Seismic Safety: The School District Can't Have It Both Ways
Implicit in all the hyperbolic Measure J campaign rhetoric emanating from the school district about the need to seismically upgrade Emeryville's schools is the jarring fact that the schools must therefore now be unsafe.
In their zeal to push voters into supporting Measure J, the school district has been sowing fear of earthquake catastrophe for the existing schools in city-wide campaign mailings. Of course pushing the fear button cuts both ways and the school district must acknowledge this tactic comes at a price. By constantly barraging residents with what amounts to warnings of earthquake calamity, the district is sending the unintended message to parents that the existing schools are unsafe and their children's lives are at risk.
To keep citizens from drawing this rational conclusion, schools Superintendent John Sugiyama has been speaking to people at Measure J events around town. He has attempted to reassure parents their children are safe in the existing schools, "I don't want parents to get the impression the schools are unsafe" he has said.
But the Measure J committee and school district can't have it both ways. Either the existing schools are safe and all the campaign talk is overheated histrionic bloviating or we truly do need to replace the schools; in which case alternative accommodations must be made now to keep the children safe until the schools can be rebuilt.
Since the school district is complicit in the ubiquitous seismic safety mailings, we'd like to know just when exactly, did our schools become unsafe?
Since the State of California has not issued any warning or notice of unsafe buildings at the school district as they would were it true, we can assume all the campaign talk is just so much hot air.
We feel its irresponsible for the school district to engage in this kind of politicking. We say the people of Emeryville should vote on rebuilding the schools or not, on its own merits without the government trying to scare them. This is not proper ground for any government agency to tread. We call on the Measure J committee and the district to veer away from this tactic.