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  • Friday, September 14, 2012

     

    EXTRA: OUSD VOTES NO ON DEVELOPER


    SPECIAL REPORT

    As OUSD Trustee Mark Wayland changes sides...

    PERALTA SITE CONTRACT VOTED DOWN BY OUSD BOARD

    In a dramatic 4-3 vote, the Orange Unified School Board voted against the Exclusive Negotiating Agreement contract with the developer they had selected less than two months ago, Fairfield Residential LLC at the Thursday September 14th OUSD School Board meeting.

    In the two months since the selection of the developer, a broad based coalition of some of Orange’s most celebrated neighborhood activist, along with present and former political elites and up-in-comers joined with residents in the Peralta adjacent neighborhoods to apply political pressure during a contentious election cycle. Orange Unified Trustee Mark Wayland, who faces a neighborhood activist in his November re-election bid, provided the fourth vote to the original three Trustees who voted in July against the selection of Fairfield Residential as the exclusive developer for the former school site. Voting for the contract was OUSD Board President Tim Surridge, and Trustees Rick Ledesma and John Ortega.

    At their July meeting, OUSD Trustees Kathy Moffat and Diane Singer voted against Fairfield after the motion they sponsored to reject all of the developers was defeated. They were joined by OUSD Trustee Dr. Alexia Deligianni after her original motion to have another developer, Peralta Apartment Partners be the developer died for lack of a second (CLICK ON July Meeting). Deligianni also faces an opponent in November. At the September OUSD Board meeting Trustee Kathy Moffat cause a stir by accusing Surridge and Ledesma of getting developer campaign contributions. At the September meeting, Save Peralta members again addressed the OUSD Board before the vote with a variety of issues. The Peralta neighborhood residents cited crime statistics from other Fairfield developments, questioning the legal language in the contract and again repeated that they were blindsided by the process.

    The Save Peralta Property group almost appeared out of nowhere and quickly mobilized the neighborhood, creating a website, canvassing neighborhoods with flyers, holding weekly meetings, and inviting city and school district candidates to appear before there group. They also forged an alliance with the Orange Park Acres group sponsoring the No vote on Question FF and were quickly able to get two candidates to step forward to run in the school board election just days before the filing deadline. The coalition building, political savvy and organizational skills rivaled and paralleled the 2001 Orange Recall for good reason, the Peralta adjacent neighborhood is full of many of the same activist who worked diligently to recall four trustees eleven years ago. Three of the replacement Trustees from that winning recall effort are still are on the Board, Kathy Moffat, Rick Ledesma and John Ortega. However, the intervening years since the successful recall has more than strained the relations between the three.

    In an irony lost on many, one of the outcomes of the Orange Recall that was one of the first priorities of the new school board elected after the recall was to sell the Barham Ranch site. It too was slated for a future school site. Environmental and open space advocates who were part of the Orange Recall coalition wanted the Barham Ranch land to be protected as open space, which is what eventually happened to the land. However, the road was a rocky one. That included a judge in 2003 ordering the then OUSD Board to record all of its Closed Sessions for years after it was determined that they had illegally discussed the land deal in violation of the Brown Act in 2001. Then Trustee Robert Vivivano also opposed giving up the property for much the same reasons listed by Moffat over the Peralta property. The OUSD land was eventually joined with the rest of the Barham Ranch lands as part of the Santiago Oaks Regional Park. Barham Ranch Day is still celebrated in the park annually in March.

    The biggest political looser in the struggle over the developement of the Peralta site appears to be Rick Ledesma. Ledesma worked since 2008 to steer OUSD into developing properties that had been declared surplus. Political fallout from what many activists in the community saw as an attempt to thwart the will of the neighborhood may still be seen in November. With the reelection of Wayland and Deligianni, they will have four more years to go through the process again. Meanwhile, the Save Peralta Group is not going away as they plan on creating a neighborhood association to be a watchdog of the site and area.

