Thank goodness the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters has deemed legally unqualified a petition that would have prohibited undocumented children from attending school in the Yucaipa - Calimesa Unified School District. That petition’s spirit is contrary to the basic principles that guided our country’s founding, and it disregards the point of publicly funding education -- which is for all of society’s benefit.
The petition would have also required students who are citizens but who have one or more undocumented parents to pay to attend public schools in the district.
We have a strong opposition to the hateful message promoted by this petition, and fear the movement’s supporters have vowed to carry on their campaign. Joseph Turner, the instigator of the petition, recently promoted his anti-immigrant views to a receptive audience of 200 Redlands Tea Party Patriots.
Everyone who believes in the basic right to public education should take a stand against anti-immigrant fear mongering, which doesn’t express the values of our community.
The premise of this movement is that education funding is what supporters call a “zero sum game.” In their minds, money spent educating undocumented children is money taken away from educating full fledged citizens.
They don’t mention the costs of creating an underclass of uneducated, illiterate, outcast members of the community.
Nor do they express concern about the harm inflicted on children excluded from school. Turner’s proposal paints undocumented children primarily as illegal aliens from whom the rest of us must protect ourselves and our wallets. Supporters clearly do not perceive them as children with the same needs and potential as their own.
Federal and California law, the policies of the state Board of Education and local school districts, and the Plyler vs. Doe U.S. Supreme Court decision 35 years ago all prohibit the exclusion of children from public school based on immigration status. The reasons those laws and policies exist, and the reason the overwhelming majority of school teachers and administrators support universal access to public education, have nothing to do with immigration policy or being “the enemy of working-class Californians who seek to play by the rules,” as Turner has alleged. It’s because denying education to any child is abuse, and it hurts society as much as it hurts the child.
Furthermore, uneducated teens and adults are not easily employable, and if they turn to crime, it costs taxpayers more -- not just in money, but in their sense of community peace.
Immigration policy is a contentious subject, and Congress’ decades long failure to address it comprehensively has left us divided and upset across the political spectrum.
But we are above making children suffer for our collective failure, and smarter than to create burdens on society out of spite.
The Redlands City Council’s actions in the districting process show a disregard of public input.
They unanimously selected the voting district map options -- developed by their consultant -- that define three or four districts in the town’s southmost side, and rejected options -- submitted by citizens -- that are based on the town’s demographics.
By choosing the consutant's maps, they prevent a situation where two or three councilmembers might have to compete for the same district seat in the future. It makes their re-election a much easier task.
In many ways, this is a slap to the democratic process.
Our elected “representation” has acted in opposition to the spirit of the California Voting Rights Act it is pretending to acquiesce to. They are ostensibly taking this step to prevent the city from being sued, which this board agrees is a smart move.
But the maps submitted by citizens were better.
They are drawn acknowledging that the point of the change to district based elections is to give the perspectives of each area of town a voice in our government.
There are not enough diverse perspectives in South Redlands to justify dividing the town with so many north-south lines.
Women, the non-affluent, people of color and young parents are not in evidence on that dais the way they are in our community. Those who live in the Historic District, near the university or in housing tracts are not in evidence.
It can not legitimately be argued our sitting council can speak or argue empathically on behalf of all of Redlands.
Four of the five councilmembers reside within two miles of one another. Yet the maps they voted for have the current councilmembers living in separate districts.
We should not have three boundaries that divide Redlands south of Highland Avenue. Those districts comprise primarily white voters who have historically voted for white candidates, which contradicts the spirit and intent of the California Voters Rights Act.
If the lowest property-value neighborhoods are in the same voting district as downtown, warehouses or wealthier neighborhoods, their candidates are set up to be competing against candidates with more money and influence. The Reiter Map is the only option that eliminates that scenario. The Layne map is the only one that combines all of the commercial areas in one district.
Staying on this course will mean continued limited diversity on our City Council. It means our current representation is our future.
