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  • Wednesday, March 12, 2014

     

    Surridge vs Free Enterprise

    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    Independent insight into OUSD      
    a news service of
     Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    Surridge belittles free-enterprise profits
    as OUSD discusses Peralta and a Bond
    After being again confronted by Save the Peralta Property  supporters at the "on-the-road" February 13, 2014 Orange Unified School District Board meeting, the Surridge Majority of the OUSD Board went on the offensive at a meeting a week later when the OUSD Board met on February 20, 2014 OUSD at Canyon H.S.

    On February 13, 2014 at Orange High School, the OUSD Board members got an earful from the close-by Peralta neighborhood residents including Shelly Lumus who shouted loud and clear during her 3 minutes of Public Comments "Don't Sell Peralta" several times at the Board. Lumus went on to chastise the Board that they have offered  no valid reason to sell Peralta adding "You are not doing it for us" and reasoning the Board majority had other motives for selling the prime property.   The most the Board Majority could do was something that had never been done in public comments before, they read a text message. According to Trustee Mark Wayland who read the text message outloud- the author supported selling  the Peralta site using the same unfounded reasoning that the OUSD Board majority has been circulating in the community-that they seek to  sell all the surplus  properties because  the community will not support a Bond if the district owns property.

    Trustee Singer implored her fellow Board members to refrain from  continuing to connect the two issues-the surplus properties issue and the all but approved 2014 Bond issue. By the Canyon H.S. meeting the following week, it became clear that the  Surridge Majority intended to continue do just that as they went on the offensive.

    Peralta supporters again showed up the next week at the Canyon High School meeting- however the Surridge Board Majority was prepared.  This time, members of the audience spoke in favor of selling the  surplus property.  One speaker read from a prepared text that mimicked almost word-for-word arguments the Surridge Majority has used to try and tie their goal of a 2014 Bond to the make-believe fantasy of the desire of OUSD voters not to approve a Bond without selling all the OUSD surplus property. 

    One surprise local Anaheim Hills supporter who spoke in favor of selling the surplus property was former OUSD Trustee Lisa Smith. As usual however, Smith had her own independent ideas about the surplus property. In her trademark sermon-inspired soliloquy-style policy statement- the real-life preacher and former trustee reminded the current Board that the zoning and any eventual development of the sites was a city issue-not a school district issue. Smith reasoned that the duty of trustees was not as landlords or real estate agents, but with the duty of using district resources for education. 

    Smith's idea was in a way a twist on the exact argument of the three OUSD  Trustees, Kathy Moffat, Diane Singer and Dr. Alexia Deligianni have argued as reasoning to keep Peralta- it is an educational  resource. The difference is the current trustees view that resource is to be kept for future educational purposes. With Moffat-having technical difficulties in a teleconferencing call from a Sacramento hotel lobby,  the champion of that future outlook was unable to rebut Smith's argument.

    It was however later in the Canyon H.S. meeting that Greater Orange got a look at how Timothy Surridge's has personalized the Peralta  issue into what appears a personal mission to sell the former school site since losing his pet Fairfield development deal.

    Surridge's contempt for his Peralta opponents and their allies was in full display as a stunned Board meeting audience watched Surridge's  Joseph McCarthy-like-questioning of small business owner Ken Hawkins after his presentation to the OUSD Trustees.

    Hawkins, a co-owner of the Super Sports business that currently leases the Peralta Site, was publicly belittled by Surridge over and over for the Super Sport free-enterprise business making a profit while providing a needed service to the Greater Orange community.

    Hawkins (who Surridge pointed out had his lease running out next year) was presenting an idea to the OUSD Board as Informational Item 12 B on the OUSD Agenda (page 20) . Hawkins was proposing to bring other educational facilities like Olive Crest (CLICK ON) which currently rents space (and uses the faculties)  at the Super Sports site to provide more educational components to Super Sports complex.

    In an Marxist-era-like rant,  Surridge several times sarcastically questioned the business owner about making money and profits from the Super Sports business.  A surprised, yet respectful Hawkins reminded Surridge that the business made money and paid rent to the district for the site it leased- to which Surridge pounced  again taking Hawkins to task again for "making money" for years. But Surridge was just getting started.

    Surridge then lashed out at Hawkins over attending a Save Peralta Rally that was held the Saturday before at Super Sports site where Hawkins had introduced his idea to the neighborhood.

    Like a prosecuting lawyer Surridge's questions then took Hawkins to task for being one of the proposed developers of apartments for the Peralta Site when the Board asked for apartment lease ideas.  Surridge then badgered Hawkins for a business plan and continued to accuse Hawkins of running a business and making money.  Surridge then revealed that he was privy to a 45 minute conversation between Hawkins and Foothills Sentry Publisher Richard Callahan.  Surridge stated that Callahan had told the Trustee that Hawkins was unable to provide Callahan with specific plans on financing and said that he had told Surridge that Hawkins was unprofessional.

    As Hawkins attempted to answer Surridge's barrage of questions, Hawkins was berated and dismissed with every answer he provided. Trustee Singer tried to interrupt Surridge's interrogation antics  with a parliamentary point-of-order as a stunned audience and district personal watched the spectacle play out. Singer expressed shock at the tenor of the questions to a community member who was simply making a point stating that community members come to Board meeting to be heard- "not to get in trouble".  Singer then apologized to Mr. Hawkins for the treatment she had just witnessed.

