Claremont Insider: Scared Straight

Friday, October 15, 2010

Scared Straight

With Halloween fast approaching we might have expected to get a good scare from our beloved Claremonsters. The sky-is-falling strategy has traditionally been one the Claremont 400's favorite tactics to get people to vote for someone or something.

They used fear-based strategy when current council member Corey Calaycay was running in 2005 ("our city staff will all quit if he's elected") and again in 2006 with the failed Parks and Pastures assessment district ("developers will buy Johnson's Pasture if we don't act now"). Somehow the Claremonsters always manage to disregard reality in their attempts to get voters worked up for or against anything. With the park assessment district, for instance, they ignored the fact that the open space they were trying to save had been stuck in probate court for nearly 10 years without changing hands and that the City was the only likely buyer. The urgency they tried to create was false.

This campaign season they're at it again, telling Claremont Unified School District residents that we need to pass the $95 million Measure CL bond because our schools are falling apart. They tell us that our school buildings will collapse on top of our kids if we don't pass this bond. This past Wednesday, the Claremont Courier carried just such a letter in which Uncommon Good executive director Nancy Mintie compared the state of Claremont High's theatre to a slum. Mintie writes with the famous Claremonster voice of authority, saying she was an attorney who fought slumlords, so she should know.

In her letter, Mintie went on to say that the sorry state of CUSD's facilities is proof that Claremonters should support the proposed school bond. But if we read Mintie's letter correctly, what she's really saying is that CUSD is a slumlord! Just like the slumlords Mintie opposed in the past, our school board and the district's admnistrators took the $48.9 million from the last school bond in 2000 and squandered it. They didn't pump all of that money back into fixing up their properties, and they neglected the young people who occupied those building. We clip the first three paragraphs of her letter, right. Buy the Courier to read the rest. Click to enlarge.

Following Mintie's argument to its logical conclusion, one should be compelled to deny CUSD access to any further bond money because they can't be trusted with it. But, this being Claremont, Mintie drew the opposite conclusion, despite her rather persuasive evidence to the contrary. Instead, Mintie said she supports this bond in order to fix our decrepit school facilities - precisely what CUSD and its supporters said the last bond was going to accomplish.

If Mintie were being truthful with us and herself, she'd say that CUSD needs to borrow more money because it mismanaged the last bond and didn't keep its promises from 10 years ago. But, as we've seen, the Claremonster capacity for deceptions of all sorts is limitless.

We have every right to be fearful - of Mintie's screwball logic, of our school district's waste, of the money being pumped into the Yes on CL campaign by bond and building contractors, of the willingness of our school board and its friends to hide the truth and rewrite the past. Run as fast as you can away from these people!