Campaign Analysis: So Far Measure E Seems in Good Shape

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Measure-E-photoThe Davis School Board decided to take a rare risk when they put Measure E on the ballot.  It was largely untested.  Measure A, the measure that the new parcel tax in part renews, passed with the barest of margins just last year in 2011.  And Measure E not only renews the current parcel tax, but there is a good possibility that it will expand it, should the Governor’s Tax Measure, Proposition 30, not pass in November.

As we noted last week, Proposition 30 is passing with just 51 percent in the latest Field Poll.  A margin that has pundits and supporters concerned about whether it will pass.

The absence of readily available and reliable polling always makes local prognosticating difficult, but we can look for indicators of past success and trouble in assessing where Measure E stands, just five and a half weeks prior to the November election.

First of all, all the major elected officials who live in Davis, with a notable exception, have come out and backed Measure E.  That includes, not surprisingly, all five members of the Board of Education and also all five members of the Davis City Council.

Add to that the support of Senator Lois Wolk and Assemblymember Mariko Yamada, both Davis residents, and you have a pretty solid group of support.

The Vanguard has confirmed that both County Superivisor Don Saylor and County Supervisor Jim Provenza have endorsed Measure E.  Both are former Davis School Board members.  The campaign spokesperson confirmed they were inadvertantly left off the endorsement list, but have in fact endorsed.

For good Measure, John Garamendi, who represents Davis in Congress, has also supported the measure.  Also, with elected officials, the Davis Democratic Club and the Yolo County Democratic Central Committee have endorsed.

“We join the Yolo County Democratic Central Committee in urging all voters to support Measure E with a yes vote on the Nov. 6 general election ballot,” Davis Democratic club president Arun Sen said. “Our club has always understood that it is vital to the health of our community to maintain the excellence of Davis’s school system.”

Measure E has also gained the support of at least one critical segment of the business community, as the Davis Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the measure.

“We support Measure E to ensure that Davis classroom sizes are small and our campuses are safe,” a Chamber statement said. “Those funds also ensure that students have access to many different types of educational opportunities like foreign languages and career technical education that will prepare them for higher education and the skills to enter the workforce.”

Finally, the Davis Teachers Association, numerous PTA’s, and several of the school support groups like the Blues and White Foundation and Davis Schools Foundation have backed the measure.

The question is always – do endorsements matter?  And the answer is that probably few people base their voting on the existence of an endorsement.  However, there is some research to indicate that community support networks act as a signal, and that people really do look to politicians and other opinion leaders to see where they are heading.

More critically, it suggests that this is largely business as usual for the tax measure.  It has normal levels of support by the leadership in this community.  There is no sign that people are jumping ship or that politicians are shying away from support.  Given that this measure is no slam dunk, that is good news if you support the measure.

A second indicator is whether there is an organized opposition.  As far as we can tell, there is not.  Back in June, Jose Granda announced that he would run the “no-tax” campaign.

“The school board’s own mismanagement of the taxpayers’ money has led to a structural deficit caused by itself. The board employs four administrators who earn the equivalent of 15 teachers. This will never end as long as Davis residents naively keep approving parcel tax after parcel tax as if our pockets are bottomless and school taxes are the only bills we pay,” he wrote in a letter.

However, in August, Mr. Granda announced he would run for school board.  He has been relatively quiet overall on the issue of Measure E.

Moreover, no new opposition has emerged to the tax measure.

Some will rightly point out that given the two-thirds vote requirement, we do not need much opposition.  In fact, past polling suggests this will be very close.

The final question is whether there have been controversies and missteps.  More than anything else, Measure A was marred by some critical missteps that brought about negative publicity.  The biggest one was the senior letter that, to some, appeared to skirt if not cross the line between information and advocacy from an official government body that is not supposed to advocate in elections.

There was also the controversy when the candidate’s forum by the League of Women Voters failed to invite the opposition.

