact it hardly passed.

    The Vanguard is less concerned with winning or losing and more concerned with proper process, open government, and honestly. Dishonest arguments get attacked here. We cannot assume as you have that the no side will be handily.

    The ultimate and most extreme analogy is the lesson of Hitler. In no way should this argument be construed as a comparison of anyone to Hitler. However, there is an object lesson that Hitler gained popularity through telling the big lie. The problem is that no one really took him seriously enough until it was too late to refute his lies. The lesson there is not to assume that just because someone seems unlikely to be a threat at one moment that the future will remain so. Allowing inaccurate statements to remain on the record could grant them legitimacy they just do not deserve.

  11. Dr. Wu

    I have also seen the signs in places where I don’t think any permission was asked. I have seen very few No on C signs on residential property. To me this indicates a small group of people arre taking the easy way out and placing signs without permission. They should be taken down.

    the signs also state that it is a new tax, which is very debatable.

    I don’t think yes on C is a slam dunk. I think it will be close.

  12. 91 Octane

    vanguard: “The Vanguard is less concerned with winning or losing and more concerned with proper process, open government, and honestly. Dishonest arguments get attacked here. We cannot assume as you have that the no side will be handily.

    The ultimate and most extreme analogy is the lesson of Hitler. In no way should this argument be construed as a comparison of anyone to Hitler. However, there is an object lesson that Hitler gained popularity through telling the big lie. The problem is that no one really took him seriously enough until it was too late to refute his lies. The lesson there is not to assume that just because someone seems unlikely to be a threat at one moment that the future will remain so. Allowing inaccurate statements to remain on the record could grant them legitimacy they just do not deserve.”

    very well, then. let us put that theory to the test shall we?

    awhile back, Paul Krugman, the vanguard and others continued to make a charge against sara palin, that her use of political target maps was instrumental in the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords……

    then the facts came out: the shooter, largely targeted giffords before palin entered the scene. Neither Krugman, nor the vanguard, nor others, when faced with the facts right in front of them, RETRACTED CLAIMS THEY KNEW TO BE FALSE AFTER THE FACT… every responsible journalist admits when they do wrong…

    I’m still waiting for that retraction since we do not want to allow falsehoods to stick in light of the dangers the world faced in “telling a big lie”… it is simply put – the right thing to do….

    Retraction please.

  13. medwoman

    hpierce

    Thank you for the thoughtful response.
    I strongly support both measure C and the Parks Tax. I have a somewhat different perspective from what you seem to be expressing in a couple of ways. First, I feel strongly that each measure should be judged on its own merits and voted for, or against, accordingly. I think that trying to asses what may or may not happen to one based on the cost of the other is a purely speculative with assumptions as likely to be in error as accurate. I think that it is truly sad that perceived arrogance on the part of a single individual regardless of position would influence one’s decision about whether or not to continue support for programs that benefit so many children, their families and our community as a whole.
    I speak having had children in the Davis public schools, and having volunteered every year that they attended and can attest to the positive experiences that many students would not have access to without widespread community support. Since I no longer have any kids in the public school stystem, I no longer derive any direct benefit, but would be happy to share any knowledge I gained or experiences I had with the schools that have helped inform my ongoing support.

  14. Robin W

    Based on how close the last school tax vote was and the state of the economy in Northern Califormia, I suspect the Measure C vote is going to be very close and the measure may not pass. Everyone who favors the measure should make sure to vote in a timely fashion. Do not assume the measure will pass anyway.

  15. David M. Greenwald

    Rusty and Octane:

    I’m really hesititant to go this far off-topic, but… here is what I actually wrote regarding Sarah Palin and Arizona:

    “Sarah Palin used the rhetoric of the Target List, and she had the image of the crosshairs of a gun over various districts.

    Of course Sarah Palin issued condolences to the family, and of course she sincerely meant it. In a time like this, there are no Democrats and Republicans. Political divides mean nothing. But when the shock and horror of this wears off she needs to stop her rhetoric, change it.

    I am not saying she should abandon her ideas or cause, such as they are, but change the rhetoric. This is not a war, this is a political debate. “

    I’m not sure what I got wrong in my opinion that I need to retract. I didn’t write that she caused this to happen. I did write that she needs to stop her rhetoric, I still think that. Please explain what you in your estimation I should retract.