And it means we accept being ignored when we take the time to participate.
All five of our councilmembers voted for versions of their consultant’s maps despite the many superior options developed by citizens and citizen groups who care about supporting the richness of diversity in Redlands.
The final public hearing on this issue is at the Feb. 21 City Council meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. They could adopt one of the maps at that time.
Redlands citizens deserve better from their elected officials.
Here is how they voted:
Disclosure: Editorial Board member Mike Layne is among those who submitted a map that was not chosen.
All of the map options
Click on right or left edges of large image to scroll through the choices.
The San Timoteo Canyon residents’ request for a city-funded quiet zone where the railroad tracks cross Alessandro Boulevard should be denied.
Current federal law requires trains to blow their horns when approaching a street crossing that doesn’t meet certain safety standards, mainly having to do with automatic crossing barriers, flashing lights, traffic lane control and signage.
Alessandro Road crosses the tracks just south of San Timoteo Creek near the pricey Sunset Hills housing development. Nearby residents say the train horns are driving them crazy and they want the city of Redlands to pay for the necessary upgrade, which would include signage, a lane barrier and new striping. The road is already slated to be re-striped at the city’s expense when the street is re-paved as part of the PARIS program.
Advocates for having the city pay for the Quiet Zone admit that when they bought their homes they were well aware that trains frequently pass by and blow their horns. But they argue that the number of passing trains has increased dramatically over the past decade, due to the expansion of the Port of Los Angeles and the need to reduce air pollution by transferring freight from trucks to trains.
We visited the area to see how frequently the train horns blow -- separately, on different days of the week and at different times of day. During one 40-minute linger, one train went by, giving a single whistle on approach; during another visit, two and a half early afternoon hours passed with no rail activity at all.
The argument that the horns are startling and disruptive to people using the San Timoteo Wildlife Sanctuary’s trail and amphitheater is compelling. We see multiple benefits to Redlands’ offering that quality recreational space. And we agree that a nature sanctuary should be peaceful and quiet.
But we read in the Redlands Daily Facts that the residents are opposing parking accommodations at the trailhead, so the idea that the residents care about the hikers’, bird watchers’ and cyclists’ peace is a hard sell. They can't have it both ways. They can't argue for a quiet zone to protect the canyon for visitors as well as themselves but simultaneously oppose a parking lot for the safety of the visitors.
If you remove the argument that the expenditure benefits not just the 155 houses in the vicinity but visitors as well, then you are left to determine whether devoting limited financial resources toward the comfort of so few is legitimate as a high-budget priority for the council.
Regardless of the upfront cost of the project, there will be long-term maintenance expenses to consider.
If there’s money available, it’s better spent on a whole-community project -- which improvements downtown or to the Community Center, or in infrastructure on the north side of town would be.
The owners in the canyon will tell you they pay more per average Redlander in property taxes, but the part of that money that goes to the city (about 33 percent) pays for fire, police, park, school, street, library and other services that benefit them and all of us.
Flip the perspective: Would anyone argue that those who have low-value homes don’t deserve all the city services?
It’s understandable that these residents who bought their homes when there was significantly less rail traffic abutting them are frustrated. That’s a sympathetic position. The project is not objectionable. But the funding must not come from the city.
If a third fast-speed track is added in the near future to reduce truck traffic from existing Inland Empire roads, then the residents will likely be able to get the Quiet Zone funded and provided by the capital project funding without needing to redirect funds from city's budget.
The city should not spend money on this project, unless there is no shortage of resources and unless funds would not have to be redirected from some other project, which is not likely to be the case for the forseeable future.
This Editorial Board has been reeling and roiling over making endorsements for the Redlands City Council. Now here we are, the night before the election, wondering if we should say anything at all, but feeling strongly that we want to.
At the Daily Facts, we were an advisory board. The editor was a member of the board and could overrule us, as could the newpapers group’s editorial board overrule her.
