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Mailbag: Election a chance to vote for change

November 01, 2012

I have not paid as much attention to local politics as I should have until recently when I became familiar with the proposed social host ordinance. Whatever your opinion on whether such an ordinance is right for our community, we should all be greatly concerned about the process in which it has been brought to council and our school board's involvement in it.

Few residents had heard of this proposed ordinance at its first hearing in June, and the petition opposing SHO, which was circulated at the beginning of October and obtained over 320 signatures in less than one week, shows that few still know about its implications on our kids' safety, our constitutional rights and the city's budget. Yet Councilwoman Toni Iseman is the only one on the council who has expressed an interest in hearing opposing points of view before the planned Nov. 13 hearing.

School board says they endorsed a concept of a social host ordinance. I have searched the board agendas and meeting minutes and have not found a record of any public discussion of ordinance. The Laguna Community Coalition has now stepped up as the proponent of the social host ordinance, yet the coalition lacks representation from Laguna residents and parents.

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While trying to uncover the board history on the social host ordinance, I found claims that challengers for the school board are "highly funded single issue candidates" whose "…primary goal is to take control for [sic] the board and push through agenda spending increases for their own financial benefit." After asking for an explanation, I was told that the "single" issue refers to the Thurston Outdoor Classroom and Teaching Garden, a waste of taxpayer money. I have since found out that no district money was to be used for implementation of this project, and that the plans for this facility were developed by a parent who spent many hours — pro-bono — incorporating teacher and PTA input in the design, before the project was abruptly dropped by the district, though I could not find reference of this project on the district website, either.

More telling, however, is that neither of the two challengers running for school board — Tammy Keces nor Dee Perry — appears to have involvement in this "single" issue and would have no financial gain from its implementation, and neither has received "heavy funding" as implied in the statement above.

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