  16. wdf1

    hpierce: [i]DJUSD employees (teachers, classified employees, AND Administrators)…who apparently are not even willing to discuss any salary benefit concessions.[/i]

    At this point, I don’t think it’s clear that the DTA President speaks for a representative majority of the membership. Two different recent letters to the editor by former DTA president, Ingrid Salim ([url]http://www.davisenterprise.com/opinion/letters/dta-action-could-avoid-layoffs/[/url]) and teacher, Rick Blacker ([url]http://www.davisenterprise.com/opinion/letters/school-workforce-should-pull-together/[/url]) represent a sentiment of flexibility.

    Administrators already have taken a salary rollback, and all employees have taken on increased workload in various ways.

    But I don’t see any decision on the part of employees until sometime after March 15, when pink slips are issued.

  17. 91 Octane

    I’m not sure what I got wrong in my opinion that I need to retract. I didn’t write that she caused this to happen. I did write that she needs to stop her rhetoric, I still think that. Please explain what you in your estimation I should retract.

    in all fairness, the off topic example was all me, so if we are going off topic, its my fault not the vanguards….

    having said that, I argue there was a lot of insinuation in the original story that her rhetoric in part, caused the shooting of Giffords, in particular, the use of target maps…. and THIS IS WHY PALIN SHOULD TONE DOWN HER RHETORIC….. not merely that Palin should tone down rhetoric…

    unless the vanguard would like to go on record now, and clear up any misunderstanding by officially recognizing:

    1. The use of target list maps did not have a thing to do with the shooter…
    2. The shooter’s motivations had nothing to do with politics…
    3. if sara Palin indeed needs to tone down any rhetoric, it is entirely independent of anything related to the giffords shooting….

  18. 91 Octane

    vanguard: “What do we know today that we did not know yesterday at this time? That words and images have consequences. And we must be mindful, even in our passion, to ensure that those people of less stable mind do not somehow take solace in our anger and take our message to heart.”

    sounds like a backhanded connection of Palin to the Giffords shooting to me….

  19. 91 Octane

    the “words” and “images” which the vanguard was referring to was palins rhetoric and target map which the vanguard put on the story, and the “consequences” meaning the shooting of congresswoman giffords…..

    as it turned out, the shooter, was merely mentally ill…..

  20. David M. Greenwald

    You are lifting that final quote out of context, it is difficult to argue that that paragraph referred to Palin when in the entire article I only mentioned Palin in three paragraphs. The paragraph was actually immediately proceeded by a lengthy quote from Olbermann.

    The op-ed itself was delivering a message that we need to tone political rhetoric, perhaps not this time, but if we are not careful it could be the cause of the next tragedy.

    I really do not believe I have anything to retract.

  21. David M. Greenwald

    Also why does the Enterprise keep giving Jose Granda op-ed space? Here is yet another piece where he once again distorts the truth ([url]http://www.davisenterprise.com/opinion/opinion-columns/why-you-should-reject-measure-c-and-its-all-mailed-ballot-process/[/url])

  22. 91 Octane

    vanguard: “You are lifting that final quote out of context, it is difficult to argue that that paragraph referred to Palin when in the entire article I only mentioned Palin in three paragraphs.”

    mentioning Palin in three paragraphs within a story having a headline about the shooting….

    Also having two big pictures: the first “Gabrielle Giffords: Congress” memorial…… the second… “Sarah Pac…” followed by the target map…. nice way to connect with visual imagery… bravo..

    yes, it did mention it in three paragraphs…..in political terms we call that “drive by sniping.”

    then in the next two paragraphs you mention: “right wing extremists” attacking illegal immigrants, the potential for violence… followed by a mention of “talk radio” – Palin being a right wing extremist is she not?

    and then you mention olbermann…. But olberman said “we need to put the guns down. Just as importantly we need to put the gun metaphors away?”
    Gee, could there be just a slight chance he was referring to the ones Sara Palin used?

    but I understand. Krugman didn’t want to retract it either.

  23. Rifkin

    91: For the record, it is “Sarah Palin” not “Sara Palin.” I understand if you don’t want to retract that.

    DG: [i]”Also why does the Enterprise keep giving Jose Granda op-ed space? Here is yet another piece where he once again distorts the truth.”[/i]

    It is quite strange how the two guys opposing Measure C come at it from such a “Let’s hope the voters are stupid” position. Here, for example, Mr. Granda claims that vote by mail is “fraudulent,” yet he never backs that up in the least. It is unclear he knows what the word “fraud” even means: [quote] The process is fraudulent. Once the voting starts in a normal, fair election, all campaigning and voter registration must stop. You register to vote, both sides present their arguments, Election Day arrives and you vote. The votes are counted after the polls close.

