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  • Wednesday, May 23, 2018

     

    Trustee asks for investigation into student voter registration

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


    Trustee Ortega

    Orange Unified Trustee John Ortega wants a blank check to hire a law firm to investigate OUSD high school student voter registration drives with connections to billionaire Tom Steyer


    Orange Unified Trustee John Ortega placed an item on the Orange Unified School Board Agenda for May 24, 2018, requesting to hire a law firm to investigate student voter registration drives at two OUSD high schools in April of this year.

    Agenda Item 12 D (page 56) states "I [John Ortega] am recommending an attorney from the law firm of Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo (AALRR) to complete the investigation and provide a report back to the board".  Ortega states in the agenda item that the investigation is to look into any "potential violation of the California Education Code, and any other laws associated with the occurrence".

    The total cost of the requested Ortega Investigation is listed as "To be determined".

    Image result for orange county voter information projectThe voter registration drives were organized by the Orange County Voter Information Project (OCVIP).  The voter registration drives were held this year on April 11th at Richland H.S. and April 17th at El Modena H.S.  April is a traditional month for student registration drives.

    A post on April 11, 2018, on the OCVIP Facebook (the website for OCVIP does not work) has this message about the Richland voter drive:
    April 11 · 
    Two back to back voter registration drives at two different high schools! First school, we registered 47 students. This was a success because only about 200+ students attend that school due to its status as a continuation high school. Next day, in Irvine (private high school) we registered 45 students. This was yet another success given that - that school had only about 90 students that were eligible to register to vote. With that said, we registered 50% of students that are eligible to register! Thank you to our community partners and to NextGen America for partnering with us for these two voter registration presentations and VR drives. On to the next! 
    #civicengagement    #engage  #inform  #turnout

    Adult volunteers at the April 11, 2018 OCVIP student registration drive at Richland H.S. 



    For more information click on OCVIP FACEBOOK


    An April 17, 2018 OCVIP Facebook post about the El Modena registration drive reads:
    April 17 · 
    After a two-day visit, one day of civic engagement presentations followed up by a lunch time voter registration drive today, we registered a total of 190 new voters at a local Orange County high school.
    A special thanks to NextGen California and to the women from Women for Humanity for helping us out these past two days!
    Message us if you would like to get involved with our quest to register young individuals throughout Orange County or find out how to get involved by emailing Otniel Pavia @ otniel@ocvip.org.

    OCVIP Facebook post about El Modena voter registration drive

    The OCVIP Facebook page includes an April 17th "like" of a El Modena H.S. post about the event:
    April 17 · Orange, CA · 
    It's #CAVoterEducationWeek April 16-27 and community volunteers worked with the Orange County Voter Information Project - OCVIP to help @ElModenaHS with student voter registration!

    For more information click on OCVIP FACEBOOK

      

    The both OCVIP and El Modena HS postings on the April 17 event included photos of the event. The photos of adult registration drive volunteers included OUSD Trustee Andrea Yamasaki.  Yamasaki is up for reelection in November 2018.


    OUSD Trustee Andrea Yamasaki (far right)  at OCVIP Student Registration Drive on April 17, 2018


    For more information click on OCVIP FACEBOOK

     Both OCVIP April posts about the OUSD high school student registration drives also mention and thank NextGen California for helping with the voter registration drives:
      "Thank you to our community partners and to NextGen America for partnering with us for these two voter registration presentations and VR drives"
    -Excerpt from April 11, 2018, OCVIP Facebook post

    NextGen was founded by California billionaire environmentalist and political activist Tom Steyer. The billionaire activist is best known for his television advertisements to impeach President Trump,  Steyer also founded and funds NextGen.
    For more information click on 

    Just this week news broke that Steyer had just funded NextGen California with $350,000 to work to unseat California Republican Congressional members and flip the seats of two retiring Republican congressmen. The Hill,  a top national political website, reported this week:
     "NextGen America is rolling out a campaign to urge 200,000 young voters to go to the polls on June 5 in four GOP-held districts: the seats held by Reps. Jeff Denham and Dana Rohrabacher as well as the seats being vacated by retiring Reps. Ed Royce and Darrell Issa. All four districts were carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016 and are part of Democrats’ planned path to taking back the House."

    For more information click on THE HILL: STEYER OUTREACH

    The NextGen website has a page that lists "partners".  OCVIP is listed on the page with its name as a hyperlink. When you click on the Orange County Voter Information Project on the partners' page, it takes you to the Orange County Federation of Labor home page.

    For more information click on NEXT GEN PARTNERS

    On it's Facebook page, OCVIP states it is a non-partisan organization:
    The Orange County Voter Information Project (OCVIP) is a non profit, non partisan, organization that aims to facilitate civic participation via voter registration and promotes civic engagement throughout Orange County.
    General Information
    Nonprofit, non-partisan, organization

    Much of the OCVIP website, however, is devoted to similar causes that NextGen advocates including attacking Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, immigration rights, and affordable healthcare.  The NextGen website explains its mission on its webpage as:
     Our story
    NextGen America acts politically to prevent climate disaster, promote prosperity, and protect the fundamental rights of every American.
    Since our founding as NextGen Climate in 2013, we’ve worked to fight climate change by advancing the transition to a clean energy economy. We’ve supported candidates who support climate action. We’ve fought to halt the Keystone XL pipeline and registered more than 1 million voters nationwide.

    Now, the same values that drive our work on climate are under unprecedented attack from all directions.

    We’re proud to step up the fight for immigrant rights, affordable health care, prosperity, and equality.


