Letters to the editor: Sept. 6, 2012
Lyles column contained errors
Dick Lyles column (Aug. 23) contained two significant lies. I’m not surprised that he would try to slip one past the readers. But the fact that you allowed factual fabrications to be included in his column is troublesome.
First, Lyles said “Prop U, a $198 million bond initiative passed by a super-majority (two-thirds) of Poway voters” which is false. According to the Registrar of Voters Prop U passed with only 57.4 percent of the vote, well below a super-majority of 66 percent.
Lyles also claimed, “PUSD was commended by the San Diego County Grand Jury for exercising bold leadership and moving decisively to get the severely needed improvements without being exposed to even greater future cost increases.” Again, a lie. The Grand Jury report made no comment related to improvements or the related costs.
It’s one thing for Lyles to express his opinion. Another thing entirely for him to present lies as fact. This newspaper should take immediate action. The false statements should be retracted in print in as conspicuous a fashion as the original column appeared.
The public trust is not to be trifled with.
Jackie Thomas, Poway
The two-thirds majority assertion was incorrect. I was involved in the first two failed bond campaigns which required two-thirds majority and had forgotten that for Propositions U and C, in which I was not involved, the threshold had been lowered to 55 percent. Although 55 percent is not two-thirds, it is higher than a simple majority.
In re-reading my notes regarding the Grand Jury report, I realized I had mixed two different actions by two separate but distinguished groups. In June 2012, the Grand Jury did release a report commending PUSD for its leadership and academic excellence for the past decade and went on to cite a number of factors. It was the San Diego County Taxpayers’ Association that awarded PUSD with its Golden Watchdog Award as a result of having passed Proposition C and moving decisively to obtain severely needed improvements.
I sincerely regret these errors, but believe they don’t significantly alter the premise expressed in my column.
Mangum on the bonds
In 2007, I voted with the Poway Unified School District board to place Proposition C on the ballot. Proposition C passed in 2008. What was unknown in 2008, by the board and the voters, is that a year later the financial markets would collapse, the district’s ability to issue bonds would be jeopardized, and the cost of financing — if you could get it — would skyrocket.
For my part in failing to anticipate this worst-case scenario, I sincerely apologize.
I was not on the board in 2011 when the $105 million in non-callable bonds were approved. I do not know if the board and district were given all the information needed to make an informed decision. If I had been on the board and had all the cost information available today, I do not believe I would have voted to issue those bonds. I regret the cost of these bonds, the damage this issue has done to PUSD’s reputation and the conflict it has caused in our community.
I understand the public’s anger, but propose that we focus this energy in a positive way and work together to find solutions. We’ve been told the bonds cannot be refinanced, but I’m not willing to accept that other solutions are not available. I propose that we create an ad hoc committee, made up of the district’s best and brightest, to evaluate options and make recommendations to the board. I pledge my help and hope this community, which I am proud to call my home, will do the same.
Jeff Mangum, PUSD Trustee, 1994-2010, Poway
Differs on Lindbergh
I must challenge Dave Grosch’s unfortunate description (in his letter about Neil Armstrong, Aug. 30) of Charles Lindbergh as a man made of the “right stuff.”
Lindbergh’s flying exploits are legendary. His personal views, however, were repellent; he was an avowed anti-Semite and voluble proponent of white supremacy.
Judith Leggett, Poway
Get Grand Jury involved
There is no nice face to put on the bond situation. The Poway Unified school board breached their financial responsibilities to the students, staff, and taxpayers. For every dollar of improvement, we will pay $9 in interest. It doesn’t take a math genius to see that those terms are irresponsible.
All I’ve heard in defense of this funding are unconvincing ploys to make the per household amounts seem small. I’m sorry, but to a retiree, $800 per year is substantial. Yes, the board’s actions may be legal, but they are certainly unwise.
The board has, for all practical purposes, ensured that PUSD will not be issuing any more bonds for the next few decades. Can they say for certain that we won’t have needs for capital improvements? What will be the consequences of deferring any bond issues for the next 20 years? I don’t know specifically, but this does not bode well for the quality of our schools.
If we needed any confirmation that this bond financing was a mistake, we need only look to the county. They are asking for legislation to ensure that future deals of this type are illegal.
