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Know Your Candidates

With election Wednesday, BOE candidates squeeze in last campaigning and offer views.

It’s a big week in Millburn with Election Day on Wednesday – voters go to the polls to on the school board. With two incumbents and three challengers, there’s a real race and candidates have hit the streets, coffee shops, library, school board meetings and carpool lines getting their messages across.

You don’t have to be a parent of school-age children to be interested in this election – the Millburn Board of Education that determines the school district’s share of a property owner’s taxes.

Voters will also vote on a budget that would increase their school tax levy by 1.35 percent over last year – below the 2 percent tax increase and well below the tax increases of many years in the last decade. (This year, it amounts to $14.90 additional per $100,000 of assessed value. The owner of an $800,000 home would pay additional $119 on top of last year’s bill.)

While the School Administration and Board made cuts to its $76.5 million budget, eliminating courtesy busing and the at the elementary school level (to be replaced with something like Rosetta Stone) and reducing staff by 18. 6 full-time equivalent positions, the board has also allowed for $750,000 for expenditures for “catching up” in the areas of technology and textbooks, as well as allowances for restructuring health benefits for teacher (still under negotiations) and maintaining full-day kindergarten.

While acknowledging that all the candidates are smart and qualified, an Op-Ed piece titled Hard Choices, the Item gave its endorsement to Waters, Pasternak and Truitt mostly because Fox and Mattlin have expressed views that the tax rate should be closer to the cap in order to not have to cut programs and to maintain academic excellence.

Candidates have stated their opinions at two forums, the last of which, on sposored by the Short Hills Association, the candidates prepared answers for three questions. We asked the candidates to share their statements and answers for those who want to read the candidates positions themselves. Almost all of the information is there, but we did edit for length in some areas.  You can click on each candidate’s name to reach their Candidate Views page.

We also offer you a much briefer look at the candidates (in alphabetical order) here:

***

Debra Fox

Fox, a market research consultant and former high school teacher and adjunct professor, wanted a 2 percent tax increase this year because, she said, she didn’t want to see programs cut unnecessarily.

“As a current board member, I am a strong, independent voice on the board, who is not afraid to challenge the majority,” Fox said. “I am running for re-election because I came to do a job and I feel that I have not finished that job. I believe that I have a view that reflects the opinion of a large constituency in the district who are not often heard at board meetings.”

Fox said she is the candidate who is probably known as the “Tax and Spend Liberal,” but she is someone who highly values education.  “I am also the candidate with the youngest children in the school system,” she said. “I did support a 2 percent tax increase because I am very concerned about our ability to continue to offer a high quality education to all students. For those of us who will still have young children in the school system, we need board members who still have a personal stake in the educational excellence of Millburn. Having a fifth grader and a fourth grader, I will have a stake in our schools for a very long time.”

As an example of her independence, Fox cites her vote against redistricting. “I did not feel that the rationale presented to the Property Committee warranted disrupting the education of so many children,” she said.

Fox said she cares about how the school district runs, and it needs to be efficient and carefully managed in these tough economic times.

"I want to see tight control over our limited resources, but it is important to be careful not to damage our excellent school system," she said. "I moved here because of our schools. I want our children to have the same quality education as those who came before us.”

Fox said that while many people say that being on the board of education
is a thankless job, she has found the opposite to be true.

“I have been strengthened by the support of the community and their requests for me to run for re-election,” she said. “And I look forward to having the opportunity to serve the community again.”

***
Jay Mattlin

Mattlin is a market research executive with children middle school and high school, who says he thinks the board could have come closer to the 2 percent tax levy cap when deciding the budget, so as not to have to cut programming and to maintain academic excellence. He said the three biggest issues facing the board are the impact of the transition to subscription busing, developing a long-term strategic plan and the possibility of opening in the area. “This is a relatively new development on which everyone needs more information,” Mattlin said of charter schools. “Early indications are that new charter schools could impose a burden on the district’s finances that the system can ill afford at the moment.”

Other issues include the budget and redistricting.  “The budget is the perennial major issue and with it, the concomitant issues of the teachers’ contract and the requested tax increase,” he said. As for redistricting: “Discussions of any sort of redistricting plans should begin as early in the school year as possible to allow maximum time for all possibilities and viewpoints to be considered and evaluated.”

Mattlin supports teachers and wants to reach out to them regarding ways of “achieving efficiencies and savings” when it comes to salary and benefits.

