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DP logoCindy Vangell, San Clemente

Why do people say that a “No” vote on Measure M means you don’t like kids? I love kids, I even have a couple, but I will vote “No” on M.

As I understand it, the board put the bond on the ballot in a rush after some hard-sell phone “surveys” and “facilities committee” meetings. Is that what they call “community engagement?” I remember how “engaged” with the community they were when they got rid of San Clemente High School Principal Mike Halt—not very much. I was at those meetings when the community pleaded for his reinstatement—the disregard for our opinion bordered on contempt.

The $889 million price tag is based on an outdated facilities study/wish list. This is too large an amount to hand over to people who have shown zero tendencies toward transparency, and who are currently spending large amounts to engage in legal battles against those who oppose the measure.

The fact that practically every city mayor, chamber of commerce, and even the South Orange County Economic Coalition, are against it is enough reason for a “No” vote. As far as I know, the bulk of support is coming from businesses and large organizations, all of whom stand to financially benefit from its passing. The total cost (if all bonds are issued) will be $1.8 billion—more than double the advertised amount—with interest and administrative costs. So almost one billion dollars will not go toward “modern” and “safe” schools, but to lawyers, bankers, brokers and others who stand to gain financially.

Money will have to come out of our pockets, and I will support a “reasonable” measure, when, and if, the board offers one. But first, I’d like to see more fiscally-responsible, student-oriented spending, more transparency, and I’d really like to be able trust them.

They should look for ways to save money. Do what we do when funds are tight—economize. In an organization the size of CUSD, it seems impossible they could not find some waste. Spend less on technology used to pigeon-hole and data-mine our kids to death. Get creative. And, please keep in mind that we’re still paying off the $65 million bond from 1999, which promised many of the same repairs listed again in Measure M.

They should provide us with a detailed list of projects that will be done; that would help gain support. They should aim for more openness and stop with the “inside deals.” We shouldn’t have to read about a new scandal every week on a blog.

And they should work on developing our trust. I would love to be able to trust them. They should listen to our input and let that input be reflected in their decisions. They’ll never please “all the people all the time,” but at least throw us a bone once in a while.

Voting “No” on Measure M means I do care about kids—today’s kids—who will be full grown adults, supporting and protecting families of their own when these bonds are finally paid off.

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