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Protest at Charlie Munger and Mandy Lowell's House -- PHOTOS

Original post made by Cal Teachers, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Nov 2, 2012

The Los Angeles Times covered the protest at Charlie Munger and Mandy Lowell's Hamilton Avenue home yesterday. Charlie and Mandy gave $35 million to destroy public education in California by defeating Proposition 30, which will cut billions from public education. [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language.]

I am not sure why the Weekly won't cover this story, but here is a link to the LA Times coverage: Web Link

"The day after Halloween, conservative donor Charles Munger Jr. had some visitors less friendly than trick-or-treaters.

A group of protesters gathered outside his Palo Alto home on Thursday, waving signs and leaving fake bags of money on his doorstep."

Why are you not covering a story of tremendous local interest? Worried about offending a billionaire? Maybe they'll go after you like they did Jerry Brown? Was burying coverage of the Lowell-Munger's efforts spend their billions to cut funding for our schools by burying it in a story about the death penalty not enough -- now you have to delete a legitimate public effort to cover the story?

California's students, teachers, public colleges, nurses, and hospitals deserve better than this.

Comments (42)

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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 2, 2012 at 11:57 am

I don't know why everyone automatically assumes that Mandy Lowell was also part of this donation to fight Prop 30. Mandy has been a passionate support of education for years.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Wow
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Nov 2, 2012 at 11:59 am

Seems like news to me.


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Posted by Wow
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Nov 2, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Mandy Lowell and Charles Munger are married to each other. Didn't you read the story?


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Posted by Thanks for posting this
a resident of Monroe Park
on Nov 2, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Dear Palo Alto Online: this is news that deserves to be seen by the Mungers neighbors. It is truly local news. Thanks for leaving it up so that we can see what some of our neighbors are up to.


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Posted by Cal Teachers
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Looks like many PAUSD PTA members were lured into opposing Prop 30 by these billionaire insiders, just like our school board: Web Link

"Palo Alto PTA volunteers aim to collect at least 2,000 signatures [for the Munger's competing Prop 38]. Statewide, the PTA has pledged to come up with 100,000 signatures, and Munger has said she will fund a paid signature-gathering effort for the balance needed to qualify for November's ballot.

The Munger initiative "really does reflect the priorities parents have been expressing to the PTA for years," said local signature organizer Sigrid Pinsky, vice-president of advocacy for the Palo Alto Council of PTAs.

"We've gotten behind the right initiative. It's a really good bill from the PTA's point of view," Pinsky said.


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 2, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Don't believe Jerry Brown or the 38 backers. Sure - that money will be guaranteed for education. However - the other money coming from the state is not. They'll just take that money instead.

I already voted no on both propositions. CA governor and legislature up to their usual shell game.


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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 2, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Wow - I realize Mandy and Charles are married and I don't know whether Mandy supports 30. 38, both or neither. Just don't assume that because people are married they have the same political beliefs.


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Posted by resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 2, 2012 at 12:39 pm

I did not know that Prop 32 and Prop 38 were brother and sister propositions to defeat Prop 30. Sounds like a sneaky conspiracy to me. I'm voting no on both. Yes on 30.


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Posted by She does indeed
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Nov 2, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Pamom Mandy Lowell-Munger opposes 30 basing that off what she said to the school board on Aug 21 and Sept 4 when she told them to endorse 38 and that it was better than 30 which she said would not really help education. Then after that she and her hubby spent 35 million trashing 30. Do you think Charlie spent 35 million without telling his wife? [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 2, 2012 at 1:01 pm

This is important news - for locals, state residents, students, teachers - everyone who has kids, pays taxes & cares about our state & the future of education.

People natter on that Prop 30 $$ doesn't all go directly to the classroom. True - some of the $$ will pay for other school costs.

People say that the Mungers value education. Perhaps they don't value it in the same manner as many of us - that's their right. But pouring MILLIONS to forward their personal agenda is wrong. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Paly Dad
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 2, 2012 at 1:08 pm

I was surprised to read in the post above that the PTA council is also involved with the Munger Initiative. I thought the "T" in PTA stood for teachers. Why isn't the PTA Council advocating alongside the CA Teacher's Association for Prop 30? Were they also duped by Mandy Lowell? Prop 38 is failing in the polls and Prop 30 is polling at 48% thanks to the Munger $mear campaign. If Prop 30 fails PAUSD can dip into our reserves to make up the $5 million shortfall. Less affluent districts, state universities and community colleges do not have reserves and will have to lay off teachers and cut programs. It is unconscionable that our wealthy community with impunity may play a major role in devastating cuts to statewide education. Can the local PTA's get the message out to support 30?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hays mom of 2
a resident of Walter Hays School
on Nov 2, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Can someone explain how not passing Prop 30 will hurt PAUSD? I thought we get all our money from property taxes. (of course I support Prop 30 for the whole state).


