News

Supporters of Measure G greatly outspending opponents

Opponents of measure emphasize campaign funds came from sources with vested interests

Supporters of Measure G have raised far more than opponents of the $198 million school bond set to go to a vote in the June 5 election by about 60 to one.

Mountain View for Safe and Efficient Schools -- a group backing the Mountain View Whisman School District measure -- raised $61,250 between March 18 and May 19, according to papers recently filed with the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters. The biggest contribution came from Piper Jaffray, a Minneapolis-based investment bank that contributed $25,000.

The same documents indicate the campaign spent a little more than half of the money raised -- $32,412.27 -- over the same time period.

While the pro-Measure G campaign's fund-raising success could be seen as an indication of the bond's future success at the polls, the man leading the opposition to Measure G said it is only evidence of a corrupt political process.

TBWB Strategies was paid a total of $26,402 for the help it provided the campaign, according to Fiona Walter, a district board member and chair of the pro-Measure G campaign. The San Francisco-based political strategy and communications firm was paid a flat $20,000; the remaining $6,402 went for reimbursements for various campaign expenses -- such as the creation of special "Yes on G" envelopes, fliers and buttons.

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Walter was also paid $6,010.27 from the campaign fund -- reimbursement for money she spent printing "Yes on G" T-shirts, a mailbox for campaign purposes, as well as for lawn signs and other miscellaneous items.

Over a longer period of time -- beginning Jan. 1 -- the group opposing the measure raised a little more than $1,000, according to Steve Nelson, chair of No on June Bond Measure G. The majority of the money was donated by Nelson, with a smaller amount coming from Alan J. Keith, co-chair of the No on June Bond Measure G, according to campaign filings with the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters's office.

The campaign spent the majority of the money on advertisements with the Mountain View Voice, the filings show.

Craig Goldman, superintendent of the district, said he views the gap in funds raised as evidence of a similar gap in support.

'Bad public policy'

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Nelson argued that the large sum raised by the pro-Measure G campaign is not necessarily indicative of massive community support for the bond measure. Rather, he said, the spending offers a window into a broken system -- one which allows contractors to put up money in support of bond measures from which they stand to gain.

"These kinds of campaigns are generally funded by the companies outside the community that are going to directly benefit from the bond money that is going to be spent," Nelson said, referring to a number of construction firms and financial organizations that have either been guaranteed a piece of the Measure G pie, or will have a shot at getting a slice, if the bond passes next week.

Piper Jaffray will work with the district to issue the bonds should the measure win. The agreement between MVWSD and Piper Jaffray was reached before the campaign began.

"It's perfectly legal what they're doing." Nelson noted. "I think it's just bad public policy."

He said Piper Jaffray's campaign contribution represents a conflict of interest. If two of the other contributors -- civil engineering firm Brio Engineering Associates and contract architects Artik -- get contracts with the district for Measure G projects, it would amount to a "pay to play" scenario. Records show the two San Jose companies gave $2,500 and $7,500 respectively to the pro-Measure G campaign.

"There is absolutely no quid pro quo," Goldman said, countering Nelson. "I don't know who has contributed to the campaign or how much they've contributed, and, furthermore, as a district, we do not make our contractual decisions based upon who makes a financial contribution."

"I think what they (contractors) are looking for -- not surprisingly -- is an opportunity to bid on these contracts," Goldman said.

An opportunity is not a guarantee, he said. "You don't have the opportunity to bid on a contract if the contract doesn't exist."

School bonds are good for the entire community, Goldman reasoned. They stimulate the economy by creating work for a variety of contractors. And just as parents shouldn't be precluded from contributing to a campaign that would benefit their children or improve their property value (as better schools are known to do), contractors shouldn't be stopped from donating to causes that might ultimately result in more business.

"The bottom line, just like in all campaigns, is that there is a clear prohibition against any kind of quid pro quo," Goldman said.

Nelson noted that almost all of the major contributors to Mountain View for Safe and Efficient Schools are contractors or financial firms that stand to benefit from the passage of the bond.

25-year bond

The proposed bond, which will appear on the June 5 ballot, would be supported by district homeowners who would pay up to $30 per $100,000 of assessed property value annually for 25 years. It requires a yes vote of 55 percent to pass. It would come on top of Measure C, the eight-year, $3 million voter-approved parcel tax that went into effect in 2009. Depending on parcel size, property owners are assessed anywhere from nearly $150 to over $1,000 a year under Measure C.

Proponents of Measure G say the Mountain View Whisman School District needs the money to pay for an array of projects at all nine of its campuses -- including major structural repairs, safety and accessibility improvements, technological upgrades, and the construction of new, energy efficient classrooms, along with the removal of permanent and portable structures past their prime.

Nelson said the district should have sought more community input and that it overlooked simpler, more cost-effective solutions.

Nelson has been challenging Measure G back when it was merely an idea being bounced about in MVWSD board meetings. He has pushed the district to do a better job of including the public in the planning process, called the plan disorganized and spent his own money taking the district court in an effort to get the pro-G description found in the county voter's guide reworded (he called the original MVWSD wording "misleading"). A judge denied his claims.

