To Bond or not to Bond


By Jon Riley, Executive Director Napa-Solano Labor Coalition

Vallejo Citizens are faced with a very difficult decision on Election Day.  Besides the Vallejo Unified School District Board Elections we are also being asked to vote to support a $250 Million Dollar Facilities Improvement Bond. If you are like most people in Vallejo you have not heard much about this unless you are the inside-baseball political watcher. But things are heating up with the absentee ballots out in the mail.

So what’s the issue? Vallejo Citizens always step up to the plate to support our schools. And rightfully so. So what is different? Well, that depends on who you talk to. Some say they do not like the direction of our schools under the current Superintendent, that she does not value her employees, that our schools are not safe to name two. Others say they do not trust the current board to provide the needed oversight, not only of the bond money but also over this same Superintendent. This is just another example of politics in the most diverse city in America, where we tend to celebrate this mere factual statistic, often turning a blind eye to the special issues this diversity brings. But without the much needed unity, which is our only hope to succeed, we cannot really celebrate. The only thing that all sides agree on is that this Bond is needed! Our Schools are in dire need of repair and safety improvements! On this we are unified.

I am writing this as a lifelong Vallejo resident who, like a majority of Vallejo voters, do not have children matriculating in our schools. And like many, I chose to send my children to private schools for many of the same reasons that parents today struggle with. As a matter of fact, I left Vallejo Public Schools in the 4thgrade because my parents had the same concerns. That was in 1969. So to lay the perception problems of Vallejo’s troubled schools on the current Board or Superintendent is just unfair. Maybe a bit of the Diversity/Unity topic rearing its head?

But just like every other Business or Homeowner, my wife and I have made an investment in Vallejo. We renew that investment every year we decide to stay. I love this town, its perfect weather, beautiful Waterfront and Vistas, its perfect location and yes, the diversity! We have suffered through decades of, bad luck, worse timing and dysfunctional leadership but always foremost in my families decision to stay is Vallejo’s limitless potential. And I know that, as a Community, if we hope to capitalize on our investment we need three things, Public Safety, thriving schools and most importantly unity. How do we hope to attract the Businesses and Developers to invest in Vallejo if we as citizens are not willing to invest in our Schools? So for those that are still not convinced to make another investment in our town because of these reasons here is my take on the subject.

We will have a change in leadership on the School Board come November. At least one seat will change with a Board Member deciding not to run and there is the distinct possibility that more may change after the polls close. All the dialogue surrounding the race has been the need to have transparency, oversight and solid leadership at the Board level to give direction to staff. So, knowing we have much needed change coming, doesn’t it make more sense to give the new School Board the resource’s necessary to improve our schools right out of the box? Or do we do as some suggest, wait to see if we like the change and then put it back on the ballot in two years? Seems reasonable. Kicking the can down the road is comforting, and easy. The only problem? Our new board, absent the infusion of money needed to help our struggling schools attract students and teachers, will spend the first year grappling with budget deficits and a wary employee base and then they will have to go out and convince the same electorate, that have already voted a bond down, why this time it’s different! And who suffers? We all do! You and I, the taxpayers, who have made the investment in Vallejo and are still waiting for the magic bullet to make it worth our while, but more importantly, our children, who continue to be forced to attend sub-standard Schools.

I see great improvement in Vallejo and think it is time to start thinking of our commitment to community as the investment it is and stop using this bond as a political football to be kicked around by the adults when in the end it is the children that will once again be made to suffer. I will be voting Yes on E on November 4th and hope you will join me. But whether you agree with me or not, please vote. Let’s at least show our youth what being part of a democracy is all about, caring enough to show up.


Note: All opinions expressed in the “Primal Scream” column are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the Vallejo Independent Bulletin.

Tagged: ,

'To Bond or not to Bond' have 10 comments

  1. October 17, 2014 @ 4:13 pm At long last, have you no shame?

    How funny that Jon Riley wants to claim to be a “uniter, not a divider” after he launched those horrible “Vallejo in flames” mail pieces last election, claiming that all the other candidates were ruining the town, even as one of his own Jump Start candidates, Anthony Summers, ran a campaign to try to get support for turning the Solano 360 project into a Noah’s Ark and Creationism theme park ala Kentucky, all on the taxpayers dime.

