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MEGATAXERS: Conflict of Interest Between L.A. County Agencies Mar Inglewood Unified’s Bond

 

 

 

 

 

August 21, 2021

By The Irishman and Brian Hews

Education must be aspirational and inspirational.  Pure and simple.  Lessons should not use excuses; turn headings into questions.

Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD) offices are located at 401 Inglewood Avenue in Inglewood.  In 2012, the California Department of Education (CDE) showed IUSD with 23 schools  Enrollment stood at just over 11,000 students.  The students are predominantly Latino (57.4%) and African American (39.3%).

According to California’s School Dashboard, IUSD suffers from chronic absenteeism, has a mid-level suspension rate, an acceptable graduation rate, mid-level English Language Arts, and the children are average in mathematics.

The Board of Education is committed to once again “providing transformational leadership;” fertile ground for the Megataxers.

Carliss McGhee, Ph.D., is President, Margaret Evans, M.A., Vice- President, Naomi Hammonds and  Brandon Myers Board Members.

Ernesto Castillo, who earned his B.A. in political science and Chicano/Chicana Studies, was groomed in Washington, D.C., no doubt a student of Reies “the Tiger” Tijerina, not Elwood Cubberly.

He is a proponent of the Cali-Baja Mega Region and Ethnic Studies that former El Rancho Unified School District Board Member Jose Lara espoused.

 

Radical Communist Organization, Led by El Rancho Unified Board Member Jose Lara, Trying to ‘Take Over’ the School District

 

Previously under the supervision of the State Superintendent, the Board now has a L.A. County Administrator.

History

In mid-2012, then-Governor Jerry Brown stepped in and loaned the District $55 Million courtesy of the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank, whom former disgraced Montebello Unified COO Ruben Rojas worked for.

 

HMG-LCCN Exposé Results in SEC Rulings Against Ruben Rojas, Montebello Unified, and Superintendent Anthony Martinez

 

 

As a result, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom “the bonds” Torlakson wrested control away from the Board and appointed Kent Taylor as Superintendent, a free-wheeling general contractor.

By December of 2012, he was removed and/or resigned, moved on to Lennox to end his career, and eventually took his life.

Next, Don Grann was hired, but he was too busy playing with Wiseburn School District in El Segundo. Vincent Matthews replaced Grann, Matthews the soon-to-be champion of Non-Citizen voting for school boards.  The Bonds later appointed Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana as Superintendent, hailing from Montebello Unified School District.  

As former Assistant Secretary of Education during the Obama Administration, she might have succeeded in running IUSD.  Just ask Joe Bowers, another Cardinal.  So much for State control.

The hiring of Melendez de Santa Ana explains how George Pla and Cordoba Corporation slipped in, via Resolutions, as Construction Manager for Measure GG. 

On the same agenda, Cordoba Corporation was engaged as Construction Manager of the Los Angeles World Airport Project, along with McKissack and McKissack.   Cordoba delivers, especially on local, state and federal projects.  

In November of 2019, Debra Duardo, Superintendent of Los Angeles County Office of Education, appointed Erika Torres as Administrator of IUSD.  Unlike the stone-cold Queen of Angels stationed at Echo Park, this Mom Duardo has ears and eyes on everyone throughout the nearly eighty school districts in Los Angeles County.  Just ask Superintendents Vivian Echkian or Mark Skvarna.

Recently California updated the Dashboard, indicating IUSD now serves 7,275 students in 19 schools;  they lost four schools and nearly 4,000 students.

The Board was aware of the declining enrollment, but that did not matter. In May of 2020, District officials hired an advance team including Cordoba;  Irvine-based Feldman Rolapp & Associates; Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, and bond counsel Carlos Villafuete and David Casnocha’s; in the loop was IUSD CBO and Christine M.I. Decanay.

The Board also engaged Oakland-based Clifford Moss for Community Outreach.

