You notice in February that your smoke detector is malfunctioning.
It’s an urgent matter as you have young children in your home. Their safety and health — as you tell anyone who will listen — is your utmost concern. It costs $15.90 to replace.
You have $20,000 in your savings account as a reserve for emergencies.
So what do you do?
Do you leave the malfunctioning smoke detector in place and wait eight months to see if you can convince your banker to loan you $159,000 so you can replace it as well as buy new big screen 110-inch Samsung TVs for every room in your house? You sell your loan pitch not as one to give your kids the latest high-tech gadgets but as a health and safety loan.
Then you haven’t checked your mail this week.
The Chicken Little alarmists are at it again.
And they aren’t even being subtle anymore.
The Yes on G folks have gone from focusing on 28-year-old classroom carpet held safely together by duct tape to yelling fire.
Voters are repeatedly being told the $159 million bond is all about health and safety. Yet the only specific health and safety issues they can point to are torn carpets that have been safely pieced together with duct tape and a faulty alarm system at only one campus.
No specific mention of any classroom with asbestos or lead paint as they’ve alluded to as justification for the bond measure. No floors buckling. No major dry rot.
In fact, the school district has told voters less than a year ago through the state-required school accountability reporting forms that conditions were good at all schools including East Union High where the faulty fire alarm system now exists.
As a responsible parent, when you found the $15.90 smoke detector wasn’t working would you risk the safety of your children by not dipping into your savings — if that is what it took — and replacing the smoke detector? Or would you keep a malfunctioning smoke detector in place and when it’s not functioning pay people to stand as lookouts in your house for smoke until such time as the detector starts functioning again?
The school district opted not to replace the alarm system at East Union High although they have ample money in reserve to do so. Instead, they pull paid staff from other duties to act as fire outlooks when the East Union alarm system isn’t functioning.
And they’ve been doing that since at least February.
The upper echelon in the Manteca Unified School District made the decision to spend $15 million they had laying around to buy Panasonic tablets and Microsoft software as part of a $30 million undertaking to put said technology in the hands of every student from kindergartners to 12th graders. In essence, they were saying they were concerned about kids tripping over ripped carpet or getting caught in a burning school but that isn’t nearly as important as school brass smooching with high-tech giants.
But is that really the case? Is student health and safety truly imperiled?
Because if it is someone needs to ask the district’s top educators and board members where their priorities and collective heads are at. The real truth is the ripped carpets, fire alarms, and general maintenance needs are a nice cover to convince voters to give them the funds to implement a high-tech initiative that they still needs tens of millions of dollars to implement and up to $3 million annually to maintain.
So why didn’t they simply sell the bond issue as one that provides cutting edge educational tools plus provide money for construction of vocational training facilities and such that is included in the bond language?
Their paid consultant told them voters would never go for it. But if they did their best parroting of Chicken Little and ran around yelling the health and safety of students are in jeopardy voters would support the measure.
In other words, the Measure G campaign isn’t about educating voters but manipulating voters.
This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209.249.3519.