We have discussed this topic on The Tattler several times. But until now we have been the only news site or paper in the area that has come out against Measure A. Or, as is usually the sad case here in Sierra Madre, even discussed it at all. After all, how could something that potentially threatens our public schools with the loss of millions of dollars in Measure TT bond money, or timely representation on the PUSD Board of Education, ever compete with Fresh & Easy applying for a CUP? I ask you.
But despite our information flow woes here behind the Michillinda Curtain, things have now changed. Today the Pasadena Star News has published an editorial that slams Measure A, in the process adding a whole new level of urgency to the need to defeat this bizarrely unfair initiative.
Here is the conclusion of the PSN editorial. For the whole thing click here.
Since the forced busing for integration of the early 1970s, three kinds of flight - white, then black, then middle-class - have changed the makeup of the schools. They are now mostly Latino, with fewer African-American students and even fewer white ones. Middle-class parents frequently band together in efforts to support their local elementary campuses, but often leave by middle school. Though private schools have been popular for almost a century in Pasadena, about 30 percent of district families opt out of the public option - an extraordinarily high number. Still, there is a certain community pride attached to the schools even for those who don't attend.
Oddly, interestingly, on the seven-member school board, there is one black member, one Latino - and five whites. Fearing a lawsuit over a lack of diversity, as happened in the '70s with the Pasadena City Council, the district proposes Measure A on the June 5 ballot. It would amend the current at-large system and instead have voters nominate and elect board members from within seven geographic sub-districts.
It sounds reasonable enough. But in our view, Measure A is a mere distraction from the district's real problems. Legally, "racially polarized voting" occurs when minority candidates win in certain neighborhoods but lose in at-large balloting. That used to happen in Pasadena City Council elections - but it's not happening in the PUSD. The way the board is elected is a non-problem that doesn't need solving.
And Measure A's passage could create problems of its own. Now, if a constituent wants a board member's ear, he's got it - as a voter. If elected by neighborhood, a trustee from Sierra Madre would not be answerable to a resident of San Rafael - or Altadena, or anywhere else. The Pasadena schools don't need to add Balkanization to their problems. They need to focus on solutions. We strongly urge a "no" vote on Measure A.
Be sure to vote next Tuesday.