Abida Sahfi of the Yolo County Elections Office checks Thursday to make sure voters have properly signed the back of their mail ballot in Davis' Measure A school parcel tax election. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

Abida Sahfi of the Yolo County Elections Office checks Thursday to make sure voters have properly signed the back of their mail ballot in Davis' Measure A school parcel tax election. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

Local News

Measure A supporters, opponents file finance statements

By April 22, 2011

Financial statements for the two committees in the Measure A campaign filed paperwork with the Yolo County Elections Office by Thursday’s deadline. Measure A is the emergency parcel tax proposed by the Davis school district to provide financial support for existing academic programs. Its fate is being decided in a mail-only election that began on April 4 and will end on May 3.

Measure A proposes to levy a tax of $200 per year on single-family homes and $20 per year on apartment units for the next two years. It requires a two-thirds vote of approval for passage.

The Davis Taxpayers Against Measure A committee reported receiving a total of $740 from three donors: $600 from Voters For District Elections, $130 from Dr. Jose Granda and $10 from Coleman Thomas Randall Jr.

Voters for District Elections is a group led by longtime Davis resident Ernie Head. Last year, the group circulated petitions in an effort to change Davis City Council elections from the current “at large” system (i.e., candidates can live anywhere in the city) to a district election system (i.e., candidates would run in a specific district covering a portion of the city, and would need to live in that district).

The petition drive, however, gathered only a few hundred signatures and came up far short of what’s needed to put the question before voters.

Davis Taxpayers Against Measure A spent $600 for phone bank expenses and $130 for a voter registration list from the Yolo County Elections Office. The group made at least two automated phone calls to urge a no vote on the tax measure, one directed at general voters and the other at senior citizens.

The Yes for Our Students Campaign — which supports passage of Measure A — reported $13,440 in contributions during the March 20-April 16 reporting period.  These include:

* $1,000 contributions from Dora and Jennifer Anderson, the Davis Teachers Association, Greg McNece, Lynne Yackzan and Randy Yackzan;

* $500 contributions from Bill and Nancy Roe, Dean F. Unger, John Whitcombe, John Youmans, Julian R. Youmans, Julian Youmans, Lawrence Shepard, Paul Makley, Reed Youmans, Rose Cholewinsky and William and Karmen Streng;

* $300 contributions from Janna Buccieri and Michael Pesola;

* $250 contributions from Rex and Janet Berry, Stacy Welsh and Assemblymember Mariko Yamada;

* $200 contributions from Elmer McNece, Jennifer McNece and Mark McNece;

* $150 contribution from Kim Eichorn;

* $100 contributions from Charles Booz, Gavin Payne, Gregg Cook, Jim Lamont, John Mott-Smith and Vicki Nagano.

Other lesser contributions are itemized as well.

The Yes for Our Students campaign — an ongoing committee that has supported other school district parcel measures in the past— had a carryover balance of $15,547 from previous years.

Expenditures include $314 to Political Data Inc. of Burbank, for equipment and phone bank materials; $8,044 to the Design Center of Davis, for postcard design and printing; $3,900 for postage; $4,335 to Leslie Hunter for office expenses and campaign salary, and $1,180 for phone bank interns. All told, the expenditures totaled $17,774.

In 2008, the Yes for Our Students Committee spent roughly $40,000 in support of Measure W, another school parcel tax. Expenses that year included yard signs, which have not been featured in this year’s campaign.

Not included in Thursday’s finance reports were any costs related to the letter sent by the Davis school district to local homeowners who previously claimed senior exemptions under Measures Q and W, the two existing voter-approved parcel taxes. The school district’s letter, which included a form for a senior exemption for Measure A, was criticized by some recipients as improperly timed and improperly worded. Superintendent Winfred Roberson and Board of Education President Richard Harris issued an apology a few days after the letter was sent out.

School leaders have said that if Measure A fails, seventh- and eighth-grade students would lose one period in their seven-period day, resulting in electives and some core classes. Class sizes would increase at the elementary, junior high and high school levels. There also would be reductions in the number of counselors, maintenance staff and other employees in the district.

Since there is a March 15 notification deadline for potential layoffs, the Davis school district has issued pink slips to 63 teachers and certificated staff, representing 57 full-time positions, and to employees covering 10 secretarial and custodian positions.

Measure A ballots may be mailed in their special blue envelopes to the Yolo County Elections Office (postage is paid by the county), or dropped off at specially marked boxes at the Stephens Branch Library, 315 E. 14th St. in Davis, or the Elections Office, 625 Court St. in Woodland.

Of the more than 43,000 ballots sent to voters on April 4, more than 12,000 ballots had been returned as of midday Friday, representing a voter turnout to date of more than 25 percent.

Davis area homeowners currently pay a total of $320 combined under Measures Q and W, which expire in June 2012.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at [email protected] or (530) 747-8055.

Jeff Hudson

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