Nelson said it's not that he doesn't like the idea of improving local schools, he just feels this current plan is the wrong plan.

Goldman said Nelson's critique of Measure G's campaign finances is simply the latest in a slew of ill-fated attempts to stop a bond that has broad community support. Nelson has tried, and failed, numerous times before to derail the project, Goldman said.

"It's unfortunate that he (Nelson) is trying to cast very ethical service providers (Piper Jaffry, et al.) in a negative light. He has misrepresented the district's position on a number of occasions and it doesn't surprise me that he is continuing to do so in the final days prior to the election."

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Supporters of Measure G greatly outspending opponents

Opponents of measure emphasize campaign funds came from sources with vested interests

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Tue, May 29, 2012, 1:55 pm
Updated: Thu, May 31, 2012, 12:07 pm

Supporters of Measure G have raised far more than opponents of the $198 million school bond set to go to a vote in the June 5 election by about 60 to one.

Mountain View for Safe and Efficient Schools -- a group backing the Mountain View Whisman School District measure -- raised $61,250 between March 18 and May 19, according to papers recently filed with the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters. The biggest contribution came from Piper Jaffray, a Minneapolis-based investment bank that contributed $25,000.

The same documents indicate the campaign spent a little more than half of the money raised -- $32,412.27 -- over the same time period.

While the pro-Measure G campaign's fund-raising success could be seen as an indication of the bond's future success at the polls, the man leading the opposition to Measure G said it is only evidence of a corrupt political process.

TBWB Strategies was paid a total of $26,402 for the help it provided the campaign, according to Fiona Walter, a district board member and chair of the pro-Measure G campaign. The San Francisco-based political strategy and communications firm was paid a flat $20,000; the remaining $6,402 went for reimbursements for various campaign expenses -- such as the creation of special "Yes on G" envelopes, fliers and buttons.

Walter was also paid $6,010.27 from the campaign fund -- reimbursement for money she spent printing "Yes on G" T-shirts, a mailbox for campaign purposes, as well as for lawn signs and other miscellaneous items.

Over a longer period of time -- beginning Jan. 1 -- the group opposing the measure raised a little more than $1,000, according to Steve Nelson, chair of No on June Bond Measure G. The majority of the money was donated by Nelson, with a smaller amount coming from Alan J. Keith, co-chair of the No on June Bond Measure G, according to campaign filings with the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters's office.

The campaign spent the majority of the money on advertisements with the Mountain View Voice, the filings show.

Craig Goldman, superintendent of the district, said he views the gap in funds raised as evidence of a similar gap in support.

'Bad public policy'

Nelson argued that the large sum raised by the pro-Measure G campaign is not necessarily indicative of massive community support for the bond measure. Rather, he said, the spending offers a window into a broken system -- one which allows contractors to put up money in support of bond measures from which they stand to gain.

"These kinds of campaigns are generally funded by the companies outside the community that are going to directly benefit from the bond money that is going to be spent," Nelson said, referring to a number of construction firms and financial organizations that have either been guaranteed a piece of the Measure G pie, or will have a shot at getting a slice, if the bond passes next week.

Piper Jaffray will work with the district to issue the bonds should the measure win. The agreement between MVWSD and Piper Jaffray was reached before the campaign began.

"It's perfectly legal what they're doing." Nelson noted. "I think it's just bad public policy."

He said Piper Jaffray's campaign contribution represents a conflict of interest. If two of the other contributors -- civil engineering firm Brio Engineering Associates and contract architects Artik -- get contracts with the district for Measure G projects, it would amount to a "pay to play" scenario. Records show the two San Jose companies gave $2,500 and $7,500 respectively to the pro-Measure G campaign.

"There is absolutely no quid pro quo," Goldman said, countering Nelson. "I don't know who has contributed to the campaign or how much they've contributed, and, furthermore, as a district, we do not make our contractual decisions based upon who makes a financial contribution."

"I think what they (contractors) are looking for -- not surprisingly -- is an opportunity to bid on these contracts," Goldman said.

An opportunity is not a guarantee, he said. "You don't have the opportunity to bid on a contract if the contract doesn't exist."

School bonds are good for the entire community, Goldman reasoned. They stimulate the economy by creating work for a variety of contractors. And just as parents shouldn't be precluded from contributing to a campaign that would benefit their children or improve their property value (as better schools are known to do), contractors shouldn't be stopped from donating to causes that might ultimately result in more business.

"The bottom line, just like in all campaigns, is that there is a clear prohibition against any kind of quid pro quo," Goldman said.

Nelson noted that almost all of the major contributors to Mountain View for Safe and Efficient Schools are contractors or financial firms that stand to benefit from the passage of the bond.

25-year bond

The proposed bond, which will appear on the June 5 ballot, would be supported by district homeowners who would pay up to $30 per $100,000 of assessed property value annually for 25 years. It requires a yes vote of 55 percent to pass. It would come on top of Measure C, the eight-year, $3 million voter-approved parcel tax that went into effect in 2009. Depending on parcel size, property owners are assessed anywhere from nearly $150 to over $1,000 a year under Measure C.

