Measure K: Mailers & Robocalls Again.

Mailers and robocalls continue unabated and, for Measure K supporters, they will be their undoing. Let’s start with the latest robocall from another political fossil.

lynndaucher_400“This is Former Assemblywoman Lynn Daucher calling about Measure K. Don’t be misled by the anti public school message from the downtown developers special interests and the No on K campaign. Measure K is a smart investment in our kids, our community and our property values. Don’t be fooled. Measure K is a fiscally responsible plan with accountability and oversight.”

Emphasis on former.

While Lynn’s history might be credible in many ways, it is just that, history. Like Punxsutawney John Beauman and the ephemeral Bev Perry, propagandists drag these vestiges of 20th century small town politics out and parade them around hoping their reputations might lend credibility to highly dubious issues.

More a liability than an asset, when was the last time Lynn Daucher regularly attended local school board meetings or weighed in on something other than reelecting Hall or Rollino?

Like the anonymous “parents” promoting boycotts, the robocall tries to tie “downtown developers” to a rejection of everything that might benefit the education and development of Brea’s youth.

girl-1_sqHow ignorant and unbelievable. Name one individual who can claim to be a fraction of the philanthropist that Dwight Manley has been for years and continues to be in spite of being constantly denigrated by halfwits.

Measure K is a fool’s investment offering nothing to our kids, our community or our property values. Measure K is fiscally irresponsible and lacks meaningful accountability.

Now, the latest mailer.

Proponents of Measure K need to be reminded that repeating their lies does not somehow make them true. As many have already clearly pointed out the Oversight Committee doesn’t even give passable lip service to the idea of accountability.

back-bAs one commenter on Nextdoor posted, “I just received a “Vote Yes on K” [mailer]. If I only read this, I would have to vote for K. It states, ‘Measure K has strict fiscal accountability rules required by California State Law!’. It sounds terrific. I am a CPA. I have been a CFO for not-for-profit corporations for most of my career. The notion of being able to spend $148 million with only an oversight committee after-the-fact reviewing the expenditures to confirm that they were spent for ‘facility improvement’ is not even close to ‘strict fiscal accountability.’ This piece didn’t ‘lie,’ but it sure stretched the definition of accountability to its breaking point.”

A comprehensive list?

Again with the harping about detailed lists developed by “Architectural and Construction Management firms” – you mean like Cal K-12 and Pinnacle Design Group who are on record donating $35,000 to the “Yes” PAC? Does anyone not see the ulterior motives?

jasons_map

Monday night, October 24, the BOUSD Board approved payment of $9,780 to the very same Pinnacle Design Group for designing an interior dividing wall in a portable classroom. According to the Facility Improvement Needs Lists, portables need to be replaced. That’s $10k to design a wall, not even to build it, in a temporary structure slated for removal.

General funds must support instructional programs?

pipe_300When Measure K proponents say that general funds must support instructional programs they fail to mention that these funds also pay staff and teacher salaries, excessive health benefits to Board members and, sad to say, underfund pensions. They “skip” right over mentioning the $21,000,000 surplus that could be legally tapped to handle priority projects like those severely corroded pipes they’ve been whining about that caused a leak in the Arovista server room.

We can’t afford to wait until 2018.

Who’s crystal ball are they using when they predict dramatically increasing interest rates in the coming years? They suggest this will cause project costs to soar.

Oh please, these are the same years when 3 of the 4 tranches would be released. Wouldn’t they be subject to the same prohibitive interest rates? They can’t have their cake and eat it too.

This last minute mailer is total hogwash.

front-bThe ink was already dry on these flyers and the donors money was burning a hole in their pockets. The logical next step was… go to the post office. It’s this logic that has contributed to the current situation and it has been exercised by the same small band of people.

Shame on the 24 local notables, most of whom have shown little interest in solving the district’s financial woes in recent years. They seem to have no objection to grabbing few minutes of faded glory at the expense of out-of-town donors.

Dig deeper into the details.

As we’ve gratefully come to expect, Jason Kraft has meticulously gathered together details on everything I’ve spent the last 17 paragraphs ranting and snarking about. You can read Jason’s commentaries here –

“Don’t Believe The Lies” Part 1

“Don’t Believe The Lies” Part 2

“Don’t Believe The Lies” Part 3

“Don’t Believe The Lies” Part 4

Additional analysis will be linked here when they become available.