A grand jury investigation is certainly warranted. I hope they choose to examine the process that led to this disaster, and suggest real process changes to ensure it doesn’t happen to other districts.
I do not see how the current school board can continue to manage the district with any credibility. I hope they have the decency to resign quickly so we can fill their seats without calling a special election.
David Ambrose, Poway
(The following letters appeared only in the News Journal:)
DeMaio lacks results
What differentiates Rancho Bernardo from Escondido that is obvious to all is commercial signage. RB even has a unique sign ordinance. We see evidence of that whenever we see a for sale sign on a home.
Several months ago, Carl DeMaio took notes as I explained to him the problem with illegal signs at the entrance to the Westwood shopping center. Since then I have had a response from a member of his staff about it whenever I remind them that the problem still exits.
I have also reminded his ineffective staff that the section of Poblado, which Carl travels over on his way home every night, is in dire need of repair.
Now do to poor workmanship the city has created an illegal speed bump on Aquamiel.
These problems are the tip of the iceberg. The real problem is that Carl is a great cheerleader for needed causes but extremely poor at actually getting the day-to-day things done.
He will most likely be elected mayor. Perhaps he can hire someone like Bonnie who will take care of the tasks that need to be handled. If he does not he, like a prior mayor of San Diego, will be featured on the front page of a magazine as the worst mayor in the USA.
Ron Jaenisch, Rancho Bernardo
‘Benny’s’ letter praised
Just wanted to take a moment to comment on Meryl Burke’s Aug. 30 letter on behalf of her dog, Benny. It brings back a lesson from my parents “do not a judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes” or, in this case, “paws.”
I have known a few dogs with degenerative myelopathy, with the proper devices and care have lived happily well beyond their years with their families. Since Benny cannot express his feelings when folks make comments about him or suggest ending his life, I have some suggestions.
The next time someone insinuates themselves into Benny’s situation his parents could respond “Wow, I hope you never become paralyzed, you will have to go.”
I love my dog and will fight to be with her as long as I can. Thank you, Meryl, for articulating so beautifully how you feel, it is how a lot of us feel.
Joan Palmer, Rancho Bernardo
( The following letters appeared only in the News Chieftain:)
Vaus is his choice
Steve Vaus has been a Poway resident nearly 20 years. He and his wife, Corrie, co-own a very successful Poway business. Steve is a stand-up family man who has also been a dedicated volunteer in the community and schools. Earlier this year he earned the Palomar Council PTA’s highest commendation, the 2012 Honorary Service Award for his efforts.
He has many years under his belt serving on the boards of such groups as Crime Stoppers and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. In addition to his decades of executive experience he has demonstrated commendable civic leadership in the Rexford recall, on the substance abuse issue and in the fight to protect the Pledge of Allegiance in our schools. It is notable in each of those efforts he has shown a remarkable ability to rally community support.
For those reasons and countless others I am supporting him for City Council. I urge all my friends and neighbors in Poway to do the same.
Paul T. Kassel, Poway
Protest water rate hike
On Oct. 16, the City of Poway will hold a public hearing on a proposed water rate increase. In the notice sent to the residents of the city, raw water increases from San Diego County Water Authority are blamed for the increase. The notice goes on to present the new water rates which include an increase in fixed meter charges.
Fixed meter charges are by definition costs to recover the City of Poway’s cost of operating and maintaining the water delivery system, and have nothing to do with CWA costs. So in essence, the Poway City Council is blaming CWA for the water rate increase but are sneaking in costs they fail to explain or mention.
The residents of the City of Poway should not stand for sneaky and unexplained rate increases. Any increase from CWA or the City of Poway should be fully disclosed and thoroughly explained. As we learned from the PUSD $1 billion school bond, our politicians are not to be trusted since they regard the people they allegedly serve as open checkbooks. Since the Poway City Council has a spotty history, the residents of the City of Poway should be provided with a detailed explanation for any tax or fee increase. This is especially important in time of economic austerity.
I would like to encourage the residents of Poway to protest the water rate increase.
Assi Friedman, Poway
- Dick Lyles: Are Poway Unified bond critics helping community or themselves?
- Letters to the editor: Aug. 16, 2012
- Editorial: Road to success, or Armageddon?
- PUSD releases statement on school bonds
- School bond legislation proposed
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