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Posted by I know Mandy
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm

She has always been a supporter of public schools. Her children attended PAUSD, not private schools. There must be more to Prop. 30 than the general public realizes. These propositions are usually more complex than three-sentence summaries.


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Posted by Confused
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 2, 2012 at 1:29 pm

I do not understand why supporters of public schools would oppose Prop 30. Prop 38 seemed like it was reasonable alternative way to fund schools, but it appears to have no chance of passing. That leaves us with Prop 30 as our only chance to avoid severe cuts to public schools throughout the state.Vh
I undertand why our PTA Council made a decision initially to support Prop 30, even if it was not a wise political decision in hindsight. However, I would be shocked and disappointed if they did not support Prop 30 now. Does anyone know the current position of our PTAC?


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Posted by Cal Teachers
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Both Mandy Lowell and Charles Munger are registered Republicans which is their right. What does not seem right is that Charlie is spending his wealth to both preserve his own privilege and to prevent regular people -- nurses, janitors, teachers, and other middle class families -- from being able to talk back. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Gunn parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Nov 2, 2012 at 2:28 pm

@Hays mom, I think your question might be covered by Paly Dad. We get money from the state for specific programs not for general funding. Some of that ($5 million) will be lost if Prop 30 fails. The budget already takes that money out and replaces it with money from our reserves (a rainy day fund, basically). If Prop 30 passes, the district can replace the money we are spending out of our reserves. If not we will run out of money in the reserves in a year or two and have to start cutting services. Most other districts don't have reserves and are not basic aid so they will have cuts immediately.
Short answer: We are spending our reserves if Prop 30 fails and will run dry soon, and then start cutting. (all with a big disclaimer that I am not an expert and this is what I have read)
You didn't ask me but this is terrible and Mandy Lowell and Charles Munger should be apologizing to the community and the state for doing this to all of us.


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Posted by Thanks for posting this
a resident of Monroe Park
on Nov 2, 2012 at 2:58 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Thanks again to Cal Teachers for sending Palo Alto news via Los Angeles! And thanks to the Weekly for not deleting this very timely and informative news. As voters we need to be fully informed in this very important election.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2012 at 3:23 pm

California State PTA is a supporter of Proposition 38. I was one of the many PTA volunteers who asked people to sign the petition to get Proposition 38 on the ballot. From what I recall, signatures were also needed to put Proposition 30 on the ballot. At the time we were clearly instructed to tell people it did not mean they had to vote for it, it just meant that they would have the opportunity to do so. This was back in March/April. Much has been learned about both propositions since then. Most of the people I know who are voting, are voting for both to insure that one wins.


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Posted by trick or treat
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 2, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Would the PTA have supported 38 if they had known that Lowell and Munger were going to spend $35,000,000 in a negative campaign against prop 30 and maybe more secret shadow funding through AZ? Everyone knew that 30 was the only one with a chance and in a fit of pique Mandy Lowell and Charlie Munger decided to take your ball and go home.


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Posted by just ask
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2012 at 4:23 pm

15 people, trespassing on private property, with a sign that says "Tax the Rich."

Were they:
- Pro-Prop 30, which provides no new money to schools? or
- Anti-tax since the other education measure on the ballot, Prop 38, that actually gives money - lots of it - to schools would increase their taxes by 0.4%?
- Union members unhappy about something else on the ballot?

It is very hard to decouple protesters' motivations just as it is hard to know exactly why people give money for and against various propositions. Why doesn't someone just ask Charles Munger what he was thinking? It would save everyone from having to guess.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by I know Mandy
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 2, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Aquamarine: Ha, you do make a valid point, but no one on this thread is posting any real evidence as to why 30 is good, so I'm assuming people are taking it at face value.

Cal Teachers: Who cares if their money was inherited or earned on their own? It's a pointless argument.

Mandy is modest and I'll bet they have donated a lot to PiE but don't want the recognition.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by What now?
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 2, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Ok folks I get that we are all mad at Lowell and Munger. If I had them in my Christmas card list I would delete them. Beyond getting mad what can we do for 30? Any bright ideas?


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Posted by get the hip boots, boys and girls this is getting deep
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 2, 2012 at 4:42 pm

--Prop 30 will provide billions of dollars for public education and prevent drastic cuts. After years of cuts, our schools still face a $6 billion dollar budget deficit this year. If we do nothing, the cuts will get deeper. Prop. 30 stops the cuts, provides billions in new funding for our schools starting this year --- supporting everything from smaller class sizes to afterschool programs.


