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  • Thursday, October 05, 2006


    Metro VIEWS

    OUSD Candidate Paul-Dean Martin Responds to the
    Music Matters and OUEA Candidate Endorsements of Opponents

    A community viewpoint from Paul-Dean Martin,
    Candidate for Orange Unified Trustee

    I am disappointed but not surprised to hear that The Music Matters Program and the OUEA have chosen to support my opponents in the race for School Board in the OUSD. Once again, groups with their own agendas and groups who are uninformed and un-experienced are trying to use influence to put candidates in office that will not serve our children or propel our district one step further then where it is today.

    The Music Matters, program headed by Angel LaMarca, choose to endorse Mr. Emami without even interviewing myself or Kim Nichols. I spoke with Mrs. LaMarca via telephone and asked how her committee could choose a candidate to back without even speaking with the other candidates. She said he came to a couple of our meetings and seems like a nice kid.

    This is not the first time that the Music Matters committee has made decisions for their supporters without having all the facts. It was the Music Matters program that collected over $14000.00 from Orange residents to save the after school music program and then blindly, without any assurances, handed the money over to the Orange Education Foundation. They in turn gave it to the district to do with as they please. After Dr. Godley announced that they would keep the program without the use of the Music Matters programs contribution, Music Matters requested the money be returned. The district refused and kept the money. The Music matters program found themselves without a legal leg to stand on, and the $14000.00 they collected from Orange residents was gone. And now they are backing a candidate with no real knowledge of our district.

    When I met with Mr. Emami on August 10, 2006 at the Starbucks on Serrano, he couldn’t even tell me how many schools are in our district and he could only name schools in the Anaheim Hills area. He also told me at that meeting that he was supported by The Education Alliance, the same group that supported ousted school board members Marty Jacobson, Maureen Aschoff, and Linda Davis. So you have to ask yourself as a voter, why should you trust a group that gave away $14000.00 of Orange residents money to a board they don’t trust and why are they backing a candidate without full knowledge of all the candidates?

    As for the OUEA, I was disappointed in their interview process. For an organization supposedly there to support education, more than half of the interview questions asked of me were about their pay scale and benefits, and how I would work with their organization. Not one question asked in the interview directly concerned the children of OUSD. I brought one of my youth theatre interns to the interview who is a student in the OUSD to allow him to see the process of election and endorsement within the OUSD, and the OUEA refused to allow him access to the room during the interview. I asked OUEA president Jan Miller why a student in the district could not be allowed in the interview as I was as much their candidate too. They simply said it wasn’t a good idea.

    Until we stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about what we can do for each other, there is no way that the OUSD will ever be able to regain the trust and support of its community.

    Metro VIEWS is open to community members and organizations to voice their opinions on important local community issues in the Greater Orange Communities.

    A community service of the

    We missed Mr. Martin at the October 3 OUSD candidates' forum at Orange City Hall. If you want to talk the talk, you've got to walk the walk.

    Bill Amsbary
    OUSD Parent and Volunteer
    As the President of the Orange Education Foundation, it is my duty to clarify some of the mis-statements that have been expressed by the Press and now by Mr. Martin.

    I have for anyone and everyone to preview an original memorandum dated, February 4, 2005. The membo is written
    " To: The Orange Education Foundation
    From: Sandy Streeter (signed blue ink)
    Linda Stoterau (signed in blue ink)
    Rachelle Morga (signed in black ink)

    RE: Elementary Music Donations

    This memorandum is in regard to the expected donations to support the Orange Unified Elementary Music Program. Funds collected for this program will be deposited into the Orange Education Foundation. We request that those funds then be gifted to Orange Unified School District in support of Elementary Music.

    Thank you for your consideration of this matter. If you have any questions, please contact Sandy Streeter 997-60XX"

    According to documentation from the Music Matters committee, their first meeting was on Feb. 8.

    It was very clear to the Orange Education Foundation when the memo was written, the exact direction of what to do with the "anticipated" funds. The Orange Education Foundation completed its obligation for receiving, depositing and giving of the funds. We contacted legal council along the way to determine of responsibility as the holder of the funds. We acted legally and fulfilled the intent of the memo and in the end, did just as the Memorandum as asked....we "gifted the funds to the Orange Unfied School District in support of Elementary Music."

    The Orange Education Foundation has had its name dragged through the mud when the Music Matters committee made decisions and demands for the money. I would hope that from this point forward, the mis-communications regarding the $14,000 and the association with the Orange Education Foundation would cease.
    "...groups who are uninformed and un-experienced are trying to use influence to put candidates in office that will not serve our children or propel our district one step further then where it is today."

    Well, let's take this to the logical conclusion. He says groups should meet with each candidate before endorsing. Hmmm...well voters should decide who to cast their ballots for by learning about each candidate. Gee, I wonder how the voters will make informed decisions if a candidate doesn't bother to submit a candidate statement for the sample ballot and if a candidate doesn't show up to candidate forums.

    Paul-Dean Martin...the only OUSD candidate without a candidate statement in the sample ballot.

