David R. Henderson  

Teaching the Children by Example

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Here's a letter I had published in today's Monterey Herald. What's important is not so much the measure being debated and voted on, but the way the local school district used our money. It was the lead letter in the Herald and I like the title the Herald's editors gave my letter.

Compensate taxpayers for costly mailing

The Pacific Grove Unified School District has gone too far. It has sent out a mailing, at taxpayers' expense, telling why Measure A is needed. Measure A, if passed, would raise taxes on property in Pacific Grove. The employees and board members of PGUSD have every right to use their own resources to urge people to vote for the tax increase. But they have no right to use our money. This is especially galling for those of us who oppose the tax increase and yet are having to pay to be propagandized.

We hear that the tax increase is for education for the children. But the most important thing we can do for children is teach them right from wrong. PGUSD, it seems, does not know right from wrong.

By using our tax money, and probably breaking the law in the process, PGUSD has lost any claim to the moral high ground. Superintendent Ralph Porras and board members Debbie Crandell, John Paff, Bill Phillips, Tony Sollecito and John Thibeau, all of whose names are on the mailing, should resign in shame. And they should personally compensate Pacific Grove taxpayers for the expensive mailing.

Comments and Sharing

COMMENTS (5 to date)
Bostonian writes:

I have children in the public schools. When there is a proposal to raise taxes for school construction, parents are sent many emails about "informational sessions" where only the case for the construction is made. The teacher's union has emailed all parents asking for support in getting a better contract. I complained to the superintendent about this, and he agreed that this crossed the line regarding the use of public resources for political lobbying.

Critics of excessive spending on schools need to get equal access to parent email lists.

RPLong writes:

I recently received a mailer from the Keller ISD campaigning for a new bond, which will appear on the ballot this year. A similar thought crossed my mind. Perhaps they would have more money to spend on schools if they spent less of it running political campaigns that not all of us endorse.

Thomas Lee writes:

Great comeback David!

The Pacific Grove school district clearly crossed the line. But there are many such taxpayer-funded mailings from local governments in California that aren't nearly as brazen--but still have the same spirit.

For example, flyers put out by this government organization:


make it known what side it's on (pro Monterey CA tax increase initiative).

MG writes:

I echo what others have said. and also note that many public sector union members could feel similarly aggrived about how their fees are being used to advance policies they do not believe in, and they may even be hurt by. Their complaints may not yet have the same legal standing as yours, but may be in time.

Zeke writes:


Ironically, the due paying members have greater legal standing. The SCOTUS long has denied taxpayer standing qua taxpayer. They claim the person seeking suit must have a specialized harm disticint from misuse of general revenue, etc.

Legal scholars, such as Richard Epstien, criticize this standing impediment. Epstien prefers borrowing derivative/direct suits from the private law of corporations. In his view, we are all SHs of the government corporation.

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