Robocalls: The Final Straw

This weekend yet another campaign season nuisance, robocalls, were launched by the supporters of Measure K. Infinitely more intrusive than big banners and bogus boycotts (and hugely more expensive I might add), robocalls are unsolicited political messages free from the limitations of the “Do Not Call” list.

When did you ever get a robocall you believed?

robocallsWell, the Measure K calls share much in common with their telemarketing cousins. They often rely on a familiar name or voice. Their intent is to convince you to take action that benefits them. They’re not too concerned with truth in advertising guidelines or adhering to them. The sales pitch is often based upon making misinformation sound like fact, lies sound like truth.

Measure K robocalls are no different.

The spokesperson is none other than former Mayor Bev Perry who begins by identifying herself as though it gives credibility to the message that follows.

She has had lucid moments in support of important local issues… this is not one of them.

Let’s parse this telemarketing line by line.

robocalls“This is former Brea Mayor Bev Perry calling about Measure K to support Brea schools.”

Got your attention? If you care about this issue, sure. We’ll have to see if the PAC’s disclosures in their 460 filing shows she picked up a little mad money for the effort.

“People choose to live in Brea because it offers a high quality of life which includes good neighborhood schools.”

Well, it did, but if you believe the Brea school district’s $300,000,000 list of repairs they need to do… it would be more honest to say, “People chose to live in Brea…” past tense.

“Yes on K is accountable and includes a list of authorized Measure K projects, independent annual audits and a citizen’s oversight committee to monitor the funds.”

No, not true. A “Measure” is accountable for nothing. It can be written to include an attempt to require accountability but there are no guarantees. In the case of Measure K, accountability would fall to those charged with managing the money. Precisely why we need a new Board. One we can trust.

There is no list within the measure except for very generic language that authorizes nothing specific. The school-by-school “assessment” was manufactured after the fact to calm public protest over a lack of specificity. It has no connection to Measure K.

The Oversight Committee has no say in how funds would be spent. They “validate” expenditures after the money is spent. It’s a rubber stamp committee powerless to oversee anything with any authority.

And Placentia received regular audits from recently replaced Lance, Soll & Lunghard, LLP (aka LSL CPAs & Advisors, Brea’s auditor by the way) yet one of their financial managers is “alleged” to have embezzled $5.16 million before being discovered by Federal authorities.

I guess it would be reasonable to assume that BOUSD auditors, Vicente Lloyd Stutzman LLP would be who Ms. Perry is referring to.

“All funds stay local to improve our Brea schools.”

This is a non sequitur, period. It’s inference or conclusion does not follow from the premises. What does “stay local” mean? No outside contractors will be used? This will be a big disappointment to Cal K-12 and Pinnacle Design Group, Inc., operators from the Inland Empire who would love to snag some Measure K business.

Together these two out-of-towners have donated $35,000 to the Yes on K PAC and are probably prepared to ante up more if asked. Thirty-five large is nothing compared to the millions on the table.

“Remember to find Measure K on your ballot and vote Yes on K for kids.”

Voters would be wise to remember that those opposing Measure K are doing so for the kids as well.

Tactics for dealing with robocalls.

Hang up. It’s a recording. It’s not really Bev Perry. It’s not really true.

Advocates of Measure K insult your intelligence when they presume you can be convinced by a robocall. Do your homework. Demand facts and proof. Don’t settle for generic solutions and a complete lack of accountability.

ADDENDUM: Mass mailer is the latest straw…

Comments shared by Jason Kraft – Candidate for BOUSD Board

yes-cc_10-17Today I received an unsolicited email in my spam folder from “Yes on Measure K”. The arguments they make in favor of Measure K are the same ones that have been refuted again and again, and most of the people I talk to in the community recognize this.

A common argument from Yes on K is “we can’t afford to wait“, since interest rates are at historic lows. This statement ignores the reality that completing these facilities projects will take at least 10-15 years, and the $148 million we borrow will be separated into four separate bond issues stretching through 2025. Current interest rates have nothing to do with future borrowing costs.

Another argument included in the email is that a 2018 bond is not a good idea because classrooms will be two years older in 2018. Let’s look at the big picture here: if our facilities projects take 12 years to complete, Measure K would fund projects from 2017-2029. A bond passed in 2018 with stronger accountability and a prioritized project list would fund projects from 2019-2031.

A better bond in 2018 will provide accountability before money is spent — Measure K’s oversight committee can only look at funds that have already been used. And a 2018 bond would result in classrooms that are two years newer than Measure K.

I’ve also heard from Measure K supporters that voters will be tired of hearing about bonds in 2018, and something is better than nothing, so we need to pass Measure K now or we will never pass a bond again. This argument doesn’t hold water with me.

The first core value at my daughter’s school, Mariposa Elementary, is Reach for Excellence. We all teach our kids that they should do their best work, and they should not settle for “good enough”. The same lesson holds true for this bond measure.

Every time I walk our neighborhoods, I hear over and over again that people want stronger accountability. They want more specifics on where their money will be going.

They are very uncomfortable with corporate special interests providing financial support to the Yes on K campaign. They feel like they were left out of the process. It’s hard to believe that Measure K is really the best we can do.

We have a chance to Reach for Excellence with a new bond measure that has widespread support. But first, we need to vote No on Measure K and vote out the incumbent school board members. Then we can work together as a community to build a bond measure we can all stand behind with pride, the same pride we have in our schools and our kids.

robocalls