By Sean Paden | Mark your calendars: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 5:30 pm at 1830 W. Romneya Drive, Anaheim, the North Orange County Community College District (of which Fullerton is a part) Board of Trustees will be voting to place a $574 million dollar construction bond measure on the November ballot. The cost to finance the bond (assuming it’s a 20 year bond at a 5% interest rate) will work out to $45 million per year, or $45 per year for every man, woman and child in the District, Fullerton included. Considering that the NOCCCD’s entire operating budget in 2012-2013 was $194 million, this is quite a chunk of change.
Admittedly, the bond measure will not pass until after the voters approve it, but the NOCCCD will likely pull out all the stops to ensure this bond passes. Already, the NOCCCD has been sending feelers out to local civic leaders urging them to attend and speak in favor of this matter, and is in a full-court PR press to build support for the measure by claiming its purpose is to upgrade the Veterans Resource Center.
To read the PR mailer on the project (below – click on graphics to enlarge) it would appear that the entirety of this project is to upgrade the Veterans Resource Center. Their early material shamelessly drives this point home – reminding us that “Our Veterans Deserve Better” and that “It’s shameful how the Federal Government Veterans Affairs Department is treating our veterans.”
First of all, let me say that I absolutely agree that it is completely shameful how the VA Department is treating our veterans. You know what else is shameful? Taxpayer funded agencies cynically trading in on the genuine admiration we have for our veterans (and guilt we have for the fact that their sacrifices to this country are so great compared to the rest of us) as a vehicle for ramming through hundreds of millions of dollars in new spending that is not in any way related to veterans affairs. If the NOCCCD just wanted to upgrade the veterans centers at Fullerton and Cypress, they could do it for one percent of the proposed bond amount. What do they plan on doing with the other 99% of that money, and why should our willingness to help veterans cause us to ignore the tremendous blank check the NOCCCD is demanding?
Also, keep in mind that the NOCCCD has a documented history of pushing massive construction bond measures by overt emotional appeals and then not even following through on the promised construction. As noted in this article in the Los Angeles Times (hardly a hotbed of anti-tax sentiment), the NOCCCD pushed through a $239 million bond measure in 2002 that was to include improvements to child development centers on the campuses that served pre-school children. Then, once the voters (barely) passed the measure, all funds went to other projects, and one of the centers had to close for lack of funding.
In summary, veterans do deserve our respect, our gratitude, and our help whenever they need it. Bloated bureaucracies like the NOCCCD do not. Be sure and let the Board of Trustees know this Tuesday evening, July 22, at 5:30 pm.