Thursday, July 27, 2017

The origins of our college district, Part 8b: twisty, unpredictable, curious and dubious, Part B

Frank Greinke
     IN THIS POST: back in September, 1976, the Saddleback board chose the Irvine Co.'s Myford-Bryan site, on Tustin's border, for the district's 2nd campus.
     Now, in January, the Irvine Co. does a sudden and mysterious SWITCHEROO: "Why doncha build the new campus over here on Jeffrey and Irvine Center Drive, smack dab in the middle of Irvine, instead?" They're obviously desperate to retain the Myford site (for reasons unexpressed and obfuscated); they sweeten the Jeffrey deal bigtime. PLUS, they start a hard sell, warning about the stink of manure and the lack of roads over at the Myford bean fields.
     Trustee Marshall of Laguna Hills dies after a long illness. The board is down to five members!
     The Tustin News naturally turns up the heat against the Irvine Co. Meanwhile, the Tustin City Council acts like agents of developers (namely, um, the Irvine Co.), not citizens. To trustee Berry, the Irvine Co.'s switcheroo is mighty hinky. Bloviating trustee Frank Greinke openly accuses the Irvine Co. of boondogglin'. Tempers flare and Greinke calls Bartholomew(?) a "Judas," to which trustee Norrisa Brandt strongly objects, whereupon Greinke tells her to just "shut up."
     Brandt notes that "We have Irvine Co. in a bind," and urges the board to take the boffo deal they're offering for Jeffrey. Meanwhile, the March election is drawing near, and Saddleback faculty are backing candidates who prefer the Irvine/Jeffrey site, while Tustinites keep carpin' about the board's alleged "promise" to put a college in the Tustin area (e.g., @ Myford). Trustee Brandt urges the board to wait on the site selection till after the election, when the board will have seven members again. 
     Superintendent Lombardi just wants to flip a goddam coin and move on. Tustinites keep up their infernal yammerin' for the Myford site. Greinke thunders indecorously about "hogwash" and "suede shoes." Citizen Ursula Kennedy challenges the Tustin City Council to come clean about these weird land shenanigans with the Irvine Co., but, natch, to no avail. Finally, less than a week before the election, and despite the board's abject skeleton-crew-itude,  Greinke, Backus, and Berry (a majority of the five) vote in favor of the Myford site, and Tustin celebrates.
     The board thus defies the Irvine Co.—and, maybe, common sense, too.
     But then a new board emerges from the March 8 election. "The new board," says trustee Donna Berry, "is certainly not going to presume to come on and change the site!" 
     Plus the Saddleback faculty are gripin' about pay & bennies. The board is unmoved!
     NOW WHAT? —RB


     • Bill Moses of Tustin News calls the Irvine Co’s switcheroo—offering to sell the "Myford/Bryan" site, then belatedly trying to nix the deal and sell instead the "Irvine Center Drive/Jeffrey" site—a “bad idea” that “lacks merit.”
     Why? Because the new site “adds miles Tustin students of the college would have to travel and also adds traffic congestion to the already busy thoroughfare of Jeffrey Road.”
     Moses notes that the Irvine Co. is for sale, and so “it doesn’t really matter to Irvine Co. officials” which site is chosen. The district’s original choice of the Myford site was “free of commercial centers” and a wise choice.
     He hopes the district trustees will agree.
     (“Tustin-Irvine College Campus Move Bad Idea,” Tustin News, 1-13-77)

     Note: in 1977, the Irvine Co. was sold to a group of investors, including Donald Bren, who already owned a piece, and Joan Irvine Smith of the Irvine family. The group had outbid Mobil Corp. The sale was made possible by a "dirty trick": Bren put out ads suggesting that Mobil was focusing on real estate when the nation was in an oil crisis. Shouldn't they be drilling for oil instead? —Nonsense, of course. 
     Bren made his big move in 1983, buying more shares; afterwards he essentially owned the Irvine Co. One of the company's big projects in the 80s: the Tustin Marketplace, located between Bryan, Myford, and Jamboree.


