Election 2018: Process Of Elimination.

election 2018I thought I would keep my Election 2018 choices to myself… but have found that to be impossible. Every voters choice this year is more critical than ever.

There are two candidates, one for Council and one for BOUSD School Board who have struck me as complete non-starters. In both cases it boils down to money though for distinctly different reasons. Let me share…

Bill Hall – Election 2018 Council Candidate

Bill Hall voted to slam Brea residents with $108 million in property tax increases in 2012 (bond value was $54 million) for Measure E. Bill Hall voted to spend $127,340 with Lew Edwards Group for bond consulting for Measure K in 2016. Bill Hall voted to crush Brea residents with $296 million in property tax increases. Couldn’t explain why BOUSD would only net half, $148 million from Measure K.

election 2018Even though he’s a part time volunteer, Bill Hall has received over $200,000 in compensation during his 12 years on the School Board yet consistently rejects transparency of School Board meetings for public’s home viewing at a minimal cost of $800 per meeting.

Bill Hall has repeatedly, for 12 years, demonstrated a willingness to burden Brea property owners with massive taxes. This is fiscally an extremely critical time in Brea. We don’t need a Council member willing to have a fire sale with valuable legacy properties or to tax residents to the brink of poverty.

Bill Hall only seems to respect the value of the dollar… when it’s destined for his wallet.

Bill Hall gave away millions to Hines.

Backed into a condition of critical underfunding following the failure of two bond measures to attract public support, the Board was bullied into selling off it’s greatest legacy asset, the former Brea Olinda High School site, in exchange for a quick infusion of cash.

The district ignored the probability of a higher return from a public bid process in exchange for the quick cash provided from a negotiated sale. They were sued for abandoning a public auction.

Fooled by the inaccuracy of an appraisal from an inexperienced Anaheim residential real estate broker, the district accepted a bid from Hines LLC of $25 million plus an additional non-refundable deposit of $1 million.

Hines subsequently had the property re-entitled for residential development and increased the property’s appraised value by $82 million. (Editor’s Note: My entitlement error has been corrected in the Comments by Mr. Manley. Please read his explanation.) Millions of dollars were left on the table by an over eager uninformed board bullied into submission by Bill Hall.

election 2018This fiscal rubbish has gone on far too long to be the product of incompetence.

It is unprecedented that several members of the BOUSD Board of Directors are actively opposing Bill Hall for City Council.

Keri Kropke: Election 2018 BOUSD School Board Candidate.

Candidates for public office who form a campaign committee and expect to spend over $2000 on their campaign must file a Form 460 Recipient Committee Campaign Statement.

Keri Kropke reported on her 09/27 filing that she has amassed a war chest of $38,400 in contributions!

Here is a copy you can look over for yourself.

The other candidates report: Joseph Covey – $4,545 contributed/$2,249 spent, Jo Aceves – $7,374 contributed/$3,592 spent and Steve Sewell has zero contributions, will not spend over $2000 and as a result, doesn’t have to file with the Registrar of Voters.

The unions are out in full force.

election 2018I hope you did look at Keri’s statement. $34,500 of her contributions include $5,000 from Democratic LA County Board of Supervisors, Mark Ridley-Thomas.

$29,500 came from various trade unions – IBEW, Unite Here (the folks who have carried out the downtown protests at Royce’s office), SC Pipe Trades, State Building & Construction Trades Council of California PAC, FTP Power LLC – Salt Lake City (largest private owner of operating solar assets in the United States) and other firms profiting from doing business with school districts.

This raised a red flag the size of Texas, so I called Keri to understand why so much union money for the two year remainder of a board seat. She was quick with answers and because I wasn’t sure I would characterize them here clearly and fairly enough, I invited her to prepare her own statement.

Keri states, “My platform addresses many goals that will improve educational and emotional outcomes for every student. After walking to 1,603 doors parents have made clear to me that they want vocational trade options so students have access to high paying middle class jobs.

I have worked hard to develop relationships with labor organizations and others that want to partner in this vision. Every donor supports me for my talent, leadership, and tenacity and I am proud to have earned their support. People that are invested in helping our students is a good thing.”

I also promised Keri that I would not belittle or dissect her statement. I’ll leave it to you readers to come to your own conclusions and move on to other areas of question or concern.

Nordstrom VISA to pay campaign expenses?

Schedule F – Pages 13-15 of the 460 report expenses paid via Keri’s Nordstrom VISA in the amount of $4,962 and Keri suggested her total expenses would easily top $15,000.

election 2018I don’t have credit cards, haven’t for almost 20 years. But I see the ads and know there are points or benefits for using these cards.