Vote No

Robocalls: The Final Straw

This weekend yet another campaign season nuisance, robocalls, were launched by the supporters of Measure K. Infinitely more intrusive than big banners and bogus boycotts (and hugely more expensive I might add), robocalls are unsolicited political messages free from the limitations of the “Do Not Call” list.

When did you ever get a robocall you believed?

robocallsWell, the Measure K calls share much in common with their telemarketing cousins. They often rely on a familiar name or voice. Their intent is to convince you to take action that benefits them. They’re not too concerned with truth in advertising guidelines or adhering to them. The sales pitch is often based upon making misinformation sound like fact, lies sound like truth.

Measure K robocalls are no different.

The spokesperson is none other than former Mayor Bev Perry who begins by identifying herself as though it gives credibility to the message that follows.

She has had lucid moments in support of important local issues… this is not one of them.

Let’s parse this telemarketing line by line.

robocalls“This is former Brea Mayor Bev Perry calling about Measure K to support Brea schools.”

Got your attention? If you care about this issue, sure. We’ll have to see if the PAC’s disclosures in their 460 filing shows she picked up a little mad money for the effort.

“People choose to live in Brea because it offers a high quality of life which includes good neighborhood schools.”

Well, it did, but if you believe the Brea school district’s $300,000,000 list of repairs they need to do… it would be more honest to say, “People chose to live in Brea…” past tense.

“Yes on K is accountable and includes a list of authorized Measure K projects, independent annual audits and a citizen’s oversight committee to monitor the funds.”

No, not true. A “Measure” is accountable for nothing. It can be written to include an attempt to require accountability but there are no guarantees. In the case of Measure K, accountability would fall to those charged with managing the money. Precisely why we need a new Board. One we can trust.

There is no list within the measure except for very generic language that authorizes nothing specific. The school-by-school “assessment” was manufactured after the fact to calm public protest over a lack of specificity. It has no connection to Measure K.

The Oversight Committee has no say in how funds would be spent. They “validate” expenditures after the money is spent. It’s a rubber stamp committee powerless to oversee anything with any authority.

And Placentia received regular audits from recently replaced Lance, Soll & Lunghard, LLP (aka LSL CPAs & Advisors, Brea’s auditor by the way) yet one of their financial managers is “alleged” to have embezzled $5.16 million before being discovered by Federal authorities.

I guess it would be reasonable to assume that BOUSD auditors, Vicente Lloyd Stutzman LLP would be who Ms. Perry is referring to.

“All funds stay local to improve our Brea schools.”

This is a non sequitur, period. It’s inference or conclusion does not follow from the premises. What does “stay local” mean? No outside contractors will be used? This will be a big disappointment to Cal K-12 and Pinnacle Design Group, Inc., operators from the Inland Empire who would love to snag some Measure K business.

Together these two out-of-towners have donated $35,000 to the Yes on K PAC and are probably prepared to ante up more if asked. Thirty-five large is nothing compared to the millions on the table.

“Remember to find Measure K on your ballot and vote Yes on K for kids.”

Voters would be wise to remember that those opposing Measure K are doing so for the kids as well.

Tactics for dealing with robocalls.

Hang up. It’s a recording. It’s not really Bev Perry. It’s not really true.

Advocates of Measure K insult your intelligence when they presume you can be convinced by a robocall. Do your homework. Demand facts and proof. Don’t settle for generic solutions and a complete lack of accountability.

ADDENDUM: Mass mailer is the latest straw…

Comments shared by Jason Kraft – Candidate for BOUSD Board

yes-cc_10-17Today I received an unsolicited email in my spam folder from “Yes on Measure K”. The arguments they make in favor of Measure K are the same ones that have been refuted again and again, and most of the people I talk to in the community recognize this.

A common argument from Yes on K is “we can’t afford to wait“, since interest rates are at historic lows. This statement ignores the reality that completing these facilities projects will take at least 10-15 years, and the $148 million we borrow will be separated into four separate bond issues stretching through 2025. Current interest rates have nothing to do with future borrowing costs.

Another argument included in the email is that a 2018 bond is not a good idea because classrooms will be two years older in 2018. Let’s look at the big picture here: if our facilities projects take 12 years to complete, Measure K would fund projects from 2017-2029. A bond passed in 2018 with stronger accountability and a prioritized project list would fund projects from 2019-2031.

A better bond in 2018 will provide accountability before money is spent — Measure K’s oversight committee can only look at funds that have already been used. And a 2018 bond would result in classrooms that are two years newer than Measure K.

