Art Sanchez, a longtime member of the California Republican Assembly, has responded to “falsehoods about Capistrano Unified School District Trustee Anna Bryson,” in an email I received today. Apparently the false allegations about Bryson were distributed in a handout allegedly printed by and distributed to the OC GOP Central Committee by Cathy Richardson and in speeches by Ellen Addonizio that were reported on in the Mission Viejo Patch.
OPEN LETTER TO REPUBLICAN PARTY OF ORANGE COUNTY CENTRAL COMMITTEE MEMBERS & MEMBERS OF THE CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN ASSEMBLY
By Art Sanchez
Who am I? I am Art Sanchez. I am a real estate agent in South Orange County. I have been a longtime member of the California Republican Assembly (but because of recent behavior such as attacking conservatives like Anna Bryson, I have been driven to becoming inactive in the CRA).
I have been active in the Capistrano Unified school reform efforts and was an opponent of the regime of Supt. Fleming and his school board since the earliest days. I was school-reformist Anna Bryson’s campaign manager in her successful 2010 campaign for re-election. Many of you know me. I have walked side by side with you, handed out fliers, made phone calls and given donations to most of the current elected Republican officials. I have even been asked by two different people, one a current board member and the other an original founding member of the ABC reform group, to run for the school board in the Capistrano District.
What are the problems that this letter addresses?: Cathy Richardson writes that Anna Bryson votes with a pro-Teachers Union voting bloc on the Capistrano school board. Cathy suggests that Anna “received Union money.” Ellen Addonizio told the Saddleback CRA that Anna votes the Union line. These are the kind of unfounded statements and falsehoods that prompted me to leave the CRA.
Anna Bryson has voted her own mind since she was elected. In 5 1/2 years on the board, Anna has never voted as part of any “Union bloc.” Cathy Richardson needs to do her homework. She insinuates that Anna got Union money – but this is not true. During Anna’s 2010 re-election campaign, I know we never received or solicited a cent from the Teachers Union, and she didn’t get Teachers Union money in 2006 either.
There is one simple and straightforward response to any claim that Anna Bryson is a tool of the Unions: Anna was President of the school board during the Teachers Union strike and was publicly outspoken in pressing for dramatic pay cuts in the Union contract. She gave close to 45 interviews in which she stood firm on imposing pay cuts.
Furthermore, Anna’s yard signs, which were removed on a regular basis by union people (two of whom I personally apprehended), and her full-page newspaper ad during her 2010 re-election effort said: “Stop the Union Power Grab.”
Instead, Anna has always been a fiscal watchdog — protecting children and taxpayers from the demands of the Unions and other special interests. She publicly and repeatedly warned, from her early days as a trustee on, that “the ship of the district is entering dangerous fiscal waters.” Anna took the initiative in calling for a complete review of the district budget. Anna Bryson was the first trustee who raised the fiscal alarm after a few months in office and called for the review by the FCMAT agency of the State of California to protect the interests of the students and prevent a bankruptcy that would have precipitated a state takeover of the school district. That is public record.
Anna was the first to warn of terrible financial times to come and constantly repeated her warnings over 5 years and drove the board decisions to make the $100 million cuts in 2 1/2 years – Anna pushed for 10% reductions in all contracts (legal, garbage-disposal, consultants); cutting administrative size, reducing staff; pay cuts for teachers and staff. That is public record.
Among the reform candidates who remain on the school board from the 2006 election, Anna Bryson stands out for her principles in defending the interests of students, parents and taxpayers.
1. Anna did NOT apply for endorsement from the CUEA Teachers Union and did NOT interview with them for an endorsement — even though that was requested of her by the “Reform CUSD” leaders.
2. Anna has NEVER received the endorsement of the CUEA Teachers Union.
3. Anna has NEVER received any expenditures on her behalf by the CUEA Teachers Union.
In 2006, Anna Bryson was a pioneer among Orange County Republicans in declining public-employee union endorsement and money as a principle.
The CUEA Teachers Union spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the 2010 election to remove Anna from the Capistrano school board.
As a longtime chief of staff to a local congressman stated, “This assault on the integrity of Anna Bryson is beyond belief. I was there, I live here. I know her standards and what an incredible job she has done. This [statement by Cathy Richardson] is an outrage by people who don’t know what they are talking about.” Anna has a proven record of 15 years in the trenches and in positions of responsibility in the Orange County Republican Party and Orange County Republican Women’s Federated.
Those who for political gain or expediency would like to rewrite history, as a way to diminish Anna’s stature in the event she runs for re-election or for another office, should be ashamed of such serious falsehoods.
Here are the facts about the remaining two original ABC trustees (Ellen and Anna):
1. At the request of the “Reform CUSD” leaders, reform candidate Ellen Addonizio filled out an application for endorsement and interviewed with the CUEA Teachers Union in their HQ in 2006.
2. Anna Bryson rejected the request and refused to meet with the CUEA Teachers Union about an endorsement.
3. Ellen received the endorsement of the CUEA Teachers Union in the Capistrano 2006 school-board election.
4. Anna Bryson neither received or sought the CUEA Teachers Union endorsement in either of her election races.
5. Ellen had 3 independent expenditures (letters sent to voters, etc.) paid for solely by the Teachers Union in her first election
6. Anna Bryson did not receive a single independent expenditure from the Teachers Union.
7. Ellen, as Capistrano Board President, lunched regularly with the CUEA union chief.
8. In contrast, Anna Bryson, who was Board President during the strike, never had a private meeting at lunch or otherwise with any CUEA leader or any other Union leader.
In her application for Teachers Union support:
1. Ellen Addonizio spoke of the need for “close cooperation.” She promised the Teachers Union to “work toward a more cooperative relationship,” in one passage in her application, and “immediately” to work “to develop an open and cooperative relationship,” in another passage.
2. Ellen promised the Teachers Union that she had a “willingness” to work with them and that she looked forward “to working with them.”
3. Ellen eagerly solicited Teachers Union endorsement, writing: “I hope to receive the support of this union [CUEA Teachers Union] and would welcome your generous support. Together we can reform CUSD.”
4. Ellen promised that she opposed opportunity scholarships (vouchers) for students.
5. Ellen said “communication with the teachers association could bear improvement.” She promised “open and regular communication” with the Teachers Union and “regular meetings” between district administrators and Teachers Union figures.
6. Ellen promised the Teachers Union that she understood and believed in bargaining “in good faith.”
Ellen Addonizio voted to accept the Teachers Union contract which settled the strike. This was a contract that she supported fully and voted for publicly.
But after supporting the contract, Ellen has twice sued (using a lawyer who is a leader of the CRA to represent her) to rewrite a valid contract without negotiation — costing the school district tens of thousands of dollars. Before Ellen’s lawsuits, the courts had already ruled twice on this subject in Orange County, finding — to paraphrase the judge – that just because you do not like what you have done, does not give you the right to ignore a valid contract. Predictably, Ellen and her attorney lost both of their lawsuits as well.
In summary, I believe that when you examine the facts outlined here you will reject unfounded statements and falsehoods. I believe that you will see that Anna has conscientiously faced the current challenges of the Capistrano District and adopted and proposed solutions that can be put into effect to bring about the kind of quality education Anna believes every student deserves.
ART SANCHEZ, Laguna Niguel