Election mailer for college taxes called misleading

Supporters of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District's parcel tax and bond measure mailed this filer to residents.

BY SARA TABIN
Daily Post Staff Writer

Promoters of two tax increases for Foothill-DeAnza Community College District have sent out a mailer suggesting a disruption of emergency services if the measure isn’t passed — a technique supporters of tax increases in Palo Alto and San Mateo County have used in the past.

The mailer has photos of paramedics with the headline, “Who is going to show up when you have an emergency?”

Mountain View attorney Gary Wesley called the mailers “misleading” because they imply that the district is using the bond money to pay for first responders’ salaries. “People just casually looking at (the mailer) might think there is actual funding for first responders but there isn’t,” he said. “Money for paying paramedics isn’t coming from the bond.”

Wesley said the district is suggesting that their paramedic program is in jeopardy without the bond money. He said there is no reason to believe bond money is being directed at that program.

At the bottom of the mailer is a picture of Carl Guardino, head of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, with a quote from him urging voters to pass the taxes.

Bruce Swenson, chair of the Friends of Foothill-De Anza CCD Yes on G & H, said the mailers are meant to highlight the vocational courses offered by the district. Swenson said the district also has dental hygiene, nursing and tech classes.
Swenson sent the Post two other mailers that mention those courses, but did not have a parallel mailer that asks “Who will clean your teeth?”

Swenson said the paramedic mailer was designed by the campaign committee with help from The Lew Edwards Group, a professional bond promotion group.

Emergency services argument used before

Campaign committees supporting a Palo Alto hotel tax in 2018 and a parcel tax in San Mateo County in 2016 have also suggested a disruption in emergency services if those measures didn’t pass.

San Mateo County voters received mailers in 2016 for Measure K, a half-cent sales tax, saying the money would continue 911 emergency dispatch services and fight child abuse, among other things.

This is the opposite side of the flier supporters of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District’s parcel tax and bond measure mailed this filer to residents.

When Palo Altans voted in 2018 on whether to raise the city’s hotel tax from 14% to 15.5% the measure language said it would provide funding for vital city services “such as ensuring modern, stable 911 emergency communications, earthquake safe fire stations and emergency command center; improving pedestrian and bicyclist safety; ensuring safe routes to schools; maintaining city streets and sidewalks; and other city services.”

Palo Alto Councilman Greg Tanaka said referencing 911 was “fear-mongering” to get support for the tax.

Tanaka also raised concerns in January about the city using 911 services as a way to drum up support for a business tax.

Tanaka’s concerns came after the council heard the results of a poll which, among other things, asked residents what services they cared about.

Tanaka said that by asking residents about funding for 911 services, the pollsters are suggesting there’s a problem with that service.

Tanaka asked City Manager Ed Shikada to explain to him what is wrong with the 911 service.

Shikada said there are no problems with 911 and the question was asked just to measure support.

Tanaka said he thinks it is deceitful to ask residents for their opinions on 911 since it implies that the city needs the money for 911.

Foothill-De Anza is hoping to pass a $48 parcel tax and a $898 million bond. The bond measure would cost property owners $160 a year for every $1 million in assessed valuation, and it would last 15 years. The bond will need 55% of the vote to pass while the parcel tax needs two-thirds of the vote.

The district has said some bond money will go to teacher and student housing. Bond money can’t go to salaries but parcel tax money can.

24 Comments

  1. Massive props to our local emergency workers, and much respect to my students who are training to fill these essential roles!

    “Who is going to show up when you have an emergency?” A local emergency worker, trained at a local college by local teachers, that’s who.

    Paramedics — and child care providers, police officers, paralegals, dental assistants, nurses, auto techs, and so many others — are essential members of the community. They are part of what makes life so great in the SF Peninsula. And they don’t get the respect that they deserve!

    Foothill-De Anza is training students to fill these roles. Palo Alto voters can support these essential workers in our neighborhoods by supporting our local community colleges.

    Having said that, let me also add: Yikes Daily Post! Who’s fear mongering here? I am just not following Wesley’s logic. And I don’t understand why the Daily Post would find his idiosyncratic interpretation of the fliers newsworthy. I must be looking at the same flier as everybody else, but I just do not see it.

    It’s just the opposite of fear mongering. It’s a plea to the voters to help show some respect for the local emergency workers and for the local students who are rising to fill these roles.

      • Hi, Kevin.

