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Letters to the Editor

Sometimes voting ‘no’ is your best option

I am writing to respond to the recent letter questioning my voting record to help the writer understand my fiduciary role as a board member, but first, let me thank all those parents and teachers who have supported my decisions to date.

Teacher’s Contract: Via a 3/2 vote, teachers were given a 12.5 percent raise, which the teachers praised as the highest raise ever in San Diego County. The Master contract also guaranteed additional raises as needed to our teachers, without any cap, to ensure that the teachers were the highest paid of all of San Diego County’s 42 school districts.

I voted “no” because at the same time these raises were requested:

• Our district was required to reduce our savings from 17.5 percent to 6 percent because of Senate Bill 858;

• We need our reserves to cover our operational deficits to remain solvent;

• Our operational deficit went from $1.9 million to $6.6 million in 2016-17;

• Although we can cover these raises short-term by depleting our reserve per SB 858, within two years we will no longer have any reserves remaining for “economic uncertainties;” and

• In about four years, our deficit will almost equal the remaining reserves, depleting our reserves below the statutorily required reserve minimum of 3 percent.

The San Diego Taxpayers Association awarded our board its 2016 “Grand Golden Fleece” award for giving away to much and not representing the taxpayer.

Our Budget: I voted against the proposed budget because it was fiscally unsound:

• Our deficit will go from $1.9 million to $6.6 million in one year;

• We will have about a $4 million deficit thereafter;

• In three years, our district reserves will be reduced to below the 6 percent;

School Science Classroom: I recently voted against the building of a new classroom at our newest high school because it used a lease-lease back model for construction. At the California School Board Association conference I attended, the lease-lease back model was not recommended due to potential litigation. I appreciate the need for new classrooms, but our decision must be fiscally and legally sound.

As a parent of a child in the district, I am the only board member with “skin in the game” which is why I care so much about making sure our district has money in the years to come. A board is responsible for making tough fiscal decisions that ensures the district’s fiscal viability. Although I respect the teachers, I believe it’s my job to ask the tough questions and find real solutions to real challenges that face the district.

Maureen “Mo” Muir

San Dieguito Union High School board member

No Rail Trail: You’velost your way

Dear “No Rail Trail” advocacy group: As a co-founder of the “YES Rail Trail” advocacy group, I must respond to your recent attacks on City Council members and your outlandish allegations about the composition of the city’s new Coastal Mobility and Livability Working Group. I had empathy and respect for your fight to move the Cardiff Rail Trail to Highway 101 (as our opponents). However, now you’ve now gone off the tracks.

I’m deeply troubled by the allegations you’ve hurled at Catherine Blakespear and other members of the City Council about vague and unsubstantiated “shady dealings” related to the composition of the rail corridor working group. Really, you are just making trouble for Catherine in order to get Paul Gaspar — your acknowledged mentor — elected as mayor. Did all the Cardiff residents who rallied to your original cause sign up for a nasty partisan campaign to elect a Republican mayor? No, they did not. You’ve hijacked their cause.

Your core complaint is that the rail corridor working group membership was decided in “secret meetings” and somehow favors or benefits the “yes” side (our group). Your “evidence” for malfeasance is weak sauce. What’s most ridiculous about your allegations is that the most active leaders in our group — who you would expect to be at the white hot center of this crazy paranoid conspiracy — didn’t even bother to call or email the Council about the draft membership list that was subsequently modified by the Council.

We didn’t have a huge charge on it because the working group is not a forum for re-litigating the alignment of the rail trail. We never intended to use it that way. The working group’s mandate is much broader and deals with how the entire city interacts with the rail corridor in all parts of the community. Not only that, but the rail trail alignment was decided by the Council in March.

So... if the leaders of the “yes” side couldn’t even get worked up enough to lobby the Council about membership, then how on earth could there be a grand conspiracy?

The answer is that there isn’t a conspiracy. That’s just patently silly. It’s nonsense. Instead, there is a lot of noise being made by a very small group of people who are the unwitting tools of Kristin and Paul Gaspar in an attempt to flip the City Council majority from Democrat/progressive to Republican/conservative. That’s it. That’s all.

Encinitas, don’t fall for it. Regardless of your political leanings, don’t allow partisan politics to hijack and hide behind a non-partisan cause that started with pure motivations and a broad base of support.

Michael Verdu

YES Rail Trail


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