Following the (lack of) money..

The Daily Pilot published Trustee Karen Yelsey’s sad defense of safety issues on August 30.

I posted a comment right away that pointed out her lack of credibility due to having broken her top two campaign promises of 2006: 1. Serve only 12 years 2. Stop the rubber stamping.

My comment also included, “The same Karen Yelsey who has had 12 years and $282 million in Measure F bond money to ‘Replace seismically unsafe buildings and complete upgrades of school site safety conditions’ and we still don’t have fences around all the schools.”


Then, a miracle happened – A coincidence so astounding that it reinforced my belief that anything is possible, except, of course, the Angels making the playoffs: The next day, this appeared on the home page of the district’s website:

It’s a miracle, right? I mean, how else to explain the fact that hours after I raised the issue of foot-dragging on school fencing, a notice appears prominently on the district’s home page?

It truly is a miracle. If only it didn’t take 13 years and public pressure to happen…

13 years. That’s how long it has been since voters approved Measure F, which gave the district $282 million to upgrade facilities, including upgrades for safety.

They’ve had the money all along. They could have put up fences years ago. But it took yet another school shooting and increased public pressure to get them to focus on protecting our staffs and students.

It also took an election year. Right? Is there a single reader who does not understand the connection between Parkland, public pressure, and an election year? Anyone who doesn’t understand that the new Raptor gizmos, the fences, and more, could have been done a long time ago?

But it wasn’t. Why? Because the residents of Newport-Mesa have been mired in trustee mediocrity for decades, that’s why.

No one should be upset that Yelsey and fellow Trustee Charlene Metoyer are finally getting around to addressing school safety in a meaningful way. And just think: If I hadn’t written my blog post, who knows how long it would have taken Yelsey to reassure concerned parents that the district is working to protect their kids…

But we should be upset about the manipulation of district resources such as the website to further the political aims of a trustee or two.

But that’s not what happened: It was a miracle!

Steve Smith