Proponents of Measure G say the Mountain View Whisman School District needs the money to pay for an array of projects at all nine of its campuses -- including major structural repairs, safety and accessibility improvements, technological upgrades, and the construction of new, energy efficient classrooms, along with the removal of permanent and portable structures past their prime.

Nelson said the district should have sought more community input and that it overlooked simpler, more cost-effective solutions.

Nelson has been challenging Measure G back when it was merely an idea being bounced about in MVWSD board meetings. He has pushed the district to do a better job of including the public in the planning process, called the plan disorganized and spent his own money taking the district court in an effort to get the pro-G description found in the county voter's guide reworded (he called the original MVWSD wording "misleading"). A judge denied his claims.

Nelson said it's not that he doesn't like the idea of improving local schools, he just feels this current plan is the wrong plan.

Goldman said Nelson's critique of Measure G's campaign finances is simply the latest in a slew of ill-fated attempts to stop a bond that has broad community support. Nelson has tried, and failed, numerous times before to derail the project, Goldman said.

"It's unfortunate that he (Nelson) is trying to cast very ethical service providers (Piper Jaffry, et al.) in a negative light. He has misrepresented the district's position on a number of occasions and it doesn't surprise me that he is continuing to do so in the final days prior to the election."

Comments

Observer
Old Mountain View
on May 29, 2012 at 2:07 pm
Observer, Old Mountain View
on May 29, 2012 at 2:07 pm
4 people like this

What else would you expect from people advocating spending more money? They are experts at spending. As long as it's not their money.


Sunshine
Monta Loma
on May 29, 2012 at 2:21 pm
Sunshine, Monta Loma
on May 29, 2012 at 2:21 pm
3 people like this

Who donated the $60K plus?

Maybe the bond underwriters? It's a new form of kickbacks.


vfree
Waverly Park
on May 29, 2012 at 2:31 pm
vfree, Waverly Park
on May 29, 2012 at 2:31 pm
3 people like this

God only knows why voters keep giving more money to schools.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Stupidity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

I will never understand the stupidity of the insane voters on Mountain View. I know it will hurt, but think before you vote.


School Supporter
Cuesta Park
on May 29, 2012 at 3:26 pm
School Supporter, Cuesta Park
on May 29, 2012 at 3:26 pm
3 people like this

Hopefully, this is a sign of support for the measure. Sure seems to suggest a lack of support for the opposition.


Voter
Cuesta Park
on May 29, 2012 at 3:36 pm
Voter, Cuesta Park
on May 29, 2012 at 3:36 pm
3 people like this

I've already voted YES! :)


Education is key
Jackson Park
on May 29, 2012 at 3:56 pm
Education is key, Jackson Park
on May 29, 2012 at 3:56 pm
3 people like this

Education is vital for the well-being of our community, so I'm voting yes on this measure even though we don't (and won't) ever have kids of our own attending this school district.


q
Old Mountain View
on May 29, 2012 at 4:03 pm
q, Old Mountain View
on May 29, 2012 at 4:03 pm
4 people like this

"God only knows why voters keep giving more money to schools."

Maybe because the state keeps cutting their budgets.


Jerry
Shoreline West
on May 29, 2012 at 4:14 pm
Jerry, Shoreline West
on May 29, 2012 at 4:14 pm
3 people like this

I don't support the idea of this measure. It would be logical to assume I wouldn't then spend my money to express that desire. I will simply vote against and save my money all around.

No, I don't have (or plan to have) any kids so I'm not taking a freebie here.


Otto Maddox
Monta Loma
on May 29, 2012 at 4:18 pm
Otto Maddox, Monta Loma
on May 29, 2012 at 4:18 pm
3 people like this

I will be voting NO on Measure G.

The entire idea of public schools is a joke. Some people seem to think we are born with a RIGHT to a publicly funded education.

Mind you that right means we get the bare minimum as mandated by the state.

The best schools are PRIVATE. That is why I shouldn't be forced to pay taxes for a school I'll never send my children to.

We all should be able to choose where wespend our money to educate our children.

Why are people so opposed to freedom and choice?


Steven Nelson
Cuesta Park
on May 29, 2012 at 4:43 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
on May 29, 2012 at 4:43 pm
3 people like this

The Yes funds were donated by companies outside of Mountain View (98%) all of which are bond finance or school construction related. Less than $600 was raised from individuals. I think in this instance, Nick's article is a joke. Unlike the SF Chronicle, he failed to realize this information (Form 460) indicates those most interested in the Bond are those that profit from any Bond - no mater how many $ millions may be wasted.
41% were donated ($25,000) by one East coast based financial firm. "Pay to play" is the termed used in bond finance circles.
MV Voice coverage, gets an F. (Nick's previous coverage on this issue was actually getting much better)


Zoe
Cuernavaca
on May 29, 2012 at 4:55 pm
Zoe, Cuernavaca
on May 29, 2012 at 4:55 pm
4 people like this

Nice to know everyone's votes are being bought by corporate America.