        I mentioned my students up there. Apologies for making you guess! I’m adjunct faculty at De Anza. I guess I said it in my other comments, so I forgot to do so this time?

        My wife is adjunct faculty at Foothill — and she also has a second job teaching preschoolers in Palo Alto. (My second job is at another community college in another district.) Our entire household is oriented around serving the students of the SF Peninsula — we get ’em at both ends of the educational spectrum!

        What can I say? It’s our community and we’re happy that we’re making an impact here.

        Thanks for giving me the opportunity to clarify that, Kevin!
        D

  2. The fact the college district is resorting to scare tactics tells me that they know these measures are going down in flames. The people aren’t buying it and they’re getting desperate.

  3. I detect the odor of mendacity…If Mr. Solomon is going to be “outed” because of his affiliation with the College District in question, then shouldn’t “Mountain View attorney Gary Wesley,” quoted in the article, be referenced as a signing endorser of the Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association which wrote the ballot arguments against measures G & H? Talk about a double standard. I guess that’s how it goes in these libertarian echo chambers.

    • Gee, you figured out Wesley’s role in this but you think the voters can’t? You’re a Classic Liberal. You think everybody is less informed than you. And you think people can’t figure things out on their own without your help. I’m sure you do a lot of mansplaining to women. You probably want warning labels on every conceivable product. I don’t know Wesley, but he’s been involved in local politics for years. I’ve seen his name in news stories for probably 20 years or more. Sometimes I think he’s on the right side, sometimes not. But his identity is not a secret.

      My suggestion is that you pull your hands away from the keyboard, turn off your computer running Windows 98 and go outside and talk to real people. Not just Boomer White liberals like yourself but people of color of all ages. It’s always funny how Liberals say they want diversity but don’t practice it in their own lives. Find out what different people think. You’ll be surprised.

  4. If you can’t commit to a sustained engagement but are willing to post comments, we would love to inundate comments to the following articles with cogent, persuasive and ardent postings. I’m happy to coach anyone who wants tips, and even provide some samples of previous postings our group has done, which you can pilfer for ideas, details and methodology. But if you’re comfortable posting a couple of ¶’s to an article just hitting on one or two talking points (there are generally many to choose from), you can also take the initiative on your own.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    · Winning the election is more important than winning the argument. Don’t fall for “troll baiting” responses to your comments. Post quickly and move on.
    · Avoid invective. Ridicule (in the satirical sense) can be effective, but focus on the ideas rather than the person.
    · Avoid the “H” and “S” words (housing and salary). Such direct references did not poll well. Concentrate on students and the struggle of living in Silicon Valley..
    · Don’t worry so much about “facts” that others present–anecdote would be a very effective rebuttal to some of the Howard Jarvis data driven types.

    And here are the major articles we’re working on, in priority. Please feel free to contact me offline. Let’s inundate these mothers!

    https://www.mv-voice.com/news/2020/02/17/community-college-district-asks-voters-for-new-tax-bond-funds-to-upgrade-facilities-keep-education-accessible#comment_form

    https://padailypost.com/2020/02/18/election-mailer-for-college-taxes-called-misleading/

    https://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2020/02/08/community-college-district-asks-voters-for-new-tax-bond-funds-to-upgrade-facilities-keep-education-accessible

    Tim Shively
    Faculty Association President
    fatim@fafhda.org

  5. Vote yes on G & H. Not because of this mailer (!) although it certainly caught everyone’s attention. It’s time to invest in the young. People too seldom connect EMT or NURSING or CHILDCARE or AUTO MECHANICS or MASSAGE THERAPY…ACCOUNTANTS… PARALEGALS…. SECURITY GUARDS… FORENSICS EXPERTS…. POLICE & FIREFIGHTERS… GRAPHIC DESIGNERS… & on and on… to our local community colleges. And we have two of the best right here. Here’s a more comprehensive list of just degrees and certificates at De Anza (not to mention all who transfer…)— check it out: https://www.deanza.edu/academics/degrees-and-certificates.html

    At college, students of all backgrounds have a chance to work hard and succeed. Some are broke, some need a second chance. Many are vets, many come from struggling high schools and poor families— and work full time while in school. Many support their families. It’s what America is all about. These are the institutions that say: you aren’t your money, you are your own hard work. There are great Americans in the Marines and great Americans at Yale— and Google— and Foothill and De Anza too. You invest in America by investing in these colleges.