I’ve also heard from Measure K supporters that voters will be tired of hearing about bonds in 2018, and something is better than nothing, so we need to pass Measure K now or we will never pass a bond again. This argument doesn’t hold water with me.

The first core value at my daughter’s school, Mariposa Elementary, is Reach for Excellence. We all teach our kids that they should do their best work, and they should not settle for “good enough”. The same lesson holds true for this bond measure.

Every time I walk our neighborhoods, I hear over and over again that people want stronger accountability. They want more specifics on where their money will be going.

They are very uncomfortable with corporate special interests providing financial support to the Yes on K campaign. They feel like they were left out of the process. It’s hard to believe that Measure K is really the best we can do.

We have a chance to Reach for Excellence with a new bond measure that has widespread support. But first, we need to vote No on Measure K and vote out the incumbent school board members. Then we can work together as a community to build a bond measure we can all stand behind with pride, the same pride we have in our schools and our kids.

robocalls

 

BOUSD Mailer Is A Pack Of Lies.

An oversized BOUSD mailer hit Brea Friday, courtesy of the “Yes on K” PAC and it failed to contain a shred of truth. Instead it leaned heavily on scare tactics. Let’s parse the language one false statement after another.

BOUSD MailerFalse: “Fanning Elementary sustained significant damage requiring over a one year closure and almost $7 million in repairs and updates.”

Truth: Only a portion of Fanning Elementary underwent asbestos mitigation and repair. The total cost was closer to $4 million of which $2 million was reimbursed by the state.

Months passed without the board approving or initiating any work. We’d would have fared better had we called FEMA.

2015 SARC (School Accountability Report Card) states that Safety (Fire & Hazardous Materials), Structural (Damage & Roofs) and External (Playground, School Grounds, Windows, Doors, Gates & Fences) are in good condition and facility is given an overall rating of “Exemplary.”

Facility Improvement Needs list for Fanning lists these “to do” items: Seismic Upgrades for Kindergarten Wing and Main Office – $1 million; Asbestos Abatement – $500,000; School Facility Repairs & Upgrades $12.85 million. Total: $14.35 million

BOUSD MailerFalse: “The Orange County Grand Jury made a ruling requiring mandatory asbestos removal at all schools in O.C.”

Truth: The grand Jury has no authority to mandate anything, they review and recommend. Their 2015-16 report “Dealing With Asbestos In Orange County Public Schools” cited 12 findings and 20 recommendations.

gjury_aNot all of which were applicable to all schools/districts. The 27 OC school districts were required to respond (in writing) to only those findings and recommendations applicable to them. I checked the Grand Jury website and discovered that the BOUSD response is missing for some reason. Looking into it.

There was no mandatory mitigation required, this was a county wide assessment.

False: “Measure K will fund critical projects throughout the BOUSD… Earthquake Retrofit, Restore Leaking Roofs, Plumbing Repairs/Replacement, Installation and/or Repair of Fencing, Asbestos Abatement, Fireproofing, ADA Accessibility/Code Updates, Install Shade Structures, Electrical Repairs, Construct/Renovate Classrooms, Cafeteria & Multi Purpose Buildings, Installation and Upgrades to Campus Security Systems, Replace Outdated Heating/Ventilation/AC Systems, Repair Hardcourt Surfaces.”

BOUSD MailerTruth: This is not the official legal language of Measure K and is therefore excluded from consideration when holding the district accountable.

However, Measure K fine print does say, “… certain construction funds expected from non-bond sources have not yet been secured. Therefore, the Board cannot guarantee that the bonds will provide sufficient funds to allow completion of all listed projects.”

Following consultant recommendations, the district turned to generic terminology, proven via focus group study to elicit a supportive response to school bond measures. It is so nonspecific that it renders bond revenues into nothing more than a slush fund.

The process leading to Measure K has, from it’s outset, relied on total fabrication. It’s genesis can be found in the district’s failure to actually do the work as promised from the 1999 bond issue, in the dismal failures of 2012 and 2014 bond issues, in the mishandled asbestos mitigation projects at Fanning Elementary and the Junior High.

Liars, damned liars and statistics.

Stephen King once said, “The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool.”

The BOUSD and Board are relying on conscripting faculty to work the phones day and night, scaring the hell out of parents and convincing them that Measure K is the mother load of solutions.

It is not. It is a straight line to creating a massive debt from here to 2056, the preponderance to be paid off by those it is supposed to serve… our children. All with no guarantee provided that anything of real educational value will be created, upgraded, mended or mitigated.

BOUSD Mailer

ADDENDUM:

Measure K