“None of them are getting rich from teaching in our schools. I am alarmed at the wave of anti-teacher sentiment that has crept into public discourse.  The teachers are the bedrock of our system’s quality and reputation,” he said. “Nevertheless, we need to be mindful of the “investors” in Millburn’s school system – the taxpayers, many of whom have been hit hard by this recession. It would therefore not be realistic for teachers to expect raises as high as those in their previous three-year contract.”

Mattlin would also like to discuss changing the start time for middle and high school students, who perform better later in the morning. “I would like to see the Board explore the possibility of later start times for the middle and high schools. Lack of sleep can certainly add to stress,” he said. “The transition from elementary school to middle school, which starts nearly an hour earlier, seems to be particularly jarring.”

***

Jean Pasternak

Pasternak, a former managing director for JP Morgan & Co. with children in both public and private schools, said she is seeking a board position because it is her civic duty and a “natural next step” after a decade of extensive volunteer work in Millburn Schools.

“I want to represent the community's interests in educational initiatives to ensure Millburn remains a district to which others aspire,” said Pasternak, best known for her work with the Millburn-Short Hills Special Education Committee. “I also want to increase the diversity of opinions and approaches on the board so that collectively we develop a more robust, richer educational experience for ALL students at a cost we can afford.”

The biggest issues facing the board are oversight, vision and expense control and management, she said. “The board should conduct its fiduciary responsibilities by adhering to its policies especially as they relate to fiscal management and
reporting,” she said. “We must define what we want this district to be -- our strategic direction and our guiding principles for making decisions about education. And we need to build a zero-based budget so that every expense will be justified.”

Other issues Pasternak sees are accountability, community leverage, and technology and innovative programs. “Management information presented in a transparent way is essential for the Board to do its job,” she said. “Taxpayers need this to assess their investment in the Millburn education system.”

As for community leverage, she said board needs to involve the community. “Our citizens have ideas and expertise that must be tapped.  A new era of collaboration and involvement must be ushered in.”  She also said the district must pursue leading edge technology and 21st Century curriculum mandates.”

Pasternak said she is in favor of the budget, “but strictly because it buys (Supt.) Dr. Crisfield and his team deserved and needed time to do the job that needs to be done.  He will have this next year to carefully examine and assess our cost structure, and I expect that he will propose more fundamental changes that root out the administrative overhead and wasteful expenditures in our district.  I expect that all expenses will be justified with any increases or decreases to our program offerings analyzed in depth and presented clearly to the BOE for their approval.”

***

Regina Truitt

Truitt, a pediatric nurse practitioner and a past PTO president, said she thinks one of the biggest issues facing the board is the unsettled teachers’ contract, which is causing tension in the community.

“We have not heard specifics or contingencies,” Truitt said. “This year’s proposed budget assumes a significant cost savings due to negotiated teacher health benefit adjustments. The board is faced with addressing concerns that the
savings may not be realized or that the contract will not be settled by
the start of school in September.”

Other issues facing the board, Truitt said, are maintaining and improving the excellence of Millburn schools given the current economic challenges,
technology, a K-5 World Language Program, and building repairs.

“Our community has current challenges as never before,” Truitt said, including maintaining Millburn’s academic excellence given the reality of a recent recession, increased job losses, stagnant salaries, and a “large unknown element” with an unsettled teacher’s contract.

“There are decreased revenues due to severe cuts in state aid, mandated budget caps and greatly increased expenditures mostly due to the current teacher health benefit costs,” she said. “Due to a variety of factors, different times, different philosophies, our cost structure has gotten extremely large.  Our enrollment has doubled in the past 20 years.  But yet, our taxes have more than tripled.  As such, our spending must be clearly prioritized on those resources that really matter.  I am willing to make hard choices to control spending.  Difficult budget situations require creative solutions and clear prioritization of finite funds.”

Truitt quotes Crisfield’s assessment that Millburn schools are technologically behind their district peers by three to five years, and wants to see technology plan put into place.

“It is imperative that Millburn Schools be brought up to date - $750,000
is on the proposed budget,” she said. “…I suggest creating a Technology Committee on the Board of Education and that monthly up-dates are given at BOE meetings.”

She’d like to see the district offer more gifted & talented opportunities provide more hands-on science classes and improved communication with the public.

In addition, Truitt says that her “open, honest and friendly personality would bring a welcome balance to the board. I am a good listener who values facts, fairness, transparency and civil dialogue.”

