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Archive for September, 2015

OCYR ATF Day Tomorrow

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on September 25, 2015

Posted in Orange County | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Anaheim City Council Passes Both Schools Line Item in Budget and Resolution on Charter Schools and Parent Trigger Law

Posted by Chris Nguyen on September 16, 2015

City_of_Anaheim_Seal_svgIn a lengthy meeting that began at 5:00 PM yesterday and dragged on to nearly 1:20 AM this morning, the Anaheim City Council voted 3-2 to approve the creation of a line-item in the City budget for facility joint-use purposes with schools in Anaheim and to pass a resolution in support of charter schools and the Parent Trigger Law.  Councilman James Vanderbilt was the only person who was in the majority for both votes.

Budget Line Item

After hours of public comment and lengthy debate by the City Council members, the Council approved the creation of a line item in the City budget for facility joint-use projects that provide community benefit (i.e. benefiting both school districts and the general public). No specific dollar amount will be determined until the FY 2016-17 budget process begins.

The vote was 3-2, with Mayor Tom Tait and Councilmen Jordan Brandman and James Vanderbilt in favor.  Mayor Pro Tem Lucille Kring and Councilwoman Kris Murray opposed.

In August, the Anaheim Union High School District had passed a resolution asking the City for direct financial support.  The item was agendized to create a budget line item for direct financial support, but was amended from the Council dais during the meeting to narrow it the item to only direct financial support for facility joint-use projects that provide community benefit.

Prior to the final vote, Murray had made a motion, which Kring seconded, that would have delayed the item by 45 days to poll the six other school districts in Anaheim (Anaheim City School District, Centralia School District, Magnolia School District, Orange Unified School District, Placentia-Yorba Linda School District, and Savanna School District) as to their desires on this item since only the Anaheim Union High School District had asked for this.

Resolution on Charter Schools and Parent Trigger Law

After nearly 45 minutes of debate, the resolution in support of charter schools and the Parent Trigger Law was approved by the Anaheim City Council on a 3-2 vote, with Mayor Pro Tem Lucille Kring, Councilwoman Kris Murray, and Councilman James Vanderbilt in favor.  Mayor Tom Tait and Councilman Jordan Brand were opposed.

At the start of the debate shortly before 12:30 AM, Tait expressed his opposition to the resolution’s declarations/implications about Anaheim having “low performing” and “worst performing” schools.

At one point in the debate, Tait pointed to U.S. News & World Report ranking all 9 Anaheim Union High School District high schools among the top schools in the country.

As Tait, Murray, and Kring battled on procedural motions, Vanderbilt sought in vain for amendments that would get the resolution to a 5-0 unanimous vote.

Shortly before 1:00 AM, Tait stated he would not vote for the resolution. Two minutes later, Brandman told Vanderbilt, “you will never get my vote” for the resolution in response to Vanderbilt’s efforts for unanimity.

In order to gain Vanderbilt’s support and get the resolution to 3-2, Murray agreed to support Vanderbilt’s amendment to remove four paragraphs.

For more from OC Political on the original resolution, click here.  The resolution, as passed with the Vanderbilt amendments, reads:

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ANAHEIM SUPPORTING ANAHEIM’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS, AND OFFERING TO WORK IN CONTINUED PARTNERSHIP WITH ALL CITY SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO ENSURE STUDENTS IN THE CITY HAVE EQUAL ACCESS TO A QUALITY EDUCATION, INCLUDING SUPPORT FOR PROGRAMS, POLICIES, AND EDUCATIONAL CHOICES PROVIDED IN STATE LAW TO EMPOWER PARENTS AND STUDENTS TO CLOSE THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP (AKA THE “ANAHEIM PARENT AND STUDENT EMPOWERMENT ACT”)

WHEREAS, the City of Anaheim has a long-standing, supportive partnership with its school districts providing millions annually in supplemental educational resources; and

WHEREAS, the city’s financial support includes funding public safety officers and crossing guards at public school campuses, after school enrichment programs, joint-use agreements for city parks and libraries, and community services that provide a direct enhancement to the education of the City’s children; and

WHEREAS, the City of Anaheim’s greater business community contributes millions annually to support the City’s public schools, including a recently completed Youth Assessment Survey funded by the Disneyland Resort, and the new grant initiative Accelerate Change Together (ACT), managed by the Orange County Community Foundation with financial support provided by the Disneyland Resort, Angels Baseball, and Anaheim Ducks, to address gaps in service for underserved Anaheim youth; and