    Also appearing frequently on the OCVIP Facebook posts are connections to Swing So Cal Left.  Their website describes Swing SoCal Left as:
    Description
    Swing SoCal Left works to connect progressive organizers and volunteers who want to help flip the California congressional swing districts CA-25, CA-39, CA-45, CA-48 and CA-49. We painstakingly maintain the regional district flipper's calendar of events at Swingsocalleft.org. We provide landing pages on the site for Action Council coalitions in each district and sundry other activities to help facilitate SoCal's incoming Blue Wave.

    For more information click on: SWING SoCal LEFT

    Ironically or perhaps coincidentally, also on the OUSD Agenda for May 24 is an item updating Board Policies.  Information Item 13 B (Agenda page 59) includes a new addition regarding Student Voter Registration. The new Board Policy would have the OUSD Administration designating a staff contact at each high school to facilitate Student Registration on each campus.

    The local watchdog group Greater Orange Community Group* sent out a community email about the student voter registration flap. The email praised Ortega for bringing the item to the attention of the public and took Yamasaki to task for her involvement.  The group also urged that the Trustees move on and not waste tax money hiring legal experts for an "investigation":
    The Greater Orange Community Group shares the concerns of Trustee John Ortega over political groups or organizations with political agendas on a public school campus under the guise of student voter registration.  The Greater Orange Community Group is also concerned with the participation of Trustee Yamasaki in the OCVIP registration efforts at OUSD high schools.

    At the same time, the Greater Orange Community Group understands how vital it is for our democracy to engage students early to both register to vote and to actually vote.

    While we applaud Trustee Ortega for bringing the El Modena and Richland student registration incidents to the public's attention, his proposal to spend an undetermined amount of tax-payer educational funds on legal services for an "investigation"  is the wrong thing to do.

    If the majority of the OUSD Board feels an investigation is needed, we urge the OUSD Board to have the very capable OUSD Administration report back to the OUSD Board how the voter registration with the OCVIP group occurred and any possible legal violations.

    The citizen's of Greater Orange support the goals of young people voting. However, we urge the OUSD Trustees to not waste educational tax dollars on lawyers, lawsuits, and litigation but instead learn from this event and move forward with a partisan-free plan to educate and engage students to register to vote.


    OUSD Public Relations costs
    In February 2018 OUSD Trustees voted $219,424 for a Public Relations contract (Click on):
     OUSD VOTES $219,424 for PR

    Here is what spending $219,424 of educational tax dollars on PR buys (For the latest in OUSD News on the web Click on): 
    OUSD in the NEWS

    NEXT OUSD BOARD MEETING Thursday, May 24, 2018
    Next OUSD Board Meeting -OUSD BOARD ROOM
    Trustee Kathy Moffat will be teleconferencing from Hawaii requiring all votes to be by voice.

    CLOSED SESSION- 6:30 pm
    OUSD Regular Session: 7:00 pm
    For AGENDA-CLICK ON: OUSD AGENDA


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

    ARCHIVAL Information and direct news can be found at:
    the Greater Orange News Service http://greaterorange.blogspot.com/
    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    and the
    Greater Orange News Service
    are independent news services of /O/N/N/



    Tuesday, May 08, 2018

     

    Orange Unified UPDATES

    Orange Unified donated portable will become new District Office Meeting space
    Consent Item 18 J on May 10, 2018, Orange Unified School District Board of Trustees Agenda (page 71) is a resolution to accept the donation and use of a portable classroom.

    According to the agenda item, the 36' x 60' portable modular building donated by Chapman University will be added to the District Office Center campus as a new "administrative/training/meeting room".  The portable was being used as a science classroom. All the furnishings and science equipment that were also donated will go to OUSD school sites.

    OUSD agreed to contribute $50,000 toward the relocation of the portable from Chapman University to the site in OUSD. 

    OUSD to approve financing arrangements for
    Kelly Field and El Rancho Charter campus improvements
    Action Item 16 C on May 10, 2018, Orange Unified School District Board of Trustees agenda is a resolution to establish  $11,000,000 in financial instruments to finance the upgrades and refurbishing of Fred Kelly Stadium and the El Rancho Charter School improvements. 

    The funding for the El Rancho Charter School improvements that were completed in December 2017 will be paid back to OUSD by the charter school.   Action Item 16 D is the loan agreement between OUSD and El Rancho Charter.

    Agenda Consent Item 18F (page 62) shows that the total cost of the El Rancho Charter improvements for the new science building and gym after the construction change orders was $12.1 million.

    Inside the May 10 OUSD Agenda
    Item 4 Work/Study Session (page 1): This 5:00 pm open session will be a training on Superintendent/ Trustees protocols on interactions and goals.

    Item 13 E Distinguished School Award (page 4): Recognition of Crescent Elementary School as a 2018 California Distinguished School Award recipient 

    Item 13 F (page 5): Proclamation of the week of May 20-26, 2018 as Classified School Employee Week.

    OUSD Public Relations costs
    In February 2018 OUSD Trustees voted $219,424 for a Public Relations contract (Click on):
     OUSD VOTES $219,424 for PR

    Here is what spending $219,424 of educational tax dollars on PR buys (For the latest in OUSD News on the web Click on): 
    OUSD in the NEWS

    NEXT OUSD BOARD MEETING Thursday May 10 , 2018
    Next OUSD Board Meeting -OUSD BOARD ROOM
    Work/Study Session-5:00 pm
    CLOSED SESSION- 6:00 pm
    OUSD Regular Session: 7:00 pm

    For AGENDA-CLICK ON: OUSD AGENDA

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

    ARCHIVAL Information and direct news can be found at:
    the Greater Orange News Service http://greaterorange.blogspot.com/
    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    and the
    Greater Orange News Service
    are independent news services of /O/N/N/

    Orange Net News

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    Greater Orange News Service is a community service of the Orange Communication System /OCS/, the communications arm of the Greater Orange Community Orgainization