Beaumont City Council, Our Kids Need You

Mr. De Forge and Mr. Berg,

You both commented on my post, "Fool Me Once Shame On you", in the Banning-Beaumont Patch. You corrected my assertion that you worked for the passage of Measure Z. I stand corrected on your positions on Measure Z.

Mayor De Forge, you commented that "it was not tax dollars but developer fees that paid for the Beaumont High School pool." The city has many sources of revenue, property taxes and developer fees are just two. These two significantly contribute to our housing costs. You can call them fees or taxes but to homeowners, anything we pay to our governments, we consider taxes. The source of city funds doesn't change my position.

Back when Measure Z was on the ballot, I too was concerned about the property tax bond issue. I thought increasing taxes when our property values were decreasing and our economy was in trouble, was risky. I voted for the measure because there were many items specifically listed that would improve the quality of our kids’ education and the safety around our schools. I believed the areas around our schools would be made more safe. The safety around my kids’ school, Brookside Elementary, has not improved. Last school year, one of our students was hit by a car on Brookside Avenue, very near the school.

I am sure you are aware the school district has entered into a joint street project with the city to address traffic conditions on Brookside Avenue around the new stadium site. I believe the project widens the street between Beaumont and Oak View. I have a copy of the plans for the project and I see no improvements planned for the areas south of Brookside around the elementary school. Parents of kindergartners next year will still be parking in a dirt lot across the street from the stadium site. In the 2011/2012 school year they will have to deal with the construction traffic for the stadium and the street improvements. In future years, the added traffic generated by the high school’s additional parking lot entrances will also add to the mess.

Members of our city council believe they have no control over the school district. However, without the dollars for the street project and the approval for the annexation of the stadium site, the school district would not be able to move forward with their new stadium. The school district has to work with the city. The city has the money and legal access the district needs.

The school district has tens of millions of dollars in Measure Z money (yes, these are tax dollars) in the bank that should be used for all the proposed Measure Z projects, not just the stadium. The city should require the school district use some of these funds to improve the drop-off areas around Brookside, and all our schools, as a condition for the help the district needs from the city.

You may not have worked for, or supported, Measure Z. However, as the elected leaders of our community, you have a duty to insure our kids’ resources are used as voters intended and in the best interest of our kids. We need you, and the other council members, to begin influencing our school district to improve the traffic areas around all our schools.