March 22, 2008

Supersize Me- Part2: Poway WalMart's Impact on Our Community

Confessions of a Wal-Mart Hit Man
Extended Bonus Scenes From
Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price
a Robert Greenwald Film

All are welcome to a free screening of Robert Greenwald's film, "WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Price" on Thursday April 3rd at 7:00 PM at Poway Royal Mobile Home Park Main Clubhouse at 13300 Alpine Road, Poway.
Click here for a map of this location.
The event will be hosted by South Poway Residents Association.
For more information, click here.

Do we want a super-sized Wal-Mart in Poway? Assuming the people who live in this town actually will have a say on the matter (and I am not sure we will), I have written a 2-part post to get the discussion rolling. In part 1, I discussed how screwed-up public officials give hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to Wal-Mart in the hopes of getting a disproportionate share of sales tax and some political donations. In this post, I will discuss some of the other effects Wal-Mart has on our community.

Be sure to check out the video of the former Wal-Mart "hit man." It is pretty long, but the poor wretched dude worked for Wal-Mart for 17 yrs and he has a lot to get off his chest. Around the 4 min mark, he talks about what happens when Wal-Mart moves into a town. He and his corporate buddies would drive through the town and point out which stores were going to get the kiss of death. While Wal-Mart does drive out mom-and-pops, it is the bigger chain stores that they really target. Last summer, my brother moved to Springfield, Missouri (pop 150,000) and he was surprised because he couldn't find any of the chain grocery stores in town. They all moved out after the Wal-Mart Supercenter opened. Reports from my brother indicate the prices are high and the plastic wrapped produce looks like it has been sitting in 100 degree temperatures for a few days somewhere.

Before the Supercenter phase, a classic Wal-Mart gesture was to build very near to a K-Mart. Poway's own K-Mart was an early victim; it closed about a year after Wal-Mart opened. Even before that, the Longs (where Henry's is now) closed in anticipation of Wal-Mart opening. And then there was the Creekside Plaza fiasco.

The city's redevelopment agency made a private deal with Creekside's developers. Nobody else got to bid on the project. The developers promised the city that they would find a retail store to anchor the shopping center. The city moved the residents of Haley's trailer park out and filled in and graded the land. But when it came time for the developers to show us what they had, they had nuthin'. No retailer would bite. We had to make do with a grocery store. But that didn't temper the hype. Creekside Plaza was our first Town Center, and it was going to be the "crown jewel" of Poway.
The plaza, with its stucco-and-wood Western design, "will be the town center, something which Poway has never had, as a strip-mall commercial district," said Mayor Jan Goldsmith. "It all starts with Creekside. It's just the beginning, to change the direction of the city."

More from the Feb 27, 1992 SDUT:
Goldsmith headed a committee that worked with ADI officials on Creekside's design. The mayor envisions one day building a pedestrian overpass to connect the project with a library planned on the opposite side of Poway Road.

Eventually, horse-drawn carriages may carry shoppers between the plaza and Old Poway Park, which is part of an historical district about a mile north of Creekside.

The mayor's vision "is not just a pipe dream," said Assistant City Manager John Fitch. "There has been lot of discussion of how to tie these two areas together. We're trying to make this into a small, Western-type Seaport Village."

Did I mention that the city threw $1.3 million in incentives at the developers? Color me jaded, but I don't buy any of the hoopla about the proposed Town Center redux. I don't think it is going to be anything more than a taxpayer gift to a bunch of developers.

Wal-Mart brings in a lot of traffic, and noise. A group of people trying to get signatures for a recall petition back in the mid-90s did an unofficial survey. 85% of the people going in to Wal-Mart were NOT from Poway. Almost every one of them drove to Wal-Mart in their car. From their homes to the freeway. On the freeway, to Scripps Poway Parkway or Poway Rd. And then on to Wal-Mart. Add to that all the Wal-Mart trips from Powegians and from the folks in Ramona, and it adds up to a lot of traffic. It would have been more appropriate to locate a venue that attracts so much traffic up in the industrial park rather than in downtown Poway, especially now that Poway is trying to build a lot of multi-family housing in the center of town.