The result of that election was a bare majority.  However, a year later, Measure C cruised to an easy victory avoiding missteps and controversies.

One of the critical differences was that Measure C was a strict renewal whereas Measure A actually was a new tax.  This is potentially a new tax in addition to renewing Measure A.

Finally, the source that might represent the greatest threat is taking his yearly vacation and that is Davis Enterprise Columnist Bob Dunning.  However, Mr. Dunning tends to feed on missteps or perceive (sometimes manufactured) missteps.  Avoid those and this becomes a smoother ride.

Our analysis at this point, therefore, is that Measure E is doing about as well as expected.  We have every reason at this point to believe this is still going to take a sell in order to get over the two-thirds threshold.  That makes it more difficult to calculate. However, so far it appears there is not any new opposition to the measure.

—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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25 thoughts on “Campaign Analysis: So Far Measure E Seems in Good Shape”

  1. Ryan Kelly

    I am aware of many people who will be quietly voting no on E. However, these same people are supporting Prop 30 it seems. I think the trigger tax is what is killing it. The feeling that the larger amount will become the basement going forward and it will never be allowed to “expire” even if State funding is restored.

  2. rusty49

    “I am aware of many people who will be quietly voting no on E. However, these same people are supporting Prop 30 it seems. I think the trigger tax is what is killing it. The feeling that the larger amount will become the basement going forward and it will never be allowed to “expire” even if State funding is restored.”

    Once they get their hand in your pocket…….

    The $200 tax was supposed to just be a temporary fix too but here we are voting on a renewal and a possible hike.

  3. Frankly

    Measure E will not pass, and Prop 30 probably will not pass either. The anti-tax, anti-Prop 30 big money is just about ready to start poping out those ads. There is a national jobs report due a few days before the election.

    B of A announced that it will lay off 160,000 employees over the next year. Many of those jobs are in California.

    Comcast is closing their call centers in California and laying off all the employees.

    The state of the economy – despite all the attempts of the left-biased media to help Obama win the election – is still a mess. Those with government jobs and those receiving entitlements, have a false sense that things have improved. They have not improved. They have gotten worse. People are still hurting.

    I think the polling is suspect. 51% of what demographics?

  4. wdf1

    JB: [i]B of A announced that it will lay off 160,000 employees over the next year.[/i]

    That’s 16,000 ([url]http://www.forbes.com/sites/halahtouryalai/2012/09/20/why-bank-of-americas-16000-job-cuts-are-necessary/[/url]). I’m sure that wasn’t any schadenfreude exaggeration on your part.

  5. Frankly

    wdf1: that was a typo. Thanks for the correction. I don’t think BofA even has 160,000 employees.

    I’m a banker, so you would not expect my numbers to be perfect… ;0

  6. wdf1

    JB: [i]I don’t think BofA even has 160,000 employees.[/i]

    My link above says that B of A will have around 260,000 employees at year’s end.

    [i]I’m a banker, so you would not expect my numbers to be perfect….[/i]

    Given what we went through in 2008, you really shouldn’t admit that, even in jest.

  7. Frankly

    [i]Given what we went through in 2008, you really shouldn’t admit that, even in jest.[/i]

    Sarcasm wdf1. Don’t be so serious all the time. I do very well counting and double-checking when there are real dollars involved. Also, I hire the best and brightest to help me count the complex stuff.

    The problem with 2008 wasn’t one of bad math. It was one where the academic math brains “the Quants” that created all the computer programs that made the assessment of risk incomprehensible to investment managers. Guess what… that has not changed despite what Obama promised. We are still living among a house of cards.

    Yes, I read too that B of A will have 260,000 employees at years end. That was more than I would have guessed.

