You are currently browsing the daily archive for October 17, 2006.
According to this letter in the ER.
Wow. I mean I’d probably vote for her over Nancy Fleming if I lived in that district, but that’s a very strong statement.
Meanwhile, Fred’s asking if the Jerry Droz campaign, such as it is, is breaking the law. Is it?
In Connecticut, the senate candidates held their first post-primary debate and the Republican Alan Schlesinger stole the show. Conventional wisdom says that a stronger Schlesinger campaign is bad for Joe Lieberman, who was apparently flustered at having been “attacked” from the right in the debate. I guess Schlessinger is bucking Rove. What goes around.
Lieberman’s now reversed himself on Bolton, but continues to pledge to caucus with the Democrats.
Bettina Aptheker’s L.A. Times column My Father the Icon, My Father the Molester was posted on Portside. I hereby retract my previous criticism. The column is stunning to anybody with knowledge of the family. And it’s a testament to her character.
A statewide $50.00 parcel tax that goes to the following:
K—12 class size reduction $175 million
Instructional materials $100 million
School safety $100 million
Facility grants $85 million
Data system $10 million
The money would be distributed on a pro-rata student population basis capped at $500.00 per student, which means redistribution in terms of relative community wealth to mitigate the regressive nature of the tax. It’s not ideal, and far from a panacea, but it’s desperately needed. Since Proposition 13, we’ve slidden from a state educational system that was routinely rated in the top 10 to the bottom 5 in the company of strapped southern states.
Curiously enough, there is no current funding for the data system, which is supposed to track student and teacher performance (at least as measured by standardized tests). This money would be the first to be earmarked.
We’ve tried to pass similar measures in SoHum. We get over 50 percent of the vote, but never quite the two-thirds needed. Maybe we’ll have better luck statewide. I doubt it, but it’s worth a try.
Heard a bit of the story on KMUD, and I’ve spoken to one teacher about it. The teachers haven’t received a COLA in 3 or 4 years.
The superintendent Cliff Anderson (also my neighbor) pointed out that about 85% of the district’s budget is dedicated to salaries and wages so that there isn’t a great deal of flexibility at the moment. Education is a pretty low tech endeavor, but they do require materials as well as labor.
The teacher’s counter that the teachers’ salaries only represent just over 30% of the budget, whereas just a few years ago they were over 40%. The statewide average is just over 50%. So I guess they’re implying that there’s some flexibility in the 55% of the budget represented by non-teacher salaries and wages. I guess that depends. Is the district top-heavy with administration, or have they been hiring teacher’s aids to take up some of the slack of teachers laid off because the district can’t afford the teachers’ salaries?
In any case, the district does not offer competative teacher salaries as it is. Assuming the budget woes turn around in a few years, it may be hard to draw competent teacher applications if teacher aren’t treated right in the meantime. Certainly, one can’t raise a family on the average SoHum teacher’s salary. Since everything’s supposedly hunky-dory witht the state budget, it would be nice if some more money came from San Francisco.
This of course makes a nice transition to my next post favoring Proposition 88. Later.
A bond initiative that was for some reason not included in the Prop 1 lettered subsections dedicated to the rest of the bond issues. This one would sell about 5 billion in bonds to preserve wetlands and water sources in parks and wilderness areas. It also dedicates money for protection of drinking water and some flood protection (not sure if it overlaps with prop 1E, but I won’t hold that against the proposal). It also dedicates some money to integrated regional water management, which could potentially have some positive impact on the Eel River diversion controversy. On this latter point, I’m not positive as to the authority the plans would have over county policies when pols like John Pinches start talking about source county rights (even though the Eel River actually originates in Lake County rather than Mendo), but at least it would provide a forum if not a mechanism to raise the issue. The wording is as follows:
75026. (a) The sum of one billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) shall be available to the department for grants for projects that assist local public agencies to meet the long term water needs of the state including the delivery of safe drinking water and the protection of water quality and the environment. Eligible projects must implement integrated regional water management plans that meet the requirements of this section. Integrated regional water management plans shall identify and address the major water related objectives and confl icts within the region, consider all of the resource management strategies identifi ed in the California Water Plan, and use an integrated, multi-benefit approach to project selection and design. Plans shall include performance measures and monitoring to document progress toward meeting plan objectives. Projects that may be funded pursuant to this section must be consistent with an adopted integrated regional water management plan or its functional equivalent as defined in the department’s Integrated Regional Water Management Guidelines, must provide multiple benefi ts, and must include one or more of the following project elements…
If I hadn’t made up my mind before I read the following passage from the opposition argument in the ballot pamphlet, it would have ensured a yes vote on principle.
The authors set aside billions for bureaucratic studies, unnecessary protections for rats and weeds, and other frivolous projects, but they couldn’t find a single penny to build freshwater storage for our state’s growing population.
In other words, they fault the measure for protecting the water instead of prioritizing reckless development. It reminds me of the anti-environmentalist parlance on the logging front about putting owls before people. I didn’t appreciate it then, and I don’t appreciate it now.
Meanwhile someone posting on the blog tells me that the measure is part of a secret farmer plot to keep all the water in valley at the expense of fishermen and fish. He or she neglected to provide any detail or suggest any readings on the topic. But I suppose I’ll change my mind if someone can make that case.
In the meantime, I’ll be planning to vote with the Nature Conservancy, California Audubon Society, Save the Redwoods League, Peninsula Open Space Trust, and Big Sur Land Trust in favor of the proposal.