OP-Ed: No on GO, You’re Being Played


Measure GO is on the Nov. 6 ballot under the section of school. Photo Credit: Google Images; Graphic Credit: Hernandez Coke

You should be a no-go on Measure GO.

This isn’t even a matter of debate; if you’re a student you’re being lied to.

Even worse, students will be lying to you as well, and are paid about $10 an hour to spread what they’ve been told to spread through phone banking.

Those happy faces on the campaign pages are bought and sold.

If you’re a resident, you may have received a robocall trying to convince you to vote yes.

Many faculty members at Mt. SAC are against measure GO, because they’ve seen the false hope in Measure R (2001) and Measure RR (2008).

“Mt. SAC certainly needs a regular infusion of voter-approved bond funds to meet infrastructure needs. Measure GO, however, is not that bond, and this administration and Board of Trustees cannot be reasonably trusted to use $750 million of residents’ funding to meet those college needs,” Longtime English Professor and Art History Adjunct Professor Thomas Edson said.

“I urge the residents of the district to vote a resounding “NO” on Measure GO until such time as the college has replaced its present executive and four members of the Board of Trustees. Until that happens, no district voter can reasonably expect that the same failed leadership will prudently and carefully manage three-quarters of a billion dollars in bonds.”

Measure R was a $221 million bond measure that was expected to generate $353 million in bond funding, and up to $132 million in state matching funds.

Measure RR was yet another bond measure at $353 million.

And now they want more.

Specifically $750 million more, valued at $25 for every $100,000 in assessed value.

This money is for more repairs and improvements, and if you want to see a wish list of what the Measure GO Santa might not bring down Mt. SAC’s chimney check out the Educational and Facilities Master Plan or the project list.

To make their wish upon a star come true, they brought in the Lew Edwards group to do a phone poll.

Phone banking is clearly for students and certain faculty members.

The Lew-Edwards group found that of the 800 people they surveyed, there was a 70 percent favorable rating towards passing. This is 70 of the 55 percent required to pass.

Might as well hang up the hat, right? Wrong.

These “consultants” did not take into account any opposition to the bond which would reduce the passage rate 10 percent, or that technical language on the bond itself loses 7 percent of its favorable rating.

A combined total of 53 percent from those two factors alone fails the measure.

That’s so negative, some will say; won’t anyone think of the children? They’re in outdated buildings from the 1950s!

Chances are those “outdated” buildings are weathering pretty well, according to a 2016 report on Mt. SAC’s facilities.

The report categorized 45 percent of facilities in good condition, 26 percent in fair condition, 15 percent in poor condition, and 14 percent in very poor condition.

Yes, 71 percent of the buildings, 103 facilities of 145, are just fine.

You’re footing the bill for improvements to the other 42.

Even the Board of Trustees was torn up over this blank check for Christmas.

Only Trustee Laura Santos and Trustee Jay Chen suggested not putting the measure on the same ballot as a gas tax repeal, but a five out of seven majority would still overrule them.

And it did.

Despite Santos saying that Mt. SAC was ordered to give Walnut $1 million in a past lawsuit, and that $5 million has already been spent on litigation, the decision would rest on one woman’s shoulders.

The deciding vote, Trustee Judy Chen Haggerty, read a prepared statement against the bond.

People shifted in their seats. This three hour board meeting was finally about to get fun.

As one member of the Academic Senate phrased it, “Judy sucked some blood out of Scroggins.”

Her statement included an argument that students are owed the student center, but that she wanted the wish list to get done and had doubts that it would get done.

Chen Haggerty said she was disappointed there was no discussion of strategy, and also addressed what Santos had mentioned regarding the $5 million in legal fees.

She added that there was a reputation of arrogance at Mt. SAC and said the wish list of things would not happen based on past bond measures. She would also say that each bond leaves voters unhappy.

Chen Haggerty said she has learned to not just focus on passing bonds, and added that the contingency fund was spent on the lawsuit.

She said she would vote no if the legal strategy remains the same.

Since the strategy is missing, there was no choice aside from voting no on the bond measure and yes to postpone, she said.

Then after what can only be described as political pressuring, the board members declawed the cat.

She voted against the proposal to postpone to 2020, and then to pass putting the bond on the ballot for residents of Baldwin Park, Bassett, Charter Oak, Covina, Diamond Bar, the southern portion of Glendora, Hacienda Heights, City of Industry, Irwindale, La Puente, La Verne, Pomona, Rowland Heights, San Dimas, Valinda, Walnut, and West Covina to decide.

The lies told to students were funded by students too.

Associated Students passed Resolution 9 allowing AS to give reserve funds ranging from $50,000 to $150,000.

Then they decided to give the whole amount, $150,000, and as a result AS is the largest donor to the campaign.

They donated $100,000 from their general reserve to advertise GO, dropping their general reserve from $1.9 million to $1.8 million.

AS also donated $50,000 out of $63,000 in Student Services Fee Reserves.

They gave this money in expectation for a three story student center, a project that has been on the books for 19 years, and last reared its head in 2004.

Should GO pass, construction will break ground in March, Andrea “Andi” Sims said at the Sept. 11 AS meeting. Row buildings 16, 17, 18, and 19 would be demolished in order to build the three story student center should GO pass.

The furniture of the building will be ready by December, though – right on schedule.

The center is almost out of design over 14 years later, but this bond is surely the one to guarantee the center as there’s not a new stadium project to toy with. That’s just a subprime mortgage, where people who can’t afford the loan still get loans, but the taxpayers have to pay off.

One that was not listed on the ballot as a bond project.

The kicker to the stadium is that the Mt. SAC project that was not on the ballot was intended to host the Olympic trials.

Due to the city of Walnut’s lawsuits, the stadium’s construction was held off and Mt. SAC lost the Olympic trials. The trials for the USA Track & Field competition went straight to Eugene, Oregon.

Even better, Mt. SAC went about $35 million over budget on that stadium, a paltry sum compared to the bond itself.

This was $35 million in budgeting, but Scroggins said the settlement with the city of Walnut costed $1.4 million. This settlement stopped Mt. SAC from one of its parking garage plans and made the college abandon the solar farm proposal, all to keep the stadium going.

Should GO not pass, the stadium will still be funded, but that precious student center? Off the list.

That isn’t even the half of the legal issues, and the college did not consider community feedback when it first tried to enact projects like the Hilmer Lodge Stadium, a five-story parking structure, an 11-acre solar farm and fraudulent use of Measure RR bond money.

Four lawsuits were levied by the UWT and the city of Walnut for not listening to the community.

Even worse, their Facebook page promoting the bond @GOMtSAC or “Yes on Measure GO” promotes paid students as “volunteers,” and silences opposition by removing posts and banning links.

This included removing our student media’s story on Measure GO from the page.

“They are deleting comments. I keep rewriting them but they need to hear this,” Sarah Beth McHargue Love wrote on Facebook, and added a link to the post they removed her comments from.

Hope that $10 an hour was worth it, kiddo.

If you want more information without the sass, check out the unbiased coverage here.

If you want to make a difference and put Mt. SAC on their toes, vote no.

-SAC.Media Editorial Board

Update & Correction: Nov. 8, 8:05 a.m.:

Mt. San Antonio Community College District Special Election – Measure GO
The bond passed at a 60.82 percent for a total of 78,943 votes, with the opposition received 50,859 votes.

The article implies all volunteers are paid, and some students have said they were not paid for minor promoting on campus. It has been clarified to $10 an hour for phone banking.