WHEREAS, the City of Anaheim agrees all residents, parents and children, deserve equal access to a quality education; and

WHEREAS, many school districts across the City are achieving and exceeding state standards, with many of their schools recognized as California Distinguished Schools, and

WHEREAS, several school districts in the City of Anaheim are unfortunately listed as having among the worst performing schools in the County of Orange, including the Anaheim Union High School District, which reports that half of their schools are failing to meet state standards despite having among the highest levels of per pupil funding per the state Department of Finance; and

WHEREAS, parents at chronically low performing schools in Anaheim have sought to exercise their legal rights under California’s Parent Empowerment Law to improve access for their children to a better education and have faced staunch political and legal opposition by elected and administration officials governing these schools at taxpayer expense; and

WHEREAS, charter schools provide a personalized approach to education including smaller classrooms, innovative teaching methods, and parent involvement, such as the acclaimed El Rancho Middle School with Orange Unified School District and the independent GOALS Academy, which opened its doors on August 17, 2015 with the full support of the Anaheim City School District administration and trustees; and

WHEREAS, Charter Schools have been used effectively in the Los Angeles Unified School District to provide an alternative for economically disadvantaged students who have been attending chronically underperforming public schools; and

WHEREAS, the AUHSD has unanimously adopted a resolution asking the City of Anaheim to establish an undefined, unrestricted line item in the City budget to supplement funding for all public schools within the City, above and beyond the millions in public and private financial support provided by the City today and without any advance communication or collaboration by the AUHSD trustees or administration with the City; and

WHEREAS, AUHSD covers five cities in its jurisdiction, Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, La Palma, Stanton and its resolution was directed only in Anaheim and provides no taxpayer safeguards that if adopted by the City, the additional funding would be used to support schools and students in Anaheim, rather than the other four cities of the AUHSD service area; and

WHEREAS, the line item in the City budget requested by AUHSD would have no restrictions, taxpayer oversight or accountability and has the potential to divert vital city funding for Anaheim police, fire, parks, libraries, roads and closing the gap on the City’s escalating pension liabilities; and

WHEREAS, the City’s schools have received record levels of increased state funding over the past two fiscal years and the state Legislative Analyst Office has stated that the next fiscal year will be at or above existing levels, in addition to a $249 million bond approved by voters for AUHSD in 2014 and a $169.3 million bond approved by voters for ACSD in 2010; and

WHEREAS, ACSD had just approved an expenditure of $670,000 in funding that will go to legal fees rather than its public schools to appeal the Superior Court ruling in favor of Palm Lane parents exercising their legal rights under the California Parent Empowerment Law; and

WHEREAS, a high percentage of Anaheim’s economically disadvantaged students continue to attend chronically low performing schools and there is insufficient evidence that unrestricted funding by the City would be used to improve upon the status quo and bring about substantive reforms, as evidenced by the increased levels of local and state funding in recent years that has yet to substantively close the achievement gap at schools reported as underperforming in the City; and

WHEREAS, the City of Anaheim and its public school districts should work together to adopt programs, policies, and reforms that are directed at closing the achievement gap at existing schools currently underperforming by state standards to ensure all students in the City have equal access to a quality education; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Anaheim:

  1. The City of Anaheim will continue to provide significant financial resources based on existing budgetary practices to continue the City’s historic support of its public schools and will continue to partner with its school districts on joint-use facilities and programs to enhance educational opportunities for families, parents and children in the City; and
  2. The City of Anaheim urges the seven school districts that serve Anaheim students to adopt policies and programs to provide greater levels of high quality educational choice, including charter schools, and to adopt strategic plans and reforms to close the achievement gap for chronically low performing schools in Anaheim before seeking additional city funding; and
  3. The City of Anaheim urges all seven school districts to actively inform parents of their legal rights under the California Parent Empowerment law and its Parent Trigger provisions, and to support and not in any way legally hinder or cease existing legal efforts to challenge parents exercising their legal rights as authorized by state law.

 

Posted in Anaheim, Anaheim City School District, Anaheim Union High School District, Centralia School District, Magnolia School District, Orange Unified School District, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District, Savanna School District | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Anaheim City Council to Weigh in on Charter Schools and Parent Trigger Law

Posted by Chris Nguyen on September 14, 2015

City_of_Anaheim_Seal_svgOn Tuesday, the Anaheim City Council will vote on a resolution supporting students’ “equal access to a quality education,” specifically pointing to charter schools and the rights of families to use the Parent Trigger Law (also known as the “Parent Empowerment Law”).