     • Gordon Getchel of the Irvine Co. said “that the cost of bringing utilities into the Bryan-Myford site plus the cost of the land could eventually cost more than [the Irvine Co’s] proposed [Jeffrey] site in an area which is more developed.” Identifying the actual costs await completion of a “sewer and water feasibility study.”
     Further, argues Getchel, difficulties arise owing to the “fact that the [Myford] site was surrounded by agricultural land,” with its “narrow roads, odor or organic fertilizer, abundance of flies, slow noisy, farm machinery on surrounding roads and the site being a considerable distance from any service.”
     Gosh, one wonders why they offered that pig in the first place.
     Getchel said that “the Irvine Co. would pay for an independent appraisal on the Jeffrey-Irvine Center Drive site.”
     Gretchel acknowledged that the company “had found that use of the Bryan-Myford site by the college district would not be in the company’s best interest and that was why they were offering another site.”
     Saddleback board president Norrisa Brandt expressed shock. “We have been at this for over a year. I’m very disappointed.”
     Trustee Donna Berry remarked that she had herself expressed similar concerns about the Myford site at a public hearing months ago. But the “Irvine Co. people present had not said a thing … regarding these concerns. … Why at this late date … is the Irvine Co. saying they want us to change[?] … I don’t buy it. I don’t like your scare tactics…. I resent it and I think you are doing the taxpayer a poor service.” This new [Jeffrey] site was not among “the three the board had narrowed it down to for [the] public hearing.”
     Getchel responded: “The company’s feeling at the time was that we should not step in. … Since that time we have found that it is not a good site from the company’s point of view.”
     Said Trustee Greinke: “Do you have any idea of how much money you have cost us? … I have been extremely discouraged in the dereliction of duty by the Irvine Co. in what you have been doing in your planning. I’m tired of being pushed around by Cadillac and Mobil. It’s time for us to move. … I’m disappointed in the Irvine Co. … I don’t like to see these last minute actions, because it makes us both succeptible [sic] to stupid acts.”
     Trustee Brandt asked if another Environmental Impact Report would be necessary for the new site. Yes, it would be. The EIR for the Myford site had cost $25,000.
     Trustee Backus asked what would happen to the “time line” if the district purchased this new site. “We are going to be very pressed to be able to open the doors a year from tonight,” said Superintendent Lombardi.
     The board was hoping to purchase 20 acres, hoping to buy more land in the future. And so Greinke remarked, “We should not be going into an area that is extremely high priced and in the open market. Let’s look at the long term …I don’t think you are correct that we can freeze this property [Myford] tonight.”
     Lombardi responded, “We have spent a considerable amount of dollars with our experts and have a pretty good ideas of what [Myford] will cost. It is not an inexpensive piece of property to develop, but it does not seem excessive when compared to the other sites.”
     Trustee Berry asked Getchel about costs at the Jeffrey site. “The developmental cost would be negligible. … We are hoping to put together a package which will be in the best interest of the district financially to select the site.”
     (“Second Campus Site Switch Draws Saddleback Board Ire,” Tustin News, 1-13-77)

Within the 1977 "annex": observe the proximity of "The Market Place"
(1988) to Site 1 (Bryan/Myford) (1977)


     • A week later, the Tustin News reports that “A second hearing is scheduled for next Monday night to which Board Chairman Norissa [sic] Brandt urged Tustin area folks to attend.”
     Last week, the Irvine Co’s Gordon Getchel and Richard Reese (VP) “followed the board into secret session to give a private presentation” of the company’s new offer, now designated “Site No. 2.”
     “This set the stage for a board quiz of Reese and Mel Rupp, Irvine City Planner. Trustees asked questions from trenchant to tedious in gaining information about both sites.”
     The “Thrust of the firm’s letter was an offer to sell the 100-acre piece over a five-year period, price $45,00 an acre, with 6 ½ per cent per annum on the balance payable on a pro rata or five year basis, whichever is soonest. …If the board allowed Irvine Co. to farm the unused (75 or less) acres during the note’s period, the firm would waive the interest payments on the proportionate value of property farmed.”
     “Reese and cohorts maintained the college would save time and money because Site No. 2 contains major utilities; the fixed price would keep inflation from running land total cost upward. The firm likes the second site best, obviously, because it would benefit Irvine Co. development.”
     Greinke asked, “Why are you trying to Boondoggle Tustin?” He referred to [his and others’] efforts two years ago to remove Tustin from the Saddleback district, owing to the great distance between Tustin and Saddleback College. Greinke “pointed out the board now is trying to give Tustin-Irvine a campus closer in miles.” [The Myford site is maximal relative to proximity among proposed sites.]
     “We went over this campus last year and after all this time you come forward with a letter that is insulting to the board and the taxpayers … We picked Site No. 1 (Bryan-Myford) in the county area where it is close to Tustin and Irvine, ideal for both. Your site No. 2 is in Irvine City and not adjacent to both.”
     Greinke dismissed Reese’s malarkey about “flies from manure” and traffic.
     Reese acknowledged that he had bumbled with the late reaction to Site 1. “He also admitted Site No. 2 was one beneficial to the firm’s interests and the reason the letter offed various purchasing methods.”
     “Greinke noted that ‘the games played on us escalated Site No. 1 price from $21,500 per acre in September to $30,000 each in December.’ He asked, ‘Will Irvine Co. guarantee there’ll be no commercial center at Bryan-Myford?’”
     “Chairman Brandt urged Tustin area folk to show up next Monday night for the second hearing on proposed Tustin-Irvine site.” Someone again mentioned the jet noise problem for Site 2. An Irvine resident explained that Site 2 “is surrounded by populous dubdivisions and shopping centers, that such a college location would multiply an already major traffic problem.”
     “Finally, Reese toward the end of the hearing, advised the Irvine Co. had no commercial center plans for Bryan-Myford other than the Residential Village concepts already in use….”
     (“Second Hearing on Campus Site,” Tustin News, 1-20-77)


