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An independent, truth seeking information stream
Examining issues surrounding the environment, education and social justice
 
 

The Truth Hurts

Chavez supporter sheds a tear
    WATSONVILLE, CA —UC Berkeley student and Watsonville High School graduate, Monica Molina shows her dissapointment after the Pajaro Valley Unified School District Governing Board voted 5 to 2 against naming the proposed new high school after Cesar E. Chavez. See the Chavez Naming report.

What's UP at TellingTheTruth.com...

  School Board rejects campaign to name new high school after late farm labor organizer and civil rights leader Cesar E. Chavez.— (Aug. 14, 2002) After local Latino activists spent months recruiting support, writing letters and gathering petitions, the Pajaro Valley Unified School District rejected their campaign on a 5-2 vote. (Trustees Sandra Nichols and Roberto Garcia supported the Chavez name.) A parliamentary maneuver on the part of Nichols forced a vote on the Chavez name after a motion to name the school Pajaro Valley High was introduced. The board later voted 6 to 1 (Garcia opposed) to name the school Pajaro Valley High. Read the complete Chavez Naming report.

Local, regional and national media covered the story.
Watsonville Register-Pajaronian, 8/15/02
Santa Cruz Sentinel, 8/16/02
San Jose Mercury News 8/16/02
Associated Press 8/18/02


Superintendent's sudden resignation announcement shocks educational establishment — insiders saw it coming. (5/23/02) Some local school officials were taken by surprise at the news of Pajaro Valley Unified School District Superintendent John Casey's sudden announcement of his impending resignation. There was the assumption that he would remain until the completion of what will indeed become his legacy — New Millennium High School. Still, others close to the Superintendent were not surprised. His demeanor had changed in recent months and unforeseen pressures were mounting.
    A recent Santa Cruz Sentinel editorial praised his work, while critics have found his "ends justify the means" approach to administration heavy handed and contrary to the best interests of the district. Among the failures cited by critics are an abundance of poor performing schools, low redesignation rates for English language learners, no relief yet for overcrowded high schools, a district more divided than ever before, and looming budget woes as he departs.
    Numerous community members have expressed their hope that the new superintendent might come from within the district. They fear yet another administrator coming from faraway, lacking connection to the local community, and being more concerned about their own personal career goals than the long-term best interests of the school district. The governing board, however, voted 6 to 1 at its May 22, 2002 meeting to hire head-hunting consultants "Jake and Bob" to conduct a broad superintendent search.
    Local coverage of Casey's June 30, 2002 departure is available on web sites operated by the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian and the Santa Cruz Sentinel


Four Watsonville area PVUSD trustees seized the opportunity to expand their influence (3/13/02)Taking advantage of their current four vote majority, Watsonville area trustees of the Pajaro Valley Unified School District chose Option 4 (above) as their recommendation to the County Board of Education to reapportion the seven trustee areas. The proposal, if approved by the County Board of Education, will guarantee the Watsonville area a fifth vote and a "super-majority" in all decisions affecting the district. The board had created a committee of community members to develop proposals but settled on the one created by the district's superintendent and associate superintendent. The County Committee on School District Organization will hold a public hearing March 21 prior to making its decision. Further details and maps are available in the linked report.


Anti-War group forms in Monterey Bay Area (12/15/01) A number of current and former University of California Santa Cruz educators and local public school teachers have come together to express their opposition to the massive bombing attacks conducted in the name of "ridding the world of terrorism." The group, Monterey Bay Educators Against War is presently recruiting members and invites visitors to their web site: www.mbeaw.org. There, simpathetic educators can learn how to join, what they are joining, and with whom they are joining.


Coastal Commission offers manageable solutions on high school CDP appeals(09/07/01) California Coastal Commission staff members prepared a 26 page memorandum outlining steps the City of Watsonville and the school district can complete in order to achieve a "no substantive issues" recommendation on appeals made by nine community members. The memorandum is the result of two August meetings involving project proponents, Douglas and Assemblyman Fred Keeley. The memo focuses on view shed and property ownership issues, suggests an easy solution to aeronautics problems, and ignores alternatives and the district's requirement to document the need for the large school. The Commission's solutions.


Cessna crash is second air disaster near proposed school site in a little over one year (09/11/01) A single engine Cessna aircraft lost power and crashed through a grove of eucalyptus trees and onto Southern Pacific Railroad tracks during the evening of Aug. 31, 2001. Citizens concerned for the safety of students at a proposed high school nearby note this is the second tragic air crash to occur in close proximity to the proposed school since Aug. of 2000. See Two crashes too close
— See also the following media accounts:
Santa Cruz Sentinel, 09/01/01
Watsonville Register-Pajaronian, 09/04/01
Santa Cruz Sentinel, 08/19/00
Watsonville Register-Pajaronian, 08/21/01


History of local Watsonville air crashes available on NTSB web site Numerous visitors have requested that we again provide access to information about air crashes involving helicopters and airplanes associated with Watsonville Airport since 1983. We offered this search capability in April of 2000 and will now place it permanently on this home page.
  Enter 01/01/83 and today's date along with "Watsonville" in the search criteria. NTSB search


Brutal police tactics chronicled in report from G8 Summit in Genoa, Italy (July 24, 2001) An alarming eye witness account charging fascist police tactics against anti-globalization demonstrators assembled to protest this gathering of world leaders has been brought to our attention by a reputable source. The following link to two shocking reports.
Genoa, July 20, 2001
Genoa, July 21, 2001

Police violence documented by Reuters photographer (July 24, 2001) The death of demonstrator Carlo Giuliani (23) was documented in 15 photos taken by Dylan Martinez on July 20, 2001. These are not pretty.
Death of Carlo Giuliani

One moment please

Nine different appeals filed against Watsonville's Coastal Development Permit for New Millennium High (July 21,2001) On Tuesday, July 17, 2001 appeals were due at the office of the Coastal Commission. Appelants included the Sierra Club, the Committee for a Safe High School Site, Peter Nichols, Bernard Feldman and others. The Coastal Commission will now evaluate to determine if the appeals are frivolous. If not the Coastal Commission staff will prepare a report and the Commissioners will hear the appeals probably in September. Range of issues appealed included:
District needs
Aeronautics evaluation
Alternatives analysis
Many others


School District plans and City permit vulnerable on adequacy and legitimacy of Aeronautics evaluation and approval. (July 6, 2001) The California Coastal Commission's Local Coastal Plan Amendment for Watsonville, CA in March of 2000 required the School District seek a Department of Transportation Aeronautics evaluation — for safety concerns — of Coastal Zone Area C one which the District plans to develop a public school. It has been learned that: 1.) The evaluation did not include the entire Area C as required by the Commission, 2.) The evaluation did not included the entire parcel the District is acquiring as required by ed. Code 17215, 3.) The District's development plans extend outside the area approved and into an airport crash zone the DOT does not approve for schools, and 4.) The approval — within a Traffic Pattern Zone — did not request the District explore alternatives as required under DOT guidelines.
  The issues raised here are discussed in three letters to the Department of Education:
Evaluation inconsistent with requirements
Approval area not respected
Aeronautics approval oversight
— See also:
Why there won't be an aeronautics reevaluation, May 17, 2000
Commission condition judged not meaningful, June 8, 2000


P.V.U.S.D. SEIR Certified at raucous Board meeting The Supplemental EIR for the proposed high school project was certified May 23, 2001 by the Pajaro Valley Unified School District Governing Board with a tremendous display of support for the project by a vocal — and at times uncharacteristically rude — crowd representing various factions of the community of Watsonville. The focus was not on the document which had many flaws, but rather on the community's overcrowded high schools and the needs that have gone unmet for so many years. The display appeared to dash any hopes that the community will abandon their support for the project and marks the beginning of the end for opponents who have urged the district to consider alternatives for the past 15 months.
— Local media coverage included:
the Santa Cruz Sentinel by Donna Jones
the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian by Jynae Davalos
The militant approach of some demonstrators and the laisez faire approach by the Board were criticized in an EDITORIAL first published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.


All that's wrong with the proposed Third High School (05/23/01) The first comprehensive presentation of all aspects of the proposed project that lead opponents to demand the District acquire an alternative site. The report covers: Misinformation, Health and Safety Issues, The Agendas and Unanswered Questions. Supporting graphics and documentation are embedded within the presentation.


Comparison of Health and Safety Issues at County High Schools (05/23/01) Tellingthetruth.com has researched 10 health and safety factors and created a chart showing how each comprehensive high school compares. The proposed Third High School lacks protection for students in 8 of the 10 factors. No other school scores so poorly in the survey. Enrollment and site acreage are also compared as is the adequacy of playing fields on each site. The proposed high school would be the most crowded school by far, and would have the smallest area for playing fields. View the High School Comparison


Two New Reports

How school sites are evaluated relative to airport issues and how far the California Department of Transportation will go to approve one.
Cant catch me! A look at how a former teacher accused of having sex with numerous female, juvenile students could advance — unimpeded — to become Assistant Superintendent of a large California school district, and how the system fails at eliminating bad eggs from the system.

