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Time for Alameda SOS to Celebrate? Not so Fast.

By Dennis Green

Two huge, full-page ads endorsing the school parcel tax, Measure A, printed in the Alameda Journal and Alameda Sun, and signed by Harbor Bay developer Ron Cowan! What a coup for AUSD and SOS! And all those endorsements by the City Council and the business organizations, except PSBA. Time to celebrate? Not so fast.

First of all, the Alameda Chamber of Commerce, WABA and GABA have lost most of their clout over the past few years, losing membership and income, having to take big subsidies from the taxpayers and letting Directors Melody Marr and Kathy Moehring go. PSBA’s refusal to endorse Measure A is telling, because it’s members were told from the outset that the tax cap, benefiting only the largest properties, was mandatory and “non-negotiable.”

The City Council rarely interferes in parcel tax elections, and few voters will be swayed by their enthusiasm now. After the purge of staff members, many people simply don’t trust them anymore.

But what about Cowan? Surely a man of his stature will be taken seriously. Yes, as someone developing and promoting real estate, he certainly has something to gain if Alamedans pay even more money into school coffers, if it’s true that great schools guarantee higher real estate prices.

Anyone knowing the history of Alameda, however, knows full well that Cowan was practically run out of town on a rail, to Tiburon and now living in Belvedere. When I went to work with Ron as a marketing consultant in 1989, I learned right away how much of the island population at that time despised his work with Utah Construction on South Shore, and all the traffic be brought through town from Harbor Bay.

Many of those people are alive today, and will be voting on March 8th. Seeing Ron Cowan’s name on that big pro-A ad will just ensure that they vote No!

— Dennis Green

7 comments to Time for Alameda SOS to Celebrate? Not so Fast.

  • Betty

    I feel like I am being blackmailed into voting for this measure.
    Will I cave in? I am really not sure.
    I think everyone has to realize the party is over. For those us that are living on fixed incomes or don’t get annual raises and are trying to save for retirement because social security is iffy and dealing with our bills and always thinking 2 or 3 times before we buy something is thinking AUSD should do the same. And if these small schools aren’t breaking even they should be closed. The kids will survive I just don’t think the parents want to deal with it.
    It’s just a few more dollars a day for the kids. Those few dollars a day mean alot to me and we will certainly have to cut more things out of our lives.

  • Jay

    Alameda school district, Administrators and teachers in favor to some students and unfair to others. They failing the kids and change their behaviors not good. The more money they have and they’ll do more inefficient job.

  • Smart voter

    anon,
    Because they know that there are a whole lot of tough questions they can’t answer. All they do is repeating the same rhetoric over and over. Voters in the last school tax election did not fall for it and they won’t this time either.

  • Ava

    Public schools are wasting taxpayers money, not accountable administration and bad teachers and should be penalized, get rid of teaching license or $100,000 thousand.

  • As a former teacher, 14 years in the classroom, I know what makes for great teaching, and it has very little to do with money. It takes a passionate engagement with the subject material, and with the kids. It took me several years to get there, since l knew and loved English Lit, but had no real training in teaching itself. Feedback from my students helped…”Mr. Green! You just sit there behind your desk! Boring!” I’m glad they trusted me enough to complain.

    Most teacher training is either in the subject, or in teaching methods, and neither by itself is enough. But if you get both right, and pull off an engaging and sometimes dazzling performance, there is no greater thrill, for the students or for you! I want every teacher to know that experience, no matter how much money they make.

  • Barb

    The most telling thing about Ron’s support for schools, is that he refused to provide the second school site for AUSD based on his own development, until a moratorium on construction was proposed. His original plan included 11 school sites. He provided the first, and then refused for years to provide anything until forced. He essentially fopped all costs off to furture buyers of homes at HBI.
    It took a really insightful City Manager, Bill Norton, to provide the mechanism for paying for the land and construction of the school.
    Cowan’s support for schools now, only means he is expecting a payoff from the Council in the future. If SUNCAL is not allowed back, he may hope to pick up some of the pieces.

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