I've found you can't count on the Voice for anything but extreme liberal bias. And I'm a liberal.


John
Monta Loma
on May 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm
John, Monta Loma
on May 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm
3 people like this

Taxpayers getting sheared and we vote for it!


Steven Nelson
Cuesta Park
on May 29, 2012 at 5:32 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
on May 29, 2012 at 5:32 pm
3 people like this

Let me give Nick a break: few staff, long weekend, my press release to Voice (on Form 460) was late Friday. Let's see what the follow-up story is.

NO on G supporters. You were not asked to post lawn signs, or join phone banks, or get on a list of endorsements (or send money). PLEASE READ THE DETAILS of the "wish list" budget of $423 million and understand why this is such a poor way of doing publicly financed projects. When I asked a gentleman well versed in public projects to study some details, he agreed that it was in many ways similar to the HSR bond proposal. Excess goals, a fraction of the money, no priorities.
We can do much better and come back in November.


Public school supporter
Waverly Park
on May 29, 2012 at 6:11 pm
Public school supporter, Waverly Park
on May 29, 2012 at 6:11 pm
3 people like this

Already voted YES!

Good for Otto that he can afford about $20K per year for a private middle school (or a bit less if you want your kids to go to a Catholic school). I don't fall into that catagory. Even so, my children DESERVE just as good an education. And, they are getting it in the MVWSD.

I thank the Yes on G volunteers! You got my vote!


Karen
Waverly Park
on May 29, 2012 at 6:30 pm
Karen, Waverly Park
on May 29, 2012 at 6:30 pm
3 people like this

Maybe you all should go check there was already a bond passed years ago that did all the repairs! What was done with the extra $ from that bond? You parent with school age children need to to do your homework that school are taking us all to the cleaners! I will vote NO and will encourage everyone I know to do the same!


Ellen
Gemello
on May 29, 2012 at 6:45 pm
Ellen, Gemello
on May 29, 2012 at 6:45 pm
3 people like this

Voting No does not mean you don't support public education. What does paying for unneeded construction have to do with supporting education?


Jill
Cuesta Park
on May 29, 2012 at 7:53 pm
Jill, Cuesta Park
on May 29, 2012 at 7:53 pm
3 people like this

I agree with Ellen - just because I oppose measure G does not mean I do not support education. What I do NOT support is this district's judgement in spending our tax dollars. I am for spending money on things that directly affect our children's education such as curriculum or instruction. Elementary schools do not require science labs to improve science instruction. And our students certainly do not need a new district office to improve their education! (Read the measure wording.)

Again, read this link to an article from the Voice about the last reconstruction project our taxes paid for to improve MVWSD schools back at the end of year 2000:

Web Link

The last sentence of the article says:

"The measure allows the school district to "look at the facilities and get them modernized for the next 20 to 30 years," Spaay said."

Just 12 years later they are asking for more funding.

My point is there is nothing to ensure that MVWSD won't come back and ask for more property taxes when they run out of funds this round again due to poor planning. I felt the literature I received in the mail about Measure G was extremely misleading by stating the year in which the schools were built and implying no renovations had been done since the 1940s-1950s. It also does not mention a new district office for administration!

For all the above reasons I will vote NO on Measure G.

I agree with Steve, they need to sort out what is really necessary (priorities), be upfront about it and try again in November.


Nick
Cuesta Park
on May 30, 2012 at 8:52 am
Nick, Cuesta Park
on May 30, 2012 at 8:52 am
3 people like this

Thank you to Steve Nelson for trying to bring some honesty to government (and journalism) -- interesting (but not surprising) that a vast majority of the financial backers for Measure G are just in it for the money.

VOTE NO ON MEASURE G. It's misleading and not well planned.


John
Monta Loma
on May 30, 2012 at 8:56 am
John, Monta Loma
on May 30, 2012 at 8:56 am
3 people like this

The spending beast needs to be fed.

This is all about getting voters to vote against their own self interest.

Bonds/taxes and no accountability.


Ed
Blossom Valley
on May 30, 2012 at 9:09 am
Ed, Blossom Valley
on May 30, 2012 at 9:09 am
3 people like this

This is all about what looks good and public perception. That's was the management style of the past superintendent Maurice Ghysels, now carried on by his appointed cronies. And the Voice goes along with it.

It looks good that so much money has been contributed to the Yes on G campaign. Then we find out that 99% of it came from a bond financing company.

It looks good to have school all dressed up on the outside with new facades and interior paint. On the inside improvement in teaching is still struggling. The money should go to supporting teachers teach.

It looks good that the district hires so-called talent. Upper administration is all appointed going back several iterations as pointed out in other threads.

It looks good to have teaching strategies such as EDI others pushed down from the district. In reality they are just designed to boost the low end scores to make the district admin look good. The average and upper end students are left with little to excel beyond the tests they have already mastered.

