You know last week the School Board met to talk about the process on how they were going to start to talk about AUSD’s facilities needs and all that jazz? Well, they finally popped up the meeting video and it was, um, frustrating to say the least.
Essentially there will be a series of meeting that will allow a group of stakeholders, however that is defined, to rattle off a list of pretty much anything and everything they want to happen at the Historic Alameda High School, regardless of reality or anything based in reality. So if someone said, “I want to see the building razed to the ground and a gleaming 15 story tall glass and steel residential tower” that gets added to the list. I dare someone to send that email to facilitator Jeff Cambra (jeffcambra at earthlink dot net)
It will be a conveniently fact free exercise, the only thing that matters is that everyone gets heard in the process.
The irony of this whole thing is that during the meeting, School Board member Trish Spencer proceeded to rattle off a whole list of information she needed and wanted thrown up on the District’s website as though Jeff Cambra had somehow been hired as the School Board’s personal research assistant including information about how the Field Act works, general square footage, history of the High School, how much bonds have been taken out previously, blah blah blah. And then a representative from the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society stood up to say that the underlying issue was cost and that without more information then the stakeholders couldn’t speak from a place of knowledge.
Which is pretty much what School Boardmember Mike McMahon said at the meeting when the School Board first discussed this issue and then got hammered because his first pass at making the point turned out pretty inelegantly. As long as the information — which will have to come from District staff because Jeff Cambra made it pretty clear that he’s there just to facilitate and not to do any research — is not “trusted” by the eventual decision makers then the information is useless.
The fact is at the end of the day, without knowing how much stuff will cost and not requiring people to make suggestions based on cost the burden will be on the School Board to make the hard decisions knowing that everyone wants what they want, but knowing that the resources are limited to make most of those options happen.