There is something about shopping at Wal-Mart, or any big box store that affects the psyche. There is just so much to try to tune out, from dodging cars and shopping carts in the parking lot, to the gum-stained apron, the security cameras, the immense amount of stuff to buy, the long lines at check out, and the final, visual shake-down to see if you are stealing anything. The big box shopping experience is impersonal, frustrating and competitive. Maybe that is why so many people seem to be constantly talking on their cell phones. I used to think they were just plain rude, but perhaps they are just trying to maintain personal connections in a hostile environment.

Remember the 141 day supermarket strike in 2004? The grocery chains insisted they needed to pay cheaper wages and fewer benefits in order to compete with the Supercenter Wal-Marts. The end result was a two-tier pay structure where new employees would get lower pay and fewer benefits. It's a race to the bottom. Thanks, Wal-Mart. Now the grocery stores have lots of turnover. I don't think they can keep anybody working in the bakery section at Vons on Poway Rd for more than a couple of weeks. Hot bread at five? It is rare that the bakery is even staffed in the evening.

I miss Plow-Boys. I shopped there for all my fruits and veggies during the strike and I continued to shop there afterwards because they had the best prices and best ambiance of any grocery store in town. What is really strange is that Plow-Boys wasn't driven out because they couldn't compete; they were driven out because Wal-Mart wanted the space where they were located. It is becoming a recurring theme in this town; long time, successful businesses are driven out because somebody else has a hankering for that property. Considering all the commercial vacancies on Poway Rd, you gotta wonder whose brilliant idea it is to push out businesses that seem to be making it on their own, without government subsidies.

The video below shows the exponential growth of Wal-Mart across the country. I find this very, very scary. It's not just all the lives and communities that have been impacted. It's not just that for every Supercenter that opens, 2 grocery stores close or that Wal-Mart is the largest private employer and most of their employees are not making a living wage. What really scares me is that Wal-Mart's business model is unsustainable. When something this big pops, it is going to be devastating to the entire country.

The Diffusion of Wal-Mart and Economies of Density

March 21, 2008

Super Size Me- Part 1: How Poway Got A Wal-Mart

WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Price -- teaser trailer

This award-winning documentary takes you behind the ”happy face” of Wal-Mart and into the real lives of employees and their families, business owners, product manufacturers and the larger community – all impacted by Wal-Mart. This film is an extraordinary journey that will challenge the way you think, feel... and shop.

There will be a free screening of this film on Thursday April 3rd at 7:00 PM at Poway Royal Mobile Home Park
Main Clubhouse at 13300 Alpine Road, Poway.
Click here for a map of this location.
The event will be hosted by South Poway Residents Association.
For more information click here.

The first Wal-Mart in San Diego County opened its doors on Aug 4, 1992 in Poway. Yep, the mega-retailer's first local coup was in our bucolic community. To be sure, the Poway city council insisted that Wal-Mart blend in with our "city in the country" atmosphere.  Atmosphere apparently was only skin deep, or in this case red-tile roof deep, plus some landscaping around the perimeter of the gigantic parking lot.  

Poway was the first to open a Wal-Mart in San Diego County, but it wouldn't be the only one for long. Santee and Oceanside were under construction in 1992 and Wal-Mart had plans to open hundreds of stores in San Diego County and California.  

Santee and Poway offered Wal-Mart millions of dollars in incentives to build in their communities. Getting financial incentives is typical for Wal-Mart. A 2004 report funded in large part by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, "Shopping for Subsidies: How Wal-Mart Uses Taxpayer Money to Finance its Never Ending Growth" , details many of the ways Wal-Mart and the developers who build Wal-Marts get taxpayer money.
The most common types are :
1) free or reduced price land
2) infrastructure assistance
3) tax increment financing
4) property tax breaks
5) state corporate income tax credits
6) sales tax rebates
7) enterprise zone status
8) job training and other recruitment funds
9) tax-exempt bond financing and
10) general grants.  

It works kind of like this. Local officials want the sales tax that a Wal-Mart can bring to their community. So they "invest" other taxpayer subsidies to get the Wal-Mart built. And they usually brag about what a "win" it is.  However, from the taxpayer's standpoint it is a losing proposition. Imagine all of the taxes (including sales taxes) paid by the taxpayers in every city are in one big pot. The total amount of sales taxes won't change much if you buy your stuff at Wal-Mart or if you buy your stuff from Ma and Pa Kettle or from a department store. If you take out hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money in order to give incentives to Wal-Mart and other big box stores, then the total amount of money left in the taxpayer pot begins to dwindle. 