But now it’s just us. We have the final say, and for this editorial, we do not have consensus.
We decided to opine as we could and to encourage discussion, but we will not endorse anyone.
Here are our thoughts.
We see an opportunity this Election Day to increase diversity in our representation, and we urge voters to embrace that.
This season’s field offers candidates who will bring diversity through race, geography, age and gender.
Dustin J. Foster has the support of the most board members.
The Redlands City Council comprises Baby Boomers, and in this town, Millennials outnumber retirement-age citizens. We should have a young professional’s perspective in the decision-making.
Foster has a position on development that appeals to us: thoughtful and responsible. Yes, we should accept growth, but yes, we should leave our open space unencroached.
He has forward thinking in terms of walkable, liveable downtown living spaces.
And despite living here for less than two years, he is more knowledgeable on local issues than many natives. He has done his homework.
He must be cautious, though, not to become a one-issue representative. He seems to work bicycles into every answer he gives and that we do not think is wise.
Some of us are responding well to Ivan Ramirez.
He too wants to see responsible development that respects the character and heritage of our community.
He has demonstrated a strong understanding of how municipal government works.
He also helps the council better reflect this community, which is more than 30 percent Latino.
We have mixed feelings about Pat Gilbreath, the only female candidate. Some Editorial Board members want to endorse her, and some object to supporting her in this editorial. Some have gone back and forth.
She is the longest-serving councilmember, cumulatively, in Redlands history, and that means she can add context to any issue on the table. She has been a part of ongoing projects from the beginning, which gives her a useful depth of understanding.
But most of the board feels this election is an opportunity for voters to go in a new direction.
We have enjoyed a balanced budget during hard times nationwide, in part because of the conservative approach her reputation is founded on.
She has made decisions she knew would be unpopular, because she knew they were right -- most recently, supporting the water-rate increase.
But we feel her flopped vote on preserving the future of Prospect Park by replacing the trees was a dark moment.
Andy Hoder is by far the most engaged of the non-incumbent candidates.
He has attended and spoken at council meetings for years, and he researches issues before speaking out on them. He is also a veteran, and great supporter of the city’s tree population. But he, like John James, offers no element of diversity to the council.
Hoder also says he wants to repeal the water-rate hike, which we supported in a previous editorial. He believes he can find funding for our water system somewhere else. We don’t think that’s realistic.
James gets credit for supporting the Citrus Commission and city staff’s recommendation to replant part of the Prospect Park grove. This shows respect for the two years of time and resources invested in determining what is in the community’s best interest. He and Mayor Pro Tem Jon Harrison are the only two who were consistent in this position.
Kaiser Ahmed, Eddie Tejeda and Mike Saifie speak with such generality that they pass up the opportunity to show they know what the issues are, what programs are already in place, or what advocate groups are already there to support.
When they talk as though they are going to fix a problem, even though we have passionate and organized groups in place, the candidates come across as unprepared for the post.
They say things like “I’m going to improve safety,” and “I’m going to make things better for students.” We want to hear what they intend to change and how.
Ahmed and Tejeda both seem to be thoughtful and dedicated, though, and both, Tejeda and Ahmed add diversity in race; Tejeda, also in geography.
Saifie’s website has a tab for his position on the issues, but it doesn’t mention downtown growth, traffic, the grove acreage, development near the airport, the rail project, the quiet zones, open space, water infrastructure or budget priorities.
He says he will run Redlands like a business. We are not employees; we are the citizens voices the council is supposed to represent.
We unanimously do not support Ken Hunter.
He promises to overturn the water-rate hike, which we think is the wrong move for Redlands. He also supports the Tea Party movement to bar Syrian refugees from our community -- a position we have denounced previously.
Hunter is the only candidate who did not attend any of the candidate forums. We hear the message that sends to the community loud and clear.
Regardless of which candidates win, it is great to see that so many candidates running,
which indicates that there is more interest -- especially among the young and new residents of this great city.
