Sunday, April 22, 2012

The PUSD Ballot Proposal on the June 5th Ballot: So What Exactly is Measure A?

There has been remarkably little news coverage on Measure A, which, if passed, would create so-called geographically designated voting districts for the seven seats on the Pasadena Board of Education. Sierra Madre would eventually get a seat nearly all to itself on this new Legislature of Local Learning, but not until a full 2 years after some of the other portions of the Pasadena Unified School District. Something that I find to be fairly close to inexplicable. Do our kids count less? Is our cash not as desireable as the money kicked in by the other inmate communities of the PUSD?

Additionally, the language of this controversial Measure was agreed to by our representative Bart Doyle, which quite naturally makes me a little suspicious. "El Monte Doyle," as he has become known here due to his involuntary starring role in a law suit involving that city and the collapse of a partially government funded billion dollar so-called "transit village" project, hasn't thrown anything but spitballs here for years.

So how many news organizations and articles have covered this issue? I've scoured the Internet, and discovered the answer to both questions is just one. And that one was published in the Pasadena Sun, the local outpost of The Tribune news empire, which includes the Los Angeles Times. Entitled "Former school board member says new voting districts would be 'a step backwards'" (click here), it raises what I see as being a few thorny issues.

First it must be said that all of the usual suspects are for it. Including Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard, some of the characters on our current City Council including John Buchanan and Josh Moran, and, of course, Bart himself. According to this article in the Pasadena Sun, the only person to speak out against Measure A is a gentleman named Bill Bibbiani, a now retired former Pasadena Board of Education member. Here is how The Sun describes his reasons for opposing this Measure.

But former school board member Bill Bibbiani says it would pit four districts where public school enrollment is low against three majority-minority zones where the vast majority of students live.

"This is a step backward that will increase racial polarization and squabbling, with each member looking out for his or her own district," said Bibbiani, lone author of the ballot arguments against Measure A.

Bibbiani served on the school board from 2003 to 2007 after spending 31 years as an administrator at Pasadena schools, where part of his job involved drawing school attendance boundaries.

Elections by district, Bibbiani said, are "a false opportunity (for residents) to dominate one board member for four years while the other six ignore you. Right now, any organized group can have an influence on every seat."

Although a plan for Pasadena school board elections by district failed at the ballot box in 2000, officials revived the idea after several boards in Central California were hit with California Voting Rights Act lawsuits claiming their at-large systems diluted the power of minority voters.

According to this article, which carefully tiptoes through the obvious minefields here, it does appear that these districts have been constructed around the racial and ethnic identities of those living in them. Which I have always been led to believe is a bad thing. I mean, the PUSD is a fully integrated school system complete with busing and other ways of encouraging everyone to learn to live and prosper as one, so why divide our Board of Education up into racially undiverse districts? I hear no Kumbaya in that.

The map creates two Northwest Pasadena districts where Latinos outnumber other groups, and a west Altadena district that is strongly African American -- areas responsible for the majority of school district enrollment. Four mostly white districts cover east Altadena, west Pasadena, and link Sierra Madre with Pasadena's southwest side.

There is also that other matter for concern. The elections for these "by district" seats will not all occur on the same year. The first election will occur in 2013 and cover the Pasadena/west Altadena district. The second will happen in 2014 for the districts that cover central Pasadena and west Pasadena.

And our district? We will not be allowed to elect our representative until 2015. Which means that while the majority of Pasadena Board of Education districts will have their own representation, our District will still be covered by an at-large representative. That being Tom Selinske, the same fellow who ran such an extremely unsavory re-election campaign recently.

Obviously this will put Sierra Madre's schools at a distinct disadvantage for a couple of years. While other Districts will have their own representatives, we will still have "at-large" representation. You can only wonder at why our officials here in town, both elected and appointed, have supported an unfortunate condition that privileges others over us.

How do we find out more about Measure A, you ask?

On Wednesday, May 9, Southern California Public Radio (KPCC) and the Pasadena Sun will be holding a public forum on two items of local interest in the June 5th primary election. These being a discussion of Measure A by a panel of experts, and a debate between the 5 candidates running for the newly created 41st Assembly District seat. It all goes down at the elegantly designated Crawford Family Forum, which is located at 474 S. Raymond Avenue in Pasadena.