  8. SouthofDavis

    Don wrote:

    > Just a reminder that the topic of this
    > thread is Measure E…

    I think the point is that if you or your spouse have lost your job (or feel you might lose your job) it might make a difference if you vote to pay higher property tax over the next few years (even if you support the schools)…

  9. wdf1

    Southof: [i]I think the point is that if you or your spouse have lost your job (or feel you might lose your job) it might make a difference if you vote to pay higher property tax over the next few years (even if you support the schools)…[/i]

    And to that I say that the value of your home is supported by what our schools have and the fact that they are more stably funded through the school parcel taxes rather than state funds. We refinanced our home about a year and a half ago, and just barely cleared the appraised value for approval. Had our home been in most neighboring communities, housing values would have dropped too low to allow for it. On purely fiscal grounds, we are saving money beyond what we pay in school parcel taxes.

  10. Frankly

    wdf1: I think the idea that the quality of our schools contributes to our higher property values is a false one. Or if not false the value increase is de minimis.

    The value of our property is more a fact of artifical supply and demand from our NIMBY non-growth development attitudes and policies, combined with the state of the regional competition for nice places to live.

    Frankly, I see many young people with shool age children cannot afford to live here. So, how does that reconcile with your point?

  11. Don Shor

    Oh, I think given a choice within the overall housing market, a lot of people choose to buy in Davis because of the schools here. I think that’s true anywhere the schools are perceived to be better than the regional average. Certainly constriction of housing supply is a factor, too.

  12. SouthofDavis

    Jeff wrote:

    > I think the idea that the quality of our schools
    > contributes to our higher property values is a
    > false one. Or if not false the value increase is
    > de minimis.

    Quality schools as Jeff noted are not the only reason that Davis property values are higher than all the surrounding areas, but they are a big reason the values are higher (way more than “de minimus”).

    In Atherton on the San Francisco Peninsula a small part of the city goes to a crappy Redwood City elementary school and the values of homes in that part of town are hundreds of thousands of dollars less than similar homes just a block away. In Sausalito the grammar school is full of kids from the Marin city housing projects and is the reason the crappier homes with crappier views in Mill Valley will sell for hundreds of thousands more (I could go on and on with more examples)…

    My point was that I think that there are many more people this year that support the schools, know that it is a good idea to support the schools, but are worried they won’t have the cash and vote no (just like people that are worried about a bump on their abdomen know that they should go to the doctor, but they might not if they are worried about money)…

  13. Mr.Toad

    “The value of our property is more a fact of artifical supply and demand from our NIMBY non-growth development attitudes and policies, combined with the state of the regional competition for nice places to live. “

    Its hard to tease out the variables be they reduced supply, proximity to the university or the quality of the schools, but, certainly the schools are part of the equation. In fact you can do the calculations for the cost of 13 years of private school for any number of kids in your family and break even with the premium for the cost of a house in Davis as compared to Woodland or Dixon.

    You might find out how much, if anything, the value of your house will go down if E and 30 lose. Sadly the greater loss will be that borne by the children, who already are facing larger class sizes, and now possibly, a shortened school year.

  14. wdf1

    JB: [i]Frankly, I see many young people with shool age children cannot afford to live here. So, how does that reconcile with your point?[/i]

    You support the Bridge Foundation, don’t you? Where do you think those kids live?

  15. Frankly

    You are missing the original point. Your argument to support new parcel taxes to support schools to keep property values high has an adverse impact keeping housing costs higher and preventing many young families from being able to afford Davis.

    It also perpetuates that growing unfairness in funding between affluent and non-affluent communities. We are moving toward economic segregation. Not good.

  16. Mr.Toad

    “It also perpetuates that growing unfairness in funding between affluent and non-affluent communities. We are moving toward economic segregation. Not good.”

    If you don’t want this to happen vote yes on 30.

  17. Frankly

    [i]If you don’t want this to happen vote yes on 30.[/i]

    That does not solve the problem. It is a Bandaid that delays the creation of real solutions. It is a gift to the teachers union and not the kids.

