Source: Valley Roadrunner

Editorial: Play nice on the playground

by Kim Harris

March 20, 2014

The differing of opinions between the Valley Center Pauma Unified School District and the CCC Interest Group is bordering on absurd.

We can certainly understand the anger and frustrations from the group. They wanted to save historical buildings from demolition, a noble cause to be sure, but VCPUSD obviously didn’t agree.

The way the school district went about removing the buildings was sneaky and underhanded at best, but Valley Roadrunner could not say with any certainty the way it was handled was illegal. Neither could the judge who dismissed the case.

CCC Interest Group claims the purchase price was too high for the property that it could have been purchased for $1. Further review by the Roadrunner shows it was a closed bid process. We have to wonder how the school board could have possibly run the risk of only bidding $1 for a piece of property, they hoped to acquire when they had no idea who else, if anyone, was bidding on it.

The group has a handful of other claims, wasted money for the demolition when there was an offer on the table to restore the buildings at no cost to the district, money spent on environmental impact reports and of course an estimated $30,000 spent defending their actions, just to name a few.

In a Letter to the Editor that ran in the March 13, edition of the Roadrunner, Jon Vick claims that there is a total of $710,000 in costs and lost opportunities and that his group just wants to meet with the school board to discuss a small historical park and educational kiosk on the site.

On the other hand we have the school board, who has been relatively quiet regarding the issue. Declining to comment due to the pending litigation, until Tuesday when VCPUSD Superintendent Lou Obermeyer submitted a Letter to the Editor (see page A2) explaining the school board’s stance on several of the issues brought forth by Vick and the CCC Interest Group. Nowhere in the letter does she address the idea of a monument or historical park and educational kiosk on the site.

She does have one pertinent piece of information there that we agree whole-heartedly with. The school district is spending money on legal fees due to legal action brought forth by the CCC Interest Group, had they not filed the complaint the district wouldn’t be spending that money. Valley Roadrunner doesn’t expect the school district to take this lying down and as such can’t fault them for retaining a lawyer and defending themselves against the action brought forth against them.

All of these facts bring forth some very interesting questions for us at the Roadrunner. Why is the school board ignoring this and pretending that nothing has happened? Why not meet with CCC Interest Group? Why not consider an educational kiosk or some type of historical park on a corner of the premises?

So here it is, our solution to the problem of two organizations with two very different opinions on one piece of very valuable property… find a way to fix it. Meet in the middle, lay down your arms and do what is right for the community. The CCC Interest Group needs to stop putting the school board in a position where it is forced to squander taxpayer dollars on legal fees in return, the school board needs to come back to the table and at the very least consider the request of the CCC Interest Group.

These two groups need to work together and move past this issue, and the sooner, the better.