The Measure A panel of experts will include: Ken Chawkins, the guy who ran the Pasadena Unified School District Districting Task Force where Joe Mosca and Bart Doyle supposedly represented us, Stella Murga, described by The Sun as the "executive director of the Pasadena Youth Center and a Measure A supporter," and Bill Bibbiani. Bill, as we said earlier, being the sole authority of note out there opposing Measure A.

You will be able to supply written questions (only) for the folks speaking at this event. I believe you will also need to RSVP as well. To do both please visit www.kpcc.org/forum. You can also call the Pasadena Sun @ 818 495-4016.

I know I will be there. I hope you will be as well.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

32 comments:

  1. It seems clear to me. The "A" in Measure A stands for Apartheid.

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  2. If Bart Doyle is involved you know something is wrong with it. This guy only looks out for himself and his interests.

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    1. You know what he is all about, right? A few hundred million dollars in Measure TT bond money.

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    2. Anything that no good man, Bart Doyle is promoting is very, very bad for all decent people. Bad for everyone.

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    3. There must have been a trade off somewhere. Sold out Sierra madre for sure.

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    4. Nice to see you included indecent people, too, 7:14!

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  3. question... Is a seat on the PUSD board a paid position?
    Hard to believe our so well educated editor of the moutain views has not penned some spin the measure

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    1. She probably hasn't received her orders yet.

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    2. Maybe Joe will run when he gets back. Maybe that's the reason why it has been delayed until 2015?

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  4. Both sides are suspicious. Bill Bibbiani has no stellar record. His wife Janet worked in one of the schools. She served as Resource Teacher and worked with the Adm. and pretended to represent the Union to new teachers. That is a clear conflict of interest. It is also totally unethical. She also was a vicious gossip teacher to teacher behind their backs. And, people wonder where teachers get a bad rap. In the long run we know children suffer when adults are not treated professionally, and stress is created by people at the "top."

    Her husband "hung around" the school often, creating a bully atmosphere for the faculty, many of whom were new and the existing faculty had lost a fabulous principal and had no time to adjust with a new Administration.

    It was a well known situation all over the district what the Bibbiani's created. Their controlling personalities were very out-of-hand, and they knew what they were doing.

    The Bibbiani's created fear in faculty, staff and Adm. I knew parent's who wished they would go away. Those were horrible years for many of my friends. I put my children in private schools because of what I knew of them. Children never considered/ they were always props. I will never regret the sacrifice I made in private school.

    Would not doubt Doyle/Bib are great pals counting egos and dollars.
    It is a sneaky Measure with men like them involved.

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    1. What does this have to do with Sierra Madre being denied a representative for two years, though?

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    2. Ok, so Bibbiani has been a jerk. I'll accept that as a fact. But it doesn't mean Measure A is a good idea.
      In fact, on the face of it, it stinks, and it looks like it will lead to a lot of manipulation, guilt tripping, and of course, child neglect.

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    3. When Mr. Doyle was appointed representative, Councilmember MacGillivray asked, the the Council agreed, that he would come before Council monthly to recap the PUSD meetings. What ever happened to that? Is this a little like Dancin' Nancy? GoToMeeting but never report back? If these people run and are elected, if these people ask to be appointed to Commissions and committees, aren't they beholden to the citizenry to give an accounting of themselves? Or is this just a resume plumping device? I've gotta say in Walsh's case, it's a matter of too little, too late.

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    4. In Doyle's case, I think this was more reputation salvaging than resume pumping - ya know, something to tell the judge, "But your honor! I work for the little children as a community volunteer!"