    This is the same Jon Riley who claims he wants to bring Vallejo together while at the same time his VPOA Union (also part of the Jump Start campaign) is suing the city, putting us in a position of either a mountain of debt of over-generous benefits packages, or an equally onerous mountain of legal bills fighting the labor unions from across the state, and even across the country, as they try to make an example of Vallejo, and use us as the tip of the spear in holding municipalities hostage to public service labor agreements.

    Yes, Jon Riley, the one responsible for those vile mailers about how other candidates are evil and seek to destroy the city that only he knows how to love adequately. How does the other Vallejo union in town, the teachers at VEA feel about this bond measure? I didn’t see too many supporters in the last two school board meetings where the teachers and parents once again were trying to get this school board to listen. Maybe once this measure goes down in flaming defeat they will listen. Hopefully we won’t have Ubalde or Wilson on the board either as they’ve proven to be incompetent and verging on corrupt.

    Jon Riley, you have no shame, so I’ll just say Get a Grip.


  2. October 17, 2014 @ 6:14 pm Publicus

    The least you could have done, Jon, is to get a ghost writer. You do this issue no service by putting your name on it because your name is synonymous with pure unmitigated greed, selfishness and evil.


    • October 18, 2014 @ 1:07 am wharf rat

      It took all my will power to not chum on my key pad as I read this flatulent crap ….. Jon are you a pimp or just an Idiot , do you think for one second that we are a bunch of bumpkins , who would proscribe , or even entertain your BS … The verdict from the FPPC is still out .. You exist on our dime and yet you think you have some endemic right to continue to screw us , with your Electioneering and out of town money polluting our LOCAL elections … Our existence and our Families futures are not your re-tirement play toy .. It is clear that you and your contemporaries are bought and paid for, we thought you had a legitimate disability retirement , or is it just more welfare , you have been very active lately , certainly not commensurate with one with a disability
      perhaps a re-evaluation is in order , perhaps you have recovered , or healed , or just milking the system …..


  3. October 18, 2014 @ 4:38 pm -C-

    As an educator, this is the first time in my life that I’ve voted no on a school bond issue. I have no confidence in the current Board or administration.

    Born here in Vallejo and returned 20 years ago, I like this town. I don’t normally subscribe the a 3 level universe (heaven, earth, hell) and view Satan as a metaphor more than an actual charator. But some individuals can fill the role of Satan quite well. In the Vallejo context, that would be Kurt Henke who did his best to destroy the town and led us into bankrupcy. His sidekick was Jon Riley. The fire fighters have quieted down but the police department is stirring up the pot.

    This is theater in the round, if not on one stage, then over on that stage, but let us not forget there are several more stages.


    • October 18, 2014 @ 10:11 pm wharf rat

      Fraudulent Disability claims , and the forthcoming benefits , that enrich an individual need sunshine .. Riley is a Poster–Child for change , the energy He put into this last Election , is proof positive of his ability to WORK …. He continues to double dip , while screwing a major sector of our Community ….. This Cat was invisible , until just recently , when He popped up , where was this idiot ten years ago , where was He when the Mare Island conversion was going on … He only became visible for the Jumpers Campaign…
      Wonder how much He was paid , or grifted from that , big money Fiasco , perhaps Vallejo needs a political Exorcism , replete with Vatican support and all associated fanfare ,, a purging of all these Demons , after all others cashed in on our local election , some profited to the tune of over one hundred thousand dollars … We are for sale ….


  4. silasbarnabe

    October 19, 2014 @ 11:45 am silasbarnabe

    Jon were you high when you wrote this? I might vote for this bond as well if I was robbing the taxpayers of Vallejo over $130,000 a year for doing absolutely nothing for this city.


  5. October 22, 2014 @ 11:45 am wharf rat

    A bond or bondage , that is the question


  6. October 26, 2014 @ 12:55 pm double dipper
    In alpha order. Plus health care. How much this “disabled” retiree earns from the CLC?


  7. October 26, 2014 @ 3:39 pm Go vallejo.

    JJohn HOw can you sleep at night or look at yourself in the mirror?


  8. October 27, 2014 @ 3:57 pm Patrick Henry

    Should we be surprised that this kleptocrat who brought us the “Waterboard Vallejo” city council advocates shoveling a vastly outsized bond issue to our systemically corrupt school board and its incompetent administration? Thanks to VIB for giving him a forum so the commenters can rightly trash him.


Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

Vallejo Independent Bulletin

Copyright © 2015 - All Rights Reserved