With 100% of precincts counted, Measure O fails.                                        Board of Directors just wasted half a million dollars of taxpayer money on this election.                                        Criminal complaints against the district will continue to be pursued.                                        Criminal and FPPC complaints against the Astro-Turfers will continue to be pursued.                                        Your property taxes based on indebtedness will now go down, as they should.                                        

Demand to Correct or Cure Brown Act Violation

Why Did the Board Try to Hide What It Was Doing From the Public?

You just can't make this stuff up.

The Board didn't mention the possible bond issue in any agenda item prior to the July 15, 2015 meeting agenda.

It was the middle of the summer. School was out. People were doing summertime things.

At a single meeting, the Superintendent did a presentation and the Board approved it. How many of the public attended the meeting? None. Why? Because the Board intentionally used deceptive tactics to make sure that the public would not know what it was about to do.

The resolution and the mailer were 17 pages long. This was prepared well in advance of the meeting, out of the public's view, and then sprung at the meeting without any chance for public review or comment.

Board of Trustees
Walnut Valley Unified School District
880 S Lemon Ave
Walnut, CA 91789

August 31, 2015

DEMAND TO CURE OR CORRECT BROWN ACT VIOLATION

Effective notice is essential for an open and public meeting. Whether a meeting is open or how the public may participate in that meeting is academic if nobody knows about the meeting or the business before it.

The Board failed to give effective notice to the public prior to its July 15th meeting about its proposal to place a measure on the November 3, 2015 ballot to authorize the issuance of $208,000,000 in general obligation bonds. All the circumstances, described below, demonstrate that this failure was intentional, knowing, and willful. This was the absolute last meeting at which such a resolution could have been considered for the November ballot.

On August 5, 2015, I learned (via the Board's mailer) that the Board, at its meeting on July 15, 2015, adopted the following agenda item.

11. ELECTION ORDER (BOND) REF B-11
A. Adopt WVUSD Resolution #16-01 -- Ordering an Election and Establishing
Specifications of the Election Order.

This agenda item was buried on page 11 of a 12-page agenda linked from the Board's web site. The linked document is an image-scan of a paper document and therefore not electronically searchable. I had to read the entire document (because I could not search the PDF file for any words) in order to find this item.

The Board went to extraordinary lengths to make this agenda item as oblique, obscure, obstruse, obtuse, obfuscated, occluded, unimportant, and insignificant as possible.

Used out of context, the singular "bond" can mean many things. When discussing financial instruments, the noun is always used in the plural, such as bonds, government bonds, corporate bonds, and, the most common usage for the context of school districts, general obligation (g.o.) bonds. There is no context in the 14-word description that indicates that it's about financial instruments.

To further obscure the item, it is titled "Election Order." What "Bond" has to do with "Election" is then further obscured by the obscure reference to "WVUSD Resolution #16-01." The Board does not make agenda packets available to the public with the agenda, so this reference means nothing to anyone other than the Board. It is enumerated as the first resolution of the 2016 fiscal year (a guess). The resolution was not on the agenda of any previous Board meetings.

It was only after receiving the Board's 4-page, full-color, propaganda mailer on August 5th, that I had reason to look at the agenda again.

The Board intentionally does not post its minutes to its web site in a manner that is accessible to the public. The minutes that are posted on its private site are image-scans of paper documents (not electronically searchable) further demonstrating the Board's intention to keep the public uninformed. I was finally able to obtain a direct link to the 300-page July 15th minutes on the Board's internal web site on August 10, 2015.

In this case, a measure four times the size of the largest issuance of bonds that the Board has ever proposed was buried on the 11th page of a 12-page agenda among items that are so run-of-the-mill that they are placed on the consent calendar.

The Board clearly knows how to describe agenda items with sufficient detail to put the public on notice, if it wishes to.

Agenda item 6 (page 3) began nine pages of consent calendar items. Notably, pages 7, 8 and 9 of the agenda were devoted to gifts, and NOT a consent calendar item. The gifts were individually specified. Many were under $100 and one was only $25.58. It must have been very important for the Board to take this item up separately so it could make political points with the donors.

In fact, excepting pro forma items like minutes, reports, and readings, the only non-consent calendar item on those nine pages was the adoption of resolution #16-01, to put a measure on the ballot to authorize the issuance of $208,000,000 in bonds.

In fact, the item immediately preceding uses 37 words to describe a $12,000 agreement with a private company.

Compare this to the 14 words used to describe placing a $208,000,000 bond measure on the ballot. So much for a good-faith effort (sarcasm intended).

The Board, by its actions, intentionally, knowingly, and willfully decided to keep from the public its intent to obligate the public to nearly $400,000,000 in new taxes. With hindsight, the Board's intent to keep the public ignorant and avoid controversy literally screams from the pages of the agenda. That, in fact, was its point. The Board wished to have a done deal without a fuss before the public became aware of its treachery in its mid-summer night's dream.

That is exactly why the Brown Act makes such conduct a misdemeanor.

Each member of a legislative body who attends a meeting of that legislative body where action is taken in violation of any provision of this chapter, and where the member intends to deprive the public of information to which the member knows or has reason to know the public is entitled under this chapter, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Education Code 54959.

Clearly, this whole matter is not about "Kids First ... Every Student, Every Day." It's about subverting and circumventing the law for power and advantage.

The Board and its Secretary should be ashamed of themselves.

DEMAND

1. Withdraw WVUSD Resolution #16-01.

2. Cancel the Measure O election on November 3, 2015 election.

3. Schedule and conduct a town-hall style meeting where the public can ask questions of and receive answers from the Board and district officials. Provide notice to the meeting by direct mail in the same manner as the propaganda mailer advising of the Board's action on July 15th.

______________________________
Richard Michael
PO Box 694
Walnut, CA 91788

 


Copyright © 2015, Richard Michael. All Rights Reserved.