Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Final Vote Tally

The OC Registrar of Voters has posted the final vote tally for the election:

This would appear to be a comfortable victory. But special credit is due to the many volunteers who helped with our campaign. A check of the precinct results reveals that we won throughout Area 2, even overcoming a substantial advantage in name recognition enjoyed by our opponent in Ladera Ranch.  In fact, we won every Ladera Ranch precinct.

I will be sworn-in and seated on school board at the beginning of the meeting on December 10.  Thanks again for your support!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thank You for Your Support!

I want to thank everyone who supported me in the campaign.  Precinct walking, talking and sharing information with your friends and community does have its reward:

We campaigned on ideas, on principles, and on the needs of our students and our community. This has produced a decisive victory. Yet I am joining a board made up of a majority who have demonstrated different viewpoints from my own. The coming experience promises to be interesting.

Even with the passage of Proposition 30, the CUSD board now "owns" a near-immediate budget crisis for the current school year.  Staying true to principles, I'm looking forward to tackling this difficult problem without delay. I ask for your continued support and counsel as we do so.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Together We Will Put Students First

Working together, we will put students first in CUSD!
In the final hours before polls open, we should underscore what this campaign is about...
The current CUSD Board of Trustees has reduced the school year, cut teachers and increased class size. We can’t afford another “all cuts” budget. Now more than ever, our school board must focus on education and not union contracts that protect senior staff.
A change in leadership is needed. Together we can put students first.

I’m a parent, engineer, active business owner, and a founder of a successful educational non-profit. I am able to see past the heated rhetoric of education insiders to protect our students and schools. I favor classroom reform, school choice, local control, and program improvement.  
I will fight for:
  • Smaller class sizes, 
  • A quality education for all students, and 
  • Retention of enrichment, vocational and sports programs. 
Your tax dollars cannot be wasted. I promise never to vote for a tax increase or extension. We pay enough tax and Mello-Roos assessments already. 
To improve transparency between CUSD and community, we will begin broadcasting our school board meetings. Parents have a right to know how decisions are being made.
These words appear in the your official ballot materials and they are my commitment. Working together, we can put CUSD on a better path toward a brighter future for students.


Monday, October 29, 2012

All Sorts of Lies about Me

The Teachers' Union wants you to believe all sorts of lies about me. Through their alter-ego committees, they seek to protect their pay, privilege, generous retirement and taxpayer-paid retiree medical benefits at the expense of our children and the community as a whole. You may be the recipient of one of the campaign mailers that use fake headlines to make accusations designed to draw your attention from increased class sizes, fewer class days, and across-the-board school cuts.
Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods - October 20, 2012

My wife and I have been involved with CUSD since our boys attended Ambuehl and Dana Hills HS. As a result of these activities, my wife and the boys were placed on Superintendent Fleming's infamous "enemies list" in 2005.  I personally witnessed an act of political retaliation against my oldest son by a former Principal of DHHS.

As a direct result of these misdeeds, we removed our boys from CUSD schools and enrolled them in private schools at considerable personal sacrifice and expense.

Our oldest son has autism and required specialized educational support. Supported by CUSD's own internal investigation and work of the Orange County District Attorney and Grand Jury, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of both boys. Ultimately, CUSD's insurance agency settled this claim out of court at no cost to CUSD.
click for entire document in context

Sadly, my opponent and Children First are fully aware of these facts.  Last month, Fran Sdao, a retired teacher and President of "Children First", sought documents from CUSD to support their wild accusations, and were told that there were no settlement agreements or payments made. The complete record of their fishing expedition through CUSD records can be found here.

You may also note that Children First sought records concerning Oxford Preparatory Academy, CUSD's successful new charter school -- which they would soon falsely accuse of "cheating" on standardized tests during the course of the union's political assault.

Costly Actions of Alpay, Pritchard, Hatton

After the bruising union recall campaign in 2009 that resulted in the election of Alpay, Pritchard and Hatton to the school board, the new board decided at their first meeting to restore pay cuts that had been negotiated following the teacher's strike in the prior year.  This decision was made improperly during a meeting closed to the public and then kept secret.  However, once the increased pay began to appear in paychecks, the details of a secret deal between these new board members and their union election benefactors emerged.

