The election is next Tuesday, in case you have forgotten, which would be almost impossible for anyone watching or reading the news.
Non-presidential elections too often provoke a yawn reflex in potential voters, but this one is different, in large part due to those aforementioned current events. Political division tainted with extreme violence have invaded our personal space, and there is at least the possibility this mid-term confrontation will bring out the best in citizens — in the form of taking the time to vote.
Who you choose to represent you at various levels of government is your business, a personal thing really. That’s why in recent years we have steered clear of making recommendations on the human element in any election.
However, we will and have made recommendations on local ballot measures, because their success or failure is of vital importance, whether or not you exercise your right to vote.
Of specific interest today are the school bond and taxing measures for local voters. We’ll start with the school-related proposals.
Measures affecting three mid-county school districts are on Tuesday’s ballot, and here is our take on their value and purpose:
The Buellton Union School District is seeking a parcel tax increase through Measure A, the proceeds of which will help the district bring various student programs, overall technology and basic facilities more up-to-date. The parcel tax is different in that in places a flat tax on every parcel in the district. In the BUSD’s case, the fee would be $99 per parcel per year.
We recommend a “yes” vote on Measure A, because we are not aware of a school district in this region that does not need financial help to bring programs and facilities up to date. And, $99 a year per parcel for such improvements is a small price to pay.
The Lompoc Unified School District is seeking voter approval of bond Measure E, which has managed to stir a lot of discussion within the community.
Perhaps “stir a lot of discussion” is a tad understated. Many Lompoc citizens are adamant in their opposition to Measure E, with the main concern seeming to be the district’s lack of a specified plan for spending the bond proceeds.
We disagree. The district has made available a detailed list of projects, and the majority of the upgrades aren’t really optional — if Lompoc citizens want their children to have a safe, worthwhile education.
We strongly recommend a “yes” vote on Measure E.
Just as we do for Allan Hancock College’s bond Measure Y, which seeks approval for $75 million in campus upgrades.
Measure Y affects mid-county residents in many ways. It helps the Solvang Festival Theatre. It helps satellite campus operations in Solvang and Lompoc, including the Public Safety Training Complex.
Hancock College is one of the Central Coast’s major assets, and funds from Measure Y will make it even better.
The cities of Solvang and Lompoc have cannabis tax questions on the ballot, in the form of Measure F in Solvang, and Measure D in Lompoc.
We recommend “yes” votes on both measures, not because they are the perfect tax devices, but because each city should have the ability to set taxation levels.
The question of how best to manage and regulate a growing cannabis industry at the local level is still a work in progress, but it should be up to the cities and their citizens.
As we mentioned earlier, non-presidential elections can be yawners, but the one next Tuesday won’t be. Do your part and vote.