 ***

Jeff Waters

Waters, an incumbent and chairman of the board’s finance committee, created “a financial model designed to provide significant tax relief by returning excess surplus to taxpayers in a thoughtful, phased manner while ensuring that adequate funds would be available to fulfill educational priorities.”

One of his accomplishments during his time on the board, he said, was building consensus for that financial plan. “I have taken a lead role in steering the board, the school district and the community through a difficult and volatile period for school districts in New Jersey.  The result has been a "soft landing" of lower tax rates and continued investment in education.

He said he hopes that work has earned him another term. “I am running for a second term to continue this important work.  We need to continue on a course toward financial stability and sustainability,” he said. “Working with my fellow Board members and administrators I believe we are on the right path and look forward to playing a key role as we guide the district forward.”

Among the district’s top priorities, Waters said, is to successfully complete contract negotiations with teachers and making sure it doesn’t box the board in for future budgets.

Other priorities include beginning a more formal strategic planning process led by the Administration and that includes community involvement, Waters said. “The Board will play a role in the process and ultimately will have final authority to adopt whatever initiatives come out of the process,” he said. “But make no mistake that the process will be led by educators, which is how it should be. And importantly, it will signal a renewed focus on academic matters, now that we have the team in place to address them.”

Waters also wants the board to update its policy manual – since “it is document that codifies what we do, it is important that it is up-to-date and relevant,” because it’s essential to a well-run board.

Waters has also said the board, the district and the public needs to re-refocus on the positive.

 “… There is a silver lining: Budget constraints have made us more willing to accept change,” he said. “If we handle things properly, when we come out the other side, we’ll be better off.”

