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Companies, Residents Donate Thousands to Support Mill Valley Parcel Tax

The latest financial filings show that Measure B campaigners have raised more than $103,000 toward their fundraising goal to pass a parcel tax on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Campaign organizers for the Measure B parcel tax are well on their way to meeting their $120,000 fundraising goal, thanks to major donations from a number of local residents and companies, according to their latest financial filing with the Marin County Registrar of Voters.

Records show the campaign to pass a $196 parcel tax on the Nov. 6 ballot raised more than $47,000 between July 31 and September 30, and has raised a total of $102,000 to encourage voters to approve Measure B. The proposed tax, which requires two-thirds support from voters to be approved, comes on top of the existing $731 per parcel tax and aims to address the Mill Valley School District’s looming budget deficit.

For the most recent filing period, the Measure B campaign drew significant contribution came from Kenneth Broad of Delaware Investments, Jed Smith of Catmount Ventures; Doug and Julie Carlucci of Oliver Wyman; Carl Overaa of C. Overaa & Co. - the contractor for the Edna Maguire new campus – and Van Pelt Construction Services - the construction management firm handling all of the Mill Valley School District modernization projects – each of which donated about $5,000.

UCSF Medical Center CEO Mark Laret and his wife Jan were also high on the list with $2,500, along with Jon Love at JL&Co. Hibser Yamauchi Architects, Landmark Construction and Dannis Woliver Kelley with contributions of $2,000.

Campaign organizers spent about $30,000 during the filing period, with most of it going to Whitehurst, a political consulting firm. They’ve been busy putting up ‘Yes on B’ lawn signs, hosted a "Backyard Bash" event at the end of September and on Friday will host a rally on street corners from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. with supporters, parents and kids holding signs supporting the parcel tax.

Look for them at GROW at Tam Junction; Tiburon Boulevard and E. Strawberry Drive, the sidewalk across from the 101 Exit at E. Blithedale Ave.; the Mill Valley Gas & Mart at E. Blithedale and Camino Alto; and Camino Alto and Miller Ave at the Redwoods. No RSVP is necessary, and all are welcome to participate.

The majority of the funds raised raised will pay for mailers that will target residents without children in one of the district’s six schools, as that group comprises a whopping 80 percent of voters within the district, according to a survey conducted earlier this year. Although the Marin United Taxpayers Association nor any other organizations have stepped up to formally fight Measure B, organizers are not taking any chances.

“We will not be complacent,” campaign co-chair Mari Allen has said. “We know that every votes counts and we are making a huge effort to speak to everybody in our community about why this measure needs to pass.”

By the numbers

There are three primary numbers behind the campaign’s aggressive push: 28, 66.6 and 80.

  • 28. That’s the number of days after the later-than-usual Sept. 10 start of school that mail-in ballots went out (Oct. 8), which itself is 29 days prior to the Nov. 6 election. The late end to the summer in Mill Valley has created a tight window for the campaign to gets its message out.
  • 66.6 percent. In June 1978, voters passed Prop. 13, a sweeping statewide change that included a requirement for any taxes raised by local governments for a designated or special purpose to be approved by two-thirds of the voters.
  • 80 percent. This is the number that seems to scare campaign organizers the most. According to polling data from district consultants EMC Research and Whitehurst/Mosher, current district parents account for only 20 percent of voters, meaning that 80 percent of parcel tax voters don’t have students in the district. Of that 80 percent, 42 percent of voters have never been a district parent. Future district parents account for 10 percent, while past district parents without future district students are 23 percent. Current high school parents without district students account for 5 percent.

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Greg October 12, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Russell, You also pay school bonds (including the new one passed last year for MVSD) and another parcel tax for the Tam Union High School District.The School Bonds will run you 0.1074% of your assessed value. If a house is assessed at $1 million you're be paying $1,074.00 in school bonds this year, but at least you see the results in real property. The Tam Union High School District parcel tax is $245.94 this year. This is the same for all parcels in Mill Valley. Total: MVSD Parcel Tax: $767.94 Tam Union High School District Parcel Tax: $245.94 School Bonds (0.1074 of assessed value): $1074.00 per $1 million in value. Total: $2087.88 Personally, don't mind paying an additional $196 for the schools, but using parcel taxes to fund operating expenses is a very slippery slope without a specific use and budget. It's one thing to ask voters to fund capital improvements like a building, but it's a whole different thing to ask them to fund a vague budget. Also, fear mongering (laid off teachers, big classes, the end of the world, etc...) is an ugly way to ask for something. The school bond was the same, my favorite was the pictures for the deteriorating schools (really?). $100k has been raised for the "yes" effort and all I can say to that is: Why not just donate that to the school district?
CKC CKC October 12, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Greg -- The devil is in the details. And it is government we are talking about -- so it is not simple math. Unfortunately there are rules about funding and how funding is allowed to be spent -- state rules, not local. It is my understanding that direct donations can NOT be used to fund teacher salaries. Measure B is about being able to afford teachers. Talking about being able to fund an adequate number of teachers for our ballooning enrollment is NOT fear mongering. It IS actually one of the only things that really matters for quality education and a desirable zip code. YES on B! (For kids... For property values... )
Meg R October 12, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Vote NO NO NO. I think most of us are forgetting the new property tax sewer charge that will be on our property tax bill coming in the mail soon. I am sure rents will be going up so for those of you renting in Mill Valley be prepared if Measure B wins. And people wonder why it is so expensive to rent here.
Mari October 12, 2012 at 11:59 PM
I received some signs from a neighbor - thanks.
MarinT November 03, 2012 at 04:39 AM
There are plans (next 10 years?) to spend $215 million to rebuild all the elementary schools and the Middle School. This includes the $59 million already allocated, so the remaining build-out plans have a blue-print price of $156 million. If the smart people in the district put together new plans that only called for say $136 million then Measure B would fit cost-wise in the planned expenses. It'd be wise to position that way.

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