Knowing that CUSD could not afford an increase in teacher pay, I requested that the board conduct a public meeting at which they would be expected to discuss the matter openly and vote in public.  This request was ignored until I filed a formal complaint under the California "open meeting law", the Ralph M. Brown Act.

The Brown Act contains provisions designed to protect the legislative discretion of government boards by allowing a no-penalty "correct and cure".  Basically, the board can place a disputed question on an upcoming public meeting agenda and vote again in front of the public, thereby satisfying the complaint.  Instead, the union-elected trio of Alpay, Pritchard and Hatton sought to further conceal their secret decision, thus inviting a formal lawsuit.
click for full report

As a result of the complaint and lawsuit, the Orange County District Attorney wrote a scathing report on the actions and behavior of these board members. It is well worth reading, if only to serve as clear evidence of why these three board members should be dismissed.

Perhaps my Brown Act complaint did result in some expense for CUSD.  The board decided to pay their lawyers, after all.  But this was a self-inflicted wound.  Correct-and-cure was always an option, even if the board decided to sustain the original decision.  But whatever the cost of lawyers, it was a tiny fraction of what was paid in an improper reversal of pay reductions negotiated in the prior year. Ultimately, that restoration of pay added to CUSD 2010 and 2011 year-end deficits, compounding the problems that actually created increased class sizes, a shortened school year, and today's massive deficit.

A Negative Campaign Strategy
"Children First" and related committees such as Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods and union's own "HOPE" political action committee are conducting a purely negative campaign against all who would challenge their control and chosen candidates.  They have no proud record to run upon; in fact, some such as McCormick and Hanachek have no record whatsoever. Voters should reject this strategy and elect me, along with Steve Lang (San Clemente) and Bill Perkins (Aliso Viejo) to your school board -- so we never see another scandalous report from the District Attorney!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rumors of School Closure Quashed

Over the past two weeks, a teacher's union orchestrated campaign has fanned fear throughout CUSD concerning the possibility of a high school closure. This rumor is utterly false.  A letter from our school Superintendent, Dr. Joseph Farley, makes it clear that these rumors have no foundation.
Letter from Dr. Farley to Jim Reardon
Click to see entire letter
Since Trustees Alpay, Pritchard and Hatton have enjoyed the support of Children First (an alter-ego of our teacher's union), it is logical that they would use such rumors in an effort to direct attention from the serious underlying problems at CUSD, including larger class size, cutting three weeks off the school year, and elimination of Art and other enrichment programs.

Don't be fooled by such cynical tricks.  These rumors have nothing to do with charter schools and everything to do with the election.

We still await a response from my opponent McCormick, regarding her participation in this crude deception.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Open Letter Regarding High School Closure Rumors

This morning, I posted an open letter to my election opponent in connection with her spreading of rumors concerning closure of San Juan Hills High School.  The text of my letter is reproduced below, and you can also see the original letter.

I am opposed to the closure of schools.  I am aware of no plan or action that would result in the closure of a school in CUSD.

The rumors are being spread by those who oppose school choice and charter schools in particular.  They prey on the fear of parents who are mislead to believe that expansion or approval of a charter school would necessarily result in closure of an existing school.  Candidates connected with the teacher's union have seized on this idea in an effort to define their campaigns by such fear.  Among those candidates are two incumbent members of our school board who clearly should know better, along with my opponent here in Area 2.

Here's the text of my letter:
Re: “Opposes Efforts to Close San Juan Hills High School