In the end, little change is taking place. The schools are just being dressed up. Admin keeps asking for more and delivering the same.


Hardin
Cuesta Park
on May 30, 2012 at 10:44 am
Hardin, Cuesta Park
on May 30, 2012 at 10:44 am
3 people like this

"I don't support the idea of this measure. It would be logical to assume I wouldn't then spend my money to express that desire. I will simply vote against and save my money all around."

------------------

Sounds reasonable.

I believe the corollary to this is that the vast majority of comments made on newspaper articles are negative in nature, with the premise that its predominantly the disgruntled and unhappy that tend to be the ones motivated enough to voice their opinion.

So other than showcasing people's frustrations, the comments section of a newspaper is a poor gauge of popular opinion, and an even poorer venue for discussing anything productively.


Sean
Blossom Valley
on May 30, 2012 at 11:58 am
Sean, Blossom Valley
on May 30, 2012 at 11:58 am
3 people like this

Hardin:

Are you just figuring that out now?


Sean
Blossom Valley
on May 30, 2012 at 11:59 am
Sean, Blossom Valley
on May 30, 2012 at 11:59 am
3 people like this

And never mind how newspaper endorsements are inherently biased.


Hardin
Cuesta Park
on May 30, 2012 at 1:37 pm
Hardin, Cuesta Park
on May 30, 2012 at 1:37 pm
3 people like this

"Hardin:

Are you just figuring that out now?"

"And never mind how newspaper endorsements are inherently biased."

----------------

Thanks for proving my point.


yes
Castro City
on May 30, 2012 at 2:17 pm
yes, Castro City
on May 30, 2012 at 2:17 pm
3 people like this

Voting No means you hate to put money where it is needed in our kids. This will raise property values. This kind of measure allows us to keep Mountain View money in Mountain View. Seriously, these building need repair. They are not built well or are in poor condition.


S.L.
Martens-Carmelita
on May 31, 2012 at 2:40 pm
S.L., Martens-Carmelita
on May 31, 2012 at 2:40 pm
3 people like this

Our household is voting NO.


No
Monta Loma
on May 31, 2012 at 2:40 pm
No, Monta Loma
on May 31, 2012 at 2:40 pm
3 people like this

" The biggest contribution came from Piper Jaffray, a Minneapolis-based investment bank that contributed $25,000."

"Piper Jaffray will work with the district to issue the bonds should the measure win."

Why is this bond being done by an out of state company? Why would they spend so much to see it passed? Obviously there is some under handed deals going on here. Thank you Mr. Nelson for your hard work on this.


NO voter
Cuesta Park
on May 31, 2012 at 3:10 pm
NO voter, Cuesta Park
on May 31, 2012 at 3:10 pm
3 people like this

I'm voting no also. Part of this includes adding 2 story buildings on the elementry school grounds. Not long ago there was another measure for school funds that passed around 2008(?). The want more now. What about all the money that was approved to go to schools from shoreline? We should be good for awhile.


Parent
Willowgate
on May 31, 2012 at 4:58 pm
Parent, Willowgate
on May 31, 2012 at 4:58 pm
3 people like this

I'm going to vote yes because I would like to see the school facilities improved.


Steven Nelson
Cuesta Park
on May 31, 2012 at 5:08 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
on May 31, 2012 at 5:08 pm
3 people like this

This latest version of the story - is more complete than Nick's first issue. The original 1999 and 2000 bond $ have been spent. The Whisman District had 20 citizens work on a 6 goal Plan. The money was reasonably spent - no major architect-inspired wholesale demolitions. The 98% out-of-town company donations for Yes on G is unfortunately typical for this type of project. Why did Trustee Walter tap into $500 of Graham PTA money (she has been on it's board). Surely - she could come up with her own $500 (to add to the architect's $7500).
In my opinion, this is yet another example of the lack of a great school Board. They cannot get, and do not try, to get an engaged public. [engaged contractors, financiers and unions, yes]. We will see how the % of voters has changed versus the original > 60% yes tendency in December. The larger the NO vote, the more likely Trustees will have to go back and do a plan rather than a "wish list" (words of the hair of Yes on G).


Rodger
Sylvan Park
on May 31, 2012 at 5:55 pm
Rodger, Sylvan Park
on May 31, 2012 at 5:55 pm
3 people like this

I don't have kids but I want the kids in this town to be well educated, most people cannot afford private schools so we need to improve our schools where possible. I went to public schools when I was a kid, without them I would have lived in poverty.

So vote yes on G.


Parent
Old Mountain View
on May 31, 2012 at 6:10 pm
Parent, Old Mountain View
on May 31, 2012 at 6:10 pm
3 people like this

Wow. The truth comes out in the 11th hour. So much for local press having any sort of investigative journalism abilities. When I read that Piper Jaffray and contractors are the leading contributors to the campaign I just feel sick. The public is always getting screwed.

Thanks Mr. Nelson for shedding some sunshine on all this.


