Election season is yet again upon us. It is great to be witness to Democracy in Action. This is especially poignant for me personally as Measure H & Measure I will be before the Votes to transform our Schools throughout Capistrano Unified.
What led to Measure H and Measure I began two years ago when I made a decision to apply to serve on the Finance and Facilities Advisory Committee and the Board took the risk to appoint me to the Committee. I have had the privilege to serve as its’ Vice Chair during deliberations. It was quite a journey as I was witness to selfless souls who truly lived up to Victor Hugo’s admonition to make sure one always looked to the future because if the almighty wanted humans to go back to the past, human heads would have had an eye behind them. History, though, is an important lesson to understand what happened—and our Committee went through an exhaustive deliberative process to make sure to understand what happened, get a true realistic sense of the true realities and come up with a realistic road-map. I have also been gratified throughout my walkabouts in the Community as I have seen transformations throughout the Community. The advent of Solar Power throughout our High Schools and a vision of the Future as I saw what can be possible with Esencia School in Rancho Mission Viejo. I first raised the idea of going Solar when I had the pleasure to serve on the PTSA Legislative Committee about 6 years ago and it is just simply great to be witness to Community Commitment of Climate Change.
One of the most important aspects of our Committee’s work over the past two years was its’ independence. I was so proud to see the vibrancy of the debate and how we challenged the Staff at every turn. Although we were appointed by the Board, we did not take direction from the Board and took our charter seriously. I commend the Board for adopting both measures for the Voters unanimously because the idea of creating a safe and amenable environment for our Children should not be up for debate. It reminded me of all the times I used to be at the Aliso Niguel High School GYM serving as a Volunteer Proctor for the AP Exams as the kids took the exams as the deafening sound of the Fans tried to keep things reasonably amenable. The idea of having something like an Air Conditioning System should not be up for debate. The idea of fixing leaking roofs at San Clemente High should not be up for debate. I remembered a conversation I had with an Aliso Niguel Student who was jealous after we finished a meeting at JSerra and I told him to have faith and stay strong—and this Wolverine is now in his first year at UC Berkeley studying Engineering. For me, this journey has been about him and the thousands of other kids who look to us to make sure we create a future they can be proud of.
In spite of all the challenges, the District continues to do wonders with our kids. However, some of the discourse I have seen seems to question it all—as some have questioned salaries and benefits to Teachers and Staff and notions of mismanagement. As I have seen the debate on salaries, I ran across a thought from the Prime Minister of Malaysia when he was severely criticized when he decided to increase teacher Salaries 10-fold. His response was quite interesting as he noted that he was making a long-term investment in the long-term welfare of Malaysia’s Children. Look at what Malaysia is today. I have also seen push back by many over the years about the pay package given to top District Staff. I would not want their job even if they paid me twice the salary—especially as I have been one in my capacity on the Committee as I have given District Staff a lot of grief over concerns over the past two years.
Debate is always healthy in a Democracy—as long as we remember to disagree without being disagreeable. For me, it has been to live up to an admonition from the great Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez as he noted that all of us have an obligation in our own way to make sure that we create a World better than we found it—and if even if one person took a breath a bit easier because of our efforts, it would mean success. It is on us as the Community goes to the polls on March 3rd.
I remain hopeful and optimistic in spite of the all the challenges.
Onward to the new month with all its' possibilities!!!