Dear Carol, 
On Monday, October 8, you spoke before the CUSD Board of Trustees in opposition to the closure of San Juan Hills High School. In the October 11-15 edition of the Capistrano Dispatch, you advertised your opposition to the same idea. Obviously, this is a very important issue for parents of Ladera Ranch and San Juan Capistrano! 
Carol, has someone actually proposed to close SJHHS? Do you have reliable information that these discussions are underway at CUSD? If so, I would urge you to share the details you have with all of us. This vitally important issue cannot be kept under wrap, as a closure would threaten the education of thousands of CUSD students. 
Over the weekend, I took note that similar statements are being made by other candidates in connection with San Clemente High School and Aliso Niguel High School. John Alpay, who sits on the CUSD board and should have inside information, is running a full-page ad nearly identical to yours in the San Clemente Times, yet he seeks to protect San Clemente High School from closure. 
Has somebody threatened to close two high schools? Or three? 
Frankly, we should all oppose closing any of CUSD’s high schools. I am certainly opposed to this and I cannot imagine anyone proposing to close a school that was just opened at a cost of more than $160 million. Regardless of who wins this election, I think it would be safe to say that either of us would protect SJHHS. 
Still, I am concerned about the source of these rumors. Of particular concern to me is that you did not raise your voice to oppose the closure of Tesoro High School. As you know, many Ladera, Las Flores and Coto families send students to Tesoro. Are you thinking to sacrifice Tesoro to in order to protect SJHHS? 
I am opposed to the closure of Tesoro as well. It is of some concern to me that Lynn Hatton, the Trustee who should be vocally defending Tesoro, has remained silent on that school’s future, even at the recent board meeting when closure was being discussed right in front of her! In fact, she did not seriously oppose the recent closure of Barcelona Hills. Perhaps this is an idea she supports, or is it a long-term plan at CUSD? 
Since both of us are opposed to the idea of closing SJHHS, we must get to the bottom of these rumors. This morning, I submitted a request to CUSD for all documents pertaining to this subject, including all actions or discussions of the Board of Trustees that may have touched on the topic of school closure. I have also reviewed all the records already in my possession on this topic, and I find nothing. When CUSD responds, I’ll be happy to share what is provided with the community at large. 
In the meantime, I would request that you contact your supporters at Children First, which would include Trustees John Alpay, Gary Pritchard, and Lynn Hatton, along with numerous members of the teacher’s union, and demand to know the source and authenticity of these rumors. Since I am not associated with Children First, I’m in no position to make this inquiry on behalf of the residents of our communities and the truth is critically important to our students and teachers. 
Because you made this an issue in the campaign, the subject of your public speaking, and an element of your advertising, you have an obligation to be forthcoming with the truth of your statements and not pit one group of parents against another, or favor one school over another, or continue spreading unwarranted fear in the community. 
Unless, it’s warranted fear, Carol. The public must be told. 
Jim Reardon

Saturday, October 13, 2012

False and Misleading Political Advertising?

You Be the Judge

With the arrival of the Absentee Ballots, the torrent of political mail begins.  We are 24 days from the election and the next three weeks promise to be very hard on your friendly postman!  Mixed in with all the regular mail -- including some from me -- you will find numerous shady political pieces with ambiguous but catchy headlines like, "Continuing the Republican Revolution", "Save Proposition 13", and "Republican Leadership Series".  These items are misleading paid advertising and the organizations that mail them do little or nothing to qualify the candidates or causes that they list.  Don't be mislead by the headlines.

I'm prompted to put out this word because one such piece arrived just yesterday and we expect 10 to 15 more before election day. In yesterday's material, my opponent's name appeared in juxtaposition with genuine conservative issues and organizations, as if to imply she had been endorsed by these groups. This is untrue.  What's worse, the appearance of her name on this mailer was paid for by a PAC connected with the Capistrano teacher's union.

To many, it may seem the height of hypocracy to use deception such as this to get elected.  Yet this is what it has come to, even in a local school board race.  While this deceptive mail was on its way to you, my opponent was standing in front of the CUSD school board speaking in opposition to school choice and enjoying the friendly companionship of the head of our teacher's union, who was seated with her!

Don't be fooled by this game.  Make an informed choice.  The official websites of the OC Republican Party, the Lincoln ClubCalifornia Republican Assembly and the Family Action PAC all contain lists of actual endorsements, all made with great care after extensive interviews with candidates.  No candidate paid for these endorsements and they can be relied upon to reflect the views of the groups that issued them.

As for the material in your mailbox, California law requires that political campaign material clearly identify its origin and who paid for it.  Look for this information, usually printed at the bottom of the message, and disregard anything that does not have a clear and recognizable source (such as a candidate name).

And as for your vote, I'm am the endorsed conservative candidate for Capistrano school board. I ask for your vote in the mailbox or at the polls.