LDSF April 26, 2011 at 12:08 PM
Jean, your devoted involvement in Millburn community possesses you the position of the school board. It is a sacrifice to serve on the board with no pay, includes lots of responsibility and draw criticism on a regular basis. Your positive thinking with issues on budget process, called for advisory council, board communication with community, tackling bullying and hazing issues, teen mentoring program are evidence of your intellectual ability, managerial and leadership potentials. Your way of taking the high road leads you to a bright success!
MarkDS April 26, 2011 at 12:16 PM
Pasternak - Truitt - Waters are my choices
Voter April 26, 2011 at 12:33 PM
Having watched the Pasternack videos, I remain at a loss as to what initiatives the candidate is behind. For example, her last video analysis of the budget and vague general observations as to a need for a vision and oversight. However, she provided no indication of initiatives, programs or policies she intends to support or look to de-fund. It is not for lack of available information (which she claims) as the 30+ page budget was posted on edline and on Patch for over three plus weeks.
newleaf April 26, 2011 at 12:53 PM
@ Voter: I am sorry but I have watched all of the candidate videos and she has the most meat behind hers..... I am wondering if you are for real..... What other candidate has actually taken the time to study the budget and come up with detailed analysis? I actually found her depth of knowledge amazing--I was so impressed! (...and worried about how we got here!).... Jean Pasternak is REALLY qualified--impressively qualified. Pasternak, Truitt---but not sure about vote #3. I like Debbie Fox as a person--I know her well. I like that Waters has continuity on his side but have found him to be disingenuous on occasion. I also think he adds to the nasty boys-club climate that this Board has become known for...... He is better than many of the others but I find he says what you want to hear and then does whatever he was always going to do.... For me, that's a turn off. I think Jay Mattlin is not qualified--sorry--maybe in time. His grasps of our issues is superficial and I think he is the candidate that would require the biggest ramp up. Regina Truitt has been active in the community for a long time and I think she does appear to be an independent thinker. It will REALLY bum me out if I vote for her and she joins the "boys club." It's not that I want her or Pasternak to be on the outside--but we need leaders on this board. Ethical, principled and not ego invested like the current BOE. So--Pasternak and Truitt----with #3 open.
MarkDS April 26, 2011 at 12:57 PM
Fox has done some good things during her term. Her issues with the ridiculous naming policy helped to improve it. But at the end of her day her advocacy for higher tax hikes just makes her the wrong candidate for these times.
newleaf April 26, 2011 at 01:00 PM
Trying to make up my mind, here, and curious.... Does it bother you at all that under Waters we "found" money? I am worried he is not doing enough due diligence.... If I re-elect him. I hope he will bring Jean Pasternak on board on the Finance Committee because I see lots of room for improvement on the oversight of the accounting. I know it's not "his" job to do the spreadsheets but he has not impressed me as a person who is willing to look under the hood. I will give him credit for his "road show" with the Superintendent. He does a nice job of explaining the budget but I think when you look under the hood a little, it's a lot of fluff. I have been looking at the other towns handling of the budget and found they were much more willing to go after the fat in the budget before cutting the big ticket items. I heard one of the BOE candidates say it was easy to cut a category/line item but much harder to make everyone be accountable for every dollar. (I think it was Pasternak)...... Wondering too why he was not the one to introduce zero based budgeting? Wondering too if this is just a function of it being his first term--maybe on term #2 he will step it up even more. Anyway---I think you are well read and well informed and would love your perspective as I try to narrow down my #3 vote. Thank you,
The Bus stops Here April 26, 2011 at 01:12 PM
The Item said it best. http://www.northjersey.com/news/opinions/hard-choices.html In difficult budget times, would you rather have a financial conservative like Waters or the self proclaimed "tax and spend" Fox. As for Pasternak, where was her conservative approach when she was helping prop up the days of spend spend spend Dr. Browdow. Late to the party, but nice to have her change her tune. I hope its for real.
MarkDS April 26, 2011 at 01:16 PM
I am not all that concerned with the insurance situation. The Millburn Board of Education is a pretty big fiscal entity and things like that will happen. I think once it was brought to light it was handled well. There was no practical way to return it to taxpayers immediately as some screamed for, and it would just have been taken back anyway. And large surpluses were the way districts operated for quite a while and why the state eventually cracked down. I think Millburn has done quite well in the transition. Every election is about the needs at that moment. As I said above, Fox has done good things on the Board but right now is fiscally out of step. At another time maybe I would be more concerned about Waters sometimes prickly personality, but right now we need his fiscal knowledge. Generally one person's fluff is another's meat. If you look at the budget there is not a whole lot of clear fluff. Going forward we need someone who knows the ins and outs of the budget. And with two impressive seeming rookies in Truitt and Pasternak seeming to be headed for election we need the skilled veteran Waters to complement them. It is hard to remember but the beginning of Waters term on the Board was almost a different era. Could he have done some things differently - sure. But I am pretty pleased by how the budget process has gone this year (and I hope the budget passes).
MK April 26, 2011 at 01:21 PM
@ GSK--can you tell me more about this? I don't understand why you say se was propping up Dr. Brodow? Not sure that makes any sense? What was she supposed to be doing--arguing with him about money? She was not on the board. @ Mark--I think you are probably right about Fox but I do also think she is more likely to vote for more due diligence in a program cut.
