Artesia, CA – Spearheaded by United Homeowners Alliance, the “No to New Taxes, No To Measure BB” adherents — put forward by the ABC School Unified School District for referendum on Nov. 6 — kicked off their movement to defeat this monstrous bond measure with optimism in this tiny city on Oct. 13.
Homeowners from diverse cultural backgrounds and all walks of life who opposed this measure descended in front of an Indian Bakery shop to get their yard signs, banners and provide financial contributions to this cause.
Although, outspent in terms of financial resources including mailers sent to households in the school district, the silent majority are opposed to the Facilities Master Plan which was first defeated four years ago.
Homeowners claim that although they don’t oppose to upgrade school facilities in the school district, there are alternative ways to fund the schools. According to them, school funds come from the Federal State, County, lotto money and sometimes local governments. They also assert that the 1997 bond measure which amounted to $59 million are still outstanding amounting to $105 million which will mature in 2034. They wonder however what was accomplished for the last 20 years with that old school bond and only managed to pay off $60 million.
If the new $258 million school bond passes, the opponents revealed, the debt will reach $554 which issix times over the original amount in 30 years because of interests and service charges.Homeowners children and their children’s children will be obliged to pay even when they are already resting in their graves. “How can we afford that especially those living on fixed income?”, the UHOA claimed.
Opponents also claimed that ABC School District is awash with State and Federal funding and receive $200 million a year but over 85% goes straight to payroll. “They have enough money to pay their top administrators $299,000 a year, compared to $200,000 salary of California Gov. Jerry Brown.
In addition, enrollment have declined by 25% since 1998 from 23,000 to 17,000 with children out of district who are enrolled in the ABC schools but are not obligated to pay for the property tax paid by homeowners in the district. Opponents assert that campuses can be consolidated and be transformed into residential purposes due to shortage of homes.
There have been numerous reports of how school bond funds are being abused statewide.“No supervision, accountability and oversight and became a failure. “We do not need to fall victims to the same abuse,” thesilent majority of homeownerslamented.”
A similar bond was passed across town of Montebello amounting to $300 million approved by voters in June 2016 and “State audit alleges fraud and calls on contractor to show proof it did work or provided any tangible services to prove it, otherwise refund the money.”
ABC School Board members even asked the Cerritos City Council to endorse the bond measure on Oct. 8 (Monday, a Columbus Day) instead of their usual session on a Thursday. When tipped about this special session, several ABC homeowners spoke passionately in their opposition while a few spoke in favor. Ultimately, three members of the City Council voted no not to endorse the measure, namely: Councilmembers Jim Edwards, Grace Hu and Naresh Solanki. Two Councilmen Mayor Mark Pulido and Frank Yokoyama voted to endorse the measure.