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East Orange v Orange Park Acres v Villa Park v Anaheim Hills v Cowan Heights Crawford Canyon v Silverado/Modjeska Canyon Areas v North Tustin

A Monthly Community Newspaper Est. 1969 Tuesday, October 6, 2015

OUSD stakeholders aim to force special election to void irreconcilable board appointment

By Tina Richards Constituents of the Orange

Unified School District (OUSD) are gathering signatures to force a special election to fill a vacant trustee seat following the board majority’s appointment of an unknown, unqualified candidate whose selection appeared to be prearranged by backroom poli- ticking. Of eight candidates who ap-

plied for the position, Gregory Salas looked to be the least quali- fied. His competition for the Area 1 seat, left open when Diane Singer resigned, included school employees and retired teachers with 30-years-plus experience in OUSD. It included a college pro- fessor, an OUSD volunteer known district-wide, and a retired police chief. Most have lived in the dis- trict 20 years or more and have, or had, children in OUSD schools. Several have served on governing boards and understand the legal requirements to which public of- ficials must adhere. Salas has lived in the area for

two years, has no governing ex- perience, and admits he has little knowledge of OUSD issues. When Trustees Tim Surridge, Mark Wayland, Rick Ledesma

OUSD board had originally opted to appoint an Area 1 trustee rather than hold an election in order to save just under $500 thousand. Because citizens familiar with

the school board feared the ma- jority members would select a self-serving appointee, petitions calling for a special election had already been prepared. Those petitions were brought out imme- diately following the board vote, and signed by most of the attend- ees on the spot. Having petitions ready before

Registered voters gathered at the Coffee Grove in Villa Park to sign a petition calling for a special election to fill a vacancy on the OUSD School Board. Standing: Shawn Bittner, Kathleen Enge; seated: Thomas and Sandra Thrasher.

and John Ortega selected him over the field of more qualified, experienced candidates during a Sept. 21 board meeting, the audi- ence erupted with shrieks of dis- belief, disappointment and anger.

Voters have last word By law, citizens may request a

Anti-mosquito spraying cancelled

Rumors were rampant regard-

ing the spraying for West Nile- carrying mosquitos, planned for the nights of Sept. 9 and 10 by Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control (OCMVC). The agency received complaints of breathing difficulties, asthma at- tacks and dead chickens attribut- ed to the spraying – even though the spraying did not take place. “The spraying was cancelled," General Manager Michael Hearst explains, “because the company that we had hired to do the spray- ing [Dynamic Aviation] had not procured the proper FFA clear- ance over Disneyland and the adjacent three-mile buffer.” The permit was pilot-specific, not company-specific. As it would take an additional five to six busi- ness days to obtain a permit, and another week to give notice to residents, the delay would extend to the end of September, too late, in Vector Control’s determina- tion, to be effective as a deterrent to mosquitos. The high temperatures hurt the mosquito population. Even so,

OCMVC encourages residents to wear mosquito repellant and avoid the outdoors during dusk, prime mosquito time. Staff from OCMVC appeared at community concerts in the park events at Pep- pertree Park in Tustin and Hart Park in Orange, among others, to hand out samples of repellant to concert-goers. Standing wa- ter, such as that pooling around drains or in stagnant ponds or “empty” swimming pools, should be emptied or reported. Storm sewers, which have not been “cleaned out” by heavy rains for three years, may be full of debris and filth, and water may collect there. The staff of approximately 110, half of whom are seasonal workers, is stretched thin, work- ing to monitor and maintain the large Orange County area that may include approximately 3,000 unmaintained pools at any time. Last year, 280 cases of West

Nile were properly diagnosed and reported in Orange County. The figure may seem low, but it does not include the numerous milder cases that went unreported.

Photo by Tony Richards

Casey Lind and Bob Davis greet guests at the 44th annual OPA BBQ. About 300 neighbors and friends enjoyed good food and fine country music at the home of Mark and Julie Sandford, Sept. 26. Proceeds from the event will benefit OPA trails and open space.

Workshop for Area 7 sewer system slated The Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) will

n Commission (LAFCO) will host a community meeting a community meeting to present operator options for esent operator options

the Area 7 sewer system on Oct. 28, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Foothill High School. The East Orange County Water District and the Irvine Ranch Water District have applied for boundary changes that would allow either district to assume local sewer service. The affected territory includes the western portion of the City of Tustin, Cowan Heights, Lemon Heights, Panorama Heights, Red Hill, Rocking Horse Ridge and El Modena. The meeting will be held in the FHS event center classroom, 19251 Dodge Ave. (See story, page 4)

special election to fill a mid-term school board vacancy if they dis- approve of the interim seat holder the trustees appoint. Petitioners must collect 1,600 valid voter signatures within 30 days. If suc- cessful, the OC superintendent of schools will require the district to hold and pay for the election. The

the board even voted was not a long shot. The entire selection process had been suspect, with the board majority attempting to keep the public out of it. During a Sept. 15 public hearing, when the board identified a “process” for the ap- pointment, Trustee Kathy Moffatt repeatedly asked her colleagues to keep it transparent. “We are es- sentially voting on behalf of the people of the district,” she said. “We have a responsibility to be open, to keep the process public.”

Behind the screens Her motions to interview the

See "OUSD" continued on page 7

NEWS INSIDE By the book

Impacts of planned housing tract meet city “standards,” but overwhelm the community that surrounds it. See Marywood, page 2

Nothin’ to it

A disingenuous tract map lacking details, design or direction is disapproved by a disgruntled commission. See Orange Planning, page 5

On the outside looking in

Former school board trustee takes on

questionable decisions of majority members. See Guest Commentary, page 11

Park where you can

A city with no parkland, Villa Park will turn unused roadside turf into an outdoor recreation hub. See Greenbelt, page 12

The world at our doorstep

Downtown Orange becomes a global village once a year, featuring international foods and local color. See Street fair, page 20


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