Friday, October 24, 2008

L.A. Downtown News: NO ON MEASURE Q

L.A. downtown news editorial

  ●●smf2¢ - Obviously (and obliviously)  the LAUSD team promoting Measure Q was unable to get to the LA Downtown News Editorial Board. 4LAKIds slightly-more-than-halfheartedly SUPPORTS Measure Q for many of the same reasons the LA Downtown News OPPOSES it, the main reasons being that the proponents seem unable to get out the message that there remains $60 billion in need to be addressed to bring our old schools up to twenty-first century educational standards – and exactly how they plan to do it. Lack of leadership doesn’t mean that the need isn’t there – or that the kids aren’t waiting. But it does bring into question whether this is the team to lead the next phase. Or the time for it.

Read the editorial below. Note that the editorialist singles out the board of ed and the mayor as culpable. Should the bond fail – and I hope it does not – watch them turn on the superintendent.

Last weekend at the dedication of the new Royball High School the mayor – the very person responsible for inflating the value of  what the Downtown News correctly styles “the largest local school bond in United States history” - continued his pathetic and statistically incorrect diatribe on LAUSD’s dropout rate. He never mentioned Measure Q – and no one called him on his inaccuracies.

Oct. 27, 2008  DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - We think cynical greed lies at the heart of Measure Q, the school bond on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Measure Q is the fifth school bond since 1997. The first four left the public indebted for $13.5 billion. The result of the first three is new or upgraded schools in virtually every neighborhood in our vast city, a good outcome.

The fourth school bond raised eyebrows because it asserted the same pitch of the previous three, that it would be the ultimate solution to our local educational problems.

After cheerleading for the first three, we supported the fourth reluctantly, as we began to wonder why the previous bonds had not done the job. We growled that if LAUSD came forth with a fifth bond measure, they would have to demonstrate exactly why it was needed, how it would be spent and what was different from the first four. We also wanted to know in detail how they had spent the fortune they had asked for and received.

In light of how much the public had given LAUSD, it was somewhat of a surprise to see Measure Q put forward with a straight face. And of course that clarity about how they would spend the money never materialized. It was appalling to see they had the nerve.

Voters have been extraordinarily responsible in their support of schools. Perhaps to a fault. We think the LAUSD and those who put forth the bond (including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa) have identified the good will and generosity of voters as an open spigot of dollars they can turn on by pressing certain emotional buttons about education and the safety of our children.

Pandering to these deep human instincts, Measure Q is labeled "The Safe and Healthy Neighborhood Schools Measure of 2008." The words might mean something important if they weren't fifth in a line of measures and if they laid out real programs that justified another astonishing $7 billion.

Measure Q, the largest local school bond in United States history, ought to be called "The Honey Pot That LAUSD, Its Board and L.A.'s Mayor Can Go to Any Time They Want and Ah Shucks Gee Whiz They Promise to Spend It Well."

Proponents are depending on voters not educating themselves, not realizing that school enrollment has dropped 8% in 10 years, that tremendous waste exists, that management has grown while teachers have been cut, that there are new schools, some with empty classrooms, in every neighborhood. As we say, it's a cynical and greedy attitude.

We strongly urge a no vote on Measure Q.

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