So, while Poway "wins" on Wal-Mart, they lose when some other town gets a competing retail store. And in the end, we are all losers. There is less money in the pot for funding municipal services. And now, public officials have created an "atmosphere" where big box stores can play off one town against the next for the highest taxpayer funded subsidy. 

Why does Wal-Mart need so much taxpayer money?  Several of the richest people in the world are heirs to Sam Walton's fortune.  Well, to be honest, all of the taxpayer incentives probably don't go to the Waltons or stock holders. Some of it is funneled back to elected officials as campaign donations. In the early 90s Frank Gatlin, of Gatlin Development Company, (which built Wal-Mart shopping centers) set about to cozy up to San Diego city officials. Gatlin would later agree to a CA FPPC stipulation of 107 counts of money laundering and illegal contributions. Gatlin gave illegal "batched campaign contributions" to many officials, especially to mayoral candidate Ron Roberts. Roberts repeatedly phoned Gatlin with requests for another $5000. Gatlin got donations for Roberts (and others) from people in his company and he illegally reimbursed those people later. When Gatlin ran out of people in his own company, he tapped his lawyer's firm. Gatlin would then deliver the batched contributions to Roberts when they met for lunch and Roberts would slip them inside his coat jacket. Of course, Roberts said he didn't know there were any illegal donations in that bulge, and, of course, they never discussed Wal-Mart at these luncheons. Oh no. They just talked about the weather. Um-hunh.

Gatlin would later pay $192,000, one of the largest fines in the FPPC's history. Sheesh, it is hard to imagine just how much $192,000 stings when you are getting hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies.

In my next post on Wal-Mart, I will discuss the impacts of Wal-Mart on the Poway community, particularly how it affects other businesses, traffic, and our community character. Please feel free to chime in with your own comments.

January 26, 2008

Prop C Part 3: Valley School Gets No Fortuitousness

Valley School Portable Classrooms

 Originally, I had only planned to write 2 posts on Prop C.  But  after I saw the Jan 19th pro-Prop C  opinion piece in the SDUT  I knew I was going to have to respond to the comments about Valley School.
Valley Elementary, with 650 students and 100 preschoolers, is a prime example of "before." Built in 1980, it is languishing without more repair money. Garden Road Elementary is a good example of "after," an aging school with 500 students that was fortuitously high on the priority list because it was built in 1961.
At Valley Elementary, Principal Andrew Johnsen's students see not grass but sand bags in front of some rooms. There is no food preparation area so meal service makes the multipurpose room anything but. Fifteen tired modular buildings lack water (try teaching art class without water for cleanup) or modern heating and cooling systems. Third-grade teacher Marissa Ochoa made the county's top 10 list, despite a classroom where even a modest rain sends water streaming onto the shelving. Counselors are free of distractions when they give guidance -- they should be, they are housed in a windowless shed.

First of all, Valley School was  not built in 1980. It was built  in 1962, the same year as Poway High School, and a  year after Garden Rd.  But that didn't help Valley from being placed unfortuitously low on the district's priority list; at least 12 other schools, many less vintage than Valley, got their makeovers first.  

Second, Valley School did have a food preparation area in 1977. I know that because I was "room mother"  of my son's first grade class and I used Valley's ovens to bake cookies after the kids decorated them.  The ovens may have worked,  but the  heating system was already crapping out. Despite Mrs Parke's valiant efforts to warm her classroom with  space heaters, ever watchful that her young students didn't trip over them, 3 of the little ones succumbed to pneumonia that winter. Even back then, PUSD was notorious for deferring maintenance and letting things go to shit!

I am astonished that after passing a $198 million bond only 5 1/2 yrs ago, the district would have the gall to parade such  stunning examples of misappropriation and neglect in front of the media. I am particularly disgusted that the PUSD  school board would entertain the possibility of leasing Brent Wilkes' shiny blue, high tech building in the industrial park while kids were shivering in cold rooms with leaky roofs. How could they possibly choke down  food  at their  breakfast meetings with the superintendent, knowing that,  as they dined on the taxpayer's dime, counselors were meeting with Valley students in windowless sheds? 

My children were fortuitously in and out of Valley School before the mobile classroom era arrived. That whole  phenomenon started in the early 80s after some industry shill got the California legislature to require that all new school construction contain a hefty percentage of relocatable classrooms. Portables soon started popping up at existing school sites, the perfect, made-for-the-developer-solution to overcrowding.  At the time, the  Valley School community was still blissfully unaware of the changes that were on the horizon, changes that would begin when the Poway Redevelopment Agency, the biggest developer to ever ride  into town, was formed in 1983.

