Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Torrance School Board Incumbents Promised -- then Reneged -- on Aquatic Center for Entire Community

Like many concerned citizens in the city of Torrance, I attended the March 30, 2015 Torrance School Board meeting to discuss the placement of the new Aquatic Center.

Most of the audience included parents and young people who play in little leagues throughout the city.

The biggest concern on many people's minds, then, rested on whether the Aquatic Center would displace one of the baseball diamonds in the city.

Of the four considered sites, the best location would be between SCROC and Torrance Elementary.

Everyone  cheered. Most of the audience left after they were assured that no little league would lose their playing field.
Former Torrance PTA Presidenti Janet Tajii
confronts the TUSD School Board

One parent, the former president of the Torrance Parent Teachers Association Janet Tajii, had other concerns.

She approached the dias after all comment cards had been read and shared and called out the School Board about their misleading promotion of the Aquatic Center:

"Good evening, members of the Board. I have a question about your statement also where you said it [the aquatic center] was going to be for the high school aquatics programs and for competitive swim meets.

"In the T and U Questions and Answers, it says "Provide an aquatic center for high school swimming and water polo programs and for the entire community as well"

The entire Torrance community

TUSD Board President (at the time) Don Lee waffled on these remarks:

"Why, that would be club teams, any kind of competition. . "

Tajii interjected, and correctly:

"OK, I believe that 'entire" means the entire community. So, that doesn't include me because I'm not a member of these organizations. I just want to point out that I think it was a little misleading if that's where you're leading. That's all."

Let's state in directly: the mailer and promotional campaign for Measures T and U was misleading, in that the flyers claimed that the Aquatic Center would be open to the entire community, not just for schools and competitive swim teams.

Another member of the audience griped to me about this kind of misleading meandering which characterizes bond initiatives. I had heard other members of the community sharing deeper concerns about Measures T and U, because it all amounts to: "Trust us with your money."

Then the Board turns right around and says "Entire" does not mean everyone in the community.

If everyone is paying for the Aquatic Center. and the building will be a public utility, it should be open to the public.

The bonds were advertised on that premise to begin with. On the Measures T and U Project Summary, it reads:

High Schools
• Replace student lockers at all high schools.
• Replace auxiliary gyms at all high schools.
• Renovate the Torrance High School auditorium Build auditoriums at South, West, and North high schools, and for arts instruction and performances.
• Renovate aging physical education facilities, playgrounds and fields to include resurfacing of tennis courts, and replacement of artificial football turf and tracks at all high schools.
• Build an aquatic center for use in high school swimming programs and the entire community.

Former Mayor Frank Scotto struggled to justify the Aquatic Center, but did acknowledge that it would be open to the public:

The former Mayor acknowledged that the aquatic center with its hefty $15 Million price tag has become a target for those opposing the bonds.  Part of the consternation is due to the lack of details about the proposed facility and the yet to be determined location for the pool. Current plans are to have an Olympic sized pool with stadium seating and an open roof. It will be made available to the general public, but high school swim and water polo teams will have priority use. Local schools currently use the outdated Plunge for swimming activities.

"Lack of details" kills this whole deal. That's been the problem for so long.

The District's November 5th press released mirrored the same promises from the project summary.

The last thing that city residents should do is elect the same incumbents who had promised public facilities for the schools and the entire community, then turn right around, renege on the promise, and take away the center from the entire community.

"Trust us!" has not worked as a governing policy for the current school board.

We need new leadership for Torrance Unified. On November 3rd, 2015 -- vote for Clint Paulson and Rick Marshall for Torrance School Board.


  1. LIARS. I remember clearly they said that the pool would be available to the entire community, just like the old pool.

  2. People voted under the premise that they would have a nicer place to swim in! Time to clean up the school board and bring in some fiscally responsible people to the board! $109million sitting on a table can build a few school additions like a pool!!