The resolution reaffirms the City’s “existing budgetary practices…in support of its public schools,” including “joint-use facilities and programs…” (The City currently provides indirect financial support to the tune of $5.7 million each year through facilities/joint use, programming, and public safety.  Additionally, the City has provided indirect financial support for capital improvements/infrastructure worth $19.9 million over the last five years.)

The resolution also urges the seven school districts serving Anaheim to provide more charter schools and “adopt strategic plans and reforms to close the achievement gap for chronically low performing schools in Anaheim before seeking additional city funding.”

These two portions are clearly in response to the request by the Anaheim Union High School District for direct City funding of that district, which was agendized for the Council meeting by Mayor Tom Tait.

Finally, the resolution “urges all seven school districts to actively inform parents of their legal rights under the California Parent Empowerment law and its Parent Trigger provisions, and to support and not in any way legally hinder or cease existing legal efforts to challenge parents exercising their legal rights as authorized by state law.”  This portion is obviously in response to the Anaheim City School District’s actions after parents at Palm Lane Elementary School utilized the Parent Trigger Law and prevailed in court.  (Among other things, the school district is appealing the court ruling.)

For those wondering, there are seven school districts that serve the City of Anaheim:

  • Anaheim Union High School District, 22,531 students, 14 schools
  • Anaheim City School District, 19,164 students, 25 schools
  • Orange Unified School District, 7,383 students, 10 schools
  • Magnolia School District, 5,679 students, 8 schools
  • Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District, 3,719 students, 1 school
  • Savanna School District, 1,941 students, 2 schools
  • Centralia School District, 1,245 students, 2 schools

The resolution was agendized at the request of Councilwoman Kris Murray in response to the Tait item to provide direct City funding to the Anaheim Union High School District.

Click here for the staff report on this item.  Below is the full text of the resolution:

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ANAHEIM SUPPORTING ANAHEIM’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS, AND OFFERING TO WORK IN CONTINUED PARTNERSHIP WITH ALL CITY SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO ENSURE STUDENTS IN THE CITY HAVE EQUAL ACCESS TO A QUALITY EDUCATION, INCLUDING SUPPORT FOR PROGRAMS, POLICIES, AND EDUCATIONAL CHOICES PROVIDED IN STATE LAW TO EMPOWER PARENTS AND STUDENTS TO CLOSE THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP (AKA THE “ANAHEIM PARENT AND STUDENT EMPOWERMENT ACT”)

WHEREAS, the City of Anaheim has a long-standing, supportive partnership with its school districts providing millions annually in supplemental educational resources; and

WHEREAS, the city’s financial support includes funding public safety officers and crossing guards at public school campuses, after school enrichment programs, joint-use agreements for city parks and libraries, and community services that provide a direct enhancement to the education of the City’s children; and

WHEREAS, the City of Anaheim’s greater business community contributes millions annually to support the City’s public schools, including a recently completed Youth Assessment Survey funded by the Disneyland Resort, and the new grant initiative Accelerate Change Together (ACT), managed by the Orange County Community Foundation with financial support provided by the Disneyland Resort, Angels Baseball, and Anaheim Ducks, to address gaps in service for underserved Anaheim youth; and

WHEREAS, the City of Anaheim agrees all residents, parents and children, deserve equal access to a quality education; and

WHEREAS, many school districts across the City are achieving and exceeding state standards, with many of their schools recognized as California Distinguished Schools, and

WHEREAS, several school districts in the City of Anaheim are unfortunately listed as having among the worst performing schools in the County of Orange, including the Anaheim Union High School District, which reports that half of their schools are failing to meet state standards despite having among the highest levels of per pupil funding per the state Department of Finance; and

WHEREAS, parents at chronically low performing schools in Anaheim have sought to exercise their legal rights under California’s Parent Empowerment Law to improve access for their children to a better education and have faced staunch political and legal opposition by elected and administration officials governing these schools at taxpayer expense; and

WHEREAS, charter schools provide a personalized approach to education including smaller classrooms, innovative teaching methods, and parent involvement, such as the acclaimed El Rancho Middle School with Orange Unified School District and the independent GOALS Academy, which opened its doors on August 17, 2015 with the full support of the Anaheim City School District administration and trustees; and

WHEREAS, Charter Schools have been used effectively in the Los Angeles Unified School District to provide an alternative for economically disadvantaged students who have been attending chronically underperforming public schools; and

