Wednesday, September 26, 2018

UCR+RUSD? NEIGHBORS SAY WHOA!

A TALE OF TWO SCHOOLS -

BSC, CA – Strap on your skates, Gordie, we're going in for a strafing run. To understand last night's SRO* public info meeting that happened at Riverside's University of California, we need to look at all the angles, not just the neighborhood's Kevin Dawson, pictured in our lead in shot. But before we get to the back story, we'd like to take a moment to welcome new readers aboard. We have a Vice attitude with a LIFE Magazine eye. Plug's over, let's move on.


The concept is simple: take a selected few high school kids, the cream of the crop and place them in an educational hotbox, a spot for them to grow and prosper, as Spock would say. You then have this group of privileged kids, all genders/races, and put them in a pristine environment with college age peers for atmosphere. You isolate this space from the outside world and cater special transportation routes. Funds for this plan for architects, contractors, lending etc., all come online. Everyone is happy, right? That's the theory, like Darwin.

Well, we all know of Darwin and his theory. They give an award to the most inventive person, you could say, to garner the honor every year, but I digress. Putting a high school on a University campus, while very novel and forward thinking, has been tried before. San Diego did it with special testing and chose the most disadvantaged youngsters to enter this special concept. LA, a town that I love, but took a $1,000,000 in grant money from Skid Row [sleep on the sidewalks type of place] and put it instead for the bankers with privilege in Bunker Hill, rewarding the elite, went the other way in choice. Last night was the first 'preliminary' meeting to be held according to a neighborhood suit led by the guy in the opening picture. Small world or usual tactics? Make the jump.

The presentation area was Standing Room Only* as the 'preliminary' meeting took place at 6PM on UCR in hopes of getting feedback done by 7:30 or so. Though a notice had gone out to the neighborhood, many of the people there happened upon the meeting notice, particularly the UCR students. This is an error not to be repeated for the November 1st meeting, promised several student leaders there in attendance last night.




It must be pointed out that Jeff, the UCR PR person in charge of the roll-out neighborhood, and local lawyer Letitia Pepper had a point-of-order contention that painted opposing sides. Letitia and the settlement list preliminary as a meeting set with neighborhood, sans public, RSUD, and grant programs; some sites listing the project and possible drawings with just UCR.  PR person Jeff has an idea that preliminary means getting rubber-stamp approval for plans already developed. As one can see, there is a bone of contention here.

At any rate, Jeff had the conceptual plans presented.



The three story high school is shown in these completed drawings. Seems preliminary to me but the real unifying rub came in the next set of artists renditions.




These three diagrams show the traffic impart on Watkins, a major link across the northeast corridor of town and the need for a more comprehensive EIA. There was hardly any traffic added to on-campus routes or parking for extra staff. Traffic, it turned out was the No.1 concern for 99% of residents there. Traffic and parking were a major concern for the students as several expressed the dilemma of commuting and finding limited student parking available, a very precious commodity stretched even thinner with the addition of 800 more high school students. Or you can pony up 200 bucks a semester to park on campus.

There were a plectra of other concerns but the use of Measure O funds meant to bring rundown school programs up to date being subverted to Stem High School add-ons for the RUSD programs and grants [free money] paints the picture for the type of school desired at UCR by RUSD. This means the Stem high school here will be for the elites, whose kids have a leg up, if they want it, to UCR over the local 2/3s turned away yearly.

With all this doom and gloom talk, was there any solutions? You bet your sweet bippy there was. One ready made location is right on campus at Canyon Crest but 'someone' on the RSUD didn't like that place in their preliminary planning stage. Another location suggested by the neighbors waiting on a tenant is the vacant Super K-Mart building off Iowa and Blaine Streets, located by 3 bus stops and a huge parking lot. The ample space just begs for a tenant and is at an end of the campus so as not to put the high school students at risk.

Mentioned as a prime concern is the risk purported to sexual assault, a problem at the present STEM high school and a risk with underage people on a college campus. Surprisingly, at the School Board meeting the men voted to have the high schoolers fenced off from the college population but it was the women members who wanted 'no fences' for the ultimate experience. As a father and grandfather, I wonder if these women know of Foam Parties or have 16 year old girls in school.


The day of this party the campus was like someone had raptured the place, lol.

Join us in November for the next episode of the neighborhood. Where's Mr. Rodgers when you really need him?



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