Observer
Old Mountain View
on May 31, 2012 at 6:19 pm
Observer, Old Mountain View
on May 31, 2012 at 6:19 pm
3 people like this

Yet even more deception from the school district!


mom
Monta Loma
on May 31, 2012 at 10:23 pm
mom, Monta Loma
on May 31, 2012 at 10:23 pm
3 people like this

We remodeled and renovated 10 years ago. No need to do it again, and if heaters and plumbing is substandard after the major renovations then maybe we need to read the warranty that came with the construction.

my vote is no


John
Monta Loma
on Jun 1, 2012 at 9:35 am
John, Monta Loma
on Jun 1, 2012 at 9:35 am
4 people like this

of course its financed by the bond underwriters!

This is the direction of taxtakers. Take all you can, they will vote themselves tax after tax after tax.....


Yes on G
Cuesta Park
on Jun 1, 2012 at 10:35 am
Yes on G, Cuesta Park
on Jun 1, 2012 at 10:35 am
3 people like this

Tired of all the "free-riders" who want to attack the school district as justification for their unwillingness to support our local kids.

No matter what they say, this is a highly responsible district that has a long history of using its limited resources wisely. Salaries for teachers and administrators are much lower than neighboring districts, and the district has found a way to get through a terrible economic crisis without cutting programs to students or shortening the school year. Instead, we've seen nothing but rising test scores, which are the reflection of the hard work of teachers and administration, not the manipulation that some comments try to manufacture.

The public pension issue doesn't apply to schools. While employees are working, the district and employees pay into the system at virtually the same rate as social security (they don't receive social security), and, unlike cities and their obligations to fire fighters and police officers, the school district doesn't have to pay anything once teachers and administrators retire.

We are lucky to have this school district, its teachers, and staff, and I trust them to do what's right for our students and our local taxpayers. They haven't been wasteful to date, and I don't expect them to start now. The district has done right by our kids. The bond measure and our kids deserve our support.

I'm voting Yes on G.


Observer
Old Mountain View
on Jun 1, 2012 at 11:53 am
Observer, Old Mountain View
on Jun 1, 2012 at 11:53 am
3 people like this

"The school district doesn't have to pay anything once teachers and administrators retire."

So who does then pay when the retire? The taxpayers?

Incredibly naive. Taxpayers are paying for everything in this shell game.


Steven Nelson
Cuesta Park
on Jun 1, 2012 at 12:31 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
on Jun 1, 2012 at 12:31 pm
3 people like this

@ "Yes on G" is right about many of the financing details. But "trust" is where I differ (once it's hundreds of $ millions). The last parcel tax was for continued class-size reduction (one of several goals) but the Superintendent dismissed this as not-a-district-goal. For the two Program Improvement elementary schools - this is a MAJOR problem for the K-3 teachers!
[note as a recent Bubb parent, I know this is not as major for Bubb, Huff and Stevenson]
A former bond oversight committee member, with construction experience, was exactly right when he asked me to include 'Have them tell you exactly what they are going to spend the money on, before you give it to them', in the ballot argument!
Woodside and Protola Valley Elementary districts are now suffereing from an 'excess of trust' by their Boards for school administrators. Superintendent Craig Goldman is fine - but IMO he needs a tight leash (not a $9,194,000 new office).


Steven Nelson
Cuesta Park
on Jun 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
on Jun 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm
3 people like this

sorry to return- but for those who like to mix their trust with verify. Do a Google search on mvwsd demolition, pick the Google map, and you will get to a 'policy wonk' detailed map of the PERMANENT classrooms, and attached restrooms, that are on the Facilities Plan demolition list.
More than 48 classrooms - enough for an ENTIRE SCHOOL! These are all average buildings! None of these are old modulars! {that's a separate 62]. QED


@ Observer
Cuesta Park
on Jun 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm
@ Observer, Cuesta Park
on Jun 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm
3 people like this

Measure G clearly states that funds cannot be used for administrator or teacher salaries, benefits or pensions.

Like social security, public school pensions are paid out of a fund that employees and employers pay into as part of their regular compensation. Unlike many city governments and notwithstanding false allegations, there are no sweet deals being made for retirees (including administrators) in Mountain View Whisman. Like social security, the system may be broken, but don't blame the school district or penalize our kids just because the school district follows the law.

Not all public employers are alike. You're the one who seems naive for buying into false rhetoric.


@ Steven Nelson
Cuesta Park
on Jun 1, 2012 at 12:57 pm
@ Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
on Jun 1, 2012 at 12:57 pm
3 people like this

Aren't you the one who keeps saying the district can afford fewer than half of the projects in their plan? So why do you keep saying the district is going to demolish 48 classrooms? Do you really think they're going to do that, or are you just trying to get people upset? Seems like you're trying to manipulate the facts.

By the way, I suggest you spend a day in some of the old portable classrooms at Graham or Castro. You may think they don't need replacement, but hundreds of children and teachers think otherwise.