WHEREAS, the AUHSD has unanimously adopted a resolution asking the City of Anaheim to establish an undefined, unrestricted line item in the City budget to supplement funding for all public schools within the City, above and beyond the millions in public and private financial support provided by the City today and without any advance communication or collaboration by the AUHSD trustees or administration with the City; and

WHEREAS, AUHSD covers five cities in its jurisdiction, Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, La Palma, Stanton and its resolution was directed only in Anaheim and provides no taxpayer safeguards that if adopted by the City, the additional funding would be used to support schools and students in Anaheim, rather than the other four cities of the AUHSD service area; and

WHEREAS, the line item in the City budget requested by AUHSD would have no restrictions, taxpayer oversight or accountability and has the potential to divert vital city funding for Anaheim police, fire, parks, libraries, roads and closing the gap on the City’s escalating pension liabilities; and

WHEREAS, the City’s schools have received record levels of increased state funding over the past two fiscal years and the state Legislative Analyst Office has stated that the next fiscal year will be at or above existing levels, in addition to a $249 million bond approved by voters for AUHSD in 2014 and a $169.3 million bond approved by voters for ACSD in 2010; and

WHEREAS, ACSD had just approved an expenditure of $670,000 in funding that will go to legal fees rather than its public schools to appeal the Superior Court ruling in favor of Palm Lane parents exercising their legal rights under the California Parent Empowerment Law; and

WHEREAS, a high percentage of Anaheim’s economically disadvantaged students continue to attend chronically low performing schools and there is insufficient evidence that unrestricted funding by the City would be used to improve upon the status quo and bring about substantive reforms, as evidenced by the increased levels of local and state funding in recent years that has yet to substantively close the achievement gap at schools reported as underperforming in the City; and

WHEREAS, the City of Anaheim and its public school districts should work together to adopt programs, policies, and reforms that are directed at closing the achievement gap at existing schools currently underperforming by state standards to ensure all students in the City have equal access to a quality education; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Anaheim:

  1. The City of Anaheim will continue to provide significant financial resources based on existing budgetary practices to continue the City’s historic support of its public schools and will continue to partner with its school districts on joint-use facilities and programs to enhance educational opportunities for families, parents and children in the City; and
  2. The City of Anaheim urges the seven school districts that serve Anaheim students to adopt policies and programs to provide greater levels of high quality educational choice, including charter schools, and to adopt strategic plans and reforms to close the achievement gap for chronically low performing schools in Anaheim before seeking additional city funding; and
  3. The City of Anaheim urges all seven school districts to actively inform parents of their legal rights under the California Parent Empowerment law and its Parent Trigger provisions, and to support and not in any way legally hinder or cease existing legal efforts to challenge parents exercising their legal rights as authorized by state law.

Posted in Anaheim, Anaheim City School District, Anaheim Union High School District, Centralia School District, Magnolia School District, Orange Unified School District, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District, Savanna School District | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Bush Address on September 11 Attacks; Obama Address on Navy SEAL Operation Killing Bin Laden

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on September 11, 2015

President George W. Bush addressed the nation on Tuesday, September 11, 2001:

Good evening. Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes, or in their offices; secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers; moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror.

The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed; our country is strong.

A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.

America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.

Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature. And we responded with the best of America — with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.

Immediately following the first attack, I implemented our government’s emergency response plans. Our military is powerful, and it’s prepared. Our emergency teams are working in New York City and Washington, D.C. to help with local rescue efforts.

Our first priority is to get help to those who have been injured, and to take every precaution to protect our citizens at home and around the world from further attacks.

The functions of our government continue without interruption. Federal agencies in Washington which had to be evacuated today are reopening for essential personnel tonight, and will be open for business tomorrow. Our financial institutions remain strong, and the American economy will be open for business, as well.

The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I’ve directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.

I appreciate so very much the members of Congress who have joined me in strongly condemning these attacks. And on behalf of the American people, I thank the many world leaders who have called to offer their condolences and assistance.

America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world, and we stand together to win the war against terrorism. Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.”

This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day. Yet, we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.

Thank you. Good night, and God bless America.

President Barack Obama addressed the nation on Sunday, May 1, 2011:

Good evening.  Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.

It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history.  The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory — hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground; black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon; the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.

And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world.  The empty seat at the dinner table.  Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father.  Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace.  Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.

On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together.  We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood.  We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country.  On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.

