|SouthSanJose.com: The Community Web Site Serving Santa Teresa, Almaden Valley, Blossom Valley, Coyote Valley and Evergreen|
|Wednesday, January 19th, 2000 @ 5:35 PM|
Subj: Robertsville still CAIRs|
From: email@example.com (Jim Chase)
An open letter to the citizens of Robertsville
Dear fellow community members,
By now you have seen the demolition of the field at John Muir that has taken place at the hands of San Jose Unified School district. Ironically, the demolition occurred in much the same way the initial approval did - over a holiday weekend. Most of you are probably convinced that the issue is dead, case closed, a done deal. Despite the images that support that thinking, I must assure you that CAIR continues to work to see that our community is protected and heard.
Just before the holidays, we filed a legal challenge to the district's site selection and environmental analysis on the proposed Broadway/Muir co-location. We also requested a temporary restraining order to prevent them from beginning construction until the challenge is heard. On January 4th, a superior court judge denied the restraining order and ruled that the district could proceed with the school site construction at its own risk while the legal challenge continues. If our challenge is successful, they risk having to start the site selection process over again and would have to restore any changes to the Muir site. CAIR leadership is confident we will win this challenge.
In the meantime, SJUSD has decided to move as quickly as they can to build the new Continuation school at the Muir site. Despite their claims of continuing to research other options and to work to find a better site, they have committed to the Muir site. Actions clearly speak louder than words. The district has been wholly committed to the Muir site since the July 1, 1999 vote made to select Muir; a vote that we believe was made in violation of our rights.
As for CAIR, we continue to do all we can to live up to our charter to make Robertsville the best place it can be. To that end, today we are appealing the decision on the temporary restraining order to prevent any further destruction of the limited open space we have in the community. We consider these fields to be an important natural resource and are concerned that the loss of space, increased traffic and parking problems will have a profound negative impact on the community. This is why we are so determined to press on. The decision on our appeal should be known in the coming days.
I would like to invite you to attend a community update meeting we will hold this Sunday, Jan 23, at 3PM on the Muir campus. At that time we will give you detailed explanations of where we stand, what the possible outcomes are, and how you can help us stand up to the tyranny SJUSD is using to destroy the spirit of community in Robertsville.
In closing, I am attaching two letters recently written regarding the Broadway/Muir co-location issue. Many of your fellow citizens have similar feelings on the matter. I hope to see you on Sunday.
Thanks for CAIRing!
January 17, 2000
On the Broadway Relocation
As the Freedom Train pulled from Diridon Station on a day set aside for honoring the memory of Dr. Kingıs contribution to Civil Rights in America, the San Jose Unified School District exercised raw power over the Robertsville Community by commencing the destruction of the John Muir Middle School field that local citizens had fought to retain.
The irony was not missed by community members as they passed by the scene. For those who never thought there was a chance of altering the Districtıs course, there was no gloating, only a silent acknowledgement of the inevitability. CAIR members, who have yet to complete the funding for the fight against this action, felt betrayed by the failure of a preliminary injunction that would have prevented physical alteration of the site until after hearings had been completed on the Writ of Mandate their lawsuit requests. It would require the District to complete the site selection process for the Broadway Continuation High School in accordance with State Laws, which they believe, have been violated. That action continues.
The District delayed any action on site selection until the need for it was urgent. A hasty selection process was instituted without local community input and a minimal impact report was prepared, concerning only issues surrounding the construction process. The impact of additional traffic on neighborhood streets beyond the immediate site, the reduction of neighborhood ambience, the diminution of open space in comparison to other San Jose neighborhoods were not addressed. Rather, the District will define what playing fields will remain, in what configuration, and the high school age children will be collocated onto the site with 9 to 13 year olds of the Muir Middle School. Also on the site will be an open child care center for the children of school age parents.
Few Robertsville citizens ever questioned the value of the Broadway program, nor of the need for a campus to serve the students in it. The citizenıs organization, CAIR, was formed solely in the hope that residents still might have a measure of control over Robertsvilleıs limited assets. Otherwise, the whole community is run from Lenzen Avenue.
Community not Afraid, Just Betrayed
In response to comments made by various members of the San Jose Unified School District, I would like to clarify the issues they have confused. District personnel, Broadway students, parents and staff are upset by the uncertainty surrounding the future of Broadway High School. Unfortunately, their anger is misdirected at our community, who are the victims in this issue. Community Action In Robertsville (CAIR) was formed in July in response to this attack on our neighborhood.
Our research shows that San Jose Unified School District (SJUSD) planned to re-locate Broadway 3 1/2 years ago, but waited until this past April to begin its search in earnest. They identified 13 primary sites, none of which included John Muir, their final selection. Muir was added to the list of sites, singled out as the top choice, and presented to the board for approval in a matter of weeks, without notifying the community surrounding the school. The actual vote to approve Muir took place on July 1st, at the start of a long holiday weekend, and the limited public postings of the meeting on school grounds were not practically visible, since school was out of session at the time.
At the board meeting following that vote, the board amended their decision to require a California Environmental Quality Act review take place, something that is legally required PRIOR to site selection. The quality of that report is clearly inadequate and contradicts other data provided to the district from multiple sources. In addition, legislators at all levels of government have publicly questioned the lack of community engagement prior to making such a large decision.
Robertsville is one of the hidden gems of San Jose. It is neighborly, safe, and clean. The local businesses are truly part of the community, as is John Muir and its open fields. Up to 2000 children, and the parents like me who coach them, use that area for little league, youth soccer, and parks and recreation activities. That said, Robertsville is not perfect, namely with respect to traffic, parking, and noise. The addition of 350 students, whether from Broadway or anywhere else, takes away from our neighborhood children and adds to the problems we have.
If anyone is upset about the uncertainty surrounding Broadway, the members of CAIR are. We are frustrated about the potential impact on our quality of life and on the resources available for our children. We are upset that SJUSD tried to slip this by without communicating with us. If this were such a great benefit to the area, I am sure the Superintendent and Board President would have publicized the plan for every penny's worth. Now, finally, we are furious that we are spending our own time and money to fight the district to do what they should have done over 3 years ago; find the most appropriate site for Broadway and determine the real environmental impact of the site they choose. I find it ironic that they are responding to our pending litigation with lawyers paid for by our tax dollars.
This is not about Broadway; it is about abuse of power and a neighborhood standing to protect their rights. I invite anyone interested in this issue to review the background information at www.robertsvillecommunity.com to get all the details, and to perhaps get involved. I only wish that the SJUSD leadership who is in favor of the Broadway/Muir co-location would not begrudge our community wanting a say in its future.
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