  18. wdf1

    JB: [i]That does not solve the problem. It is a Bandaid that delays the creation of real solutions. It is a gift to the teachers union and not the kids.[/i]

    You’ve created excuses to oppose any stable ongoing funding. It has to be reforms that are unproven or nothing. You’ve also conveniently found a way to oppose that funding now that your kids are safely out of school. I hope for the kids currently in school to have the same opportunities to music or better that your son had, who now wants to pursue music for a career. Killing E will cut those opportunities.

    The real solution is to offer variety of programs in the schools. You don’t keep variety when money is cut well below the national average.

    [i]Your argument to support new parcel taxes to support schools to keep property values high has an adverse impact keeping housing costs higher and preventing many young families from being able to afford Davis.[/i]

    There are young families who can afford Davis. If it is your priority to buy a house off the bat, probably not. We were one of them, living in an apartment, stringing together a couple of part-time jobs to make ends meet in the beginning. We eventually bought a house.

    I prefer that state funding were available, but if it’s not going to happen, it’s stupid to sit around and whine about what we don’t have in our schools.

    JB: [i]I think the idea that the quality of our schools contributes to our higher property values is a false one. Or if not false the value increase is de minimis.[/i]

    I’ve had too many conversations with too many local real estate agents, including one as a family friend (and conservative, to boot), and with new families in Davis to believe you.

  19. Frankly

    [i]I’ve had too many conversations with too many local real estate agents, including one as a family friend (and conservative, to boot), and with new families in Davis to believe you.[/i]

    Here is how that works wdf1… Your realtor friend, and all other real estae agents, sell every value-add they can think of. They talk up Davis schools. For the parents that can afford to buy here (the ones your real estate agent friend would sell to), they are smart enough to do their own research. And when they do that research they will learn that Davis schools are no better than say Folsom schools where an equivalent home costs 30% less.

    The other value adds – UCD, the bike paths, the green belts and parks, the farmers market, look and feel, the down town, etc., etc., etc. – are what attracts most home buyers to Davis. It is these things and the low supply of housing that keeps property values high.

    Now, if Davis schools sucked I would agree that it would have a deductive affect on home values. However, Measure E going down will not impact home values because it would not cause the schools to suck and people would still consider the schools adequate and want to live here for all those other reasons.

  20. Mr.Toad

    “Measure E going down will not impact home values because it would not cause the schools to suck and people would still consider the schools adequate and want to live here for all those other reasons.”

    Measure E failing will make the schools suck. There are already 50% more kids per class in K-3 than 2 years ago. If both Prop 30 and E fail schools will likely close weeks earlier than normal.

    Grover Norquist wants to shrink government down to where he can drown it in a bathtub. Anti-tax Californians might succeed in doing just that. But I caution you to beware of what you ask for.

  21. wdf1

    JB: [i]Here is how that works wdf1… Your realtor friend, and all other real estae agents, sell every value-add they can think of. They talk up Davis schools.[/i]

    [i] I think the idea that the quality of our schools contributes to our higher property values is a false one.[/i]

    If you go to any real estate site online, you typically find links to local schools, which in turn link to some standardized test scores (or numbers based on them) that are supposed to reflect how good the schools are.

    Try [url]http://www.zillow.com[/url]. Pull down menu on local info has school info, but nothing on bike paths, green belts, farmers market, or look and feel. So, you argue that families w/ school age kids are not going to pay much attention to all that school info that’s offered? The setup here informs me that school quality probably plays a first level role. After that, clients will move on and research and visit and learn all the other cool stuff.

    The difference between Davis and Folsom is that the Folsom school district is one step closer to insolvency ([url]http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/fi/ir/second1112.asp[/url]) than Davis. A “qualified” budget rating means that the school district has not demonstrated how they will balance their budget 2 or 3 years out. It is frequently the first step to receiving a negative rating, which means that the school district can’t pay its bills and must go into state receivership. State receivership means that the state loans the money, takes over the school district, and calls the shots until the money is repaid.

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