--Prop 30 is funded by a tax on the wealthiest 1% of couples -- Families making below $500,000 a year will pay no additional income taxes. I wonder why Charlie and Mandy don't want want this?

--Under Prop 30, all the money goes into a dedicated account the legislature can't touch: Under Prop. 30, the money raised for schools is directed into a dedicated fund for public schools that the legislature can't touch. None of the money can be used for state bureaucracy.


--yes Mandy is so modest she didn't even want all of us to know that it was her $35 million dollars that funded the negative campaign against Prop 30. No braggart, she.

I think it is very relevant that we are talking about billions of inherited wealth rather than earned. Bill Gates earned his money and he wants provide education for the poor. When people have to work for what they have they appreciate the importance of education.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bring back Pat
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Nov 2, 2012 at 4:44 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Aquamarine
a resident of Stanford
on Nov 2, 2012 at 4:59 pm

I Know Mandy - 30 isn't perfect and I understand concerns about it. My overall concern isn't the propositions itself; it is that just a few people feel entitled to, and perhaps are managing to, derail it, thus shaping politics to their own ends and affecting millions of people. Then, there are the mysterious monies from Arizona, which a judge has ok'd the investigation into. It is not acceptable for out of state money to affect education and politics in our state.

Vote your conscience after performing due diligence for this election, but if you believe your friend's actions are acceptable, especially in conjunction with all of the other mysterious moving parts to this, I invite you to reconsider your perspective.


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Posted by Confused
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 2, 2012 at 5:01 pm

I Googled Mandy and Charles Munger Jr.
In addition to the many millions they funded to defeat Prop 30, up popped a bunch of stories that they and the Koch brothers are the biggest funders in favor of Prop 32. This is looking really bad. The Koch brothers are the biggest far right supporters of the Tea Party.
Does anyone know what's behind these mega donations? Does the Palo Alto teachers assotiation knows that our former school board member is the biggest opponent to them on the two initiatives that are most critical to the CTA?


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Posted by Paly Dad
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 2, 2012 at 5:08 pm

In regards to Prop 30 vs 38 here is a link to Karen Klein,"Memo to Molly Munger: Quit now to save the schools", LA times article, Nov 1, 2012
Web Link

The article explains the differences between Prop 30 and 38. Prop 30 collects taxes through sales tax and taxing the wealthy while Prop 38 taxes everyone. Prop 30 is also broader based in that it funds college as well as K-12. Prop 38 does not fund colleges.

"Proposition 30 is a superior measure on several fronts. It would avoid trigger cuts that would cause immediate and drastic harm to schools, which would probably be forced to cut the school year by up to three weeks, as well as $250 million in cuts to the University of California and an equal amount to the California State University system.

Beyond that, one aspect of Proposition 30 that has been little noticed is that it also provides money for community colleges; right now, more than 200,000 students at those colleges cannot find a seat in a single class, let alone enough courses or the courses they need to graduate. There's little point to rescuing only K-12 schools when the graduates would have nowhere to go."

Prop 38 has no chance of winning. What a travesty for public education if Prop 30 goes down.


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Posted by Aquamarine
a resident of Stanford
on Nov 2, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Confused - in all seriousness, why don't you see if you can find an email address and ask them?

They are in cahoots with mysterious monies from Arizona, which is currently being investigated. You may want to read the San Jose Mercury News, which has some good stories on their political funding activities, specifically Munger, Jr. and his sister. They are being compared to the Koch brothers, except that so far, they've kept their focus on manipulating state politics, not national. But perhaps that's their next step. Note that sibling Molly Munger is more progressive than the conservative Charley, Jr., which makes it all the more msyterious.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Worried
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 2, 2012 at 5:35 pm

This depresses me. City council takes from developers. School committee takes from persons who do not want money for schools. Where does it go?


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Posted by David S.
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 3, 2012 at 8:55 am

David S. is a registered user.

Confused -- good question. It seems that the PA teachers' union isn't raising enough of a ruckus about these donations, about Prop 30 and Prop 32. IMHO that is because of the outside influence of Mandy Lowell-Munger on local school politics. The teachers are probably afraid, rightly so, of taking any kind of public stance against Lowell's husband for fear of retribution. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Peggy Duncan
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 3, 2012 at 11:19 am

Peggy Duncan is a registered user.

I hope that Prop 30 passes. I'm concerned about our standing in Sacramento if the Governor's centerpiece initiative is killed by negative advertising run out of our own community. That will leave us in a politically weak position.


