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  • Wednesday, January 09, 2008



    Metro VIEWS
    Local viewpoints from the Greater Orange Communities

    An editorial from Orange Net News

    At the last Orange Unified School Board meeting (the end of the year December 13th, 2007 meeting) Orange Unified Trustee Kathy Moffat, at the request of Villa Park residents, pulled a $60,000 consultant study for discussion that will eventually lead to the demolition of the historic buildings at Villa Park Elementary School. The Villa Park residents told the OUSD Board they learned of the Agenda Item from Orange Net News and its internet site the Greater Orange News Service. After a discussion, Moffat ended up voting to approve the item.

    Moffat (who admittedly was unprepared because she just arrived back from a family emergency) tried to explain with the help of staff that the consultant was needed to eventually decide what is to be done with the buildings. Moffat then went on to say that she was tired of hearing that “blogs say this and blogs say that” and added that the blogs were again “incorrect”. Unfortunately for Moffat, she was incorrect again, and the blog was right again.

    The story that tipped off the rightfully angry Villa Park community members was reported in the popular Orange Unified Schools Inside feature of Orange Net News. The feature reports on the agenda and the meetings of the Orange Unified School Board. This particular report included the following summary about the December 13th OUSD Agenda:

    “Consent Agenda Items include:
    • PAGE 30: The Planning Center-$60,000 for reports to begin the demolition process on the two historic original school buildings from Villa Park Elementary School”

    Is Moffat’s statement that the blog got was “incorrect” accurate? This is what the actual OUSD Agenda stated in asking for authorization to contract the Costa Mesa consultant firm The Planning Center for $60,000:

    Two buildings remain from the original school on Villa Park Elementary School campus. The buildings have been determined to be structurally unsafe. They are vacant and have been fenced off to prevent unauthorized entry. Because the buildings are unfit for occupation and represent a safety hazard, they should be demolished as soon as possible.

    Prior to the demolition, the District is required to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Since both buildings are listed on the National Register of Historical Places, they are automatically included in the California Register of Historical Resources and, are therefore, historical resources for the purposes of CEQA. Preparation of an Environmental Impact Report is required to comply with the requirements of CEQA. The Planning Center has the expertise and experience to provide these services.

    Clearly the OUSD Staff has decided that the buildings need to be “demolished as soon as possible”. Was the blog report wrong?

    Moffat tried to explain that the CEQA study was needed to move onto an EIR report. As usual with Moffat, that is not entirely true. The CEQA process which is requires government bodies to be accountable for historic resources like the buildings has a three tier process. Part of that process would allow OUSD to issue a Negative Declaration and not have to conduct an EIR study to demolish the buildings.

    In addition, OUSD Superintendent Dr. Godley in trying to explain the why the OUSD Staff did not directly explain to the parties concerned what OUSD’s intentions were stated at the meeting:

    “There should be no surprises, we are doing what we said we’d do”.

    There also should be no surprises that Kathy Moffat got it wrong-again:

    • Like when Moffat got the Santiago Charter Revocation attempt wrong, and the blogs reported it.

    • Like Moffat’s 100% Yes votes on all wasteful consultant spending and the blogs reported it.

    • Like when Moffat’s silence over trying to end the OUSD Board meeting broadcasts to the community was wrong, and the blogs reported it.

    • Like Moffat’s support of the millions of educational tax dollars spent on the failed and now defunct Focus on Results program was wrong, and the blogs reported it.

    • Like Moffat’s support of the censorship of Board meetings by Dr. Godley and the blogs reported it.

    • Like when Moffat supported revoking the numerous Orange Unified Recall reforms and the blogs reported it.

    • Like Moffat’s continued support of unprecedented raises to the OUSD Superintendent (like the 3.5% raise she voted to approve in December just 4 months after the last retroactive raise for Godley.

    Obviously it was politicians like Moffat the Founding Fathers had in mind when the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was written protecting the press, which today includes the blogs.

    It wouldn’t surprise us if Moffat also feels the Founding Fathers were “incorrect” too.

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