At the request of the City Council, Mr. Bart Doyle, the Council's designated representative to the Pasadena Unified School Districting Task Force, will be updating the City Council on the progress of the PUSD Districting Task Force.
The document then goes on to inform the City Council Members that "staff recommends the City Council receive and file this informational report." Which is a rather dry way of saying what is done is done, and that the consequences of so unfortunate an appointment to the PUSD Districting Task Force as Mr. Doyle are now on them. They're just going to have to live with it. It's in the hands of the voters now.
Bart Doyle is being dragged before the City Council to explain a core outrage contained in "Measure A," the unfortunate initiative that will change the way Board of Education members are elected to serve on this august body. Up until now those representing the parents and students attending our public schools were elected on a district-wide basis, and therefore had to answer to everyone.
Should Measure A pass on June 5th that would all change. Exclusive representatives from 7 individual areas carved out of the PUSD's overall jurisdiction would then speak for their so-called "geographic subdistricts" alone. A somewhat misleading term as these districts have been gerrymandered to empower individual ethnicities, leading to what many are now terming a "Balkanization" of the school district.
This is how William Bibbiani, former Pasadena Board of Education member and outspoken opponent of Measure A, puts it:
Measure A supporters falsely claim that it will "bring more democracy and local control." In reality, it takes away your right to vote for all 7 school board members and gives you the right to vote for only 1 board member every four years ... Measure A drastically reduces your voting power by forcing you into a segregated political sub-district which will be drawn in large part beased on someone's perception of your ethnicity.
Which is politically correct for 2012, I suppose. Certainly portions of the 1970s notion of desegregation having now fallen by the wayside, with a current form of resegregation now back in vogue. With certain fresh nuances thrown in, of course.
Should Measure A not pass, there is also the matter of something called the "Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law," an organization that will sue the impoverished PUSD for vast sums of taxpayer gold under the edicts of the California Voting Rights Act. Two senior fellows from John Harabedian's law firm, Latham and Watkins, being amongst this organization's leadership. Hopefully Mr. Harabedian will take this opportunity to show his respect for the community by recusing himself during Mr. Doyle's time at the podium.
It was MaryAnn MacGillivray who demanded that Bart Doyle come before the City Council and do some explaining. So her good work lives on. And the reason Bart has been called upon to speak Tuesday evening is because of the second class status Measure A would slap on Sierra Madre.
As we have said, should Measure A pass individual representatives from each of the 7 new districts carved from the PUSD's overall bailiwick would be elected. What is unfortunate here for Sierra Madre, and especially the parents of kids who attend public school here, is that each of these representatives will not be elected at the same time. Most of them would be voted onto the Pasadena Board of Education next year, in 2013. However, and for whatever reason, Sierra Madre's district will not be permitted to elect its representative until 2015.
What this means is that during the critical two years when $350,000,000 in Measure TT bond money is being divvied up for new school construction and overall maintenance, Sierra Madre will not have a representative in the mix fighting for our fair share. Rather the other sub-districts, those with elected and exclusive members on the Board of Education, will have a distinct advantage when it comes to getting that money for what they want. Which I doubt will have very much to do with Sierra Madre.
We have already seen what the PUSD is capable of with the issuance of their recent announcements regarding the severe cuts in facilities upgrade money for our schools here. The lion's share of those cuts falling upon us. This despite the fact that we were promised such moneys should we vote for Measure TT. Which many obviously did since it passed. About as blatant a bait and switch as can be imagined.
So what does Bart need to explain? As our City Council appointed representative to the so-called "redistricting task force" that made the decision to stick it to Sierra Madre, how exactly is it that he did nothing to stop this injustice? From people I have spoken to who attended those meetings, Doyle apparently raised no objects to kicking us to the back of the school bus. Instead choosing to silently sit by as the other districts were given rights that we will not have when $350 million in Measure TT cash is split up. Which is an outrage as far as I am concerned.
In the current edition of the Pasadena Weekly, a publication that usually echoes whatever it is the satraps running the PUSD are demanding at the time (I suspect it is their Peter Dreier connections that compel them to inflict such degradation upon themselves), there is an article that encourages a "yes" vote on Measure A (click here). And the preeminent reason for claiming we should do so goes as follows:
Do you want to bring more democracy and local control to the Pasadena Unified School District? If so, vote "Yes" on Measure A. A diverse citizen task force has proposed a way to elect PUSD school board members that will give citizens a stronger voice in electing the board, save money on PUSD elections and strengthen local control and grassroots democracy in Pasadena, Altadena and Sierra Madre.
So how will Measure A "strengthen local control and grassroots democracy" for Sierra Madre if we don't get to have a representative on the Board of Ed until 2015, a full two years after most of the other sub-districts? What "local control" will we have? None, apparently.
The Pasadena Weekly piece was penned by the Mayor of Pasadena, Bill Bogaard. However, listed below are other interested parties, people who endorsed the happy braying of the Rose City's chief potentate. Included on that list is "former Sierra Madre Mayor Bart Doyle."
I hope Bart will be asked by the City Council to explain how he could possibly voice support for something that bestows a crippling second class status on the community he was appointed to the "redistricting task force" to represent. And quite obviously failed.