    Then Dr. Deligianni in the strongest words she has ever uttered at a Board meeting spoke. A visibly shocked Deligianni stated that she had "never seen someone spoken to with such contempt"  adding that Hawkins "deserves respect" as a community member.

    Ortega, who up to this point has offered an even handed approach to Board discussions during this tenure as Board President appeared to try and rescue Surridge as he stated that Hawkins had provided only this verbal presentation to the Board and provided no advance proposal to the Board. Ortega reasoned that the Board now had an opportunity to ask questions.

    Trustee Rick Ledsma then too took Hawkins to task telling the business owner  he had provided nothing to the Board in writing, not a draft or business plan.

    An angry Surridge then looked at Hawkins and again took the business owner to task for "rallying" the people before giving the Board a chance to hear the proposal and accused the business owner of  "having no plan" and a "sweetheart lease".

    OUSD Board votes to sell Killerfer and Riverdale Sites
    with Walnut site up next at the March 13, 2013 meeting
    After voting to sell the Killerfer site at the February 13th  Orange H.S. meeting and the Riverdale site at the February 20th Canyon H.S. meeting,  the OUSD Board will vote on the next surplus property to sell-the Walnut site.  The OUSD Board approved the sale for Riverdale for $12.9 million. The asking price for the Killerfer site was listed in the Agenda at $2.9 million. Those prices are tentatively proposed and approved in a Closed Session Board meetings with realty experts-then voted on by Trustees in public session.

    Except in the case of the Killerfer site.  The small site which sits in the up-in-coming Train Depot/ Chapman University Law School area of the Traffic Circle neighborhood is considered a fairly attractive property.  However, things took a strange twist on the way to the sale being approved at the February 13th Board Meeting.

    While Surridge continues to tout sales of unrelated surplus property in other school districts  as the means of quoting  astronomical figures of the worth of OUSD surplus property, the self-anointed OUSD Realtor tried to publicly micromanage the sale price of the  Killerfer property by asking for a lower  price. After the OUSD Board had in Closed Session gone with the what experts had said was the fair market value of the property, Surridge made an amendment to drop the price $500,000 to $1.9 million. As the real estate experts present were put on the spot to defend their valuation, Trustee Mark Wayland - a usual Surridge ally put some sanity into the conversation by noting that the free market would determine the value of the land. The Surridge amendment to drop the price by $500,000 was defeated 3- 4 with Wayland joining Deligianni, Moffat and Singer in voting against the amendment. Ledesma and Ortega joined Surridge in voting Yes to drop the price.

    At this Thursday's  March 13, 2014 meeting, the Walnut site will be the next property the Board will vote to sell. The going price from the true real estate experts is $12.9 million.

    C.A.R.E introduces itself to Greater Orange
    As dozens of  stakeholders at both the Orange H.S.  and Canyon H.S. meetings addressed the OUSD Trustees asking for a November 2014 Bond, representatives of a group hoping to take the lead in supporting the Bond introduced themselves during public comments- C.A.R.E. (Community Advancement through Renovation for Education).

    The group has a FACEBOOK page (CLICK ON: CARE) and is currently working on a website.  It will hold its first meeting on March 20, 2014 with the place to be announced.

    Inside the March 13, 2014 OUSD Board Meeting-El Modena
    The OUSD Board's next stop on their highly acclaimed "on-the-road" Board meeting will be Thursday March 13, 2014 at El Modena High School  starting at 6:00 pm. The OUSD Board and El Modena community will be previewing the El Modena High School Needs Assessment Plan . (To access the plan CLICK on EL MO ).

    Moffat "private residence" teleconferencing could pose problems for OUSD with Brown Act
    Does 1566 Forlow in Crofton Maryland  look like the Brown Act "public place"?
    One again, Kathy Moffat will be teleconferencing to participate in the OUSD Board meeting. This time from a private residence at 1566 Forlow Ave in the city of Crofton, Maryland.  The Brown Act specifically states that the teleconferencing place must be a "public place" with public access. While the agenda does note the address, no telephone number or other information for the private residence is provided to the public on the agenda.




    Any votes taken at a meeting  in violation of the Brown Act could be invalidated. That could lead to problems considering the importance of many of the agenda items including the sale of the Walnut site, the legally required Second Interim Budget and Fund Transfer Authority,  the policy on allowing emergency defibrillators  plus important numerous consent items that are too numerous to mention. 

    In theory -all of this could be invalidated by an illegal meeting.

    Orange Net News was alerted by it's parent organization the Greater Orange Community Group that this week the local watchdog group contacted the state-wide Brown Act watch group Californian's Aware to make them aware of the possible violation and for clarification".

    Orange Unified has admittedly made Brown Act mistakes with past teleconferencing. Orange Unified has won and lost other Brown Act related court cases in the past. This week's question is are the Trustees willing to risk another Brown Act loss?

    For information on 1566 Forlow private residence in Crofton Maryland CLICK ON: PRIVATE HOME

    NEXT OUSD BOARD MEETING March 13, 2014
    Next OUSD Board Meeting -El Modena Multi-purpose Room
    CLOSED SESSION- 5:30 pm
    OUSD Regular Session: 6:00 pm
    For AGENDA-CLICK ON: AGENDA

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

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