We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice.  We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda — an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe.  And so we went to war against al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.

Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort.  We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense.  In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support.  And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.

Yet Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan.  Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world.

And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.

Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden.  It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground.  I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan.  And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.

Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.  A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability.  No Americans were harmed.  They took care to avoid civilian casualties.  After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.

For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies.  The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.

Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort.  There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us.  We must –- and we will — remain vigilant at home and abroad.

As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with Islam.  I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam.  Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims.  Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own.  So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.

Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was.  That is what we’ve done.  But it’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding.  Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well, and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people.

Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts.  They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations.  And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.

The American people did not choose this fight.  It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens.  After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war.  These efforts weigh on me every time I, as Commander-in-Chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who’s been gravely wounded.

So Americans understand the costs of war.  Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed.  We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies.  We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror:  Justice has been done.

Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome.  The American people do not see their work, nor know their names.  But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.

We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country.  And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.

Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores.

And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11.  I know that it has, at times, frayed.  Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.

The cause of securing our country is not complete.  But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to.  That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.

Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are:  one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Thank you.  May God bless you.  And may God bless the United States of America.

Posted in International, National | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

OCYR ATF Day on Saturday, September 26

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on September 11, 2015

Posted in Orange County | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Anaheim City School District’s First Robocall to Palm Lane Elementary School Parents – Full Recording & Transcript

Posted by Chris Nguyen on September 8, 2015

Anaheim City School DistrictMuch has been made about the content of the robocalls from the Anaheim City School District (ACSD) to Palm Lane Elementary School parents regarding the effort to utilize the Parent Trigger Law (officially the Parent Empowerment Act) to convert Palm Lane into a charter school.

Oddly in all the controversy about whether ACSD was informing Palm Lane parents or lobbying Palm Lane parents, no one has provided the full audio nor the full text of any of the robocalls.  So for the first time for public consumption since the initial robocall was made, OC Political publishes the first robocall here.

From time to time, OC Political leaves it to our readers to read/listen to the original source rather than filtering it through our analysis.  This will be one of those cases, so other than noting below the differences between the recording and the original script, we leave it to you, our readers, to listen/read for yourselves what the first robocall from ACSD to Palm Lane parents said.

In response to a request from OC Political, ACSD provided a 97-second recording of their robocall to Palm Lane parents on December 9, 2014, when the petition process was heating up but before the petitions were submitted.

Here’s the audio of the robocall:

 

Here’s the transcript of the robocall:

Good evening parents,

This is Linda Wagner, Superintendent of the Anaheim City School District.

Providing the highest quality education possible for your students is our highest priority. Recently, it has been reported to us that there are people in our community who have been paid by an organization to gather parent signatures for a petition that could completely change the way some of our schools are run. What they may not be telling you is that signing the petition could change our schools in dramatic ways.

If they wish to do so, the law allows parents to sign petitions that cause one of several things to happen.  The petition could cause your child’s school to become a charter school; it could force the closure of a school; and it could result in a complete change in the faculty and the staff of the school. If you are truly interested in changing your school, including perhaps new teachers and staff, we do not want to discourage you from signing the petition. We would ask, however, that you read what you are signing and be careful about allowing aggressive petition gatherers to pressure you in to signing a document without all of the facts.

We have not and will not advocate on either side of this issue.

While we do not control communications from either side on this issue, we remain committed to offering a clear and fact-based presentation of all information to our parents, so that you can make the very best decision for your child.

We are proud of the well-rounded education we provide our students. Our programs integrating technology, engineering, robotics, mathematics and critical thinking are preparing our students for college and careers.

We are happy to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to call us anytime at (714) 517-7510.

While any script will vary from the way a call is actually recorded (slight ad libs or minor differences from the speaker not reading the script word-for-word while recording), there is one odd, substantive deviation regarding Common Core. The original script had: “Anaheim City School District teachers are prepared and focused on teaching new national standards designed to help students think deeply, apply their learnings successfully, and be well prepared prepare for a bright and promising future.”  For whatever reason, Superintendent Wagner left this sentence from the script out when she recorded the call.

The only other noticeable changes were the swapping of two of the last three paragraphs (including the one that originally contained the omitted sentence), the longer introduction, and Wagner’s increased use of the first person (we) instead of the script’s original third person (the Anaheim City School District).  Wagner also corrected a few grammatical errors in the script.