We believe that Mario Saucedo is uniquely qualified to take our already strong school district to greater success.
He has identified room for improvement in vocational training opportunities, whole family engagement and language education.
He has identified partnerships the school district can forge with local businesses to prepare students with a wide range of aspirations for success after high school.
He has identified partnerships to maximize the use of facilities to benefit the whole community.
He has identified voices in the student body that are not being equally represented.
He knows the special education program must be held to higher standards, and is personally invested in finding a path to improvement.
And he knows that success in school starts with opportunities and health in homes and neighborhoods.
We have in the offering candidates homogeneous to the board we have (with the exception of Richard Haller, whom we also recommend, because we believe it’s important the board have representation from Highland). We can’t be greater if we stay the same.
What we need is a board member that offers diversity of perspective, that supplements the rest of the board. The goal should be to keep rising.
As a third-generation Redlander and a product of the Redlands Unified School District, as a parent and a grandparent of RUSD students, as a more than 20-year community advocate who has been honored repeatedly for bringing positive change to the youth and to the families of Redlands, Saucedo has more than earned your support.
His history includes serving as chairman of the North Redlands Visioning Committee, board member of the Redlands Community Foundation, commissioner of the Housing Authority of San Bernardino, and board member of YouthHope. His tenure on the Housing Authority has given him experience managing million dollar budgets. He is a 29-year employee of the city of Redlands of Water Department, and currently works as a crew leader.
He says he loves this community, and a lifetime of action has demonstrated so.
There is simply no other candidate who can improve the educational experience in Redlands the way Mario Saucedo can, and we enthusiastically recommend he get your vote Tuesday.
Redlands public high schools should start later than 7:30 a.m.
Any parent of a teen can tell you first-hand what medical literature also states: Teens' body clocks are wired to stay up late and sleep late. Schools that start so early do a disservice to the teens they are trying to educate.
The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees: “Studies show that adolescents who don’t get enough sleep often suffer physical and mental health problems, an increased risk of automobile accidents and a decline in academic performance.”
In August 2014, the Academy issued a policy statement recommending that middle and high schools delay the start of class to 8:30 a.m. or later. The Academy found that “the evidence strongly suggests that a too-early start to the school day is a critical contributor to chronic sleep deprivation among American adolescents.”
The National Sleep Foundation also has documented research on the body clocks of teens and the connection between teen sleep deprivation and early school start times. Teens’ biology causes them to function better later at night and to need to sleep later in the morning. The Foundation supports a later school start time for teens.
So does at least one member of Congress. As early as 1999, California Representative Zoe Lofgren introduced a congressional resolution (the so-called ZZZ’s to A’s Act) to encourage school agencies to move secondary school start times later than 9 a.m. A bill that Representative Lofgren introduced in 2014 states that Congress has found that “Numerous local educational agencies have recently changed or are considering changing school start times in an effort to improve adolescent health, well-being, and performance.”
Redlands should follow the recommendation of these experts and take the initiative locally to move high school start times to 8:30 a.m. Teens don’t sleep late because they’re lazy; they sleep late because of biology.
Bus schedules are not an impediment to changing the high schools' start time. Those without high-school students in their households might be surprised to learn that there is no school bus service for high school students in our district.
Students and their parents are on their own to arrive on campus by 7:20. Now think about 16- and 17-year-old new drivers driving themselves to school at 7:15 in the morning—those sleep-deprived teens should not be racing to school at that hour. Late start might begin to sound more appealing to anyone in the community out and about at that time.
Clubs abound at all of the high schools, and many students carve out time in their busy schedules to participate. But most clubs meet at lunchtime -- not after school -- so club meetings would not be affected by a later start time.
The tricky part of changing the high school start time is athletics. Practices and games often start not long after the current school day ends. For away games and matches, athletes are dismissed about an hour before the final bell rings.
