Cross-posted to OC Daily.
After three failed attempts to pass a school bond in the last 13 years, supporters of a school bond in the Orange Unified School District have taken some rather creative steps to try to pass Measure S, a property tax increase $288,000,000 bond for four schools.
In their campaign to raise property taxes, Yes on S supporters apparently have no problem abusing tax dollars, disregarding private property rights, and disrespecting the First Amendment right to free speech of the opponents.
As Matt Cunningham reported yesterday on OC Daily, the Anaheim Union High School District appears to have used public resources for political activity, namely the campaign of Jose Moreno for Anaheim City Council. The Orange Unified School District has more aggressively used public resources to promote Measure S.
Taxpayer-Funded Measure S Mailer
Spending $22,949.45 of taxpayer money under the guise of an informational flyer, OUSD mailed 77,000 copies of a mailer entitled, “Measure S Would Provide The Funding Needed To Repair & Upgrade Our Classrooms” that featured photos of smiling teenagers. A true informational flyer would simply have been a plain text, black and white sheet of paper, not a colorful mailer reminiscent of campaign mailers. Here is the mailer:
|Click on the images above for the PDF of the mailer.|
Under the “Important Information About Measure S” heading, OUSD notes that Measure S is a $288,000 bond (rather than the actual amount of $288,000,000). When asked whether this was an attempt to mislead the voters or just incompetence while spending taxpayer dollars, the district went with the latter.
Click here to view the $22,949.45 OUSD purchase order and the invoice from Marketink in Los Angeles County. Ironically, OUSD couldn’t find a printer in Orange County despite the Measure S campaign touting that the funds would remain local. The invoice also shows the district paid 9% sales tax. Had they used an Orange County printer, sales tax would have only been 8%, with 0.5% of the 8% going to Orange County’s Measure M2 transportation projects.
OC Daily’s Matt Cunningham previously reported about this mailer here.
Yes on Measure S Tables on School Campuses
In a further use of public resources, pro-Measure S tables have been erected on school campuses.
The photo at right was taken in the Learning Center at Nohl Canyon Elementary School in Anaheim Hills during the school’s book fair.
A similar table was reportedly at Villa Park High School during Back-to-School Night, where people were jumping around in “Yes on S” T-Shirts and handing out stickers, signs, and other collateral. They were also trying to coerce parents to “sign up” for the “Yes on S” campaign.
Apparently, the Measure S proponents are unfamiliar with the separation of taxpayer resources and political campaigns.
Sign Theft & Banner Destruction
If the use of taxpayer resources was not enough, the Yes on S side is disregarding property rights and actively censoring the No on S side. Apparently, the Yes on S side didn’t pay attention to their American Government classes during the discussion on the First and Fifth Amendments.
Here’s a video of a “No on S” sign being pulled out of a front yard on East Cumberland Road in Orange. The video was taken from the surveillance camera of the homeowner whose sign was taken. The individual taking the sign appears to be a government employee though the video is too far away to determine which jurisdiction the sign-taker works for.
Here are some photos of someone else stealing “No on S” signs from a business in Orange on Chapman Avenue. Click on any of the thumbnails for a larger version of the photo.
Here’s a photo of a “No on S” banner that got slashed. Apparently, civility is no longer taught in schools. Click on the photo below to see a larger version of it.
Polling Data Used for Bond Measure Placement
The Greater Orange News Service reported that the OUSD Board used polling data to have one bond taxing the whole district for four schools rather than two bonds, each taxing half the district for two schools.
As an aside: the pro-union, often-innuendo-laden Greater Orange News Service is an anonymous blog covering OUSD that was founded by Yorba Academy of the Arts Middle School Teacher Joe Mello (who sits on the board of the Orange Unified Education Association, the OUSD teacher’s union) and Los Alamitos Unified School District Teacher Jim Bearns. Mello and Bearns are pro-bond, but as residents of Long Beach, they won’t have to pay for the property tax increase imposed by Measure S.
Pay to Play In School Bond Measures in the OC
For those of you who missed Craig Alexander’s post on OC Political yesterday, Craig reported about a California Policy Center study that found:
- Law firm Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Rudd & Romo donated $12,000 to Yes on Measure S (the law firm’s web site highlights legal services regarding school facilities construction)
- Architecture firm LPA donated $10,000 to Yes on Measure S
As of the September 29 campaign finance report, the Yes on S campaign had raised $151,525, with 90% coming from its 15 largest donors, led by:
- Orange Unified Education Association (Union) $25,885
- HED (Architects) $20,000
- Balfour Beatty Construction $20,000
- Ameresco (Solar Energy) $15,000
- Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo (Attorneys) $12,000
- LPA (Architects) $10,000
- Parker & Covert (Attorneys) $10,000
The remaining 10% included no fewer than 45 employees of the school district.
They’ve raised thousands of dollars since that campaign finance report, but OC Political/OC Daily has not yet examined their October campaign finance reports.
A decidedly grassroots effort, the No on S side raised a tiny fraction of that. However, the grassroots defeated three well-funded bond measure efforts in the last 13 years.