Here is the original script for the December 9, 2014 robocall, as provided to OC Political by the Anaheim City School District:

Dear Parents,

Providing the highest quality education possible for your students is our highest priority. Recently, it has been reported to us that there are people in our community who have been paid by an organization to gather parent signatures for a petition that could completely change the way some of our schools are run. What they may not be telling you is that signing the petition could change our schools in dramatic ways.

If they wish to do so, the law allows parents to sign petitions that cause one of several things to happen.  The petition could cause your child’s school to become a charter school; it could force the closure of a school; and it could result in a complete change in the faculty and staff of the school. If you are truly interested in changing your school, including perhaps new teachers and staff, we do not want to discourage you from signing the petition. We would ask, however, that you read what you are signing and be careful about allowing aggressive petition gatherers to pressure you in to signing a document without all of the facts.

We have not and will not advocate on either side of this issue.

The Anaheim City School District is proud of the well-rounded education we provide our students. Our programs integrating technology, engineering, robotics, mathematics and critical thinking are preparing our students for college and careers. Anaheim City School District teachers are prepared and focused on teaching new national standards designed to help students think deeply, apply their learnings successfully, and be well prepared prepare for a bright and promising future.

While we do not control the communications from either side on this issue, we remain committed to offering a clear and fact based presentation of all of the information to our parents, so that you can make the best decision for their child.

We are happy to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to call us anytime at (714) 517-7510.

Posted in Anaheim City School District | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Los Angeles Could Use a COIN Ordinance – But That Will Only Come When Its Voters Demand It

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on September 2, 2015

We in Orange County have seen several versions of the COIN Ordinance (Community Openness In Negotiations). COIN ordinances provide for more and earlier disclosure to the taxpayers during and in the run up to the final approval of a contract between the public entity employer and a government employee union. This allows the citizens to know and understand the costs of the “deal” they will have to pay for.  It also gives them time to give their opinions to their own elected officials about the deal the officials negotiated on the voters behalf.

The City of Costa Mesa was the first to put a COIN ordinance in place.  The County of Orange also put one in place only to have the employee’s union challenge it before a Labor Commissioner who ruled against the ordinance – that is currently on appeal by the County.

It was with some surprise that I saw that the Los Angele Times (no fan of conservative ideals and principles) called for the implementation of a COIN ordinance in the City of Los Angeles.  Here is a link to the editorial: Los Angeles Could Use More COIN.  As the LA Times editorial points out, the back room deal of 2007 was a financial disaster for the City and its taxpayers.  It looks like a similar secret negotiation then quick City Council approval process is going on again.  A COIN ordinance would likely allow for the taxpayers who are going to foot the bill for this deal to know what they are being obligated to pay for before their elected officials vote for the labor contract.  In other words, so the voters and taxpayers of the City of Los Angeles could have time to communicate to their elected representatives what they think of the deal.

Lets put some numbers to all of this:  According to www.TransparentCalifornia.com the 2013 median income of Los Angeles residents was $38,939.00.  The average salary for City employees in 2013 (there were 35,919 full time and 46, 918 total employees in 2013) was $90,167 and when benefits (pension and health care costs) are added that rises to $101,675.00 not including future payments for retiree pensions and retiree health care costs.  Los Angeles total employee compensation for 2013 was $3,866,476,670.00.  Thats right: almost 4 billion dollars (and down from almost 5 billion dollars for 2011 and 2012).  With 3,827,261 residents in the City of Los Angeles, that means the total employee compensation cost per resident is $1,010.00.  Here is the link for the summary page for 2013 from Transparent California.  By comparison the 2013 cost per resident in Orange County was $577.00.  Orange County summary. The City of Orange: $597.00.  City of Orange summary.  And perhaps no surprise: Los Angeles County for 2013: $933.00.  Los Angeles County summary.

So it would appear that in the City of Los Angeles city employees are paid more than twice the median salary of taxpayers of that city.  Plus the public employees also receive all of the city paid health care and pension benefits now and in the future.

When will the citizens of Los Angeles get a COIN ordinance – likely never unless the voters of Los Angeles demand it by making big changes in their City Council and the Mayor’s office.  This would mean that the generally left leaning voters of LA would need to ignore the labor union financed campaign ads for City Council and Mayor candidates.  They would need to stop those nice labor union bosses with their labor friendly politicians cutting these deals behind closed doors.  How?  By electing City Council members and a Mayor who are not beholden to the unions for their political fortunes and futures.

Voters of the City (and County) of Los Angeles – the decision is in your hands.

Posted in Costa Mesa, Orange, Orange County | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »