By John Petz
After reading your coverage of the campaign, I have been stunned and dismayed to see the role local education leaders are playing in the campaign against Measure T. As a long time education advocate I have been working on behalf of children and families here for the last 13 years and have served on the campaign committees for all of the recent school funding initiatives including Measure S, Measure R and Measure BB.
During this time I have worked closely with education minded community members from across the political spectrum and have gotten to know many of them on a personal level. I have enjoyed their friendship and I have great respect for the energy and commitment they have brought to creating great public schools for our children.
Then along came Measure T – a citizen backed initiative designed to slow development in Santa Monica – and suddenly our cozy little education community began to splinter as the big-money players and their representatives started to pressure our local education leaders in CEPS and on the School Board to take a stand against Measure T, or risk losing future support for school funding campaigns.
The fact that measure T has nothing to do with schools was irrelevant. The anti-T campaign strategists needed a winning argument and they knew that Santa Monicans could be counted on to step up and protect our schools. So they created a lie, and then got our education leaders to sell it.
And what is that lie? It is the lie that the passage of Measure T will cost our schools $11 million dollars in city funding cuts. We’ve all seen the mailers. Slick campaign pieces with the photo of an education leader on the cover imploring us to save our schools from Measure T. It’s a fraud.
A fraud which can be easily exposed if you bother to check. The independent analysis done by our own Santa Monica Malibu PTA concluded that the passage of Measure T “would not cut existing city funding”. – And you better believe that if our schools were at risk of losing funding then the PTA would be the first to sound the alarm.
But they didn’t, and for good reason. It’s a false alarm, being rung for the singular purpose of getting you to vote against Measure T, not on its merits, but because you don’t want to hurt our schools.
Don’t be fooled. If you think slowing the pace of development in Santa Monica would be a good thing, then vote yes on T. If you want to see development continue at its current rate then vote no on T. But do it because of your stand on development, not because you have been mislead by a campaign that lied to you about measure T hurting our schools.