In July 2020, the Board had the first reading of a Resolution Ordering an Election and Establishing Specifications of the Election Order.  The agenda reflected, “If approved by the County Administrator – not the Board – the Resolution calls for an election within the District for the purpose of approving general obligation bonds, requests that the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters conduct the election on behalf of the District, and authorize the preparation of election materials, including ballot arguments and tax rate statement, to be included in the ballot pamphlet.” The election material, measure arguments, and tax rate statement are printed in the voter information guide or pamphlet containing the sample ballot.

Duarte Unified’s Ken Bell and Azusa’s Bradley Patterson, used their campaign contributions to pay Clifford Moss. 

Now, IUSD was paying Clifford directly for outreach, which is a violation of Government Code.

Government Code Section 54964, declares that using public funds to pass ballot measures is illegal at the local level. “An officer, employee, or consultant of a local agency may not expend or authorize the expenditure of any of the funds of the local agency to support or oppose the approval or rejection of a ballot measure, or the election or defeat of a candidate, by the voters.”

Back to the Bond Resolution

One month later, they had a second reading to make sure they got the verbiage right.  This Resolution had the Ballot Label attached as Exhibit A and the Full Text of the Measure was attached as Exhibit B.

DUSD’s and IUSD’s Resolutions were mostly the same, except for the amount; $79 million versus IUSD’s $240 million.

MEGATAXER cookie-cutter documents.

One exception was IUSD’s section eight which stated, “The maximum rate of interest on any Bond shall not exceed the maximum rate allowed by Education Code Sections 15140 to 15143, as modified by Government Code Section 53531.”

As we pointed out in our last article, DUSD’s Resolution did not disclose the actual rates of interest.

IUSD did the same thing in their Resolution, violating Education and Government Codes.

County Administrator Approves the Bond, the Board Sits on the Sidelines

At DUSD, the President of the Board signed the Resolution and the signature was attested.   At IUSD,  County Administrator Erika F. Torres, Ed.D, MSW signed off.

There are questions whether the law allows a County Administrator, instead of the Board, to sign off on Resolutions to implement a local tax measure authorizing the issuance of bonds, in this case, a huge bond.

California Elections Code Section 13100-13121, which govern ballot labels, has the word “local” in the citation seventeen times.

Section 13119(d)(1) says “For purposes of this Section (all of 13100), the following terms have the following meanings: Local governing body means the governing body of a city, county, city and county (thank you San Francisco), including a charter city or charter county, or district, including a school district.”

L.A. County Counsel once again missed the questions, just ask Richard Michel, the voice crying in the wilderness.

Ballot Violation…..Again

The Ballot Label: “INGLEWOOD UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT STUDENT SAFETY/HEALTH/ACHIEVEMENT, CLASSROOM REPAIR MEASURE  To repair/upgrade classrooms, including instructional technology, vocational/career education, roofs, plumbing, security/fire safety, remove asbestos, lead paint, mold; provide safe drinking water; acquire, construct, repair sites, facilities, equipment; shall Inglewood Unified School District’s measure authorizing $240,000,000 in bonds, at legal rates, levying 6c per $100 of assessed valuation raising on average $15,000,000 annually, while bonds are outstanding, be adopted, requiring oversight, and all funds invested in local schools?”

Similar to DUSD and Bassett, the ballot label does not comply with Education Code section 15272; absent are the words “appoint a citizens’… committee” and “conduct annual audits”?

Election Code section 13119 provides for the exact statement “Shall the measure be adopted?” at the end of the label

IUSD’s Ballot Label violated the Election Code.

Further, Section 13119(b) requires the disclosure of not only the amount of money to be raised annually, but also the rate and duration of the tax.

IUSD’s Ballot Label violated the Election Code when the lawyers used “at legal rates” and “while bonds are outstanding” in the Ballot Label.

The worst sentence construction in the world appears on ballot labels, intentionally.  Just ask FM3.

Section 13119(d)(1) says “For purposes of this Section (all of 13119), the following terms have the following meanings: Local governing body means the governing body of a city, county, city and county (thank you San Francisco), including a charter city or charter county, or district, including a school district.”