Sports would need to start one hour later if school starts one hour later. A bad idea would be to start school later but keep the current sports schedule. This would mean that student-athletes would need to miss an additional hour of academics on game days. Student-athletes are already trying to cope with the demands of balancing school and sport. Let's not make it any harder for them by making them miss more class time.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, “most districts that have changed their start time have experienced few problems with regard to athletics.
Redlands would need to be the trailblazer in showing other high schools in its Citrus Belt League that late start benefits teens and anyone who works and lives with teens.
Nationally about 15 percent of U.S. high schools start after 8:30 a.m.; 40 percent start before 8 a.m. We are in the 10 percent that wants students on campus before 7:30 a.m. ”
The public high schools in Redlands do start at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesdays to accommodate a weekly staff meeting. So late start can work, and high school and district administrators know it.
Data on teen health and safety support starting school later as a good idea. But improvements in attendance, behavior and test scores would mean that late start would benefit the school and RUSD administration as well as students.
The RUSD School Board and administration should consider revising its policy and practice on high school start time and begin school at 8:30 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m.
Teens would be more alert and might achieve more. And that’s what it’s all about.
Saving a stunning 120-acre piece of open space in the city of Redlands is important, but the activists have too big a challenge to succeed the way they're doing it.
Raising enough in donations before a developer buys the already-approved-for-development land appears untenable.
The current owner wants more than $9 million. Save Live Oak Canyon has raised about $3,000. The property appraises around $4 million.
Time could run out any day.
A new strategy is in order.
The parcel includes sprawling and rolling acreage that has historical and scenic significance, in addition to sacred and practical value.
It must not be bulldozed.
With live oak woodlands, chaparral, interior sage scrub and lots of nooks and crannies, it’s part of a wildlife habitat and corridor for foxes, coyotes, birds, mountain lions, deer, reptiles, insects and other vital members of our local ecosystem.
It was tribal land once, and a Native American geoglyph -- now depicted in tribute on the side of Interstate 10 was there, evidenced in an aerial photograph taken in 1938.
Like other geoglyph sites, the one in Live Oak Canyon is a solar observatory that marks seasonal changes. At summer solstice the sun rises right in the notch between San Bernardino Peak and Mt. San Gorgonio. At winter solstice it rises right behind the peak of Mt. San Jacinto. That’s what made this spot sacred to native peoples and to this day it’s a magical event for anyone who goes there to watch a solstice sunrise.
Redlands is steeped in the history of its white founders, but we’ve neglected and sometimes actively demolished our rich Native American sites and artifacts. The Redlands geoglyph was bulldozed sometime in the 1940s. Right now the geoglyph site is where a house pad sits on the development map.
It’s the only place in the Inland Empire where you can gaze out over a 180-degree vista as far as the eye can see, from Mt. San Gorgonio to Mt. San Jacinto to the Badlands, and see only natural open space.
It has cycling, running, hiking and horseback riding trails unparalleled in our region, that connect with the regional trail system to San Timoteo Canyon, Crafton Hills and the rest of Redlands. And it’s only five minutes from downtown!
According to the Redlands Conservancy, this kind of recreational opportunity attracts educated, professional residents to settle in a community.
Furthermore, open space is considered the “ultimate tax cap.” Protected open space can help keep property taxes from going up because increased development leads to increased demand for government services. Preserved open space will never produce homes, schools, roads and other costly infrastructure and public services that will significantly increase our taxes in the future.
The qualities of this land improve the quality of life for all of us.
It is such important land, that even if a developer buys it, 80 percent is mandated preserved as open space, and it’s adjacent to large land holdings that have already been preserved as open space, thanks to the diligent efforts of the Redlands Conservancy, the City of Redlands and generous local benefactors.
But putting a community of large homes on 20 percent disrupts the entire canyon.
The development would cut off animal migration and plant dispersal between Live Oak Canyon and Crafton Hills, obstruct the views of homeowners rimming the canyon, destroy historical resources and erode the tranquility of the canyon.