Why use the Nordstrom’s VISA instead of the debit card the campaign committee’s bank surely provided her? How will the $300 to $400+ in benefits find their way back into the campaign funds?

My concerns don’t stop there.

If Keri’s contributions top out at $40,000 through the balance of the campaign and she’s able to keep expenses capped at $15,000 – that will leave $25,000 sitting in the campaign account… for what?

I’ll do a Shirley MacLaine here and go out on a broken limb.

Christine Marick and Marty Simonoff have neither divulged any plans for 2020 but I’ll wager the balance in Keri’s account is probably pointed in that direction.

In a similar vein, I’ll risk my record for political divination. The other Carrie on the BOUSD Board is actively campaigning for Bill Hall – what’s the chance he’s promised to bring her onboard in 2020 if she helps him win in 2018?

Okay, conspiracy theory. But you’ll have to admit that logic is so much in my favor that I’m more likely to be right than wrong.

I’ll put it in plain English.

Candidates should be running to serve, not fill a seat. Any ass can fill a seat and I’ll dodge the urge to drop names.

Also, seeking public office isn’t the twelfth step in a program to overcome psychological deficits.

I said I wouldn’t… I changed my mind.

I said I’d keep my selections to myself, but 2018 elections are just too important to be diffident. Here are my choices… use your own powers of deduction and come up with your own list…

 

election 2018

BOUSD Is After Your Wallet Again.

OCR staff writer Chris Haire published the following today.

(Undoubtedly from a district press release.) “District Survey: The Brea Olinda Unified School District recently released a community survey in which 53 percent of the 350 respondents said the district is heading in the right direction; 78 percent said the quality of education is excellent or good. A majority also said the district needs more money. The margin of error was 5.2 percent.”

wallet2Whether the results are projectable will be the first issue raised. Here’s a basic research truism: when three people answer a question and 2 say no, the result of 67% is projectable to that group of three people… not to the larger population from which the sample was selected. The margin of error comes into play.

The MSE (Maximum Sampling Error), in this case ±5.2%, adjusts with sample quantity in a non-linear manner and it can make a big difference in how you interpret a statistic.

Painting the picture with their favorite colors.

The BOUSD and their consultant, no surprise here, will naturally characterize the survey results in a manner that supports their aspirations of successfully launching a school bond measure on the 2014 ballot. A modestly conservative interpretation of the same results is hardly as encouraging.

Twisting the numbers to suit their agenda.

If, as reported, 53% of the sample said the district is heading in the right direction (a concept that was not clearly defined to those taking the survey by the way), there is a 95% probability that the opinions of the entire population (in this case high propensity voters) would range between 47.8% to 58.2%.

Theoretically, the same holds true for each inquiry and it’s results. It is as legitimate to interpret, in this survey, that a majority (more than 50%) would feel that the district is NOT heading in the right direction.

brea_HSThe statement that “a majority” said that the district needs more money is misleading at best. Various dollar amounts (ranging from $129 million to $45 million) were suggested in the survey. Only when Yes and Maybe are added together does a supportive response emerge.

Another non-surprise, the BOUSD “favored” figure of $78 million got the highest response, 27% Yes, 28% Maybe. That 55%, considering the margin of error, pushes the credibility of calling the response a majority. When one adds together the No and Maybe Not in that inquiry, the response is equally ambivalent. The “I Don’t Care” response received 9%. What does that tell you?

If one takes all of the statistics into consideration, including the very small sample size relative to the large demographic group used, and factors in the stinging loss the BOUSD was handed on Measure E in 2012… I doubt they will succeed in burdening an already heavily indebted homeowner population (still paying off millions from the ’99 school bond with no idea where the money was spent) with a new bond measure in 2014.

NoE_02How much of the ’99 bond has yet to be paid? Millions? Yes. What is it costing the average Brea homeowner every year? Hundreds, if not thousands? Yes.

Will Brea’s homeowners really be willing to double down on the BOUSD and it’s money hungry Board of Directors to the tune of almost another $100 million dollars?

I’m betting the answer is no.

Mr. Haire, in the future I wish you would seek input from both sides of an issue before publishing a public relations piece like that which appeared today.

 UPDATE: MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2013

In a rare exhibition of fiscal sensibility, the BOUSD tonight dismissed an agenda item to continue their pursuit of a new school bond (spending an additional $64,000 on the Lew Edwards Group). This was accomplished because no one would move or second the item for consideration.

Vigilance is still the byword however. And the 2014 elections should be a clean sweep of all the old deadwood.