YOU CAN'T SPELL MONEY W/O “O” -
BSC, CA – Birds of prey are anti-birds. These birds chase away or feast on other, smaller, unaware birds who aren't of the same feather. Birds of prey are easy to spot in nature, but in human nature that is usually not the case, since people tend to see with their ears. This is the reason for an 'oversight committee'. If everyone was going to Heaven there would be no need for such groups, but alas, this just isn't the case.
In 2016, the Riverside voters were sold Measure O, a band-aid of upgrades, safety issues, and repairs to rundown elementary schools around this town. Voters were rallied by two political groups, both pro Measure O. Riverside is an old city and the heart of the county. Government buildings, like domes, are everywhere. The city gets what it wants, except when it doesn't. It is the job of the Measure O Citizens Oversight Committee to make sure the measure's intent of what the people's tax money is spent on, is what was promised in selling that tax to the public.
The Committee is unelected but not unaware of school board members, so public input is vital, and this includes the students at UCR, whose future is touched by this issue through, yep, you guessed it – money [for soccer fields]. Even given this final exam period, four students did manage to come late but had to leave before the Committee meeting finished. This was a far cry from the first meetings which were at UCR.
The issue of a brand new STEM high school on the UCR campus has push-back from the neighborhood, from parents and students polled, from the environmental report, even from some of the men on the School Board, but James Brown is dead. This ain't A Man's World anymore. The side I wrote in with was balanced, two female lawyers and two men, one of whom wrote a letter to the district, and the other, Kevin Dawson, spoke on behalf of the students who had to leave.
On the evening's agenda was the update on Measure O Projects, with the controversial STEM High School at the current site moving forward as if there is no outcry. This seems to fall on deaf ears at RUSD and the meetings held at UCR. An advocate for the current STEM HS plan left after five minutes into the meeting which went overtime by an hour and a half. Is 'the fix' in, or did this 'church lady' type hit the trail at seeing the public speakers present, none of whom was pro-UCR/STEM project?
Though the public input group was small, the thoughtful queries put forth by Committee member Jason Hunter, neighborhood warrior and UCR grad, Kevin Dawson, the other lady lawyer who has a child who could be affected by redirected funds, and neighborhood lawyer, Letitia Pepper. Four UCR students did show up but didn't get their speaker cards turned in to count. They did stay long enough to get the gist.
And the gist is this. Has the school board pulled a 'bait and switch' on the voters by including the STEM/UCR plan in the group of fast-tracked updates presented to Committee members [and the public attendees]? The STEM plans were the last update shown in the color project update booklet.
This is exactly the question the OC committee wants to School Board to answer in their query on whether the focus of Measure O has been tweaked to emphasize completely new construction like the STEM HS program slated for UCR.
The other question for the School Board is about what funding is available for their own independent law representation for the Committee rather than the School Board's San Fran Measure lawyer who was present to 'guide' the Committee on options and meanings of semi-colon use [you had to be there for this Bill Clintonisque moment].
Some of you may wonder just what drives the burning desire to get a STEM HS on UCR's campus is all about. The reasoning is simple. It is about attracting money, state money, and getting a prime reason for married professors to teach at UCR. The campus STEM HS would be available for any UCR professor living outside of Riverside with their kids, to access. After high school these same kids have rubber stamp entry into UCR, giving the elite students sway over any local [Riverside] applications while attracting a better, more stable staff to the University.