newleaf April 26, 2011 at 01:23 PM
Mark: Thanks for responding.
M.Moore April 26, 2011 at 02:30 PM
I agree with Voter about the Pasternak video and presentations. It's a lot of talk, but I don't see the "meat" as you put it, newleaf. And I have serious concerns about her priorities. Also, I think there is a place on the BOE for differing POVs. We got into trouble in the past because we didn't have different POVs. I want someone on the board who will be a contrarian and go against the mainstream. Right now, the BOE is fiscally conservative and I like that, but I think there is a place to challenge the rest of the board and I think Debbie Fox does that. I think Jeff Waters has done a great job with the budget. For me, it's Waters, Fox and probably Truitt.
newleaf April 26, 2011 at 03:19 PM
Ok, well, personal preference then..... Everyone is entitled to their opinion and their vote.... Have to say though that Jean Pasternak seemed very much the independent voice. I also hate this talk about "priorities" as it is a veiled dig at her work with m-spec. I have no idea why people see that as a negative---it's part of a broad portfolio of successful work across many areas that benefit the entire community. Have you ever been to one of the amazing presentations about positive parenting, or how to do homework etc? That's all m-spec....that's all Jean. Special education funds are federally mandated so it's not as though Jean is going to be there to "protect" that interest---if anything, she's been on the record as saying she'd rather shift some of those dollars to programs up at the earlier years given how much more effective earlier intervention proves to be..... I like Debbie Fox personally, I do. I'd pick her over Waters---or so I think. I am just not sure at this time. I guess I don't think Jeff has done that great a job with the budget. I don't. If he had, we would not be "finding" dollars every year and yet cutting programs like busing, but leaving fat ala the $200K for overtime janitors. One of our neighboring townships went wild when they found out they had $40K in overtime custodial help and outsourced it--we have $200K and turn to busing instead....or half day K. So I remain iffy on him and iffy on Deb. Will continue to read to make up my mind.
newleaf April 26, 2011 at 03:24 PM
A suggestion for anyone trying to make up their mind---watch the candidate debates. I spent one afternoon doing that and really got much more informed as a result. To me--the first one was the most telling. Jeff Waters turned into a bully beating at Deb Fox for not knowing the facts--and in fact. she did not know the facts. I am not sure which was a more embarrassing presentation--he beating on her, and her meriting it! I'd say they both lost points in that--with maybe Jeff coming out a little better--in a bully sort of way. Jay just kept talking about the town's "crown jewel" which cracked me up as I kept envisioning "family jewels' every time he said it. Regina--well--she's sort of safe. She did not come across as impressively intelligent or qualified ala Jean but she did seem solid. Jean was a dynamo--she clearly won the debate. Her command of facts was amazing. I have a sense she turns some men off because she's a powerful female who calls "bull" when she sees it. I found her most impressive and I like Truitt too. It's #3 I am stuck with....
an informed voter April 26, 2011 at 03:27 PM
Debbie Fox makes good decisions when she is given good information. She has not been provided clear facts of current state of finances by Jeff. Regina has wisdom and experience, Jean has integrity and finance information and the ability to communicate effectively. The three women would be a powerful addition to the current board and change the bullying men's club perspective. Plus, there would be a premium on long term planning.
Contrarian April 26, 2011 at 03:29 PM
@M. Moore I agree with your assessment the videos are short on specifics. It is not clear what Pasternack's priorities are. @newleaf Mine is not a veiled reference to mspec as I had to Google it before responding. My concern with the BOE in general is the lack of transparency as to initiatives Heck, calling the and their true (and full) cost. Heck, imposing $580/student (or is it $680) busing fee and ignoring that it is in effect a 3% increase in property tax is pure spinning that the board does not need.
newleaf April 26, 2011 at 03:32 PM
Oooh, good point. I do LOVE the idea of voting for there women.....I think it would be beneficial to break that "good old boys club". I think I just made up my mind-thank you. For me, it's Truitt, Pasternak and Fox.
Contrarian April 26, 2011 at 03:54 PM
"Oooh, good point. I do LOVE the idea of voting for there women.....I think it would be beneficial to break that "good old boys club"." That's offensive. I assume the spirit of your comment was voting for "three newcomers" is favorable to "three incumbents."
JFC April 26, 2011 at 04:12 PM
So well said, Informed Voter. Waters has made it impossible for the Board or the Taxpayers to make informed decisions! And whoever it is that said $1.5 million errors happen - if the budget wasn't so overstated, we ALL (including Fox) would have seen there was an overstated expense of $1.5 mil. If $1.5 million is okay - whose going to catch the smaller items? Maybe we do need a forensic accountant to sniff it all out. Even if re-elected, Waters needs some time away from the money. Let someone fresh go in to see what's been going on.
M OKeef April 26, 2011 at 07:47 PM
The Board of Ed is defined by the views of the BOE members who are in the majority consensus. (And currently, as noted above, the majority is seen as the "Boys Network".) I do think it is very possible this election could change the "majority consensus" position on the Board of Education which makes this a very important election. I'm very curious to see what the majority within our community decide -- will this be a vote for BOE status quo or a vote for BOE to go in a different direction? How big will the turnout be?
LPB April 26, 2011 at 09:01 PM
