Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New School

Southern Humboldt School District will be gaining a new school. Sparkling bright and new, like it hasn’t been since I went to school here with the Class of “63!

It speaks well of the people of Southern Humboldt to stack another tax burden on themselves, during poor economic times, so the young people can have a school. The tax as I understand it will be in the amount of $60/$100,000 of assessed evaluation. I heard many people grouse and gripe and complain about the tax, although nobody that I talked to denied that we need a new school. But alas, it is sad that no matter what tax that we stack upon ourselves, we seem to always lose something in the long run. Once something is funded, other sources of funding dry up and get diverted. Just as the Lottery money helped the schools, other funding was taken away because of it.

We seem to be helpless in the face of the overwhelming pressure of our government to spend money in other ways than we might approve. Even though I approved of the tax, indeed I publicly endorsed the bond issue, we need to be vigilant in the way the money is spent. I saw many flaws in the proposed plan to build a new school. The proposed plan for the new school is a two-story building. The cost of building and maintaining an elevator for the disabled will be uncontrollable. All maintenance will have to be performed by very expensive outside contractors. Any money that will be saved by building a two-story building will be way more than offset by the difficulty of maintaining it. We would be far better served by buying adjacent land if need be, or simple building a ground level building on the land that is available. Sorry to be practical, but I’ve helped build many two-story buildings, and helped maintain them. I know their flaws. In view of the fact that Southern Humboldt was so generous to the schools, we need to see that the money is not wasted.

Having made my gripes, I would like to commend all of the board members and school officials and volunteers that have worked so hard to get the bond issue tax passed. Especially Dennis O’sullivan who was able to convince me to endorse and vote for this burden on my tight-waddedness despite my misgivings.

Now it begins….



Joseph said...

It is important that people understand that the decisions about what is to be built in the way of schools is directly subject to approval by locally elected school board trustees. There are a lot of rules about what can be done and what must be done, for safety, access, etc. These days, there should be a lot of attention to energy conservation and efficiency. If I were you, I would agitate to make the building as "green" as possible. That will seriously reduce operating costs.

Anonymous said...

I also want to thank the Save Our Schools. They have raised everyone's awareness of the problem.

Ben said...

Ernie... I sure do agree with you. When I was a Janitor at South Fork, I soon realized that the public had been totally screwed by the contractors for the "new" high school. The school was little over 20 years old and falling apart. That was in 1980. The cafeteria, which was leftover from the older high school, was in better shape than the new buildings. Far better construction quality. Certainly the new school should be one story. I'm pleased that folks saw the need for measure L.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I would also like to see them spend some time shopping around for better ideas.

Any new school being built will have to pay "prevailing wage" to the laborers. Prevailing wage is usually much more than competent workers will normally work for. Sadly, we most likely don’t have any local construction companies that will qualify to do the work. It’s almost laughable that southern Humboldt has more “carpenters” per capita than any other place in the world. But we don’t qualify to build a school.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I've been working on a history post, but it is a subject that I'm not very familiar with. I'm just about to get my brain wrapped around it and I will be posting it within a day or two... or three.

Jon said...

Ernie its about time you pulled out the hammer of Knowledge and wack the old brain a little harder.

All the money you good folks are going to be paying for you schools if built are going to cost you at least 12 times more than a private school or business would pay for the same facilities. ie:

Used to earn my keep drilling and servicing water wells. So a few years back looked at a bid for a well and storage/delivery system for a new casino. Specifications and contract amounted to a quarter of and inch of paper. Cost of completed well and system:
Six months later the School District put out for bids for the exact same type of well and delivery system on the same water formation.
Took a look at the paper work and although the well called for the same specifications as were the specs on the delivery system (well pump, water storage, pressure delivery pumps and separate fire suppression pumps with back up generators just like the Casino system) the contract was two and a half inches thick. Winning bid on the School:


We did not bid as that would have been stealing our own money (Tax dollars). I did pencil the project and found that before a profit I would have to go 2.3 just to do all the crap in the contract. Same water same system.

Just remember that when the Tax Payers retire the bond, with the interest we will have paid over 5 MILLION DOLLARS for a 350 Thousand Dollar well.

Ernie Branscomb said...

You're not talking to any greenhorn here. I've been a refrigertaion, heating and air-conditioning contractor my whole life. I've done a few school and HUD jobs, so I know how much money they can move.

Back in the good-old-days it made no difference, because all the money stayed local. But, now I seriously doubt the any jobs will be let locally. (I don't want one anyway)

I doubt that the school will consider trying to keep any of the money in the community. They will only be concerned will the bottom line. Only a few school officials and teachers live in the local area, so they are already a big bleed on the local dollar. The ironic part is the combination of marijuana legalization and this school bond issue, it will kill the local economy and all the kids will move away.