P.V.U.S.D. Third High School Update (05/14/01, 03/13/01) Researchers at tellingthetruth.com continue to learn new information about the controversial high school proposal. This update includes a detailed construction timeline, information about "unpublicized" planning sessions at the office of Assemblyman Keeley, a Watsonville Foreign Trade Zone, defeating the state funding deadline, and Environmental Impact Report time triggers. Third High School Update


One moment please

The Poisoned Schools Report now available here. The report coordinated by the Center for Health, Environment and Justice in Falls Church, VA, names New Millennium High School as one of 15 schools in the United States that "either will cause unnecessary health risks to children, teachers, and other school personnel if built or already put school populations at serious risk." The case study is on page 23 of the report. Download the .pdf version of Poisoned Schools
  See the repot on the local
Poisoned Schools Protest for more information.


TellingTheTruth.com recognized by Houston-based education group (05/06/01) This site was selected as "Site of the Week" for April 22 through 29, by EducationNews.org which claims to be the world's leading source of education news with more than 3,300,000 hits last year. The site offers daily news, commentaries, reports, and links to major news outlets. The Register-Pajaronian covered the recognition on page 6 of their May 5, 2001 issue.


The Los Angeles Times: Proposed School Site Stirs Bitter Debate Over Safety of Poor Students
Education: The Watsonville parcel is near a dump, airport, cattle feedlot and sprayed fields.
By JOHN M. GLIONNA, Times Staff Writer
WATSONVILLE, Calif.—Dan Hernandez stands on a bluff overlooking the site of a proposed high school in this Latino farming community and grits his teeth. (04/16/01)
  The full text is in this .pdf file L.A. Times, page A-3


P.V.U.S.D. passes Resolution on Methyl Bromide (03/28/01)Teachers at Pajaro Middle School near Watsonville, CA petitioned the Pajaro Valley Unified School District to pass a resolution requesting a moratorium on Methyl Bromide applications near schools. The request came after a report of tests at nearby schools—Pajaro Middle and Salsipuedes Elementary—showing higher than acceptable levels for long-term exposure of the gaseous poison. The resultant resolution appears biased toward the farming industry. Only one "WHEREAS" is dedicated to "concern for the health of students" while three focus on the importance of farming to the community. Read Resolution 20-01-29 and decide for yourself.
  The Methyl Bromide test results were covered by Trina Kleist, staff writer for the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
Feb. 16, 2001 Feb. 17, 2001 Feb. 21, 2001,   Feb. 26, 2001


Protesters call for P.V.U.S.D. action on pesticide use near schools (03/21/01) Representatives from five local environmental and school safety groups protested outside district offices before addressing the district's governing board March 21, 2001. The action coincided with a national "Child Proofing Our Communities: Poisoned Schools Campaign." The protest was covered by Tellingthetruth.com. and theWatsonville Register-Pajaronian with a great picture of community activist Bernard Feldman taken by Tarmo Hannula.


Some background on Watsonville schools and Methyl Bromide (12/1/97) A 1997 Associated Press Article has turned up in the archives of the Danbury Connecticut News-Times. Local parents and teachers are quoted as is the district's current Associate Superintendent Terry McHenry. It seems to be very difficult to convince the school district that something should be done about locating schools near farming operations.


Dangers to students—two young people died—and other issues (March 2000) were part of a Register-Pajaronian article that some how never made it to tellingthetruth.com. The forgotten article is now available. It is must reading for anyone seeking the "BIG picture". It covers peat bog dangers, an account of a slough drowning victim and traffic accidents including one death on the narrow country roads near the proposed school. It also examines issues of the site selection process and the activities of the Green Valley Action Committee and Richard Meyer, the districts facilities construction chief. This is one of the most informative articles on the subject to date.


PVUSD High School Time Line sadly, not up to date but covering the history of the proposed high school from April 1983 to June 2000. Significant dates and events leading to the Pajaro Valley Unified School District choosing the Harkins Slough Rd. site, and efforts to get approval from various state agencies. PVUSD History Time Line Visitor contributions to this chronology are encouraged.


 
 
A new web site on education issues for California — and beyond
 New Antidotes for Racism

TTTRUTH
OPINION

by Peter Nichols
The demonstrators took over. . .
Incredible shrinking high school
High School Facilities "Bait and Switch"
Feed Back


SLOUGH SITE SURVEY

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When will the high school be built?
2001
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