Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Mother Taught Me Never To Lie

I bring to your attention a letter that was sent to the school board and commission regarding the petition opposing the high school renovation. As many have suspected all along, the solicitors of this petition are so focused on derailing this project that they have been willing to prey on unsuspecting, uninformed victims, feeding them with a plethora of half-truths and flat out lies. These fear-mongering tactics include telling people that the high school renovation will raise their taxes by 50% (I’ve even heard 70% by some!!!), telling them that there is a much more reasonable $75M “option” that the board has dismissed when in reality no such option has ever existed, insinuating that the board is planning to close neighborhood elementary schools, create substantially larger class sizes, cut curriculum and programs, cut field trips and activity travel, lay off teachers, administrators and support staff, and the list goes on. If this isn’t fear-mongering, I don’t know what is. The letter I am about to share is from just one of many residents who originally signed the petition and who are now regretful after learning the real facts. This particular resident is a single mom of a special needs elementary school child. She fiercely supports her child’s educational needs. At the same time her hands are full with her responsibilities as a single parent. Her free time is very limited and she has not had the time to keep up with the ins and outs of the high school project. It is safe to say she was an easy target, as many have been. I will not post her name (nor did I last night) as I would hate for the solicitors of that petition to harass her any more than they already have. (This practically made the opposed citizens to go crazy last night - one of them literally yelling at me and the board to reveal the name and address of the author of the letter. Talk about intent to harrass!!) The board has already received this letter with her full name indicated. I trust the board will respect her privacy.

My name is_________ and I am a resident of Mt. Lebanon. I recently received a request to sign a petition regarding the high school renovation project. The solicitor of the petition told me that my taxes would go up 50% if the current plan is carried out. I now realize that I was misinformed and regret having signed this petition. Please remove my name from the list of signatures on this petition.

Sincerely,
__________

After seeing the real facts, she went on to say the following in an email to me. - “I have been emailed, snail mailed and called by several people about the HS renovation plan....all telling me that my taxes would be raised by 50%. This is why I signed the petition. The amount was totally misrepresented to me. I am all for the renovation. I am most certainly willing to pay more taxes for this! I wish I had the time to be more involved."

Last night I urged the board not to be intimidated by the people in this community who are willing to do anything to derail this project – the very same people who yell and scream and show great disrespect for their fellow neighbors at these board meetings. The kicker at last night's board meeting was when a member of the opposed citizens to the high school renovation got up and flat out LIED on local television - stating (in response to me and the letter that I read from the resident who wanted her name removed from the petition) that they have never stated to anyone that taxes would go up 50%! How ludicrous! These very same people have even stated that number in board meetings in the past! It's a little late to back-pedal now wouldn't you say!!?!?!! Their disingenuous, underhanded approach is not only amoral but inexcusable. As their credibility crumbles, I encourage the board to remain focused on this extremely important project. As always, I thank them for their tireless efforts.

Get the real facts, folks. There are people out there who will literally say and do ANYTHING to derail this project. Be very cautious about what you hear on the street. There are two things that I just can't tolerate - mean people and liars. The people who call themselves the "Concerned Citizens of Mt. Lebanon" have got both of those covered! I'm am so happy that residents are finally getting the real facts and are rethinking their allegiance to this fringe group.