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OP/ED: THE RETURN OF THE ANTI-INFRASTRUCTURE ABCUSD BOND ZOMBIES

 

BY BRIAN HEWS

Just like the White Walker Zombies in the Game of Thrones, the ABCUSD No Zombies are reanimating and gearing up once again to defeat the latest-and badly needed- $258 million ABCUSD improvement bond.

The Zombie attack started during the 2014 bond campaign when HMG-CN learned of a secret meeting to defeat the bond, one that the L.A. District Attorney cited as “extremely irregular.” 

The meeting was called and conducted by neo-con Cerritos resident Carol Chen, who was Mayor pro tem at the time, and one of the biggest property owners in the ABCUSD. 

 

Cerritos Mayor pro tem Chen Calls ‘Public Meeting’ About ABCUSD Bond Measure, Press ‘Not Invited’  

 

Part of the email Chen sent out to announce the meeting stated, “given the facts I know, if the bond passes it will increase your property tax bill hundreds of dollars annually.” That statement was an unqualified lie.

The 2018 bond, like the 2014 bond, will charge one-half of one percent. The math is easy, multiply the ASSESSED value of your home by five and move the decimal to the left by four places.

$200,000 assessed value = $100/yr 

$330,000 assessed value = $165/yr

$600,000 assessed value = $300/yr

As revealed by HMG-CN at the time, Ms. Chen spent more than the annual $200,000 assessment at one “dinner meeting,” ordering $75 halibut and $30 desserts with her buddy Bruce Barrows.

Also attending were Board members and noted union-haters Lynda Johnson and Soo Yoo, who were later raked over the coals at an ABC Board meeting for attending Chen’s conference.

Yoo is now [the worst] ABC President of the Board [ever] and Johnson, who lost miserably in the last election, is Supervisor Janice Hahn’s representative in the ABCUSD.

Cerritos Public Safety Committee Member Matt Kauble also attended; neo-con Kauble recently spoke at an ABCUSD meeting where he proclaimed in a threatening voice, “by not excluding (union-backed) Project Labor Agreements, you will lose votes.”

Lose votes for what? Mandating that the district hires locally, pays a living wage, generates tax revenue, and ensures proper construction?

Cerritos Republican Club Member Gordon Hom, Joan Plyman, and former ABC School Board Member Cecy Groom were also at the charrette.

Of course, no Chen seminar would be complete without Battery Bruce Barrows who was playing Wight Bouncer at the meeting, ready to “go all Jay Gray” on anyone who tried entering the door, including HMG-CN reporters and former Assemblywoman Sally Havice.

And now the all the No Zombies are assembling for another attack.

Use Previous Attacks and Lies

Within a few weeks of the meeting, a USPS mailed flyer was sent out, authored at the secret Carol Chen meeting, that cited six reasons to vote no on the bond, reasons the No Zombies will likely use again during the new bond campaign.

BIG LIE #1. “Broken Promises of 1997- School modernization pledges were made but never delivered.”

Truth is in 1997 the voters did approve a bond measure of $59 million. ABCUSD leveraged the $59 million (through great management) into a $135 million modernization program that benefited all ABCUSD students.

The improvements included, among many other items, abating asbestos, replacing heating ventilation and air-conditioning units, replace drinking fountains, and replacing intrusion detection systems.

The No Zombies, which included Cerritos resident Cecy Groom, told HMG-CN that the 1997 money “was mis-managed.” 

During the modernization project, Groom was an ABCUSD Board member. Curious Ms. Groom claimed mis-management of the 1997 bond in 2014, yet did not point it out when she was a board member.

BIG LIE #2. “The Facilities Master Plan was made in haste, with no public input, no peer review, and no project detail.”

Truth is a 186-page Facilities Master Plan, outlining work to be performed at every ABCUSD school, was formulated using the input from over 300 parents, students, administrators, and professionals.

It was started in November 2013 and took 9 months to complete. Nine months. 

Even more has been done with the 2018 FMP, which should be a powerful weapon in fighting back the No Zombies. 

BIG LIE #3. “Your property tax will increase by $50 per $100,000 assessed value per year for decades to come. We taxpayers will be paying for the bulk of this new bond, yet they didn’t even bother to inform us of the plan, let alone consulting [sic] with us.”

Let’s not talk about the grammar of that statement. Maybe if the No Zombies had gone to ABCUSD schools the sentence would have been grammatically correct.

People in the ABCUSD still enjoy the lowest tax rate among school districts in the County of Los Angeles.

Yet ABCUSD is one of the highest achieving Districts in the area, voted best district in Los Angeles County this year.

That is a tribute to (almost) everyone affiliated with the district and why the FMP and ABCUSD personnel should be trusted to manage funds to improve the district.

BIG LIE #4.  “Student enrollment has declined by the thousands. ABC recruits more and more out-of-district students to fill up the surplus school capacity.”

So, the grammatically challenged No Zombies claimed declining enrollment and that schools should be closed; they are also falsely claiming that now. 

According to the California Department of Education’s website, enrollment at ABCUSD in 2012-‘13 was 20,845; for the 2016-‘17 school year, the enrollment stood at 20,768, a drop of only 77 students. 

According to one board member, the out-of-district enrollment is at 10%.

BIG LIE #5. “The law does not prohibit the school district from issuing additional bonds in the future. Even if you don’t own properties, won’t your rent go up big time?”

Since the average increase would be $150 per year, rents would increase by $12.50 per month, or the cost of a small appetizer ordered by Chen while she was Mayor pro tem.

Truth is, by law, the District cannot issue any bonds without approval from the voters.

Zombie Greed

The No Zombies were, and are, blinded by their greed, and completely missing the fact that a good school system raises property values.

It is no secret that people will pay more for houses in highly rated school districts compared with homes in neighborhoods where the schools have lower ratings and test results. 

It is not a coincidence Cerritos has one of the highest median home price values in the area while also having the best high school in California.

Dr. and Mrs. Moskowitz knew that, they donated $5,000 to fight the No Zombies in 2014. Many intelligent prominent people in the community knew that too.

You can bet the No Zombies are right now planning their next move to defeat the bond, including recruiting crooked consultants, recruiting two-faced newspaper reporters (rhymes with Bernstein) who were against the bond four years ago and are now supporting it (I/E committee money$$) and wealthy property owners.

Bring on the dragons.

 

 

 

 

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There are many problems with this Bond, outside the Name calling Zombie Branding: Link to the trustees passing the preamble to Mello Roos School Bond: drive.google.com/file/d/1dZA6TvBEuTjD9sPl5rdKHLq57Ornkzzb/view There is no long-term data or quantitative Matrix to support rise of Education over a long-term. Bond shelf life is an unknown perpetuity factor, which has no data on the embellishing of the students. Bonds are also subject to various other risks such as call and prepayment risk, credit risk, reinvestment risk, liquidity risk, event risk, exchange rate risk, volatility risk, inflation risk, sovereign risk, and yield curve risk. Price changes in a bond… Read more »