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EDITORIAL: School Board Follies

Carmel Pine Cone -- Oct. 9, 2009

THE CARMEL Unified School District Board of Education lost a lot of
credibility last week when it endorsed incorporation of Carmel Valley, which
goes before voters Nov. 3.

The most obvious reason is that, by voting 5-0 to support creation of a Town
of Carmel Valley, the members of the school board showed they are seriously out
of touch with their constituents, who favor incorporation very narrowly, if at all.
But even if the school board felt it was asserting leadership by backing something
the community has hardly embraced, the reasons put forth by school board
members for supporting incorporation do not hold water:

■ Rancho Cañada Village — Whether or not members of the school board
think this 180-unit housing project should be built, it is irresponsible for them
to promote a major reinvention of local government just to stop a single project.
Land use is not in the school board’s purview and its members should stay out
of it. Furthermore, if board members sincerely think local control is the key to
responsible land use, the first thing they should do is promise to stop building
things on school campuses without local approval. The new library and theater
at Carmel High, for example, were launched without the approval of the
Monterey County Board of Supervisors or Carmel City Council.

■ Health — While it is regrettable that a student at Carmel Middle School
has cystic fibrosis, the school board should not advocate major changes in local
government or try to stop a potentially very beneficial housing project to protect
that girl’s health. For one thing, she will be long gone from CMS before construction
at Rancho Cañada could possibly get under way. Furthermore, if
Rancho Cañada can’t be built because of construction dust and diesel fumes,
neither can anything else. Should the highways and the airport be closed, too?

■ Crowding — Rancho Cañada will contain just 180 housing units. If the
members of the school board cannot think of a way to accommodate the (at
most) several dozen students who might live in those houses, they should resign.
Their job is to educate the young people who live within the school district’s
boundaries, not population control. Has the school board taken a position on
illegal immigration?

Last Tuesday’s hearing was transparently organized to suit the political agenda
of a small group of Carmel Valley activists, and it is unfortunate the school
board allowed itself to be so blatantly manipulated.

Last Updated: Oct 11, 09

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