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Holding out hope

Submitted by on 1, June 4, 2008 – 4:00 pmNo Comment

Backers of the Measure H emergency parcel tax measure are holding out hope that absentee and provisional ballots yet to be tallied could push it toward a win. The measure, which would create a four-year, emergency parcel tax of $120 per year for most homeowners and up to $9,500 a year for commercial property owners to ease an anticipated $4 million state funding shortfall for schools, was roughly 115 votes shy of passage as of early this morning.

“Last night, we would have liked to have seen it at 66.7 percent. But there’s still a possibility (of passage),” said Ron Mooney, treasurer for the Yes on H campaign. “I hope once these (ballots) are all counted, we will have made the numbers.”

Alameda Journal blogger Eve Pearlman is reporting that we should see the absentee and provisional numbers Friday, though the county has 28 days to finish its post-election tally.

Mooney said supporters are still working out their Plan B for if the measure has indeed failed. He said efforts would include continued advocacy in Sacramento for long-term school funding solutions and a possible lawsuit to force the state to fix school funding problems.

Alameda schools superintendent Ardella Dailey said she’s not giving up either. And she sees the vote as a sign that Alamedans do care about the quality of their schools.

“I look at the 65.83% ‘Yes’ votes and I see a community that has stepped up to support its schools,” Dailey said in a written statement. “We are not giving up yet … We are within inches of the 66.66% needed and we’re hopeful that these additional votes will make the difference needed to pass Measure H.”

But school board Trustee Mike McMahon said that unless the state budget picture brightens for schools, the board will move ahead with the cuts it approved in March, which include cuts to elementary school music programs, high school sports, class size reduction, advanced placement classes and more.

The measure’s chief public critic, Tom Pavletic, said he’s not ready to comment. But several people who opposed the plan have aired their comments on Lauren Do’s blog. Some businesses also came out against the ballot measure after they learned what they might have to pay if it passed.

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