California Politics Commission rules in favor of school district
TRUCKEE/TAHOE andamp;#8212; The school district and its superintendent did not commit election violations earlier this year regarding the Measure A parcel tax, the California Fair Political Practices Commission has ruled.andamp;#8220;After a thorough review by the CFPPC, the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District was officially exonerated from any alleged misconduct during the Measure A parcel tax campaign, according to a letter received by district counsel last week,andamp;#8221; officials said in a Monday press release from Switchback Public Relations and Marketing.Superintendent Steve Jennings said he was not surprised and was pleased with the commission’s ruling.andamp;#8220;The district was confident that there was no wrongdoing, but it was nice to get the official word,andamp;#8221; he said in a statement. andamp;#8220;The Measure A campaign committee put their hearts and souls into the campaign, and it’s great for them and the voters to have this cloud removed from the process.andamp;#8221;In April, the Sun reported that part-time Truckee resident Denny Dickinson had filed a complaint with the commission, alleging TTUSD had violated the state’s Political Reform Act when it mailed letters, signed by Jennings and dated Feb. 14, 2011, stating seniors were exempt from the Measure A parcel tax.andamp;#8220;I took this letter as a notice that I should vote for Measure A and then be legally exempted from that tax,andamp;#8221; Dickinson said in an e-mail to the Sierra Sun, according to an April 20 story.The state political commission’s decision to no longer investigate means TTUSD did not take a political stance when issuing the letters.According to the commission’s May 12 letter, it ruled the letters andamp;#8220;did not meet the express advocacy test.andamp;#8221; According to the commission’s rules regarding express advocacy, communication made in support of, or in opposition to, a ballot measure is subject to disclosure requirements.andamp;#8220;After review of the evidence of this matter … we are closing our file on this matter,andamp;#8221; said Jeanette E. Turvill, the commission’s political reform consultant, in the letter.Dickinson could not be reached for comment.Jennings said the district is lucky to have so many supportive parents and community members who were proud to be a part of the Measure A parcel tax and its benefit to students.Tahoe-Truckee residents approved the renewal of Measure A by a two-thirds majority (by a 2 percent margin) in a March 8 special election, raising the parcel tax’s annual rate from $98 to $135.The district said the funds directly benefit public school K-12 students who reside within the district’s boundaries. Measure A dollars continue to fund the programs, staff and equipment that have been in place since 1989. The new rate begins with the 2012-13 fiscal year.