Without adaption to a changing environment, most species will become extinct or companies close shop. Time to make a change on our Board or we may find ourselves looking at the back end of the new lead dogs in NJ education. From the NY State Dept of Education website- What makes a good school board member? EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATOR – Can describe she wants and describe what others want; a good listener CONCENSUS BUILDER – Capable of working toward decisions that all can support and willing to compromise to achieve that goal COMMUNITY PARTICIPANT – Enjoys meeting a variety of people, can identify the community’s key communicators and reaches out to the community DECISION MAKER – Knows her own as well as others’ decision-making styles, can support group decision-making INFORMATION PROCESSOR – Can organize priorities and schedules to handle lots of information LEADER – Willing to take risks, be supportive of board colleagues, district staff and community TEAM PLAYER – Helps promote the board’s vision and goals There is nothing about needing to have your children in public schools or regular classrooms that makes someone an effective Board Member. Both of these "concerns" have been raised about Jean Pasternak. This is hogwash! What we need is someone who embodies those characteristics noted above. Who we need is Jean Pasternak. Please vote!
The Bus stops Here April 26, 2011 at 09:33 PM
If only Fox ran the finance committee, everything would be right with the world. The fact that fox did not even know how many teachers were being reduced should disqualify her from the election. Its not that she is not getting the information, shes just not paying attention. Waters has helped guide the board back to fiscal responsibility, although there is still work to be done. His service to the comunity should be commended.
M.Moore April 26, 2011 at 09:41 PM
It is not hogwash to be concerned about a candidate's priorities. It does matter to me what someone's stake is in the district. You may disagree, but calling opinions different than yours as "hogwash" is wrong. It's that kind of rhetoric that we don't need more of - we've had too much of it in the past. I see that some people are passionate about their support for Jean, great for her, but I'm not one of them.
M.Moore April 26, 2011 at 09:45 PM
To me, the subscription busing is not an increase in property taxes - it is a user fee and unlike my property taxes it isn't mandatory. We are affected by it, and we have a choice to make. But it is our choice to make - we pay the $580 or we find another option. Calling it a property tax increase is also spinning it the wrong way.
Larry April 26, 2011 at 09:46 PM
I'm supporting Waters - Pasternack - Truitt. I lost all respect for Fox after her ridiculous (and unfair) statement regarding punishment as documented in this article http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/22/nyregion/22hazing.html
LPB April 26, 2011 at 09:57 PM
I certainly did not mean to offend by using the term "hogwash" but it seems much ado about nothing. Jean is a taxpayer like everyone else running. Could we not also say that a candidate with only high schoolers would be less concerned about pre-school or elementary school. Sending your child to a private school is not an indictment of the public school but rather- at least to me- shows the parent is trying to match their child's learning style and personality to the right school. Which might not be a public school. I have a daughter who was very shy and we were concerned when she transitioned to middle school that she would get lost in the crowd. We applied to a smaller, single sex school but she was not accepted because we thought she would do better in that type of environment. Not having other options, she went to the middle school. She had a bumpy ride but survived- thrived? probably not. Personally, I would like to see even more diversity on the board with retirees or college-aged members. This helps brings a richness to ideas and the outcome can often times be even more positive as people with various perspectives come to the table. Why are we equating children in private schools as not setting as a high priority the town she lives in. It helps housing values, attracts families that value education. All positives. Help me understand why priorities would be impacted by having children in another school?
M.Moore April 26, 2011 at 10:07 PM
It is all in the priorities, Kodachrome, and for a variety of reasons and because of my priorities I have chosen to vote for different candidates.
LDSF April 27, 2011 at 03:24 AM
M.More "To me, the subscription busing is not an increase in property taxes - it is a user fee and unlike my property taxes it isn't mandatory. " "Thank you in advance for the burden you are about to undertake. You are the first, new "deep-pockets" our Board of Education has targeted, the ones who will be funding more and more of our school district's expenses in coming years. It starts with "subscription busing," a gentle term to soften the blow of this regressive tax." Viewpoint: You can call it a fee; it is still a tax Thursday, April 14, 2011 http://www.northjersey.com/news/opinions/119821694_You_can_call_it_a_fee__it_is_still_a_tax. html
LDSF April 27, 2011 at 03:30 AM
A fee may be compulsorily levied as well as tax, but the distinction between them lies primarily in the fact that a tax is levied as a part of the common burden while a fee is a payment for special benefit or privilege. Read more: http://www.bukisa.com/articles/339711_tax-or-fee-meaning-and-difference#ixzz1Kgsw1jm7
LDSF April 27, 2011 at 03:37 AM
" restricting their power to accomplish their goals with your money. What to do, what to do? Simple - creatively define their way out of the restrictions; impose fees, instead of raising taxes - no need to ask the voters first; then just transfer the collected revenue (the ol’ shell game) into the general fund, so as to avoid those pesky restrictions on spending the money only on the “particular governmental service” for which the fee was collected." It is a fee and it is a tax.
SS April 27, 2011 at 12:51 PM
For me any candidate who says that we should go for a 2% increase in Budget simply because that is what is allowed is a strict no no. In the real business world, no budgeting is done this way. You budget for what you need and not what you can get! Also, busing fees is not tax but user fees - you use you pay. For me that rules out Fox and Mattlin.

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