Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - April 29, 2011

Support local journalism

As noted in our news story on page 5, we our launching our "Support Local Journalism" membership campaign today to give our readers an opportunity to support the Pleasanton Weekly and our work to provide this community with ongoing, up-to-date stories, photos and features both online on a daily basis and with our Friday print edition delivered by mail and to newsstands. Through a letter to all Pleasanton residents and a print and online advertising campaign, the Weekly is aiming to replace the recession-driven decline in print advertising with membership subscriptions from the people who value local journalism -- you, our loyal readers.

As the public increasingly turns to online sites to stay informed about the community, and as businesses rocked by the recession suspend their advertising or turn to inexpensive marketing alternatives, the traditional business model that has allowed local journalism to be primarily supported through advertising is quickly evaporating. These changes threaten the viability of quality local journalism everywhere, including in our community.

Recent surveys show that our print and online readership is greater than ever, that Pleasanton residents increasingly turn to Friday's Pleasanton Weekly, our online edition and especially to "Pleasanton Express," an email report that is sent free of charge at 8 a.m. Monday through Friday to anyone who signs up for this service. But rather than requiring a newspaper subscription fee or restricting our website to paid subscribers, we are hoping that Pleasanton residents will step up to fund the quality local journalism that we create day in and day out. To sign up for a monthly payment program of at least $5 per month (17 cents a day), return the form being mailed to residents this week, or call our office at 600-0840 or go to www.SupportLocalJournalism.org/Pleasanton. Subscribing members will be sent a Support Local Journalism bumper sticker and a choice of a coffee mug, T-shirt or shopping bag, plus receive special offers and invitations to member events.

Vote Yes on Measure E

Ballots on Measure E, the school district's proposed $98 a year parcel tax, must be mailed in time to be received by at the Alameda County Registrar's office by close of business Tuesday, May 3. Postmarks will not count, so those who have yet to vote should make sure their ballots get in the mail today, or tomorrow at the latest and before the post office closes. If approved by two-thirds of the votes cast in this special mail-in ballot election, each parcel of taxable real property in the school district will be assessed $98 a year for a total of four years. Debi Covello of the Pleasanton Partnerships in Education Foundation reminds us that Pleasanton schools are ranked among the best in the state. Most are California Distinguished Schools, National Blue Ribbon Schools and National Schools of Character. More than 90% of our students go on to college.

Faced with a budget deficit of $7.7 million, the school district needs this parcel tax to continue quality education in Pleasanton. We cannot allow Pleasanton's high-performing schools to decline. As parents, students and property owners in Pleasanton, it is in our collective interest to continue having schools that are among the best in the state, that attract and retain highly qualified teachers, that stress continued improvement in math, science and reading skills, that keep school libraries open and class sizes as low as the district can afford. Measure E mandates that no funds from the parcel tax can be used to increase teacher or administrator salaries or benefits, and establishes an independent oversight committee to review the use of the funds and report its findings publicly. If you've been waiting to decide how you'll vote, we urge you to vote Yes on Measure E and to mail your completed ballot now.

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