Claremont Insider: A Stadium by Any Other Name

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Stadium by Any Other Name

Liars, Damned Liars, and the School Board

Friday's Daily Bulletin carried and article by Wes Woods reporting that the Claremont Unified School District Board finally explicitly and openly reneged on its understanding with Claremont High School neighbors reached during the contentious run-up to the June 2000 school bond measure "Y" election.

Fearful that neighborhood opposition would torpedo the $48.9 million bond measure nine years ago, the Board mollified neighborhood opponents by adopting a resolution stating, "that the Claremont Unified School District Board of Education pledges not to build a stadium complex on the existing Claremont High School campus..."

Woods reports, in relevant part:

CLAREMONT - A $300,000 thousand-seat permanent bleacher project at Claremont High School has been given the fast track by the school board.

The Claremont Unified School District board Thursday night passed the item, along with a 2008-2009 budget adjustment for income and expenditures and appropriation budget transfers.

The bleacher project will be built sometime next year, said school board member Steven Llanusa.

This decision does not square with the discussion and representations at the time, nor with the spirit of the resolution adopted by the Board on April 17, 2000:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Claremont Unified School District Board of Education pledges not to build a stadium complex on the existing Claremont High School campus as a result of the passage of the upcoming June 6, 2000 school bond measure.

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The Courier reported in Saturday's paper (print only) that the $300K mentioned in the Bulletin article came from the Recreation Assessment District. This same color of money (it's all green; money is fungible) paid for the lights on the football field at Claremont High. So, perhaps piecemeal, but also certainly, the School District is violating its agreement with the neighbors and putting in a stadium complex, permanent bleachers, call it what you will.

We know what the lawyers are going to say. "But it wasn't paid for with bond money." "It's not a stadium, it's only bleachers." Yeah, yeah.

We were awfully incredulous at the time that the neighborhood bought into a resolution with such obvious and apparent loopholes. But it's really because the neighbors were and are on a different moral plane than the School Board. Where the neighbors are honest and open, the School Board and staff are shifty and devious. Where the neighbors rely on a handshake and do what they say, the School Board relies on getting all lawyered-up, splitting hairs, and doing the opposite. Where the neighbors are truthful, the Claremont Unified School District, as an institution, are liars.

You need look no further than Claremont High.

For a trip down Memory Lane, here is the April 19, 2000 article from the Claremont Courier:

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