Friday, October 30, 2015

Daily Breeze Fail: Left-Wing Intern Gets Little Right on Torrance School Board Race

I contacted the Daily Breeze three times this week about the school board race. I sent tweets and emails to the intern, Nereida Moreno, so that she would know what Don Lee had done to me, and has done to Torrance residents in sending out false and misleading mailers.

If readers take a casual look at Moreno's Twitter feed, they will find retweets promoting Hillary Clinton:

and how about this one?

She also promotes illegal alien Francisco Hernandez and his economic plight, even though he broke the law.

Biased much, Nerayduh?

(And why does she spell her name that way in her Twitter feed?)

Below is the Daily Breeze "article" on the School Board race.

Four candidates vie for seats on Torrance Unified school board

Two long-serving Torrance school board members, each with designs on one more term in office, face two challengers who find fault with their leadership in Tuesday’s election.
"Who find fault with their leadership" -- really? This kind of clunky phraseology is going to be the norm in this article. Very much like an amateur.
The challengers, Clint Paulson and G. Rick Marshall, take issue with incumbents Don Lee and Terry Ragins over statewide curriculum changes, a recent scandal involving a wresting coach and the use of funds from bond measures.
Julie Shankle, president of the Torrance Teachers Association, said the group has met with all four candidates and has endorsed the incumbents despite having bumped heads with them in the past.
They more than bumped heads with Terry Ragins. Teachers within the Torrance union had informed me that they wanted her out! Why have they caved and endorsed the candidate whom they wanted to remove at all costs?
“During the economic downturn, we really hit the skids with the school board,” Shankle said. “In the last election, we didn’t endorse anyone, but we chose to try to rebuild the relationships we’ve had. While we’re not at 100 percent, we see a good-faith effort.”
What good-faith effort is that?
She said the challengers focus too much on the “negatives” in the district but are not speaking out enough on their vision for the district.
There are so many negatives to begin with. If there were not so many negatives, then no one would be running against the candidates, now, would they? In fact, this writer neglects to mention that Don Lee and Terry Ragins ran unopposed four years ago. No one challenged them at all!
“For example, we have clear distance on Common Core and that’s OK,” she said. “We don’t have to agree but it would be nice to come to a common ground and understanding.
Shankle wants to find common ground on Common Core. Many parents in the district do not want Common Core at all. Students have complained about it, as well.
In last year’s election, voters approved major construction bond measures to pay for campus improvements across the district, and build theater auditoriums at each high school, gymnasiums at seven middle schools and science labs at every elementary school.
Moreno's amatuerism shows out in this paragraph. She lacks parallel structure. "campus improvements" "build theater auditoriums". Really?
Worth a combined $200 million, the measures are follow-ups to a pair of $355 million construction bonds — Y and Z — that passed in 2008.
The challengers have raised questions about community use of the district’s $15 million aquatic center, which is funded by Measure U bond money. Both Marshall and Paulson have claimed the public was mislead about details on public use of the center.
They were misled! This fact is more than a claim. One resident, Janet Tajii, called them out on this in March.
“The aquatic center was kind of the lightning rod issue in the community and it was sold as something that would be open to the public,” Paulson said. “They did a bait and switch and, at the end of the day, the school board is asking for community trust, but when you misrepresent aspects of a bond measure, the public loses faith.”
Lee, however, said the high school swim teams will indeed take first priority, but that the center — like many public buildings — will still be open to the public for rental. Ragins said the district is still finalizing plans on how to utilize the site.
That's not what Lee said at the March 30th, 2015 School Board Meeting!
“There is a huge number of groups that will need to be accommodated and I believe that those resources should be available to the public whenever possible,” Ragins said.
Now Ragins says so. Really?!
Responding to criticism from the challengers on the board’s actions in dealing with a former Torrance High wrestling coach was charged with molesting 26 children, Lee said the district “acted the absolute second” that officials knew something was going on and it continues to work toward improving student safety.
Other sources contend otherwise, that the district heard negative allegations about Thomas Snyder, and yet did not monitor the teacher. The writer forgot to mention the basketball coach who was almost hired, and the chess tutor.
He said money from Measure T will pay for surveillance cameras, security and fencing to make students more safe across the district.
“It was the worst possible thing that could happen, and we’re do everything in our power to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Lee said. “But we will deal with the lawsuits that we get because of it and we’ll do it as fairly as possible.”
All four candidates said they would support an anonymous tip line for students to speak out about potential abuse or danger on campus.
Marshall and Paulson have also called on the board to reject Common Core standards that were fully implemented statewide last year.
The “one-size-fits-all” education policy, Marshall wrote on his website, “takes away local control, lowers academic standards and collects private student information.”
Did Moreno bother to ask the candidates directly their thoughts about Common Core? Apparently not. So, Moreno takes time to talk to the incumbents, but not the challengers? She wants to know what the President of the Teachers union thinks. Did she bother reaching out to the PTA?
Here’s a look at the candidates and their backgrounds:
Lee, a longtime Torrance resident who works as the South Bay district manager at Farmers Insurance, was elected to the school board in November 2007.
Major fail. Major -- Don Lee is no longer the District Manager.
“I ran for office eight years ago because the schools were crumbling. I thought that maybe my background in the community could help pass bonds,” he said. “And since then, we’ve been lucky enough to have the community support us to the tune of four bond measures.”
Lee served on the Torrance City Council for eight years, from 1992 to 2000, and also served as president of the Torrance Historical Society, chairman of the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce and president of the Torrance Junior Chamber of Commerce.
Don Lee supporting the Modified Hydrofluoric Acid used in Exxon-Mobil, which has now sparked rising concerns for residents. Homeowners have told me their concerns have only heightened about the use of this chemical.
Running for the last time, Lee said he is proud of what he has accomplished on the school board, helping bridge a previously strained relationship between the school board and the city through outreach and face time on various initiatives.
No he has not.
Ragins, a Torrance resident since 1987, was elected to the school board in November 2003.
She previously served on three school councils, at Yukon Elementary School, Magruder Middle School and North High School, and was a parent member of various math, science, and health steering committees.
“I am truly an advocate and a protector for public education,” Ragins said. “I want to make sure it’s the best that it can be with the funding we receive. Those are my tax dollars, too, and I want to make sure they’re being spent in the best possible way.
Three million dollars wasted on unused Common Core materials? Money well spent, indeed.
Ragins has volunteered with the Torrance Education Foundation Board of Directors and participated on the Community Advisory Panel at the ExxonMobil refinery.
She received a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from Ohio State University and a master’s degree from Washington University in 1985.
If elected, she said, this also will be her last term on the school board.
“I’ve been in the district for 20 years and the school board for 12. I’m very much a part of the everyday school community,” she said. “In that process, lots of things have come to a head and leaving that undone or unfinished would be very difficult for me.”
A Torrance resident since 1990, Marshall received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Sterling College and currently works in the Information Technology Department at UC Irvine Medical Center.
He serves on the Torrance Water Commission and is a member of the Community Advisory Panel at ExxonMobil.
Marshall, who has run for City Council and school board seats in several elections, filed as a candidate at the last minute, he said, because he was “waiting on someone to stand up” and run against the incumbents, whom he says have failed the community.
“Elections are about choosing a future. We have two long-serving incumbents who are deciding whether to give them another term on the board,” Marshall said. “Given what you’ve seen, should they have another term? My answer is no. If they lose their seats, it will send a message that things need to change.
“What does it say about our community if we sweep these issues under the rug? From my perspective, (the incumbents) seem to be asleep at the switch,” he said.
That's putting it mildly.
After an unsuccessful run for a set on the Torrance City Council last year, Paulson is running for a seat on the school board while working as a government contracts manager.
Moreno forgets to mention Paulson's work with charities, including help for homeless families. Why is that?
A Torrance resident for seven years, Paulson said his children are the biggest motivation behind his decision to enter the race.
“I want to make a difference for my kids and the other kids in the district,” he said. “It’s time to kind of allow other people that are more involved in our schools to be on the board.”
He holds a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and a juris doctorate from the College of William and Mary.
Paulson is the only candidate who is not soliciting or accepting campaign donations. He said he wants the public to elect a parent, not a politician.
“I don’t want your money, I just want your vote. I’m the only one can legitimately say my only interest is the kids,” he said. “That’s my top priority.”
For more information on the candidates visit:

Moreno does a pretty poor job on some of the facts in this article.
She does not mention the misleading Don Lee Mailers. She does not talk about the major roles of money played in this election.
No discussions with the PTA members. No comments from parents for or against the candidates. Nothing from voters. So, the union President is the only opinion that matters?
Clint Paulson commented on his Torrance Townhall Face Book page that the intern did not use any of his quotes in answers to key questions, either:
Here are direct quotes I sent the DB reporter to use in the article. None of them were.

Wrestling Coach

"We need more transparency. Who from the District is advocating on behalf of the victims? Is the District more concerned about protecting kids or protecting their bottom line? What did the District know, when did they know it, and what did they do about it? I will ensure the District is completely transparent in these matters so parents can feel confident their kids are safe while at school."

Illegal Contracts

"Instead of fighting to keep millions of dollars in the pockets of an international construction firm, I will fight to have any money gained from illegal contracts returned to the District to improve our kids education."
There was NO mention of the $109 million to recoup from the lease-lease back controversies. None!

Aquatic Center

"The School Board promised that the Aquatic Center would be open to the entire community, I will work to ensure that promise is kept."

Special Interests

"The TTA has paid for much of the incumbents lawn signs, is prominently featured in their mailers, and has acted as the incumbents mouthpieces on social media. I fully support individual teachers and the amazing job they are doing educating our kids, but I'm starting to wonder who is actually running for re-election. The TTA or the incumbents?" As a self-funded candidate, I am beholden to nobody but our kids."

Don Lee's Misleading Mailer

"If I held public office for nearly a decade, I would hope that I would be able to rely on actual accomplishments and not feel the need to resort to making things up in order to get re-elected."

Common Core

"No parent should feel like their concerns are not being addressed when it comes to their child's education, I will make sure any parent wanting answers receives them."

Once again, Nereida Moreno's article was poorly worded in parts, clearly biased, and uninformed. Basic factual mistakes stand out, and not much outreach to other stake-holders in the community show that this slanted "article"provided very little insight for prospective voters looking for real governance and leadership in our school board. 

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