The bonds will probably be bought by offshore investers, so the money will bleed out of Sohum from now into eternity. I'm planning on dying of a very old age to get out of it. Some chinese investor will probably buy my house for unpaid back taxes.

I agree that nothing can piss away money like a public project. And, I'm being optimistic today. But, how do you say NO! to a kid? As evidenced by the fact that the bond issue passed by a landslide, including my vote.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute. Is the legalization of mj a foregone conclusion?? And if so, what are the possible economic GAINS for the county coffers? Given the much-hyped "Humboldt County-grade marijuana" label, how would the existing local profiteers adapt to "regulation & taxation"? Better to pay a portion to the tax collector than remain underground at the risk of arrest for tax evasion. (Think Al Capone.)

Ernie Branscomb said...

“Is the legalization of mj a foregone conclusion??”

Not really, but it is a moot point. If California doesn’t legalize it. Colorado and other states will, which will leave California out of the economic picture.

“Given the much-hyped "Humboldt County-grade marijuana" label, how would the existing local profiteers adapt to "regulation & taxation"? Better to pay a portion to the tax collector than remain underground at the risk of arrest for tax evasion. (Think Al Capone.)”

There are a variety of reasons why “legal marijuana” will not be the answer to any person’s, or government’s, economic problems. The value of MJ will be reduced to the point that they will have to produce more MJ than is produced now. One big one (for southern Humboldt) is that we don’t have enough water. It just doesn’t balance out. I’ve been wrong before, but I’m glad that I’m not in the MJ business, I have enough government “help” in the business that I’m in.

Anonymous said...

I went to the 1st and 4th grade in the qounset hut at Garberville Elementary School. The 4th grade room had a wood stove just like the one pictured on your post.
I was just wondering why the school district doesn't find some of those old quonset huts for the new school. It would keep the construction costs down by about 98%. I'm sure I will get flack for this as I am sure the kids can get smarter in a multi million dollar school. I'm proof of that.


Ross Sherburn said...

Oregon,I ran into that stove one time,had to have several stitches in my forehead!

Anonymous said...

That doesn't surprise me Ross, they put the stove right in the middle of the room. What were they thinking anyway?

Ross Sherburn said...

There was just one qounset hut,correct?But it was divided in the middle to make two class rooms?
I wish Oregon&Ernie would name some of the teachers of that era.I can only remember the name of Mrs.Fleherty!!!I almost remember the principles name before McDonald??? Over 50 years now!

Anonymous said...

I think Ernie was an old guy when he moved from Laytonville. I don't remember if he went to the Garberville school. Heck, I don't remember when the Redway school was built, he might have gone to school there. I just get in deeper here, I better wait for Ernie to answer those questions. I do have all my yearbooks from Southern Humboldt starting at 1954. Dang, I just gave away my age.
I can look up all the teachers from my era at garberville. I only went to Redway one year and then to SFHS starting my 8th year of school.


Ross Sherburn said...

I went to Redway for two years,before we moved away. Long Damn bus ride,from Garberville!!! LOL!

Dave Kirby said...

When I was on the Healthcare District board we were looking to upgrade one of the restrooms so that we could expand the Skilled Nursing Facility. The S.N.F. was making money and had a waiting list. We got some local trades people involved and solicited donations of material. We were ready to go when we informed by the state that we would have to use "approved contractors" and pay prevailing San Francisco wages. End of upgrade. The fact is Sacramento has been sucking up to unions and other special interest groups to the point that the quality of healthcare for many is being damaged by the greed of the few. And I say that as a life long Democrat.

Anonymous said...

Dang Ross, you were spoiled. When I went the Redway school I walked. It was uphill both ways from Garberville. However it was good practice for packing those bucks out of the canyons.


Ernie Branscomb said...

I started school in laytonville in the first grade, they didn't have kindergarten. I spent a year in Covelo in the fourth grade, then back to laytonville.

In the sixth grade we moved to Garberville.

I dodged the Garberville school. I started in the Sixth grade at Redway Elementary School. I went to Redway through the eighth grade, then to South Fork for four years.

Oregon told me his teacher was Clinkscales.

Anonymous said...

Dang Ernie, I didn't know you went to school in Covelo. Where have I been the last 60 odd years?

Ross Sherburn said...

What about Jerry Flora? Is he still around?I had him in about the 5th grade in Redway??? I think his father was an old time logger from Oregon!

Anonymous said...

If Ernie went to school in Covelo during the forth grade? Who was Everett working/logging for???

olmanriver said...

Ernie you moved downstream on the Eel, that is, you got here around 1955... before or after the flood of '55?