    You want to protest a tax, look at the defense budget or the soaring national debt we all pay for…while our kids can’t afford to go to a good school in the area—to learn a trade! Help students and teachers make us a safer, prouder America. It’s a rising tide of property values, friends, and it needs to lift all boats. And the diversity of these campuses is profound, peaceful, and genuine. Daniel Solomon in the comment above :-)— he got it right. Yes on G & H, both measures abundant in transparent and independent oversight— and zero money goes to administrator pay.

    • I don’t think Foothill and Deanza contribute very much to the college educations in California. I think that its more likely for a future EMT to attend San Jose City College or City College of San Francisco than to travel to the expensive location of FHDA. Get real.

    • I appreciate “Higher salaries through higher taxes” and thank him for his support of Foothill/De Anza! He is thoughtful to want to approve Measures G & H. One small correction… his moniker is misleading! 🙂 In fact, Measures G & H will not benefit pocketbooks of professional educators who write in to these pages, nor the educators or administrators who don’t write in to these pages. The measures will however benefit our beloved larger community, our young people, and yes, our economy. “Higher salaries through higher taxes” supports Measures G & H, and I hope you will too! He just isn’t supporting them for the right reason, at least in his argument here. I would guess he supports the Measures more because he is so utterly pro-America. He craves the pride of living in a great area where envy-of-the-world wealth is matched by real heart and vision—and intelligent investment in superb cornerstone public institutions— and our common future. Thank you! Yes on Measures G & H…and bravo.

    • Thank you for posting this. Yes, the faculty association is out in full force commenting here in attempts to sway our election. I am not necessarily opposed to a bond or funding our schools, BUT I am opposed to a bond with no plan. I am opposed to unethical behavior of commenting on here and pretending you are a resident.

      And, let’s be honest–if your plan to win this election is commenting on articles, YOU HAVE NO PLAN.

    • Hi! A large portion of the bond would go toward repairing our facilities on campus because infrastructure money does NOT come from the state budget.There’s actually a document on the fhda website:

      https://www.fhda.edu/Examples%20of%20Measure%20G%20and%20H%20projects%2012.11.19_w-estimates.pdf

      I wish there was a way to attach photos to this comment to show the amount of disrepair De Anza is in. Instead I decided to write you a little guide, so instead of me telling you over the internet, you can go take a look for yourself!

      For this tour, please park at the FREE 30 minute parking area near the bike corral and student bookstore. Get out your map and tie your shoelaces tight! First stop is…

      1…the Hinson center cafeteria! This is an easy building to find because most students walk there and hang out with friends/study/eat. The crown jewel I want you to look at is the floor in front of the Pho and Una Mas.

      2. Our second stop is any of the bathrooms within the Hinson center. We have bathrooms on the bottom and top level, but either one should work. If you don’t have time to see the bathroom, pick up the latest copy of the student newspaper La Voz who documented the current state of the bathrooms on campus.

      3. Next up on our list is psychological services. Please walk over to the registration building (RSS), go up the steps to the second floor, and find the front desk. Talk to the receptionist and ask what the average wait time is for students to meet with a counselor. Second, ask them what percent of the student population on campus is housing insecure (almost 60%!).

      4. Now I want you to walk back downstairs and head to the Office of Outreach. This office is responsible for managing our food pantry we have here on campus. Talk to the front desk people and ask about the number of students who request items because they are forced to choose between paying their rent or buying groceries.

      5. Finally, I want you to walk down to the Kirsch Center and contemplate why California has prioritized Student-Centered Funding formula (SCFF). Realize that under-funding community colleges means we are not able to properly service low-income students who spend 2-3 hours on the bus to get here. Recognize that you refuse to acknowledge the growing income disparity in the bay area and that you don’t recognize education as a way to improve individual lives. If we do not repair our facilities, we have less classes to offer, and thus less opportunities for individuals to be empowered to improve their own lives.

      6. Realize your time is up and you got a ticket.

  6. Correction, the “professional educators” of the district will get a raise if H passes. That’s why the board and union agreed they would reopen the contract after the election if H passes. It’s in the board minutes if you don’t believe me.

    • Good morning MZ,

      I’m a professional educator, no “scare quotes” required.

      You’ve read my previous comments on this story. So you know who I am, and you know that my whole household is oriented towards educating and caring for Silicon Valley’s students and their families, from pre-K through college.