Redevelopment is a state program aimed at eliminating blight in urban areas. Poway's redevelopment area is huge- it's bigger than San Diego's.  Most of the land that Poway selected for their redevelopment area wasn't blighted or even urban, it was undeveloped vacant land.  That's because Poway would get to claim all of the property taxes on anything that got built in the redevelopment area. The only catch was that Poway was required to use 20% of that money for affordable housing.  

As you can imagine, other cities tried to get in on the redevelopment cash cow too. By 1990, redevelopment abuse was so out of control, that the  state passed a reform measure, AB1290. One of the stipulations of AB1290 was that redevelopment agencies had to give back some of the property tax they had siphoned off from other taxing entities like school districts and community college districts.  The money would "pass through" the redevelopment agencies and go directly to the school district- unless the school district and the agency had a pre-existing agreement. Before the new law was implemented, Poway  worked out just such an  agreement with PUSD whereby Poway would pay for the Poway Performing Arts Center, some multipurpose buildings and joint use sports fields and PUSD would forego the "pass-through". 

Instead of having a pot of money they could use  to mend Mrs. Ochoa's roof and fix countless other high priority problems that affect the safety and well being of our children, PUSD opted to let Poway Redevelopment Agency build sports fields and a Performing Arts Center.  

That's not the only bad decision PUSD and the Poway Redevelopment Agency colluded on. Every time the Poway Redevelopment Agency wanted to approve an affordable housing project, like Hillside Village or Parkview Terrace, they were required to ask PUSD if the project would have a negative impact on the schools. If PUSD found that there was a negative impact, the Poway Redevelopment Agency would have been required to mitigate that impact. 

Each and every time Poway asked, PUSD responded that there would be no negative impact; they gave Poway the green light to proceed.   Although I (and others) warned the city and PUSD about the impact to Valley School, our voices were ignored.

No school in Poway was more impacted by affordable housing construction than Valley. All of the first family housing projects were clustered near Valley School. As each project was finished, the ratio of Valley 's students who were poor increased. Today, almost half the Valley population receives free or reduced price lunches.  Yet Poway and PUSD worked out a strategy so that they could deny  that the overcrowding was  caused by affordable housing projects. 

Before Hillside was built, Poway hired a consultant, "Southwest Strategies" to try to make affordable housing more palatible to the community. In a Dec 15, 2004 memo,  Deborah Johnson (Poway Redevelopment Director) summarized a joint Poway-PUSD meeting that discussed a pamphlet that would eventually be produced by Southwest Strategies. 
POWAY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT- Staff met with the superintendent, deputy superintendent and the director of planning for Poway Unified. The group agreed to jointly author and publish a pamphlet with information about local elementary schools and affordable housing developments. The pamphlet will conclude that affordable housing developments do not negatively impact local schools.
In April, 2005,  John Collins (PUSD Deputy Superintendent) responded to Ed Carboneau's CPRA request for information about that meeting.
Please be advised that Poway Unified School District is unaware of the matter to which you are referring.

While we have discussed the proposed affordable housing developments with staff from the City, our only discussion regarding the potential impact on district schools was related to the number of students generated from these various developments.
A second memo (Dec 15, 2004) by Ingrid Alverde, Poway's manager of housing programs also claims that the joint meeting was held and that PUSD had agreed to co-operate on a brochure claiming that affordable housing developments do not negatively impact schools.
The group agreed to collabratively develop an informational flyer/brochure presenting information about the affordable housing developments and the neighboring schools, concluding that affordable housing developments do not negatively impact schools. The piece could be jointly published and shared as information to interested community groups and parents associations.
Poway and PUSD decided to bamboozle us with a little propaganda.  We were supposed to believe that those 15 substandard trailers at Valley were filled with kids who did NOT come from the affordable housing projects.  Ah...right. At this meeting, Poway and PUSD went one step further.   They  settled on a  new "student generation" figure of 0.3 students from each MFA (multiple family apartment). 