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012

     

    Peralta controversy heats up as OUSD set to approve contract

    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    a news service of Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    Independent insight into OUSD

    Peralta Site Project controversy gets heats up
    as OUSD set to approve developer contract

    As the Save Peralta Property group gets political, reaches out to the Orange Needs Parks members and starts meeting at a new venue to accommodate its growing numbers, the Orange Unified School Board majority is set to approve in Action Item 12 B (pages 9-27) an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) with Fairfield Residential LLC at their Thursday September 13, 2012 OUSD Board Meeting. Save Peralta neighbors are expected to attend and address the OUSD Board as the struggle over Peralta shifts to the November election and then to the City of Orange.

    The August 23, 2012 OUSD Board Meeting again saw Peralta Neighborhood residents address the OUSD Board. However, it was minority OUSD Board Member Kathy Moffat speaking up against the OUSD Board Majority on the Peralta Site that shook up the meeting. Moffat publicly warned that the OUSD Board majority’s march toward development may have a back story.

    With her ally Trustee Diane Singer not present because of an illness, Moffat bravely went where no Board member has gone before by stating that if there was a connection between 2010 campaign contributions to fellow trustees Rick Ledesma and Tim Surridge from local developer John Martin (JMI Properties) and the Fairfield Residential LLC that was chosen for the ENA, then that needed to be made public. Martin is a well known local developer who is involved with the Ridgeline project, the Rio Santiago project and worked against Orange Park Acres fight for Proposition FF over the Ridgeline property (see links below).

    Moffat’s accusations were answered directly by OUSD Board President Tim Surridge who asked Moffat if she got her information from the “blogs” ( no not /O/N/N/…but see links below from Orange Juice and Voice of OC)? Moffat replied no the newspaper. Then a surreal moment for long time Board members occurred. When the more conservative Surridge asked Moffat "Which one?". Moffat told him “the Foothill Sentry” (yes that’s right Moffat quoted The Sentry). Surridge (yes we said he was the more conservative) then told Moffat that that was “just a monthly” (taken by many to imply that it was not a real newspaper).
    Yes on the Surridge Board it has come to this, Moffat quoting The Sentry and the conservative trustees questioning The Sentry!

    Surridge continued to engage Moffat asking her if she had seen any proof "like campaign statements"? Moffat replied no. Surridge then went through the history of the process to develop the surplus property in the district, reminding everyone that the process started in 2008, two years before he was on the Board. He reminded Moffat that until recently, the OUSD Board votes on the surplus property had been unanimous 7-0 votes. Surridge asserted that Moffat’s comments were fabrications and there is no connection between Martin and the national recognized company of Fairfield. He defended Fairfield’s bankruptcy as a “reorganization” brought on by the financial collapse and Great Recession and stated that the company’s financial audits received high rankings. He further questioned Moffat’s claim that the peralta site would ever be a school site, and asserted that in any case, OUSD could not afford to build a new school. He asserted that Moffat's statements that the site would be needed for a school was an idea was a “conclusion on your own”. He repeated several times that he felt the Moffat comments were counterproductive to the process and the image od the Board.

    Ledesma then took acceptation to Moffat’s assertion that it was the Board’s duty to be “Trustees for the asset for all time”. Ledesma stated that Sacramento state government was broken and that OUSD took a 20% funding cut since the recession started. He stated that the Board had tried to pass Bonds and failed and that it was the Board’s duty to maximize its assets in light of the financial hardships and develop its recourses. He said he and Moffat differed on the development of resources.

    Ledesma stated if the development was in his neighborhood he too would be protesting.

    The Martin INFO-CLICK ON:

    Martin BLOG


    Voice of OC


    RIO


    Report on what to do with Silverado and Riverdale sites

    Agenda Item 12 A (pages 4-8) is the 7-11 Committee Final Report on the OUSD properties of the former school sites of Silverado and Riverdale elementary schools . The Advisory Committee is recommending that both sites be either sold, leased or exchanged to get the school district the highest and best value.

    OUSD loss in Federal Lawsuit reported at $173,932.80
    OUSD Superintendent Michael Christensen reported that in Closed Session the OUSD Board voted against appealing the decision on Federal Case SACV11-01253.

