Some people have been asking why building a new middle school at our current downtown Cunha site requires changing our Local Coastal Program to prohibit construction of new schools west of Highway One.

» Here's a simple explanation:

The easy way to build a new school at Cunha NOW would have been for the school board just to do it. Or they could have held a district-wide vote to let the citizens decide whether they wanted to keep waiting, and waiting, for Wavecrest

A number of parents urged the board to pursue one of these alternatives some 18 months ago, when the board re-opened the site debate and solicited opinions. We attended numerous board meetings. We wrote letters to the editor and gathered 1,365 signatures on an advisory petition. All to no effect. It was only after the Wavecrest school site remained completely stalled before the Coastal Commission for yet a fourth year that we started the initiative process.

» Now for a little Public Policy 101.

A citizens’ ballot initiative isn’t just a declaration. You can’t just propose: “We want to build our school at Cunha now” and vote it into law. An initiative must make an actual change or addition to a legal and legally binding ordinance. In our case, living on the coast, our governing document is the LCP -- our Local Coastal Program. So we went about crafting an initiative that would achieve our desired goal by amending that governing document.

The “Build It Now” initiative amends the LCP to add a new chapter articulating a civic vision of a “pedestrian-friendly, centrally-located downtown core” because it’s good for kids, eases traffic, fosters community and encourages Main Street commerce. We go further to highlight Cunha Middle School as among our cherished downtown institutions and, for all the foregoing reasons, declare that we do not wish to allow school construction (Hatch improvements exempted) west of Highway 1. To enact the above ordinance, the initiative must also amend the entire LCP to conform. You can’t add a new chapter that is at odds with other chapters. In this case, we had to go into the Wavecrest Village Draft Specific Plan section of the LCP -- the chapter adopted when a previous city council entered the development agreement (now in default) with Wavecrest Partners back in 1999 -- and literally strike out all references to the middle school contained within that project. In other words, we had to disentangle the school from the Wavecrest housing development chapter of the city's LCP.

Without making these changes to the LCP, our initiative would have no teeth or legally binding effect. In fact, it would not be an initiative at all. Elections officials wouldn’t have allowed us even to circulate a petition, much less place the item on an official ballot. The initiative process is very carefully prescribed. It is a serious and complex process, for good reason. It's not to be undertaken lightly. And believe me, we busy mothers do not make this enormous investment of time and resources lightly. We are doing it for our children.

» Measure D gives a voice to the people.

A Superior Court judge unequivocally re-affirmed that right in September when he denied Wavecrest Partners' last-minute attempt to have our initiative removed from the ballot.

It is time to un-couple our middle school from the Wavecrest Village Development, which is hopelessly mired in legal, environmental and administrative red tape. There's no telling when or if a new middle school will be built at Wavecrest. We must show our elected officials an alternative vision.

For our kids.
For our community.
Build It Now.

Vote YES on Measure D.
Every Vote Will Count.

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