Dear Editor – Investing Our Bond Money

Light-bulb-0003-300x198Our schools are in a serious state of disrepair, causing safety & health problems for students and staff. Our community responded by passing a $106 million school facilities bond last year. This is a large investment by every homeowner & business in Culver City. Nothing impacts your property values more than the quality of our schools. We have one chance to spend this bond money wisely. Help protect our investment

by electing the two candidates who have the greatest expertise on our bond: Anne Burke & Scott McVarish.

The new school board will decide how this money is prioritized and spent during the next six months. Burke & McVarish have been involved with the bond for the past two years – their opponent has not. This is not the time for someone to learn the complexities of our district and the bond almost overnight.

Burke & McVarish have:

1. Served on the Bond Campaign Committee
2. Participated in bond study sessions
3. Attended Bond oversight committee meetings
4. Attended Community/school bond prioritization meetings
5. Conducted independent investigations of modern science labs & education centers
6. Burke has experience as a project manager
7. McVarish is an award-winning attorney & former trainer on school district budgets and school law

Burke and McVarish’s opponent in this campaign did not vote in the school bond election, has not attended any bond meetings, and did not come to a school board meeting until August of this year, when she declared her candidacy. Considering the major decisions facing CCUSD in the coming months, Anne Burke & Scott McVarish are simply better prepared to start working right away.

Laura Chardiet,  School Board Member

Steve Levin,  School Board Member

Dan O’Brien,  Culver City Education Foundation (Former Trustee)

Tamika Quillard, CulverCity Education Foundation (Former Trustee)

Leslie Gardner,  Culver City Council PTA  (Former President)

Jeannine Wisnosky-Stehlin, United Parents of Culver City, President

Jim Harris, Community Budget Oversight Committee

Jon Varsano   Bond Oversight Committee

*Affiliations are for identification purposes only.

The Actors' Gang


  1. Voters,

    You should know that the California PTA has a rule that reads:

    “A current or former PTA board member must not use his/her PTA title or the name of the PTA to endorse a candidate even if just for purposes of identification in any print, electronic, or website candidate literature, or interview or letter to the editor.”

    In the same post of this letter on Front Page Online, Ms. Gardner removed her affiliation from the PTA and changed to the Culver City Education. Although it’s not clear whether the Foundation has as specific a rule as the PTA, as a 501 (c)(3) it is equally prohibited from participating in political activities, such as endorsing candidates.

    While stating that the affiliations are only for identification purposes only, these community leaders hardly need an affiliation that could put those organizations tax exempt status in jeopardy.

    More importantly, it is interesting why they are not listing as members of the United Parents of Culver City, which is a PAC (political action committee) that is structured exactly to allow them to engage in political activity.

    IBut it’s not just Leslie and Dan who are part of United Parents of Culver City, School Board Member Steve Levin was once the President of UPCC and Laura Chardiet is not only very active in UPCC, but also Burke Mc Varish’s campaign manager.

  2. Ms. Vizcarra,

    Thank you for clarifying some important information.

    I have seen other things in the media such as, “After careful consideration, United Parents of Culver City (UPCC) has voted to endorse Anne Burke and Scott McVarish …” – it seems that these two candidates are directly affiliated with this group so I’m not sure how much consideration it took.

    As a resident and voter, I don’t like feeling manipulated and make it a point to do research before any election. I am not impressed with this group and, as a result, will be casting my vote for Kelly Kent.

  3. Again, the Culver City Education Foundation, a 501(3)c organization, does not endorse candidates. It has the following explicit standing rule.

    “CCEF shall not take a position on any candidate for elected office or for appointed office (public or private), or for an employment position.”

  4. Ms. Beagles-Roos,

    Does the CCEF have a policy requiring FORMER trustees not to use their affiliation in endorsements?

    It seems that the campaign that has been posting this letter in these two blogs and distributing copies of it in the community believes there is no problem with doing this, and it could easily be misinterpreted by readers.

    Given that two sitting School Board members are signing this letter, and one is the campaign manager, this acquires even more meaning and requires a retraction to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

  5. If you’re questioning a specific organization’s policies, then I think it would be more appropriate to contact the organization rather than an individual.

    The letter above ends with “Affiliations are for identification purposes only.” The reality is that campaigns frequently use this phrase or the last four words and the names of non-profit organizations. I think you might want to look back at your own materials such as your Smart Voter listing.

  6. Ms. Beagles-Roos,

    There is a difference between the general practice that you describe, and the letter that has been circulated widely in the blogs and in the Culver City News.

    In the case of the PTA specifically, Leslie Gardner is breaking the very specific California PTA rule.

    In regards to CCEF, I was asking you because you are currently a Board Member. I have recently learned that they do have such a stipulation.

    These rules are particularly relevant because both the PTA and the CCEF have very direct relationships with the Culver City Unified School District. When their names are used in this way, it appears that these organizations are participating in prohibited political activities.

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