Get it? PUSD would allow Poway to figure the impact on the schools was only 0.3 student per MFA. That is less than 1/3 of a student from every 3 or 4 bedroom apartment.  By comparison, in 1992 PUSD had actually counted the number of students living in various apartment complexes. The pupil yield in the Garden Apartments in Los Penasquitos was 0.813 students per unit; in Poway Villas, it was 0.617 students per unit.  The overall average (which also included the Leisure Life and Village Apartment complex in PQ) was 0.505. 

Just like that, the student generation figure dropped from 0.505 students per MFA to 0.3 per MFA. PUSD officials have told me that they do not even have a way to verify if their current number (0.3) is accurate. So, just like that, 15 substandard trailers are now the taxpayers' problem and not the Poway Redevelopment Agency's problem.

I am voting  NO on Prop C.  I care about kids. I want PUSD to start telling the Poway Redevelopment Agency that the voters aren't going to put up with this anymore. If the redevelopment agency wants to build more shopping centers and affordable housing projects, then they are going to have to pay for the impact on our schools. The kids deserve it. 

January 25, 2008

Prop C - Part 2: The Developers are Cheering For It

         ADCS building in the Poway Industrial Park

In my last post, I noted that Proposition C is an entirely new bond proposal for $179 million that will  increase taxes for the next 35-40 yrs for property owners living in the PSID part of PUSD.  And even if Prop C passes, your kids might still be stuck in portable classrooms.

In this post I want to talk a bit about who is pushing  Prop C and what they have to gain from it.  Let's start with the San Diego County Taxpayer Association (SDCTA), a group that enthusiastically endorsed Prop C.  On SDCTA's webpage  they define themselves as a  "nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting accountable, cost-effective government, yadda, yadda, yadda..." But check out their board of directors. They are a bunch of real-estate moguls, developers, industry folks and partisan hacks.   Tom Shepard is a major political consultant.  And there is Eric G. Stenman who works for Douglas E. Barnhart, Inc- who just happens to be the builder  who is building and renovating all of our Poway schools. No conflict of interest there. No siree. 

And let's see, there's Alan Zieghaus from Southwest Strategies. Southwest Strategies is a consulting agency hired by Poway Redevelopment Agency to get Powegians to like  affordable housing.  And then there's a couple of people from The Corky McMillan Cos and Burnham Real Estate, two big companies that are heavily involved in developing our industrial park. And George W. Hawkins. He is  on the Prop U oversight committee (you know the one that didn't oversee Prop U too well).  Hawkins also happens to be president and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors of San Diego.  So when SDCTA gave their endorsement, you just know they are very concerned about the Poway taxpayers and not thinking at all about how much money will be flowing to their  back pockets if this bond passes.

SDCTA is not the only group pushing the proposition. Friends of Poway Unified Schools- Yes on C , the group that is sending us flyers falsely claiming that Prop C will not raise our existing tax rate, is being funded by the usual suspects- the bond underwriter (Stone & Youngberg), subcontractors and  project management companies. 

The Barnhart Group won the contract for the Prop U renovations. Barnhart also built the Poway Performing Arts Center and the new city hall. Our old city hall wasn't very old, and it had been recently renovated, but the city said it would be cheaper to build a new city hall. And maybe it would have, if construction costs hadn't skyrocketed. Who could have predicted it? Hmmmm....sound familiar?

Douglas E. Barnhart is well known in both construction and political circles. He is a major GOP donor who gave $140,900 to Arnold Schwarzenegger's 2003 campaign.  Schwarzenegger rewarded Barnhart and another generous donor, Brent Wilkes with appointments to the Del Mar Fair Board. Douglas Barnhart and Brent Wilkes' wife Regina were both also appointed to PUSD Foundation Board.  In 2003, Barnhart and Wilkes were also gifting Poway mayor Mickey Cafagna.
Cafagna reported receiving gifts, such as greens fees and tickets for games and performances, from donors including Douglas Barnhart, a San Diego-based contractor; ADCS Inc., a software company in the South Poway Business Park; and the San Diego Chargers.
ADCS is the company owned by Brent Wilkes, a defense contractor who is currently awaiting sentencing for bribing Duke Cunningham.  Last February, when Wilkes was facing a foreclosure sale on his ADCS building, he tried to transfer it to PUSD in a swap involving district land in Rancho Bernardo.  The PUSD board voted to allow district officials to negotiate the deal, but it fell through. Although Wilkes has sold the property,  there is still a possibility that PUSD might be interested. I asked PUSD school board member Todd Gutshow if the district could use Prop C funds to pay for building or leasing new district offices. Mr. Gutshow told me that Prop C money was only to be used for the schools that were listed in the bond measure.  But the measure states that the money can be used for  "school facilities" including the schools on the list.  The independent counsel analysis says
the money can be used for "construction, reconstruction and/or rehabilitation of school facilities that benefit the District, including the furnishing and equipping of school facilities, acquision or lease of real property for school facilities and construction management by personnel of the Poway Unified School District.
Mr. Gutshow told me he would go back to the district and ask them about whether or not PUSD could legally use the bond money for new district offices or to lease the ADCS building.  Our conversation was about 10 days ago. I am still waiting to hear from him. 

