Moving to election by area instead of at-large is being conducted by the district simply because they were forced to do so. Without the threat of a lawsuit for violating the California Voting Rights Act, this would not be on the district’s radar. That is the plain truth and everything else is just nonsense.

Ratchet it down and we realize that the issue centers around the Westside of Costa Mesa, an area in the district with a significant Latino population. This part of the district is all that the issue is about.

As part of the required process, the district has held two “initial public meetings in March 2017 to review trustee area boundaries and receive public input.” One of those was at Rea. I was at that meeting as well as the one at CdMH.

Three more have been scheduled but none on the Westside. If you live on the Westside, you’ll have to travel to Costa Mesa High School to attend. If you don’t have transportation to CMHS, you can get a ride on a district bus from Rea.

At this point you may be asking, “So if they are anticipating Westside people showing up at Rea for a bus ride, why don’t they just have the meeting at Rea again, Steve, and save taxpayers a lot of money? After all, this whole thing is about Westside representation, right Steve?”

Yes, this whole thing is about Westside representation. I doubt anyone anywhere else cares very much about the issue. Most voters probably don’t even know the name of their current area trustee.

And since you asked why they are busing people to CMHS instead of having the meeting at Rea, here’s the answer: Because this is perhaps the most insensitive government body we have ever seen:

  • Teacher Steve Crenshaw speaks at a recent board meeting, describes his deteriorating physical condition due to district incompetence over the stink at Estancia and not one trustee offers a word of sympathy.
  • A respected, 26-year classified employee of the district dies in an accident at TeWinkle and the only recognition he receives from the board is adjourning a meeting in his honor.
  • John Caldecott was a highly respected HR guru who dared to question some financial maneuvers and was fired via e-mail a few weeks later without the chance to address the board over what he uncovered.
  • And more…

Instead, we get indignation from the trustees over why they are not getting enough respect.

Now, they want Westside Latino residents to get on a bus to go to a meeting which, at this time in our country, is so horribly insensitive that it is a new low even for this board. It is nothing less than an evil, shameful attempt to disenfranchise and intimidate what will soon be an important bloc of voters.

I have no hope whatsoever that the district will do the right thing and either change the meeting to Rea or add a fourth meeting to be held at Rea. They would have to be shamed into it and there isn’t enough time between this blog post and the meetings for them to make it seem like that was the plan all along.

Of course, Trustee Walt Davenport, who represents the Westside, could demand a Rea meeting, but he won’t. As a trustee, he has done nothing for years and as we often write here, past behavior is the best predictor of future performance.

Steve Smith
N-MUSD Taxpayer