Once this site is altered, it can’t be restored to how it is now. We can not unring a bell.
Despite their passion and good intentions, the residents trying to raise enough money to buy the property outright don’t have the experience or the connections to make it happen. Their time and energy are better spent coming up with an alternative way to preserve the land, and we urge the residents of Redlands to join them.
The new game Pokemon Go has teens, children, adults and whole families covering Redlands in droves, and this is great for our town and our citizens.
They’re going to parks. The other night around sundown on the dirt roads in Prospect Park there were dozens of parents out with their kids, all with their cell phones out hunting Pokemon, together as families.
They are discovering Redlands’ walking and bicycle paths. In order for the Pokemon eggs to hatch, the phone’s owner must walk or cycle 3 kilometers. Some teen gamers are saying out loud that they rarely go outside, but that it’s nice.
They are seeing what our Bowl’s Summer Music Festival has to offer. There are characters to catch there, so the players go. Then they look up and take note of the entertainment.
They’re learning at the San Bernardino County Museum, where players have to read from exhibits in order to capture a Pokeball.
They are going into shops downtown -- many discovering them for the first time. They’re shopping and eating, which supports the local economy.
Some of the businesses are coming up with specials for the Pokemon Go players. They’re engaging them and developing new relationships.
The city’s Healthy Redlands Saturday, a wonderful project initiated by Councilwoman Pat Gilbreath, is marketing to Pokemon Go players who need to hatch their eggs. They can all walk those 3 kilometers together. (Meet at Sylvan Park weekly from 8 to 11 a.m. There is no cost to participate. Check in is at the table located near the Rose Garden off of Chapel Street. Bottled water and snacks will be provided.)
And the A.K. Smiley Public Library will host a Pokémon Meetup on Thursday, July 28 from 1 to 4 p.m. in the A.K. Smiley Public Library Assembly Room. There are multiple PokeStops, and the library advertises its cell-phone charging stations and free Wi-Fi so players don't use up their data. "Make some new friends, have some fun and catch some Pokémon! Feel free to wear any Pokémon attire you may have.” the library posted on Facebook.
What a wonderful way to build community! What a beautiful way to make Redlands the kind of place parents want to raise families in.
Just as with running, Frisbee tossing, training for the Olympics or any other heralded activity, participants must stay out of people’s yards, be attentive of surroundings and take care to avoid injury. Most games or sports will see some people who are not respectful or responsible, sadly.
But this game is getting people of multiple generations to experience Redlands, and that’s good stuff.
The city of Redlands should follow the state of California and eliminate all water-use restrictions.
Increasing the permissible number of watering days from two to three, as the Municipal Utilities and Engineering Department will recommend to the City Council in July, is not enough.
We should be trusted to moderate our own water use, to maintain or alter our landscaping in a way we can be proud of.
We should not feel at risk of punitive action when we water trees, which keep our air cleaner and cooler. Also, the beauty of Redlands' trees is a long tradition and one in which residents take great pride. The city itself is urging residents to water the city owned street trees.
Ratepayers are adults, and most of us can grasp the need conserve water for the sake of the environment. We can see and feel that we are in an ongoing drought, (we would not support going back to fining for brown lawns.)
Higher water rates -- which this editorial board agrees are necessary -- will be enough of a dissuasion.
Chris Diggs, the director of the MUED, announced last week it will direct the $61,000 it was to be fined into both water-conservation education and an incentive program.
Both of these programs will contribute to smarter water use, and by the way, this is the kind of leadership approach we applaud.
Encouraging and supporting conservation instead of mandating it will better serve the relationship between the government and the governed.
Yes, under threat of state authority we can see that restrictions were appropriate when they were issued. But the state stepped off.
Redlands is reputed for its residential layout and the residents have been known for their pride in their homes and the ‘green’ environment.
It’s time for the city to announce we are on our own honor.
Meet the Editorial Board