    The Greater Orange Communities Organization (GOCO) reports that in that federal case, parents of a six year old OUSD student identified in court documents as “CK” filed suit against OUSD for failing to provide an appropriate education to the boy who was first qualifying for special services as Language Impaired, but later changed to being on the autistic spectrum. GOCO reports the judgment against OUSD was issued on 8/20/12 for a total of $173,932.80. Of that total, $20,214.00 was for reimbursement for private educational expenses, the remainder amount of over $150,000 for legal fees.

    INSIDE the September 13 Agenda

    12 C (pages 28-35) Adoption of the Revised Budget
    12 D (36-39) Refinancing 2003 Certificates of Participation at lower interest rates
    12 E (40-43) Board Policy Revisions- Educational Services
    INSIDE Canyon H.S.- Principal Dr. Greg Bowden on leave
    More news from Canyon High School comes on the heels of a story that went international concerning the OUSD Administration putting a halt to a senior week dress-up day called “Seniores" and "Señoritas".

    Now, Canyon H.S. Principal Dr. Greg Bowden is reportedly out on a medical leave.

    The Canyon High School administrators were ordered by the OUSD Administration to undergo “diversity and sensitivity training” after former student Jared Garcia-Kessler filed a formal complaint about the Canyon High School event titled “Seniores" and "Señoritas".

    LINK:
    http://greaterorange.blogspot.com/2012/08/canyon-hills-bowden-ordered-to.html

    INSIDE former OUSD Superintendent Godley’s retirement bonus
    (Beginning 8/2008)

    (beginning 8/2012)
    $59,110.00*

    * The Godley Retirement Bonus presented here is an estimate of the amount in “bonus retirement” accrued since the Superintendent’s retirement on 6/30/08 using a 6% lifetime formula calculated here at $1210 a month since 8/08. The actual retirement plan the former OUSD Superintendent opted to take is not public information and the figures presented are only as an estimate of the taxpayer costs after the OUSD trustees voted against an amendment to exclude Godley from the retirement program. The on-going estimated figure is presented as a reminder to the community of the high cost in educational tax dollars the OUSD Board vote to allow the former Superintendent to participate in the 6% retirement incentive cost the OUSD education community in tax dollars. Godley retired from OUSD on June 30, 2008 after he worked for the school district for a little over five years.


    Next OUSD Board Meeting Thursday September 13, 2012 -OUSD BOARD ROOM
    CLOSED SESSION Begins at 6:00 pm
    OPEN SESSION Begins at 7:00 pm
    SEPT AGENDA

    For more information call the OUSD Superintendent’s office at 714-628-4040
    For budgeting questions call Business Services at 714-628-4015

    Orange Unified Schools INSIDE
    Is an independent news service of /O/N/N/
    "Independent Local Insight”

    Friday, September 07, 2012

     

    Smith slams Jon Dumitru in court papers


    eLECTION Watch 2012

    Court rules Jon Dumitru cannot use “businessman” on ballot

    Orange Councilwomen Tita Smith was handed a major court victory in her bid for Orange Mayor. Smith had gone to court against Neal Kelly, Orange County Registrar of Voters to have her opponent, Orange Councilman Jon Dumitru, change his ballot designation. Dumitru, who works for the Orange County Fire Authority as a communications dispatcher, had tried to list his ballot designation in the November Orange Mayor’s race as “businessman”. Dumitru filed a respond to Smith's court action to try and prove that he is a “consultant” and he buys and sells contents of abandoned storage lockers, which makes him a "businessman". After receiving Smith's rebuttal response, the judge ruled in Smith's favor, forcing the OC Registrar not to accept Dumitru's designation as a "buisnessman". Instead, Dumitru, like Smith, will only have his city title as his designation: "Orange City Councilman".

    Filing in Orange County Superior Court, Smith’s legal team answered Dumitru’s opposition to having the designation removed with a scathing six page response challenging the Councilman's evidence and truthfulness. In the Introduction of the court filed response to Dumitru that Orange Net News obtained, Smith’s legal team writes:

    “Dumitru’s opposition to the petition is an insult to real businesspeople. His flimsy evidence is a gross distortion of the words “livelihood”, “principal” and “primary”. Sporadic, isolated, trivial efforts at freelance consulting do not constitute a “current principal profession, vocation, or occupation of the candidate”, particularly when Dumitru has a real job as a fire dispatcher. Dumitru’s attempt to bootstrap these sporadic efforts into “businessman” are grossly misleading to the voters of Orange, who picture something vastly different of a real businessman.

