My first contact with the Redondo Beach Board of Education (school board) occurred a few years ago when my son and a few of his 4th grade classmates were invited to present a dramatization of some California historical events. I was a Harbor Commissioner at the time. I found the environment very familiar, citizens like us giving up their evenings to sit in a meeting room and try to do things to help the community.
My next visit to the school board came a year later when some Jefferson parents sent an email requesting volunteers to speak at a meeting. Jefferson was the last RB grammar school to have 6th grade. The others had all begun sending their 6th graders to middle school. The parents I joined wanted one more year of 6th grade at Jefferson.
I spoke briefly in front of the packed room. Jefferson is a great school run by people who care about education. Like me, the other parents wanted as much of that as they could get for their kids.
The school board ignored me and the other parents and voted to discontinue 6th grade at Jefferson. I couldn’t understand how our eloquent arguments could have received such a cold reception. I was sure this would prove to be a bad decision by the school board.
I was wrong. My son went to middle school and he absolutely loves everything about it. He has me wake him up early because he can’t wait to get to school.
When I look back and remove my ego, (you know, the voice inside that tells me I’m right no matter how much evidence I see to the contrary), I recognize what happened. The board members knew things I didn’t know. They knew the trend in education was for 6th graders to migrate to middle school in preparation for high school and beyond. They spent time like I did as a Harbor commissioner, gathering information and examining the issues.
They did what we elected them to do, make rational, informed decisions to help guide the city’s education system and produce the best results. Even though I disagreed at the time, I know now they got it right.
They got it right again in December when they refused to bend to pressure to endorse Measure A, the misguided ballot imitative that asks Redondo voters to change the zoning of the AES power plant and make it illegal to generate electricity on their property. I admire the courage and wisdom they exhibited in the face of pressure from the loud and ever-present zealots who have attached themselves to this issue.
We elect and appoint people with the expectation they will look rationally at the issues that come before them and make the right decisions. That’s what the school board did with the Jefferson 6th grade decision and that’s what it did when it chose not to support Measure A.
The whole idea behind a ballot measure is to circumvent the city council. So the RB council won’t vote as a group one way or the other on Measure A. But they did vote against passing a resolution denouncing the power plant.
I’ve looked at the no power plant information online, I can’t find an elected official other than councilman Bill Brand who co-authored Measure A, who supports it. Look closely at any responses to this statement. You may see something like, Ted Lieu said the citizens should be able to vote on a power plant but that’s not the same thing.
I’m talking about an elected official making a public statement that he or she supports Measure A. I’m pretty sure you won’t find one.
In fact U. S. Congressman Henry Waxman wrote, “I’m submitting my statement, I explicitly told Councilmember Brand that I was not endorsing the ballot proposal. I think it is unwise and will lead to a great deal of litigation, even though I am sympathetic to their goals.”
So if you hear someone who supports Measure A say they don’t have politicians endorsing the iniatiave because they haven’t asked them for their support, it’s pretty clear from Congressman Waxman’s statement they have all been asked for an endorsement and they have all declined.
As a voter, you should ask yourself why? It sounds like such a good idea to vote against the power plant. Why would the Redondo Beach School Board, the City Council and every other elected official refuse to support Measure A?
I can’t speak for them even though I’m pretty sure the answer can be found in Congressman Waxman’s statement above. I will say our other elected officials, like our School Board and City Council, have taken the time to look closely at Measure A and the potential damage it will cause the City. Their refusal to support the short-sighted ballot measure is the equivalent of a unanimous vote. No on Measure A.