Taxpayers are akin to an injured swimmer in shark-infested waters with the “sharks”—or public agencies—nipping from every direction. Look at the Nov. 6 ballot: 11 state and one local proposition, most wanting to dip into our pockets—again.
While all of our votes on Tuesday are important, few carry the long-range weight of Proposition R, Ramona Unified School District’s $66 million bond bid.
We’ve read all of the opinions on these pages and on our website the past few weeks. Ramonans put a great deal of time, research, and thought into their submissions. Among those that stand out is Dave Patterson’s “Prop. R dilemma” letter. “Do I vote Yes on Prop. R and kick the underlying problem down the road with more taxes, or do we let the system fail and hope that it will come back stronger and better?”
We find ourselves in the same spot.
We don’t like it when supporters repeat we’re the only unified district in the county that has not passed a bond. So what? The last time voters said No to a bond, trustees borrowed the $25 million anyway, then received $34 million in state matching funds. Could we twist the language a bit and consider that an after-the-fact bond? We did, after all, elect those trustees.
This round of trustees hired a consultant with a good record of passing bonds. Why waste your time with naysayers when you know how to weave a successful web? San Diego County Taxpayers Association endorsement? That used to mean something to us. We didn’t realize all one has to do is fill in enough blanks correctly. The taxpayers association no longer impresses us. Who does is Trustee Bob Stoody, the only member on the school board who voted No to borrowing $25 million in 2004. He’s still on the board and he supports the bond, saying he’d do so only if he thought there were no other way.
California’s in a fiscal mess, schools have seen less funding, student enrollment continues to drop, and the developer fees the district thought would pay off the 2004 loan have dried up, leaving the district owing $32 million to $34 million, and the district’s in danger of being taken over by the state.
If Ramona supports this bond with the needed 55% of the votes, don’t ask for another bond unless the sky actually falls. Manage the money you receive, build reserves for the next fiscal dip, change your way of thinking about public money. The district’s backed this community into a corner asking for the most it could legally ask for while neighbors are losing their jobs and homes.
So, holding our noses, we head to the ballot box to cast a Yes vote for Prop. R.