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Laraine Newman Headshot

A Thank You Note to the Residents of Beverly Hills

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Last night, a meeting was held for Opportunity Permit Parents along with the Beverly Hills residents who supported them. It was heartening. Up until now, I had rarely heard a resident's supportive perspective, and a most eloquent gentleman spoke passionately on our behalf that night.

Rudy Cole, a columnist for a local Beverly Hills newspaper, has been a stalwart supporter of ours and introduced Bob Tanenbaum, former Mayor and City Councilman of Beverly Hills, and someone he rarely agreed with; but on this subject, they were aligned.

Mr. Tanenbaum not only brought up the fallacy of the budgetary issues, but became red-faced at the thought of how Beverly Hills would be perceived by the outside world if they were to do such a thing. To me, he looked like a Knight in Shining Armor.

Indeed, I must say, up until now, knowing what I know, and being perplexed about what I thought was a misguided and uninformed campaign on behalf of the current School Board, with the exception of Myra Lurie, I now see in a different light.

It has come to my attention that statistically, most cities in our state that find themselves in Basic Aid, without exception, allow their existing students to complete their matriculation.
If this is, truly, a financial issue, I hardly see how a city as notoriously wealthy as Beverly Hills could possibly be hurting more than Mill Valley, Mammoth, Eastern Sierra, Cambrillo, Point Arean, Healdsburg, and even Irvine! There can be no argument presented to qualify their stance. There is no relativism. It works out the same, no matter what the population is.
So, in light of this, my previous view, which was one of confusion and frustration, is now one of enlightened cynicism.

The School Board has clearly already made up their minds no matter what. This is not about the budget, or any other argument that could be presented.

Early on, when this nightmare began, I would ask other Permit Parents, "Why are they doing this?" The answer would always be "politics."

I still didn't understand. That was pretty vague. "To what end?"

Evidently, and I have no proof of this, I was told that there is a member on the board who seeks higher office. It would benefit this member to have the 'perception' to have saved the district money. That still doesn't make much sense to me, since I can't imagine why the other members would support this individual's goals. What's in it for them?

The bottom line is, this is a disaster for the district. This is the height of mismanagement on the Board's part and will only be apparent long after many have suffered. Our children first, and then the resident children who will bear the brunt of this mismanagement. The residents have been sold a bill of goods that there will be smaller class sizes and better programs. That simply isn't true and again, I invite anyone to see the KBEV tapes of the two Basic Aid experts from Sacramento for themselves to bear out what I'm saying. They don't take sides. They just give the facts. And it's funny that it took two of them to give the same answer. I'm surprised the Board didn't keep trying until they got the answer they wanted.

Finally, I want to address a few of Brian Goldberg's comments that were shown on The Huffington Post. I should also say that he was at the meeting last night and apologized for some of them, which was truly appreciated by all of us.

I feel he was being disingenuous when saying that our local schools were 'high performing' when he knows perfectly well that if that were the case, we'd have no incentive to be going through this nightmare. If he thinks we seek the status of Beverly Hills, he's wrong. I've been there and done that and really, I couldn't give a fuck. I know Beverly High provides a good education. Heck, look at all the fancy words I use. Secondly, to be calling us racist by saying that we just don't want our kids going to school with blacks and Latinos (even though they're high performing schools), while, minutes later, saying that he moved from Carthay Circle because he didn't want his children to be a 'social experiment,' clearly qualifies him for the same club he's put us in.

If the residents really knew what was going on, I think they would recall every one of the new Board members, and then some. They clearly don't have the interest of any children at heart.

Lastly, on behalf of all the Opportunity Permit Parents, I want to express our deepest gratitude to Rudy Cole, Robert Tanenbaum and the residents of Beverly Hills who have given their time and support on our behalf.

My 40th Beverly Hills High School reunion is in the planning stages right now, and as we would have said in 1970, "You guys rule!"