What an adventure – I decided to officially oppose a bond on my local ballot, and I found out – it’s a lot of work trying to throw a wrench in somebody’s carefully laid-out scheme.
The school district put up a $152 million bond, saying the schools are rotting around the kids’ heads and they need to make repairs. That sounds almost reasonable – unless you know they have passed $126 million in bonds within the last 15 years, using the same excuses, but for some reason have not done any repairs.
They tout a new “Performing Arts” center at one high school and a new sports field at the other, but they weren’t able to include lights or even bleachers so need more money. What?
It seems weird to me that a fancy theater and a sports field take precedence over removing asbestos ceiling and floor tiles, fixing rotten plumbing and dysfunctional electric systems, but you see, that’s how Chico Unified School District is run. And in the meantime, they continue to shovel millions out for pensions and health benefits, totaling over $100 million in premiums over the last four years.
According to budget reports, they spend between 82 and 92 percent of their total budget on salaries and benefits. They say, “we’re a service organization” – but that’s funny cause they don’t really serve anybody but themselves. If you live in Chico, you know how bad unemployment is here, our 20-somethings are literally living on the streets. People come from all over the state to attend our college – I’m going to guess, they have the figures, and the local kids just aren’t going to college. That’s what I’m seeing with my kids’ friends, ages 20 – 26. Most of our friends were able to send their kids to college of some sort, but found CUSD had not equipped their kids for 4 year school.
Or a job. CUSD dropped their industrial arts programs years ago, they don’t have ROP, they don’t do anything to get kids ready for jobs.
So, when I read they wanted to put $60 per $100,000 evaluation on our homes, my teeth set to grinding and I knew I had to do something. I detailed the next steps here:
Just in case anybody is wondering, Badges is doing great and I love my new fake wood floor. But that ape is still around, gotta watch him.
After I posted my arguments with the county clerk, I realized it was time to plan letters to the editor of the local daily. I don’t write to the weekly anymore because the editor thinks she’s allowed to edit everybody’s letters. The daily editor always announces election letter deadlines, and he warns everybody they need to stay on one topic, try to keep it shorter than the usual 250 words, etc. He has also been running pro-bond pieces, doing stories a couple of times a week about all the wonderful things the school district was planning with their $152 million.
He ran my first letter, well ahead of the deadline. When he started doing “analysis” articles of each state and local measure, I wrote him an e-mail to say I was the official opposition of Measure K, and I’d like to be contacted by the reporter when they did the story on this measure.
If you know me, you know I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’ve been on a first name basis with this editor a long time. When he agreed with me, he was very friendly. We discussed family, vacations, even agreed that X was the best band ev-er.
Yeah, our daily news editor, David Little, admitted to me an early crush on Exene Cervenka. I love her too. I thought I could relate to Dave Little. Unfortunately, he turned out to be one of those people that give me the creeps.
Little started to hold my letters back a couple of years ago. At one point he refused to print a letter in which I criticized him by name until I removed the criticism. At one point he wouldn’t run a letter because I criticized his kids’ charter school. He admitted to me that he round-filed a letter my husband wrote because he believed I had written it and sent it via my husband’s e-mail. He broke down and ran it under criticism for thinking a carpet layer couldn’t write a complete sentence, but my husband won’t write letters anymore. Not that he doesn’t have opinions – he just doesn’t trust Little to be fair anymore, says he’s paid off.
So, of course he did not have the reporter contact me when they did their pro-piece on Measure K. They took quotes from my arguments against and then called the district shill to comment on my remarks. Wow, talk about a hit piece.
When I didn’t see my second letter within the usual number of days, I wrote old Dick Little a note, asking him why – and I told him about the ginormous typo he was running in a half page ad – and he responded that I should see my letter within the next couple of days. It appeared. Well thank you for your due diligence to journalism!
Now I have a reader who tells me he has written a letter against Measure K, sent it two days after mine – it still hasn’t appeared.
So, we’re up against the school district machine, we’re up against the press machine. Did I tell you who signed the Argument For? The mayor, the chamber of commerce shill, our ex-city manager, a real cast of the elite around town. I’m the “sole opposition.”
I doubt that. I’ve spoken to plenty of people who hate the school district worse than I do. I’ve got a former school district employee who is filling me in stuff like, fake e-mail accounts, document destruction parties, public employees fired over their refusal to participate in illegal activities, Chico State and city of Chico workers involved in covering up – wow, it looks like I’ve just scratched the tip of the district iceberg.
So, that’s what’s been distracting me lately. I’ve still been doing stuff like this every day
I’m glad I decided to oppose this bond. You can’t just lay there and take it all the time, or you end up like Mr. Chicken.