      You also know that we are not making enough money to live in the tax district.

      **The people of Silicon Valley are sick of hearing about teachers who cannot afford a living wage.**

      Voting YES on Measures G and H is a way for you, MZ, and for the rest of the community to support public education and educators.

      Measure G funds will repair our decaying facilities and help keep our schools functioning so that we can continue enriching the lives of local students while sparing local families’ pocketbooks. And Measure H funds will help to alleviate the burdens of students who face housing insecurity and hunger.

      Additionally, yes!, some of these funds could be spent to help to retain devoted faculty like us, who are already working more than full time (between our multiple teaching jobs) in service to local students and families.

      Thanks for giving me the opportunity to raise this point again,
      D

  7. Good morning, “Higher Salaries,” “Transparency,”

    Unfortunately I don’t make a salary! I’m what you call adjunct faculty.

    No, Mr. Transparency (<– not his real name), I cannot afford to live in the community I serve. So, no, I am not a resident of the tax district.

    But Silicon Valley is where I make an impact, and Foothill De Anza is the institution that has made it possible for me to do that.

    Every year I teach hundreds of students at De Anza College, and then hundreds more at my other campus. My spouse teaches pre-K instruction at Foothill. And for years, she has been caring for the children of Stanford educators and professionals, as well as for the children of the broader Palo Alto community.

    We're still young, but there is a good chance that you may know one of us because of how many students and families we've worked with. We are some of the people — along with emergency workers, police, and service workers — whose labor makes it possible for you to do your own important jobs, despite the fact that we cannot afford to live within the tax district.

    I'm doing this because it's the right thing to do for the community I care about.

    I'm Daniel Solomon.
    I'm a real teacher in our community, not an anonymous troll.

    YES on Measures G and H will make it possible for people like me to continue serving our community.
    Our friends and families in Palo Alto understand what's at stake here.

    Thank you "Higher Salaries" (I wish!) and "Transparency" (haha) for giving me the occasion to write this.
    D

    • Hey Curious,
      Thanks for asking.
      Three faculty retired from nursing recently, or are retiring, but positions are being opened up to replace them.
      D

  8. Ah, ok. Nursing Alum here. No bone in the G&H fight, but curious about the program because it is a good one. Can you show me a link that says they will be hiring? I looked at the budget committee and those positions don’t look like they’ve been approved for this year.

    • Hi again Curious,
      I’m afraid I don’t know where to direct you for that information. But it’s happening.

      If the info wasn’t posted where you looked, that might be because of the emergency basis of the new nursing hires. With three people stepping down, those positions were recognized as being so necessary for the continuation of a vital program that the replacement positions were approved through a process that was separate from the approval of other recent openings (auto tech, math, psych, etc.).

      Hope that helps. Nursing is not being axed!
      D

  9. I fail to see how the flyer can be classified as misleading. The back of the flyer (as shown in the article) clearly shows that Measures G & H is specifically about funding for vocational programs that include Paramedic, Nursing, Tech, etc. Saying that the flyer is meant to deceive voters is just untrue.

  10. Dear Mr. Price,
    I assume, due to the insensibility of your article, that you no longer have the need to study and have other preoccupations in your life, such as your taxes. This is a polite reminder: we live in an ecosystem, composed of, in-between others, your generation and community college and university students. If you turn your back on us now, for something as futile as money, don’t come back to us asking for support when you are in need and we have the power.
    We are well aware that our enrollment is down–a common phenomenon in American history, due to a good and healthy economy–and that some of our administrators and faculty have above-average salaries–and if you consider 250 or 300k is too much for world-class personnel living in the Bay Area, let me tell you you’re wrong–but, do you seriously think that we will be able to fix our buildings and pay for our personnel’s salaries by cutting other personnel? Dear Mr. Price, your lack of common sense and critical thinking, and abundance of ignorance, bias, and bigotry–not only reflected in this article but in ALL your articles–make me nauseous.
    I’ll just say that you probably are against education because you haven’t experienced a good one–it’s highly noticeable. I invite you to make good use of the privileged life you have–as an anti-tax white male adult living in the Bay Area–and take an English class at Foothill or De Anza. I promise you your articles will be, at the very least, decent afterwards!!

  11. These attacks are getting ugly and personal. The faculty must feel they have a lot to lose/gain depending on how these measures turn out. It might be best to calm down and let the voters decide if they want to raise their taxes to support people like those who have posted here.

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