    Paul-Dean Martin...the only OUSD candidate to skip the candidate forum.
    Let me answer the two questions that have been posed here. Number one I was unable to attend the October 3rd, meet the candidates forum as I was committed to an engagement at Wilson Elementary in Corona where I was working with 70 students through my Young Actors Workshop. The kids were looking forward to it, this made clear by the high turn out and I would never let the kids down. And I was very excited to announce that evening that due to our community partners program all 70 students were welcomed into the program AT NO COST! So to answer Bill Amsbary OUSD Parent and Volunteer’s question I wasn’t in attendance because I was out in the community walking the walk and talking the talk. Second the question of why I had not turned in a Candidate Statement. Unlike my opponents, I collected no money from special interest groups and simply was unable to pay the $1500 filing fee to post a candidate statement. My campaign is one of the people and for the people. But since this is a free public forum here is my candidate statement.

    Dear Friends and Neighbors,
    My name is Paul-Dean Martin, and I am a candidate for the Orange Unified School District School Board. Many of you already know of my 12 years of service to the children of the O.U.S.D. through my after school theatre program, The PDM Young Actors Workshop. And no doubt many of you have read about my students’ selfless acts of kindness throughout the community as reported on several occasions in the Anaheim Hills News. My long-standing relationship with the families, schools, and businesses in this community is the exact reason why I should be your next choice to serve as a member of the O.U.S.D. School Board.

    Why am I running for school board?

    If you listen to rumor, I am running because the O.U.S.D. hit all after school programs with a usage fee making it impossible for my after school program to continue and still allow all students, regardless of finances, to be able to take part.

    This is untrue. While we were forced to stop offering our classes to O.U.S.D. students because of the fee restrictions, we continued our work with Corona Norco School District and Palm Springs Unified School District. Now, due to the overwhelming generosity on the part of those districts and their surrounding residents and businesses, my program is returning to the O.U.S.D. with private funding allowing us to offer our classes for free to all students who wish to take part. Instead of complaining about the money my program didn’t have, I focused on how to obtain the money and the support it needed to continue; a practice that the current school board doesn’t seem to be able to grasp when it comes to the financial shortfalls for school programs.

    I am running for school board to bring our community back together on the subject of our kids. I’m tired of the animosity that all sides have for each other and feel the need to express publicly. I was once told by the superintendent’s office under the leadership of Dr. French, that the school district is a business just like every other business. You know, he was partly correct that we are in business. We are in the business of educating children. A kindergartner doesn’t understand state budgets, they only understand that there was no paint to finger paint with today. A middle school student doesn’t understand fiscal responsibility, but they do understand that there is no extra money for team sports, the arts, after school educational clubs, and other elective programs. High School students do understand what’s going on, and it’s here that their rebellion against a flawed system begins. We need to stop going along with the status quo and start thinking out of the box to pull ourselves out of this financial hole. Orange County is blessed with some of the greatest business minds, the most creative artists, and the hardest working labor force in the state. There is no reason why we shouldn’t be leaders when it comes to the education of our children.

    What will be different during my term in office?
    I will call for a full reconstruction of the entire school district. The current school board keeps telling the same old story of “We don’t have any money.“ That is inaccurate, we have millions of dollars. It just continues to be spent in the wrong areas. They continue to cut school programs and school level jobs. The principals aren’t spending the money. The students aren’t spending the money. Yet this is always the first place the cuts begin. We need to cut money at the district level. The district is top heavy with duplicated jobs, overstaffing, and a superintendent salary that makes no sense given the current financial standing of the district. If we can’t get more money from the state, then we need to use new and creative ways to create revenue for our district. I am all for facilities fees. Our district has some of the most beautiful sporting venues, theatres, and multipurpose rooms in the OC. But let’s not target our after school programs who have been there providing our kids with chess clubs, cooking classes, team sports, sign language, and countless other courses that the school district has been unable to offer. Let’s target event planners looking for venues for family functions, community groups needing meeting space, and city organizations. Let’s work with local businesses to develop a true community partnership that will help our district while helping local businesses to succeed. When we work to support our community, our community will work to support us.
    Our district also spends an enormous amount of money on attorney’s fees and legal settlements. Much of this brought about because our district is not meeting the needs of all its students, especially those in Special Education. Why is it that everyone screams lawsuit in our district? It’s because of the past unwillingness and flexibility of the district to look outside the blanket policies that are burying us in red tape. We need to create a new community policing policy.
    Problems can be solved before they get to the district level if our educators and principals are kept informed and made clear on the exact polices of the district but given flexibility to implement those policies.

    The Final Word
    As I stated earlier, my initial problem with the district was the usage fees. This is no longer a problem for me as I went out and solved the problem with the support of my community. As a member of the OUSD School Board, I will continue to work with our students, parents, faculty members, janitorial staff, food service workers, nurses, and community leaders to begin a new era of education in the OUSD that will make us a leader in the field of education in California.

    Paul-Dean Martin Candidate for OUSD School Board
    I believe that Nichols is endorsed by the Democratic Party of Orange County and Enami is endorsed by the Republican Party of Orange County. According to the financial records I have pulled neither one has taken a dollar of special interest money unless you count the union giving non monetary contributions to Nichols. What party affiliation is Martin. Is he kind of like the Dennis Kucinich of this race.
    I am unaware of any endorsement from the Democratic Party since I did not solicit any such endorsement and I am not a registered Democrate. I have had no conversation with any representative of the democratic party or any other form of communication. I find it extremely unlikely that the party would endorse me. I strongly urge individuals that participate in a 'blog' forum, to get the facts correct.
    Kim Nichols
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