And The Beat Goes On………
Today is yet another sad day in a long string of sad days in San Bernardino politics. What is it about this county that drives us to continue to elect and re-elect these arrogant politicians? The list is as long as your arm, from the Colton City Council to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors…now to the Colton Joint Unified School District. From Jerry Eaves to Ramon Hernandez to Bill Postmus, we continue to pick the wrong people.
The events of today clearly revealed to me that we’ve done it again with the Colton School Board. Now, let me be clear; this IS about the naming of the new Grand Terrace High School after Colton resident Ray Abril; but it’s also about much more. We’ve already covered all the pertinent ground on the high school name. We’ve already established that this school should be named after the city in which it will be built and for the students who will identify the school with the City of Grand Terrace. And, we’ve already established that, as Grand Terrace residents, our wishes and pleas have been completely ignored…even mocked by members of the school board and school district. So why am I writing this? What’s my point? There is more.
Now…back to my point on arrogance. Today I attended the official ground-breaking ceremony for the new Grand Terrace High School. I watched…stunned… as School Board Member Mel Albiso smirked and waved from the podium as Grand Terrace residents expressed their displeasure with this naming decision. I watched…stunned…as the other board members who spoke, completely dismissed the fact that we were upset…that we were even present. I waited patiently for some healing words from Kent Taylor and David Zamora, the Grand Terrace representatives on the school board. Those words were not to come…they did not speak. The argument of the school board is, and has been, that this school is to serve the entire district, not just Grand Terrace. My response to that argument is, “I know we’re not the entire district but aren’t we still a part of the district?” Should we not still be heard?
I watched…stunned…truly saddened…as members of the Abril family waved their sign which, directly counter to Mr. Abril’s claim of humility, stated in bold letters, “IT'S RAY ABRIL HIGH SCHOOL, GET OVER IT!” My sadness deepened when two Abril family members yelled to us, “There is no Grand Terrace High School, and there never will be.” Then they “gave us the finger” as they walked back toward the Abril photo shoot. That was the second time that Grand Terrace residents were given “the finger” at this ceremony. The first was the collective figurative finger given by the members of the Colton Joint Unified School District.
And I felt a great sense of loss for the entire City of Grand Terrace as I stood quietly and watched as Ray Abril and his extended family were photographed with the school board members breaking ground on our new high school. They took from us a moment that was meant to be shared by an entire community…not a single family. This was a moment that has been a dream of many in Grand Terrace and Colton for many years…and it was yanked from our grasp at the last minute by this school board. I guess what I’m not getting is why the school board and Abril family can’t at least understand the reason for our anger and hurt as a community.
Keep on smirking Albiso…keep on smirking. Your day will come and when it does, I’ll be in the front row with a big smirk of my own. This is simply another instance of San Bernardino County politics in play. It’s just more of the same…back-room deal making, coercion, lies, betrayal, and mocking of the public who is to be served. This school board has made it clear, through their words and deeds, that there is nothing we can do about this…that they are in no way accountable to us.
THEY ARE WRONG! I think that, based on these events, a recall is warranted. It’s a long tough climb and, even if we fail to remove anyone from office, we can make them quite uncomfortable. We must remind them that they are indeed accountable to the people…yes, even to Grand Terrace people. This is clearly wrong and we have to do something…they’re daring us to…telling us that we have no voice. Let’s come together and show them some voice. Let’s show them some democracy. If we don’t do something than we are indeed as helpless and weak as the Colton Joint Unified School Board would have us believe that we are.
I will end on the one bright spot of the entire ceremony. When it was her turn to speak, Grand Terrace Mayor Maryetta Ferre at long last gave us our voice. Looking in the direction of the school board members, she stated how disappointed she was with the school board’s decision to name the high school after an individual. She then turned directly to us and proclaimed in a loud and clear voice that the name should be GRAND TERRACE HIGH SCHOOL. That was a very courageous stand to make in this corrupt county but Mayor Ferre, unlike our school board members, is keenly aware of who elected her… and she has always been aware of what is right and what is wrong.
Brian L. Reinarz
Grand Terrace Resident