The Code clearly does not authorize a County Administrator to impose $469 Million in taxes on residents.

Impartial Analyses

Finally, Election Code section 9500 states that “the county elections official shall transmit a copy of the measure to the county counsel who shall prepare an impartial analysis showing the effect of the measure on existing law and the operation of the measure.

County Counsel’s impartial analysis, penned by Mary Wickham, stated:

“Approval of Measure I (‘Measure”) would authorize the County Administrator (“County Administrator”) of the Inglewood Unified School District (“District”), which placed the Measure on the ballot by Resolution No. 05/2020-2021, to issue general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $240,000,000.”

The impartial analysis completely ignored Section 13119 regarding the Governing Board of the District, in fact Wickham inserted  County Administrator. 

The impartial analysis does not contain the statement indicating that the measure was placed on the ballot by the governing board of the district.

Wickham also ignored Section 13119(b) which requires the disclosure of not only the amount of money to be raised annually, but also the rate and duration of the tax.

Geoffrey Chaucer in Canterbury Tales wrote, “doctors & druggists wash each other’s hands.”

The same can be applied to the County Administrator and County Counsel in the case of IUSD.

Inglewood Citizens for Measure I Campaign Committee

The campaign committee’s first report covered 9/20/20 to 10/17/20; two people put their names on the documents, Roy Rivas signed on as Treasurer and David L. Gould as Assistant Treasurer. 

No one knows who Roy Rivas is, he is not the owner of the Inglwood house he listed as his residence on the Measure I Cover Page.

Gould is a long-time political operative who runs his campaign committee chop-shop out of Long Beach, HMG-CN has reported on many questionable and corrupt politicians that used Gould for his services.

True to the Gould Way, the IUSD Measure I Cover Page does not show a Controlling Officeholder, Candidate, or Responsible Officer of Sponsor.

All documents  (ending 10/17/20 and individual donations after 10/17/20) showed Campaign ID “pending.”

And, like Bassett, Citrus, and Duarte, the Megataxer money started pouring in.

The election was Nov. 3, 2020, but the full campaign finance reporting period ended Oct. 17, 2020. Any donations after that can be reported at the end of the year if under $1,000. If over $1,000 the donations must be reported in 24 hours.

The first donations came in on 10/17/20, 37 days after the Measure I Committee was opened.

Avenue of the Stars-based lawyers Ohrbach Huff Suarez & Henderson, LLP gave $5,000 on 10/17/20.

School Business Advisors in Newport Beach contributed $1,000, once again on 10/17/20.

The remaining money came after the 10/17/20 date, leaving anyone interested in donations for the bond in the dark; the next reporting period was Dec. 31, 2020, 58 days after the election.

Irvine-based B.C.A. Architects gave  $10,000.

The Long Beach law firm of Dannis Woliver Kelley tossed in $4,000.

Harvey Ellis Devereaux (HED) Architects, based in Michigan, gave $10,000.

Cerritos-based Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Rudd & Romo surpassed them all with $15,000.

The DLR Group, from Omaha, Nebraska,  donated $5,000, the same amount they gave to Duarte campaign coffers.

Lionakis from Newport Beach threw in $1,000.

George Pla’s Cordoba Corporation, a generous contribution of $15,000.

Total donated on the day the reporting was due, $6,000.

Total donated after the reporting period, amounts that can be found only by the most experienced researchers, $60,000.

The bond was approved with residents oblivious to the Megataxer dollars that came into the committee.

And no IUSD residents donated money.

The Megataxers count so far:

Bassett Unified: $50 million bond, cost to taxpayers, $94 million.

Citrus College: $298 million, cost of half billion.

Duarte Unified: $79 million, cost of $148 million.

Inglewood Unified $240 million, cost of nearly half billion.

Bonds passed using compromised board members, bogus ballots labels, statements and tax measures, questionable impartial analyses by L.A. County Counsel, and a conflict of interest between two L.A. County agencies.

“Paging” L.A. County Board of Supervisors.

 

Next up, Los Angeles Unified School District……

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