    In the process of Measure C, the election started Feb. 6, and people are allowed to register until Feb. 21 while others have already started voting. Others are campaigning for a month, including the school board. [/quote] How is that fraud?

    It seems to me there are two reasons to possibly oppose Measure C:

    1. That you feel you cannot afford this tax; and/or
    2. That you feel that the District could continue to provide its current level of services without this money, if the District were willing to proportionately cut back on its compensation to all of its employees as it loses revenues.

    Subsets of reason No. 1 could be:

    A. That you feel that you and other people in Davis have lost as much or more of their income since the 2008 crash and thus you think it is only fair that District employees share this sacrifice in the same manner; and/or
    B. That because Measure C includes an inflator, you fret that this tax is too expensive and that will pinch you (or your neighbors) too hard.

    There are some other selfish reasons people might have to vote no–say you send your children to private schools; or you don’t have kids; or you don’t care about the fate of kids or about teachers or other staff who will lose their jobs–but none of those is really a compelling sales point to organize a No on C campaign.

    My guess is that the bizarre logic of Mr. Randall and Mr. Granda will in the end harm their cause. I suspect it is going to bring about a backlash of sorts–a sort of, “Do they think I am stupid?” response–and that will help the Yes on C side. My guess for the moment is that C will pass and the Yes rate will be closer to 70% than 67%. I will make my official percentage prediction, later. (Note that I nailed Measure A. I concede it was just luck; and that I have a lot of blackened fingernails from past attempts at hitting that nail. But I have to crow for the one time I got it right!)

  24. 91 Octane

    in short, no, the vanguard did not make the charge explicitly, it made it through innuendo… one can reasonably infer that is what the vanguard meant…. in short it should be retracted because the charge is false, the vanguard knows its false, and it is quite the serious charge. And if the vanguard cares about “truth” as it so eloquently describes in its paragraph about the dangers of adolf Hitler… it will do the right thing… but probably not…

    91: For the record, it is “Sarah Palin” not “Sara Palin.” I understand if you don’t want to retract that.

    umm, are you trying to be funny or something?

    back to the issue: I notice the vanguard doesn’t want Granda to have more op ed space, gee, Granda shouldn’t be allowed to speak his mind, the way so many Pro on C people already have? apparently the freedom of speech should not apply to him.

  25. wdf1

    91 O: I think David G.’s issue with Granda’s piece is that he is re-asserting things in a public venue that Judge McAdams determined to be false.

    For example:
    [quote]“Finally, the phrase ‘During Measure A, 16,033 ballots were opened and counted before the polls closed’ is similarly misleading. The evidence shows that no votes were counted and tallied prior to the close of the polls. The ballots had been entered into the computer and counted — but the votes had not been counted and tallied.

    “No one, not even election officials, knew the results of the election until after the official close of the polls. This phrase shall be stricken from the rebuttal argument,” McAdam ruled.

    source ([url]http://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/judge-strikes-portions-of-anti-measure-c-ballot-arguments/[/url])
    [/quote]
    versus Granda’s more recent piece ([url]http://www.davisenterprise.com/opinion/opinion-columns/why-you-should-reject-measure-c-and-its-all-mailed-ballot-process/[/url]):
    [quote]During the Measure A election in 2011, 16,033 (97.3 percent) ballots were opened, scanned and tallied before the polls closed.[/quote]
    If we get to the point where a court rules something to be false, as McAdams has here, then what we see is Granda propogating a lie.

    But in Granda’s favor, here, I think is the application of the George Costanza rule, “It’s not a lie if you believe it,” as excerpted here ([url]http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-february-23-2012/moment-of-zen—conservative-mitt-romney[/url]).

    And then there’s Granda’s interesting spin on the court proceedings:
    [quote]Last month, the public witnessed an unusual court case. Yolo County Clerk Freddie Oakley, acting as a defendant, and former County Clerk Tony Bernhard, acting as a plaintiff, colluded to suppress altogether the ballot arguments against the process of the all-mailed-ballot election of Measure C. They lost their case in this regard.
    [/quote]
    versus the the full story as reported in the Enterprise ([url]http://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/judge-strikes-portions-of-anti-measure-c-ballot-arguments/[/url]), beginning with the headline, “Judge strikes portions of anti-Measure C ballot arguments.”

    And this is before saying anything about Granda’s assertion that mail-in ballots are not secret ballots.

    I concede that Granda is entitled to say what he wants, but at some level it begins to be an insult to those who would rather read a debate the actual issue of the ballot, which Granda basically avoids.

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