    More seriously (when considering Dumitru is currently an elected official and holds a public trust), Dumitru has committed perjury or misled the court in two respects. First his Form 700s, sworn under penalty of perjury, are inconstant with his sworn declaration in this case. Second, he out-and-out misled this court with his business license.

    Once Dumitru’s declaration is fully analyzed, it will be seen that the attempt to use “businessman” is nothing more than a political ploy to gain votes at the expense of the truth.”


    In the second section of the response titled “2. Dumitru’s alleged Activities Do Not Amount to An Occupation or Vocation.” Smith’s team disputes Dumitru’s claim of being a consultant for a “colleague” noting that he does not name the “colleague” nor the business or political interest. The response states the evidence of four checks for $350 each Dumitru presented as evidence of pay “do not identify the payor or the purpose of the checks” and notes the lack of any contract connected to the checks make it impossible to know the real purpose of the checks:

    “The secretive nature of his declaration suggests that he is hiding the real purpose of these payments. He did not report the income on his most recent From 700 as business income, again suggesting that something is afoot...”

    The section concludes with a quote from an Orange County Register January 5, 2012 article on Dumitru’s storage buying “ ‘It’s just a hobby’ Dumitru stated, ‘Its kind of cool to see what is hidden inside” noting that Secretary of State regulations exclude hobbies from ballot designations. They counter Dumitru’s claims that his storage hobby has developed into something more since January stating that there is nothing in his evidence showing anything since March 2012 regarding storage buying. The section ends stating:
    “Taken together this evidence does not come close to making Dumitru a businessman”.

    The third Section of Smith’s team’s response is;
    “3. Dumitru’s Sworn Testimony Is Inconsistent With the Truth” Starting with “to often political people cross the line of ethical behavior because they believe the ends justify the means” the section states that Dumitru’s court papers justifying trying to use “businessman” have “brought him perilously close to perjury, and clearly caused him to mislead the court”.
    Smith’s team contended that Dumitru’s explanations of his business are not reconciled with his Form 700 filings.

    Also in this section, Smith’s legal team makes a second point:

    “Second, Dumitru lied in his declaration to the court in this case about his business license”.

    The court documents state that Councilwomen Tita Smith’s campaign checked the City of Orange business license records and filed court documents on August 21st, reporting that “Dumitru had no business license”. Smith’s side further states that Dumitru then filed a declaration under penalty of perjury on August 25th that stated the “Petitioner’s [Smith] statement that I do not hold a valid business license is patently false”. Smith’s response then reports that Dumitru got a business license on August 23rd (two days after the Smith’s court filing) and tried to leave the impression that the Councilman had a license when Smith filed her declaration to the court.

    Smith’s documents to the court include a sworn declaration from City of Orange custodian of Business Licenses declaring that Councilman Dumitru applied for and was issued a business license on August 23, 2012 and he did not have any business license prior to that date. The court documents also include a copy of the application for the Orange Business License stamp dated August 23, 2012. The license application signed by Dumitru lists Councilman Denis Bilodeau as the emergency contact.


    Smith’s response was filed with the court and also sent to Councilman Dumitru’s attorney Steve Sheldon. Shelton was a partner in the Peralta Apartment Partners, one of three developers that sought the contract to develop the Orange Unified Peralta School Site. Orange Unified Trustee Dr. Alexia Deligianni, a political ally and close friend of Dumitru moved to approve the Peralta Apartment Partners as the site developers at the July 2012 OUSD School Board Meeting (see LINK below). Her motion died for lack of a second. After that meeting, Dumitru was waiting for Deligianni outside the OUSD Board Room. When Orange Net News reported that Dumitru was waiting outside, he made a comment on the posted story ( see link below) that he was waiting for Deligianni to have her sign his nomination papers. (CLICK ON: DELIGIANI)

    It is not the first controversy for Dumitru:

    CLICK ON: DUMITRU Controversy

    MORE DUMITRU

    And...MORE


    PLUS MORE

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