Brea First Follow Up – Natalia Todorov

A good friend and active local mom, Natalia Todorov, attended last night’s Brea First Forum about Measure G. Early this morning she posted her reaction to the discussion on social media and I thought it would be a great “guest blog” here.

Brea First Follow-up – Natalia Todorov

I am a Brea resident of 18 years. I am a working mom who has two children going to Brea schools. I went last night to the Measure G community discussion at the Brea Museum & Historical Society.

Why did I go? Because I am a parent who knows what good education is and what good education can do for my kids’ future. I went because, to be frank with you, as a working mom I didn’t know very much about the proposed Measure G and I honestly didn’t know if I should vote Yes or No.

I went because I wanted to hear the pros and cons of Measure G from the two top supporters of both sides (Dwight Manley – For, Glenn Vodhanel – Against) and then make a choice about the future of my family. Should we sacrifice and give part of our hard-earned money for the Brea schools?

Frankly, I was surprised to see there were not a lot of Brea parents like me there. Oh, I should not be surprised because we’re super busy and even though we do care for the future of our children, it is hard to juggle everything when it comes to raising a child (including taking them to private lessons or teaching the kids themselves on the dining table at home).

The opposition’s point-of-view.

Glenn Vodhanel, the opposing leader, expressed his opinion why I should vote NO. In short, what I gathered from his speech was that in the past such measures have never worked because the funds were usually mismanaged and the Brea Olinda Unified School District (BOUSD) should not be trusted with money. The second argument was that good education doesn’t come from nice school buildings but from good teachers.

Yes, of course, these two opinions make a lot of sense … at first glance.

Some well known facts:

  • Are Brea schools aging, especially Brea Junior High being 104? YES
  • Do Brea schools need much needed repairs and improvements? YES
  • Does the BOUSD have limited funds given to them? YES
  • Does the BOUSD pay the most competitive teacher salaries in Orange County? Sadly, NO
  • Can BOUSD do better by paying teachers more and attracting better educators for our kids? YES
  • If the Brea community helps financially to alleviate the continuous spending of BOUSD funds for just ‘bandaging’ our aging schools, will that help us to attract and hire even better teachers? YES
  • Is PROGRESS a forward movement for a better future? YES
  • Can progress be achieved by doing the same thing over and over? NO
  • Knowing that school bond initiatives have not been passed for 21 years, can that be the answer to our school’s education not progressing as it should? YES
  • Can progress in our Brea education system be achieved by passing the proposed Measure G? YES

Oh, wait! I got my answer! YES!

So the two arguments the opposing side to Measure G were what?

Buildings don’t teach students, teachers do. Yes, I agree! Measure G will bring to our BOUSD better teachers because the district will be able to provide them with better modern facilities. Build it and they will come!!!

We can’t afford to repeat the past.

School measures in the past did not work because the funds were mismanaged and we can’t trust the BOUSD. OK, I see how that can be a very big concern. In fact, yes, that is a very big concern! What history has shown is that there is no progress if we keep on doing things the same way.

If we keep on saying NO to such measures, then nothing will change! And that is unacceptable!

If the school bond initiatives keep on being the same type, like Measure K, nothing will change.

But Measure G is different!

There will be a rigorous Citizens’ Oversight Committee and there are provisions ensuring compliance with the OC Taxpayer bond guidelines.

So Measure G is different! Measure G can lead to progress and improvement of our kids’ education and the overall Brea community stability!

What do you think?

BOTA Pressures BOUSD Board.

Within an hour of Gail Lyons, Nicole Colon and Kerri Kropke storming out the BOUSD Board meeting Monday night, the BOTA/CTA shill Jim Rogers flooded Brea teachers with the message below.

Reading between the lines.

Hi BOTA Members,

Thank you SO much to everyone who attended and/or spoke at the board meeting this evening. We achieved our goal of packing the chambers and definitely made a statement. For those of you who were not there to witness it, the bond vote unfortunately failed. We cannot afford to lose momentum now.

Please read the following message from Jim Rogers, our CTA staff member for BOTA. Jim is also a teacher of many years and Brea resident, and he has our back! We must take action!

There is nothing on the BOTA website about this “demonstration” and no members vote was taken to ensure a consensus. When the “blue shirts” were commanded to stand by that Elmer Gantry on steroids, Joe Bartell, they did so with obvious hesitation.

Why? According to “blue shirts” that contacted us on the patio after the meeting and via email yesterday… BOTA members are as conflicted as the community at large, especially about the golden board perks.

Dear Members of BOTA,

Tonight’s School Board meeting did not go well for the children you serve, let alone your working conditions. A big thanks to everyone for wearing there BOTA shirts yesterday. For those members that were able to make the Board meeting last night, your presence was very important. Your strength as a unit comes when it’s time to stand together.

Tonight the Board failed to reach a super-majority to place a bond on the March ballot. This holds huge ramifications to BOTA members other than working in substandard classrooms and school sites overall.

Because of the age of the schools, plumbing and sewers, electrical, plaster and paint, roofing, and so much more updating is greatly needed. Too many classrooms have been displaced over the years. This is the obvious need for a bond.

What you don’t think of right away is the other complications that will come without a bond. Fixing the problems that pop up each year drains the General Fund of the monies that provide your wages, health benefits, and retirement payments. When any new monies are needed to fix breaks at the aging sites, there is less left to provide raises and enhancements to benefits.

BOUSD has $38,000,000 now to fix any of these items!

A bond must be passed in order for your bargaining team to be able to make agreements that improve your standing.

This is the union’s entire interest in this, not teachers or students, but in maintaining the union’s power.

It’s time for BOTA to show Carrie Flanders it’s strength! Paul Ruiz has been against the last three bond measures, and therefore we must not waste our energy on him, (at least until he runs for re-election.)

So, the union wants to bully Carrie… remember that folks!

Carrie and Paul both want a bond! They also want a board that isn’t taking money from students or is compromised by their need to perpetuate personal benefits.

The November Board meeting will be Monday, November 18, 2019, at 6:30 p.m.

WE NEED EVERY MEMBER TO SAVE THIS DATE!

Your strength in numbers will be needed to pass the bond, however, we must show Carrie Flanders that you have the strength to make it happen.

I wonder if Gail Lyons will make a copy of this message and, with tear filled eyes and quaking voice, wave it at the next meeting as another example of bullying?

Monday night she overlooked the message sent to parents during the campaign for Measure K to boycott downtown businesses – a clear attempt at bullying.

We need at least 150 members to show up at the November 18th Board meeting. Your presence alone will do the trick, but it’s appropriate for anyone who would like to speak also. (Speaking is not an expectation.)

Parading 150 red shirted teachers around (better than brown shirts) will do little to advance their cause… union power. Recent polls suggest roughly 80% of Brea voters support rescinding health insurance subsidies before working out the details of a school bond and putting it on the ballot.

That’s 120X your little band of red shirts. Get rid of the golden perk and Brea voters are inclined to support a well designed school bond.

We are going to wear RED FOR ED November 18th! We are then going to turn the Boardroom RED!!!

Again, thank you for your participation thus far, but please know how important it is that you turn out for this Board meeting! 150 strong!

Sincerely,

Jim Rogers

CTA Regional Uniserv Staff for BOTA

BOTA is expecting defeat.

This communication was written BEFORE the board meeting, evidence of the foreknowledge of their weak position. They anticipated defeat and played right into their own shortcomings. Brea teachers and parents, for the most part, are too smart to fall for their strategy of intimidation and misinformation.

Read Dwight Manley’s challenge to the board here:

“An Open Letter To BOUSD From Dwight Manley”

 

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.