Hardin
Cuesta Park
on Jun 1, 2012 at 1:59 pm
Hardin, Cuesta Park
on Jun 1, 2012 at 1:59 pm
3 people like this

"sorry to return- but for those who like to mix their trust with verify. Do a Google search on mvwsd demolition, pick the Google map, and you will get to a 'policy wonk' detailed map of the PERMANENT classrooms, and attached restrooms, that are on the Facilities Plan demolition list.

More than 48 classrooms - enough for an ENTIRE SCHOOL! These are all average buildings! None of these are old modulars! {that's a separate 62]. QED"

-------------

Looking at the map you generated in Google Maps, its unclear as to the reasons why selected demolition is happening at the numerous sites, which when added together, total 48 classrooms.

Let's be clear, 48 classrooms aren't being demolished from one site. Also, it appears bathrooms are also on the demo list which would suggest these sites are being reconfigured to accommodate changing conditions at each site, which could be due to age, cost of abatement vs. new construction, code requirements, etc.

The point is, based solely on the information you've provided, there isn't enough to make a judgement call whether what the district has planned is a good idea or not.

Having managed several corporate campuses, as well as consulted with universities, regional medical facilities, and research facilities as large as small towns, there is a constant repair, maintenance, and reconfiguration of the facilities and buildings to meet changing requirements, and/or to replace aging structures due to seismic requirements, hazardous abatement requirements, or just the fact that building new is sometimes cheaper than trying to continue patching up an old facility. And it costs money to do all that.

I agree that due diligence is required to make an informed decision, but I haven't seen enough information to suggest the school district is miss-using, or miss-representing what they intend to do with this money, as laid out in Measure G.

On the other hand, I do see a proven track record of excellent academic performance by the district's students, although people seem to concentrate on the sensational, rather than the nuts and bolts of education.


No Big Deal
Castro City
on Jun 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm
No Big Deal, Castro City
on Jun 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm
3 people like this

I have a daughter in a portable classroom at Castro. No big deal. It's fine. It's newer than our home and with air conditioning. I've never heard any one complain. She's in the first grade for Pete's sake!

Vote NO on Measure G. We don't need no stinkin' palaces, just teachers that know how to teach.


Hardin
Cuesta Park
on Jun 1, 2012 at 2:23 pm
Hardin, Cuesta Park
on Jun 1, 2012 at 2:23 pm
3 people like this

One other thing I'd like to point out is that remodeling and construction for a large campus is very different from remodeling your house.

Its reasonable to expect that once you remodel your home, you won't need to do it again for the next 20-30 years. The main reason why this expectation is fair, is because you are assuming you will be living there for that length of time, and have full control on how to build your commode to suit your needs for the foreseeable future. Also, if you are doing a major remodel of your house, you can make any/all necessary upgrades due to code requirements for abatement in one fell swoop.

However, remodeling for a large campus is different in that as a steward of the facilities, your job in remodeling is to address the needs of the user (in this case, the student population and administration), where changes can occur without your knowledge, consent, or control. Remember, you are not remodeling to what you want, you are remodeling to address the needs of your occupants.

Also, it would be unfeasible to address all the changes you want to make to a campus all in one stroke....as most places of work will not allow you to stop all work activities to allow for your construction to proceed (no school for a year?). It is also cost prohibitive to sink so many dollars into a campus all at once, especially if you know changes will be needed down the road.

So the typical strategy is to execute this work in phases, taking into consideration that you will have restrictions when you can do the work, (not during the school year), a finicky public that has its own opinions what the money should be spent on, as well as the normal risks of doing construction (finding hidden conditions that need to be addressed, bad weather, construction material cost inflation, etc.)

Remodeling a campus is not a one shot deal, it is a continuous process you navigate as issues, concerns, and needs arise.


district insider who is voting NO
Waverly Park
on Jun 1, 2012 at 6:39 pm
district insider who is voting NO, Waverly Park
on Jun 1, 2012 at 6:39 pm
3 people like this

1. MVWSD just got done with a MAJOR REMODEL of every campus. which of us would scrape and rebuild a very nice, newly remodeled house? (oops, I shouldn't ask that in Silicon Valley...but you get the point)

2. YOU and I just got done paying $32M for the last bond. which of us would rebuild a very nice house and expect our neighbors to foot the entire bill?

3.Measure G has NO plans to install photovoltaic solar energy panels! That was the FIRST thing that the high school district did to start saving money immediately.

4. Measure G will demolish, bulldoze, scrape to the ground 42 classrooms that were JUST remodeled. look at the site maps and see for yourself.

5. Instead of 500 kids out on the playground at lunch, your child will be one of 600 kids out there. The language "smaller class sizes, smaller schools" that used to be included in district literature was quietly dropped.

6. Slater, Whisman and Cooper schools will still be leased out. The entire NE section of Mountain View will still be without a neighborhood elementary school.

7. Imagine teachers having to move all their supplies and their students to another room and back again. (my child moved to 3 different classrooms during the last remodel). Think that won't interrupt instruction?

8. Imagine how much more traffic there will be at drop-off and pick-up with an additional 100 kids being driven across town by their parents. (the district used to pay for bus transportation, now it costs to ride the bus)

9. We already have gorgeous campuses and our classrooms are in excellent condition! Having even newer classrooms will do NOTHING to improve the interaction between the teacher and the children.