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    5. THe PUSD is just more dirty waters for bilge water bart & his team of sewer rats to swim in. Anything that is a source of government money to be misused is going to be a playground for these vermin. It also seems to me that this green committee bs would just be a way too have a duplicate city council for the in dirts to control development with the likes of bitter & mean spirited kim klimer who has shown she is is arian nation at heart. Anyone that sends a hate email & then signs it is the worst kind of sociopath. She actually believes she is right to be a bully. We need an exorcist & then we need to drain this cesspool of 2 bit dirty pool of backdoor politicians wannabes. GOd bless honesty & transparency & the 71/2% WATER HIKE THIS JULY .be damned. riled up in Sierra Madre!!

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    6. Do we know that in fact Doyle is attending the PUSD redistricting meetings? Don't forget Joe Mosca signing up for committees and commissions that he either 1) never attended meetings, or 2) came late/left early.

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    7. All we got of Bart was a PowerPoint presentation that apparently was an airbrushed version of what was really going down. That we don't get to elect a representative until 2 years after others is an outrage. Doyle needs to be canned for covering this up. First thing the new City Council needs to do his chase this bum out of our lives.

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  5. Good God, is this what the school administrators and their city appointee colleagues have been doing with their time?

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  6. Does this now become a case of taxation without representation?

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    1. Yes it does 11:00!

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    2. Seems like measure A is the Scarlet Letter of the PUSD. It also reads like the book! More dirty shenanigans.

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    3. Our taxation for someone else's representation to spend.

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  7. Don'tcha just imagine that Bart Doyle will be running for election to our area designate school board rep. Gag! I can only image we got the short straw on the rotation, coming in two years later, so they have overlapping representatives and that the board is not all new all at once. So why didn't our stalwart representatitive lobby for us getting a vote early? Sure to point to his positioning himself for the election.

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  8. If we have no voice, we get cut out of funding as well.
    It will be very little or none.
    If you have your kids at S.M. school, I would seriously start looking at private schools.

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  9. Here is the question to ask, when and if the district representation gets divided up and our sector is left without an elected school board member won't the one who used to represent our area continue in some sort of overlapping representation until we get our own?

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    1. That was answered in the article.

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  10. Maybe part of the "plan" is to raise taxes so high no one can afford private schools, then everyone gets a substandard politically correct "education." The kids can't read or write but they are ready to "save the planet," by unconsciously supporting the stack and pack urban mentality. You've got to admit rap is cooler than country. You can't keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen a transit village with a Starbucks and a McDonalds.

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    1. Low income transit village housing should be good for the car business. People who used to pay everything in rent will now have a little disposable income to buy themselves a family chevy and escape the bus.

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  11. It's obvious that from the lack of comments about this blog, that many Sierra Madre citizens don't know (or don't care) about the PUSD. Just having returned from a weekend away, I am appauled at the lack of comments about this subject. Thanks, Crawford for bringing this forth to us, and hope that this coverage can be brought up again so we can all be a voice for the children of Sierra Madre. Dance'n Nancy doesn't care because her children and grandchildren have gone to Catholic schools. Josh doesn't care because he taught in private schools. Let us hope that the new council will pay attention to what is happening. I know Chris Koerber is, from his comments to the city council meetings in the past.

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  12. 3:14 - Ed Honowitz is currently Sierra Madre School's at-large representative. His term ends in 2013. The new Charter language makes living in your sub-geographic district a requirement. Therefore Honowitz could never be our representative again unless he moves to Sierra Madre.

    If Measure A is passed by the voters in June, it appears that Tom Selinkse will represent Sierra Madre at-large until he terms out in 2015.

    The bottom line here is that Measure A is a huge mistake because is reduces the influence that individual voters in PUSD have with the school board. Instead of seven board members serving, and being accountable to the parents, students and taxpayers as a whole, you will only have one board member counting on your vote. This is less democracy - not more.

    And, just because you don't have kids in the schools, this is not the time to think this doesn't matter. You are a taxpayer, and every move the school district makes affects you and your pocketbook. Measure Y was a $240MM bond which was terribly mismanaged, and now we have have Measure TT, a $350MM bond which also seems to be mismanaged. And, sadly, your taxpayer dollars are funding a FAILED school district. It's time to stand up and hold the school district accountable.

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  13. Any news on who from the task force is going to run for the board? Conflict of interest?

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    1. Yes Navigio, that would be Stella Murga.

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