Sunday, August 7, 2016

Opposed to $889 million bond

The CUSD Board will decide Wednesday whether to put an $889 million district-wide bond on the November ballot to fund facilities improvements. I am opposed to this idea, though I have voted to recognize that there are needs in facilities across the school district.
This whole idea got off to a late start and then took a bad turn because we are too close to the election deadline. I favor breaking the district into smaller tax rate zones based on various factors, including age, Mello-Roos patterns, city boundaries, and then proceeding zone by zone (not all at the same time). This is no longer an option for November, so others are seeking a shortcut, i.e., to "force it". I firmly believe we need to put it off and work to get the structure right.
The mayors of all of our cities along with Senator Pat Bates, Assemblyman Bill Brough, SBOE Member Diane Harkey, and Supervisor Lisa Bartlett all oppose the bond in the form being considered.
I believe that if CUSD places this bond on the ballot, there will be a ugly and divisive fight in the election that will take us back to the days of trouble in CUSD's recent past. These memories remain fresh for many people. The setback of a November ballot measure, regardless of outcome, will take decades to overcome -- if it even can be. The term of this bond is 25 years!
Some people hold the opinion that CUSD is too large to govern effectively. At least one area (SC PIER) is actively seeking to succeed and form their own school district. Top-down governance simply won't work in South OC. A enlightened approach is needed, one that is sensitive to unique needs, history, and trajectories of our communities.
Wednesday, August 10. I will be voting "no" on the bond, yet I still hope it doesn't have to come to that.
Mayors who signed the opposition letter are Frank Ury, Mission Viejo, Tony Beall, RSM, Mike Munzing, Aliso Viejo, Mayor Laurie DaviesPam Patterson, San Juan Capistrano, and Bob Baker in San Clemente. Councilman Joe Muller signed for Dana Point.
The mayors are backed-up by votes of council members. In Mission Viejo, unanimous opposition from Wendy Bucknam, Greg RathsEd Sachs, and Kathy Schlicht. In Laguna Niguel, Jerry Slusiewicz, Gary Capata, Elaine Gennawey, and Fred Minagar spoke in opposition to the bond in during agendized council discussion.

On August 4, OC Republican Party Chairman Fred Whitaker separately wrote to Trustees to urge they not place this "$1 billion" bond on the ballot.  He went on to say that if the measure did end-up on the ballot, he would recommend that OCGOP formally oppose it.

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