I have no way of knowing what Brent Wilkes or Douglas Barnhart or  Mickey Cafagna talk about when they are on the links together or cozying up to each other at a sporting event. But I can guess.


January 12, 2008

Prop C - Part I: It's Just $179 Million More

"You may fool all of the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all..."

Yeah, I am sure you all know the rest of Abe Lincoln's quote.  

Would you be surprised if I said some local politicians may be trying to fool us again?

That's what I thought.

My absentee voter ballot came a few days ago in the mail. Along with it, I received a few mailed pieces for Prop C, the school bond. The mailers promise that Prop C will NOT increase my existing tax rate.  It simply extends the current rate for an additional 11 years.  So they say.

I did not get a copy of Prop C with my voter ballot. So I headed on over to the San Diego County registrar's official site to take a look at what Prop C is all about.  According to the impartial analysis of the county counsel, if 55% of the voters pass Prop C,  we have authorized the SFID (School Facilities Improvement District) of PUSD to issue and sell  up to $179 million in general obligation bonds. They can sell them for up to 12 % interest and they have to be paid back in 25 yrs (if issued pursuant to the Education Code) or 4o yrs (if issued pursuant to the Government Code).

Prop C doesn't extend Prop U for an additional 11 yrs.  It is a totally new, separate bond approval. And there is no guarantee that the current tax rate won't go up. In fact, it likely will go up. The current rate is $45/$100K of assessed valuation. But the SFID (more about the SFID downthread) hasn't  issued all of the bonds already approved under Prop U.  (I know they said they ran out of money, but that is not exactly true.)  When they issue more bonds (probably later this year) the tax rate will probably jump  to $55/$100K. That was the estimated maximum tax rate on Prop U.  Likewise it is the estimated maximum tax rate on Prop C.

That's an estimation, not a guarantee. It is an estimation based on expected increases in assessed valuation in the SFID.  So, if there was a disaster that destroyed a lot of highly assessed property (e.g. a big fire) or if there was a big real estate bust and some folks in the SFIP had their property tax reassessed downward, then  it might cost the rest of us more to pay back the bonds.  To be fair, Prop C does say it is the intent of the district to keep the rate stable. But if they can't and we have approved the bonds, we are stuck paying the higher rate.

One of my chief objections to Prop C is that all of us in PUSD are not in this together. The SFID excludes any PUSD area property that is in a Mello Roos district.  The people who own homes in a Mello Roos district pay special fees to finance the schools that were built in their developments. That money can only go toward those schools.  

 The SFID is like a Mello Roos for the old timers in PUSD- with a couple of differences.  Mello Roos districts usually last 20-25 yrs.  Prop C could go for 25-40 yrs after the last bond is issued and we old timers could be paying them off long after the Mello Roosers have finished.  And while the Mello Roos fees can only go to new schools in those areas, Prop U & C can pay for improvements at any school in the district,  new or leased district offices and new or improved support facilities.  Why shouldn't everyone pay for the new district offices?

I plan to write  a second part to this blog and include a little information on who it is that is pushing this proposition and what they have to gain from it. But before I sign off, I'd like to call your attention to the picture at the top of the blog. Those are some of the portable classrooms at Valley School. There is nothing in Prop C (or Prop U) that says PUSD plans to get rid of those portables if you approve the bond. At best, the district says they plan to replace any portables that are older than 25 yrs.  My kids went to Valley School in the 70s and 80s. They had real classrooms. Now, as a consequence of steps taken to wipe out blight, the Poway Redevelopment Agency has added a lot of students to Valley School. There are rows of these blighty looking   portables on the south side of the campus. We have passed several school bonds since my kids went to Valley, and yet, the number of portables there just keeps growing.