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Posted by soccerdad
a resident of Nixon School
on Nov 3, 2012 at 11:36 am

soccerdad is a registered user.

The way these billionaire siblings have manipulated the education for the masses, and set working people fighting among themselves over opportunity for their own entertainment sounds like a novel. I would call it "The Munger Games".


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Posted by Ducatigirl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 3, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Ducatigirl is a registered user.

Oh, how I wish I had learned of this in time to join the protest!!

What upsets me is that we had to learn about this after the fact, and worse, through the LA Times!

Sad, sad, sad. And inexcusable! Teachers, give us a chance to be on your side.


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Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 4, 2012 at 6:34 am

Perspective is a registered user.

Whether or not you are for or against any one proposition:

Let me get this straight: You who are protesting outside a private home really think it is acceptable to act like thugs by intimidating private citizens, because you disagree with how they spent their money and chose their sides on any one proposition?

Hmmm...can you imagine if, for example, we protested outside the home and intimidated YOU because you chose "wrong" on a proposition?

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 4, 2012 at 6:43 am

Perspective is a registered user.

Well, thanks for the PaloAltoOnline story. As a result, I studied both propositions carefully, with a bias against supporting anything which is supported by thugs.

I am voting against Prop 30. It has nothing to do with supporting schools, please note it can be spent on "public safety" also. Prop 38 is specifically directed for schools. Period.

Whether or not you are for more taxes on anyone is a different story, but it seems to me that the Munger/Lowell family is supporting our schools only, which is their right.


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Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 4, 2012 at 7:01 am

Perspective is a registered user.

Ok, read the link you so kindly posted, which states

"His liberal sister, civil rights lawyer Molly Munger, has also spent tens of millions of dollars in the campaign by promoting Proposition 38, another tax-hike proposal." Checked it out, and Molly Munger has contributed 44 million to Prop 38.

So, when are we going to see protests outside her home?

C'mon, folks, quit trying to intimidate people. It is really too brownshirt for the USA.


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Posted by Ducatigirl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 4, 2012 at 9:04 am

Ducatigirl is a registered user.

Perspective: Protesting outside someone's home peacefully is not acting like a thug. Thugs do juvenile things like throw rocks and taunt passers-by. I was not there, but I doubt that happened. Many people felt that Charles Munger, Jr should see that he has angered a lot of people. What better way to get the point across than to peacefully demonstrate in front of his home? The sidewalk is public property, he does not own it.


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Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 4, 2012 at 9:06 am

Perspective is a registered user.

Ducatigirl: Then you will not mind if a lot of us protest in front of your home?


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 4, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Perspective - to answer your question - yes. If I ever become wealthy enough to manipulate state politics in a couple of fell swoops by pouring millions of dollars into superPACS & my own agenda, I fully expect it to anger people, as it should. They'd be completely within their rights to protest in front of my house. How about you?


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Posted by Peggy Duncan
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 4, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Peggy Duncan is a registered user.

Of course protesting on the sidewalk in front of the home of Charles Munger and Mandy Lowell is appropriate. The right of protest is central to our American democracy.

I'm more worried about another thing that Perspective said: "I am voting against Prop 30. It has nothing to do with supporting schools, please note it can be spent on "public safety" also. Prop 38 is specifically directed for schools. Period."

In fact, Prop 30 has everything to do with supporting schools, and failing to pass it will cost our own local schools millions of dollars, and our schools statewide billions. The anti-Prop 30 campaign funded by Munger and Lowell is designed to use Prop 38 to take votes away from 30, using this kind of argument.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 5, 2012 at 5:40 am

Perspective is a registered user.

Yes, the right to protest is central to the USA. But I have to ask you...isn't it also a "right" of each of us to live free from hassle in our homes? Protesting on a public corner where one is not intimidating anyone in their home, or blocking access to a business..yes. Intimidating at one's home or business, no. My rights end when they interfere with yours, and vice versa. Regardless of how you feel about any one person and their choices of their money use, I firmly believe we need to be civil to each other, and protesting in front of someone's home is not civil. It is intimidation.

As for the actual propositions...well, I read Prop 30 carefully, nowhere did I see anything that put a certain percentage guaranteed to our schools. So I distrust it. If I were to vote for any increased tax for our schools, it would be Prop 38; at least it is a very specific increase for a specific purpose.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 5, 2012 at 11:53 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

Perspective -your opinion doesn't matter when it comes to protesting, it's the law that matters. If Charley was a corporation, they'd protest at the company offices (you know, corporations ARE people). Besides, it's not like they'd get through the gates at SLAC to protest, nor would that be appropriate. Protesting at his house was appropriate & legal, no matter how you try to twist it.


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