This weekend I received a comment to my recent post on the Banning-Beaumont Patch which I believe needs a response. The post was concerning Bogh Engineering and their recent request for additional funds to complete the sports complex project. The comment was posted by Merced Ramirez, a friend and someone I worked with during the inaugural Beaumont Spirit Run. Merced wrote, “I would hope that as an individual running for the school district board you would take a tougher stand against firms that "work the system". I agree with Merced and felt this comment deserved a response but I found it was longer than the 1,500 characters limited by the Patch’s reply system so I decided to publish a new post.
I don't know much about Bogh Engineering but I know there are many people in Beaumont with ties to Bogh Engineering and the other firms working on the projects. I am sure most of them are good, hard working people who have children in our schools and have more than just a financial stake in what's happening. I don't have any hard evidence Bogh did anything wrong. However, after I read your comment to my post on the Patch, I started really taking a good look at how we got to where we are today.
Too many of our board members have had financial and personal relationships with Bogh and other BUSD contractors and vendors that have clouded their judgment; this is why I have vowed not to accept any money, from anyone, for my campaign. I believe school board members who receive donations from those who have a financial interest in what happens in our schools have an obligation to go beyond the minimum disclosures required by law. They must assure us their decisions are in the best interest of our kids and not their campaign donors. I believe our school board has been letting us down in this area since before Measure Z was introduced.
If the post Merced responded to was the first one of mine he had read, I could understand how he might think I was being too easy on Bogh. I know he has followed my posts for some time and should be aware I have been critical about how the author of the Measure Z supporting argument included in the official voter guides was written by a Bogh senior engineer. I have written about how the administration and Bogh Engineering worked together to pass Measure Z and failed to tell the public about the sports complex until after the Measure passed. It is clear from comments made by school board members and other elected officials in Beaumont that there were plans for a stadium long before Measure Z was passed. The voters apparently were the only ones left in the dark.
I’ve written about my disappointment with the actions and comments by our board when they justified their decision to ignore their own committee’s recommendation and award the contracts to Bogh. I knew there was more going on behind the scenes than we will ever know but it is clear to me some of the board members at the time felt an obligation to Bogh. But, as I said before, I don’t have any evidence of wrong doing by Bogh or any other contractors, if anyone does, we need to see it.
However, some of our board members have violated their own code of ethics and executed poor judgment more than once, particularly when it comes to the management of the district’s construction projects. I understand why contractors “work the system” to stay competitive but when we can’t rely on elected representative to perform due diligence and protect our kid’s resources, the system is broken . The system in Beaumont Unified is broken and I mainly blame our school board not the companies who are playing by the board’s rules. Whether or not I am elected to the board, I promise to continue do what it takes to fix it.