10. Speaking of programs and services, this is the first year ever that 5th graders were told to choose between art and music because apparently, midyear, there was not enough money for both. 5th graders have always had weekly art from CSMA, and their choice of instrumental or vocal music. In January, 5th graders were told they had to choose one or the other. What's that all about?

11. While we will be PAYING $300 per year for 25 years (for many, the rest of our lives), remember former district administrators Ms. Yick, Archibeque, Totter, and Lairon will be RECEIVING about $200,000 per year in pension, each, for the rest of their lives.

12. $25,000 campaign contribution from the Minnesota-based bank that will administer the bond? REALLY? So it's not local supporters that are paying for those glossy mailers with stock photos that are clearly not our kids or our schools, it's a bank in MN that is paying for these? REALLY?

13. Regarding parent input, there were tons of meetings long ago when Maurice first proposed the School Facilities Improvement Plan (he quickly changed the name to Student Facilities...). Several parents who are active in MVEF and PTA spoke against it. The board listened politely, spent almost no time discussing it, and voted unanimously to proceed anyway.

14. It is mind-boggling how many community leaders have drunk the MVWSD Kool-Aid. Note that many, many of those who endorse the measure are on the public payroll.

15. No matter how new and improved our facilities are, it's not going to help one bit the 40% of our students who speak English only at school with their teacher. What public schools need are more teachers, more classroom aids, more programs, smaller class sizes, a longer school day, a longer school year....all the meaningful changes that are much harder to implement than another remodel.

16. When I asked my child's middle school teacher about the new science labs, the teacher had no idea what I was talking about, had never even HEARD of the bond measure. Guess Bill Gould architects forgot to ask the teachers who will be using the facilities what they actually want! And you can be sure that with 34 middle schoolers to one teacher, they are not going to be doing more labs no matter how nice the room is. If you want more labs, you need smaller class sizes. Ditto for PE, where they have about 50 kids in each class. Ask Mr. Goldman or any board member "What did the TEACHERS say when you asked for THEIR input?" and watch their expression as they try to come up with an answer.

Support Public Education. Demand improved programs, services, class size reduction.

Vote NO on G. Demand that our local schools put their efforts where it counts, on instruction.


Ranger
Monta Loma
on Jun 1, 2012 at 9:23 pm
Ranger, Monta Loma
on Jun 1, 2012 at 9:23 pm
3 people like this

I think we should ask/expect Google to pay for these "needed" improvements to schools.


sarcaustic citizen
Old Mountain View
on Jun 4, 2012 at 7:06 am
sarcaustic citizen, Old Mountain View
on Jun 4, 2012 at 7:06 am
3 people like this

But it's for the children and if you don't vote for it you are against children. See the children on our signs? See our signs and canvassers all over the neighborhood? Everybody's voting for this because it is for the children. If you vote against it, you are anti-child. Even people in other states care about our children, that is why they are spending so much money so you will do the right thing for the children.


Steven Nelson
Cuesta Park
on Jun 11, 2012 at 9:51 am
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
on Jun 11, 2012 at 9:51 am
3 people like this

@District Insider Your #3 is not correct, if they had $423 MIllion the solar systems are a line item in the Priority 3 budget (with new District Office). #10 and #11 are not directly relevant to Bond (but are for Total Tax Burden)
#13 is the major - ongoing problem in this District (and so things like #4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14 and 16 get ignored). The City Council as a whole did not endorse this, as they did the much more contained Whisman District Bond [20 residents on Facilities Committee -> 6 Goals]
Compare that to the SFIP Committee, 2 Trustees ->17 goals (a Dibert joke).
@Hardin, you actually worked on projects where you proposed a $42 M project and only had $20 M funding ???? With no timeline? I'm sure they have a facilities job for you at HSR!


Steven Nelson
Cuesta Park
on Jun 11, 2012 at 10:09 am
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
on Jun 11, 2012 at 10:09 am
3 people like this

@ Hardin "The point is, based solely on the information you've provided, there isn't enough to make a judgement call whether what the district has planned is a good idea or not." The Information is in the Architects and Engineers Details!

I'm at [email protected] I'd love to meet with you and go over the 72 page summary, the 200 of so page Budget spreadsheet (not Excel but pdf) and the several hundred pages of the Conditions & Needs analysis. If you have so much experience - it shouldn't take more than a couple hours to start to discern what the architect is up to. To me, it's costly when only 1/2 the funds are there. It costly when it's about $150 M for 150 new classrooms (+ restrooms) and 50 of THOSE are replacements for permanent rooms demolished. A good metric, I think - are the 'conditions' of those building slated for demolition any worst than the remaining hundreds that just will get refurbishing?
With the current 'priorities' they run out of money before they get to ANY priority 2.
I publicly supported this Plan at Board meetings when it first came out, with promises of community input on FURTHER priorities and timelines. Voter disapproval of District finances is now 33% (up from 20%). QED


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