View From Lodi, CA: Measure Y—Angelenos To Subsidize Own Dispossession?



JOENOTE TO VDARE.COM READERS:

My
Lodi
News-Sentinel column this week deals with Los
Angeles` Measure Y, another attempt to increase spending
on the public schools. It focuses on educrat
mismanagement, but VDARE.COM readers know that the
outrageous costs of providing


education to illegal aliens

and the


children of illegal aliens

should really be dominating
the argument. That Los Angeles taxpayers should be asked
and expected to approve $4 billion in school bonds for a
district wherein more than half of the 747,000 students
are non-English speakers is a scandal.


Nevertheless, and predictably, the


Los Angeles Times
and


Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

stand firmly behind Measure
Y.
[Rebuilding
the Schools
,
 Editorial
, Los
Angeles Times, October 17, 2005;


Villaraigosa Backs $3.9-Billion Bond for Schools
,
By Joel Rubin
,
Los Angeles Times, October 13, 2005]

In
his new book



Fighting Immigration Anarchy
, author
and southland resident


Dan Sheehy
wrote about
his 7th– 9th grade education at


Columbus Junior High School
.


Sheehy


told me
that as part of
his research during 2004 he returned to his old school`s
neighborhood in Canoga Park.


According to Sheehy,


“I
saw hundreds of school children and all were Hispanic.
On a street corner across from the school,


gang bangers

and young teen girls who


looked like streetwalkers
,

hung out.


Hal Netkin

told me that
Canoga Park

has some of the `most notorious` Mexican gangs in the
Valley. I drove through much of Canoga Park and found
that virtually everyone was Hispanic and


many signs were in Spanish.


The scene witnessed by Sheehy plays out at one campus
after another throughout the LAUSD.

What
happens with Measure Y next week will tell volumes about
whether the


ever-diminishing numbers
of legal residents in Los
Angeles can stem the tide of the ceaseless drain on
their tax dollars generated by illegal aliens.

The most interesting ballot issue
to watch on November 8 isn`t any of

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger`s
controversial
propositions.

Instead, turn your eyes to the
southland where Los Angeles voters are being asked to
approve

Measure Y
, a $4 billion school bond for the

Los Angeles Unified School District.

Those in favor say the “Y”
stands for “yes.” But those opposed claim that
“Y”
means “Yikes!”


LAUSD
, whose $13 billion annual budget is larger
than 20 of the 50 United States, is often referred to as
the tail that wags the
California public education
dog.

Since 1997,

Los Angeles voters
have already approved four

bond issues
with an aggregate value of nearly $10
billion. With interest added, the total cost will reach
$20 billion by maturity.

That is a stunning amount of money
to ask Los Angeles taxpayers to underwrite. If passed,
all these LAUSD bonds could cost the typical homeowner
about $540 per year by 2009. For those who don`t have
children that attend

public school,
the debt level is especially
burdensome.

As if that isn`t bad enough,
according to information posted on the League of Women
Voters`

Smart Voter.Org website
, LAUSD has still not spent
the money it raised through earlier bond issues.

So there is an understandable
resistance, especially in this era of $2.75 a gallon
gasoline, toward higher taxes especially when the
proceeds are going to an institution

synonymous with failure
.

The pupils consistently score below
grade average in reading and math. And the infamous

Belmont Learning Center
, into which LAUSD poured in
$275 million, stands as a beacon for bureaucratic
mismanagement. Belmont will never open its doors because
it was built on a toxic waste dump.

The Belmont incident doesn`t create
much confidence that LAUSD can

manage money
or construction projects. In fact, the
state controller Steve Wesley placed LAUSD on a watch
list of districts that may not be able to meets its
financial obligations.

Then there is the claim by the

Full Disclosure Network
that the LAUSD maintains “"a
secret public financing operation whereby they quietly
issue non-voter approved, tax-exempt bonds, mounting
billions in public debt, and which is passed on to
unsuspecting taxpayers for undefined projects."

Anthony Patchett, special district
attorney and head of the LA County D.A.`s Belmont
investigation, describes the LAUSD financing operation,
known as the LAUSD Land Bank as a

“pyramid scheme to defraud the voters.”

LAUSD Chief Facilities Executive
Jim Mc Connell confirms that the Land Bank is
operational.

Given LAUSD`s

dismal history
and assuming that another massive
debt issue will not necessarily translate into greater
academic achievement, voting yes on Measure Y will throw
good money after bad.

Not only can`t the school district
produce its promised end product—education—but it is a
bottomless money pit.

Let`s be honest. If the LAUSD were
a private institution, it would not be able to raise
twenty-five cents in the money markets because it is
bankrupt.

What the LAUSD needs instead of
more money is the type of reorganization it would
receive under bankruptcy protection.

The reasoning is simple. LAUSD is

too big to do anything well
. The district serves
over one million children and adults each day within its
boundaries. Included are 25 cities that cover 700 square
miles. 


Bob Hertzberg
ran for Los Angeles Mayor earlier this
year. One of his campaign pledges was to work for
smaller school districts.

Said Hertzberg

in support of his theory
that a massive school
district cannot possibly respond to the needs of its
most at-risk students:

“Smaller administrations
are faster-responding, more efficient, and more
accountable to their clients-in this case, the people of
Los Angeles. With strong oversight from parents and
community school boards, neighborhood districts will be
more effective and more frugal than Los Angeles
Unified.”

Substantial evidence exists
indicating that smaller districts with smaller schools
are better in almost every respect for students, parents
and administrators. In his report,

“The Impact of School Size
,”


Virginia Tech University
Professor Roger Ehrich
found that smaller schools produce a higher quality of
curriculum and more responsive as well as more involved
students inside and outside the classroom.

And, on the other hand, Professor
Ehrich`s research found that large schools create
atmospheres that lead to depersonalization, negativism,
alienation, and ultimately truancy and dropouts.

Additional research about the
benefits of smaller schools can be found on

www.smallerschools.org

The trend across the U.S. is toward
smaller schools. Chicago recently announced that it
would

close 60 of its worst performing schools
and replace
them with 100 smaller schools.

The

LAUSD
, as well as other large struggling districts,
should take a lesson from Chicago. When, like the LAUSD,
you`re losing the race to provide quality education, the
solution isn`t $4 billion in additional debt to repeat
the same mistakes.

The answer is smaller schools.

Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English
at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly
column since 1988. It currently appears in the


Lodi News-Sentinel
.