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Posts Tagged ‘sign theft’

OUSD School Bond Measure S Supporters Pulling Down Signs & Spending Taxpayer Dollars

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 3, 2016

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:

OUSD Measure S Mailer, September 10 OUSD Measure S Mailer, September 10
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 Display at Nohl Canyon Elementary School

Yes on Measure S Display at Nohl Canyon Elementary School

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.No on Measure S Banner Slashed

Polling Data Used for Bond Measure Placement

ONN Founders Jim Bearns and Joe MelloThe 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.

Posted in Orange Unified School District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Team Ausmus Snubs OUSD Voters, Attempts to Censor Opponent, Abuses School Resources

Posted by Chris Nguyen on October 16, 2012

As a graduate and resident of the Orange Unified School District, I am certainly familiar with OUSD having had some of Orange County’s most raucous elections in years past, and while things have died down (thanks, Capistrano Unified!), this year has proven to be one of the quieter OUSD campaigns anybody can remember.

Robert "Bob" Ausmus

Robert “Bob” Ausmus

However, in this weird quietness has been an oddly arrogant campaign being run by one of the challengers, Robert “Bob” Ausmus, who is seeking to unseat OUSD Board Member Dr. Alexia L. Deligianni in Trustee Area 3.

Bob Ausmus didn’t even bother to write a candidate’s statement in the sample ballot mailed out to all registered voters in the school district by the Orange County Registrar of Voters (check out page 14 of the PDF sample ballot to see where the OUSD candidate’s statements are), leaving voters with absolutely no information about him.  By the way, here’s a picture of the last guy to be elected to the OUSD board without a candidate’s statement:

Steve Rocco

Steve Rocco, OUSD Board Member, 2004-2008, Convicted Ketchup Thief

How are voters supposed to decide who to vote for when they have no information about a candidate?  Are they supposed to vote on signs?

Speaking of signs, Robert Ausmus supporters have acted ridiculously.  Some volunteers for Dr. Alexia Deligianni posted her re-election signs in Anaheim Hills.  Within hours, the signs were gone.  Ordinarily, lost signs are just part of the normal business of campaigns.  City crews, the weather, cheap garage sales hosts, etc. often take the signs.  However, the timing and systematic nature of the sign removals made it clear that people supporting Ausmus were targeting Deligianni’s signs.  First, the signs were posted on a Friday evening and removed within hours in the dead of night.  Secondly, nearly every Deligianni sign in Anaheim Hills was removed, but every single instance where a Deligianni sign was next to an Ausmus sign, the Ausmus sign was left untouched.  A witness driving by noted seeing a Deligianni sign being taken by a white male who resembled a “boxer” from behind.  Also, one of the rare Deligianni signs that survived in Anaheim Hills…well, I think this trio of pictures makes it clear what happened to the survivor signs:

Then, volunteers put out more signs on Sunday night.  The signs were still up as of 7 PM on Monday but most of them disappeared during the dead of night.  It wasn’t city crews because those guys aren’t out working that late.  Plus, you guessed it, the Ausmus signs were left untouched.

If one candidate’s side removed signs attacking their candidate, I’d understand if these were “Stop Ausmus” signs that were being removed because attack signs are a different animal.  However, removing an opponent’s signs that simply promote her candidacy is just plain anti-democratic and insulting to the voters.

In further sign abuse, this sign was placed on the campus of Canyon High School, violating the age-old regulation of campaign signs not being placed on school property:

In an abuse of school resources, this email went out from Team Ausmus from a school district email account over an official Orange Unified School District e-mail list sent to the families of the Canyon High School Class of 2015 (today’s sophomores).

From: “Ausmus, Leslie” <REDACTED@orangeusd.org>
Date: September 28, 2012, 2:57:36 PM PDT
To: “chsclassof2015” <REDACTED@listserv.orangeusd.k12.ca.us>
Subject: FW: 09.28.12 Listserv
Reply-To: “chsclassof2015” <REDACTED@listserv.orangeusd.k12.ca.us>

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Lengthy email message edited for brevity. Scroll to bottom of this post for full e-mail.]…

For the purpose of clarification, and because many of you (and your students) have asked, yes, the candidate running for our school board named “Bob Ausmus” is related to me. He’s my husband. :)

As always, if you have questions or concerns, let me know. The best contact is via email at: REDACTED@orangeusd.org . I hope you all have a great weekend!

Sincerely,

Leslie Ausmus

Sophomore Counselor, Class of 2015

If it weren’t for the never-ending series of abuses from Team Ausmus, it might have been plausible that this was an innocent mistake, but taken in the totality of circumstances, it is clear that this was a flimsy excuse to announce the candidacy of Bob Ausmus to the entire list of families of Canyon High sophomores.  (Indeed, we didn’t know about this email until an angry parent passed it on.)  If some people ask you a political question, you don’t send a mass email to hundreds of people on a school district email list, you respond to them individually.

My father, who immigrated to the United States after fleeing from Communist Vietnam, expressed his outrage at the actions of the Ausmus side, noting that democracy is harmed when people try to suppress free speech, hide information from the voters, and abuse public resources.  He said, “I’m disgusted that he has to steal signs instead of letting everyone get their name out there.  That’s just wrong.  And then to use a school email list?  Unbelievable!”

Unbelievable is right, Dad.  The arrogance of the Ausmus campaign of not providing information to voters, stealing/covering opponent signs, and then abusing school resources is utterly repugnant.

Here is the entire Ausmus email to the Class of 2015 parent mailing list: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Orange Unified School District | Tagged: , , , , | 12 Comments »