Bill Moses (1915-1996)
     • In an editorial, Tustin News’s Bill Moses noted that “Tustin taxpayers, voters and students have had 18 miles or so to travel to the beautiful 200-acre Saddleback College campus. The new Site No. 1 on Bryan [Myford] is like next door, only a mile or so. But Site No. 2 is 3 ½ miles farther east….”
     He asks, “Will the board majority play fair with Tustin this time? Will we have a close campus?”
     (“Tustinites Urged to Attend Jan. 24 Meeting,” Tustin News, 1-20-77)


     • Meanwhile, the City of Tustin moves forward with plans to annex 425 acres of Irvine Co. land—a parcel that contains Site #1.
     “The [City] council voted to introduce a measure that would pre-zone the land, despite hearing from several neighboring homeowners who opposed the move.”
     At a public hearing, “The Council implied that the reason the Irvine Co. is willing to be annexed into the city is because they desire the city to provide those public improvements in preparation for future development of the property.”

     “The alternatives before the council are to allow the development of either traditional or ‘planned community’ residential development in the area. The pre-zoning calls for a density limit of 4 dwelling units per gross acre, but opponents were quick to point out t hat it did not restrict to how those “average” 4 units per acre were to be dispersed throughout the area.”
     “[Nancy] Williams … asked, what 4 dwelling units per acre really meant. [Mayor Richard] Edgar said that it could mean anything.”
     “Williams said that she was worried over what type of safeguards there would be to keep her from looking out her kitchen window one morning at a car wash?”
     “Edgar said ‘I’ll make a personal commitment that it won’t happen.’”
     “[Various] homeowners … tended to view the Tustin councilmen as being the agents of commercial development at the expense of maintaining a residential life style.”
     “The council voted 5-0 to affirm the findings of the Planning Commission and introduced for consideration the measure for pre-zoning….”
     (“First Steps to Annex Irvine-Myford Taken,” Tustin News, 1-20-77)

Breaking ground on the site of Tustin Lanes, 1977


     • On the 23rd, the Register reports that “Frustrated Saddleback … trustees will meet Monday night to reconsider the location of a planned Tustin-Irvine area campus, an issue they thought they had settled four months ago.”
     “Anticipating a large crowd from the northern half of the district, which the new campus would serve, trustees have moved the … meeting to a large lecture hall….”
     “For 10 years, north district residents, especially those in Tustin, have been lobbying for a campus in their area. They argued the one in Mission Viejo was too far away to serve them adequately.”
     “In a surprise move earlier this month, Irvine Co. representative Gordon Getchel made an 11th-hour appeal for a site change.”
     “Facing a September 1977 deadline, trustees gave the company one week to come up with an alternate proposal.”
     “It was presented at a special trustee meeting last week…. …[Irvine Co. representatives] faced almost three hours of sometimes hostile questions from trustees and members of the audience.”
     “[The company’s Richard] Reese said the company was at fault in not objecting earlier but said the firm’s planners had just uncovered data indicating that Myford Road is not a good site for a college” what with manure and flies and traffic.
     “ ‘These comments, made tonight, with regard to site one (Myford) are not new. They have been heard before, over and over and we felt they could be overcome,’ trustee Donna Berry told Reese. ‘I don’t want the people here tonight to think we are hearing these things for the first time.’
     “Trustee Greinke said that as recently as Jan. 7, three days before the objections were raised, Irvine Company spokesmen had said [a Myford] college would not harm its farm operations.”
     “Greinke and Ms. Berry pressed Reese for a better explanation for the company’s sudden change of position, asking if the company had future plans for a commercial development on the Myford site and wants the college out of the way.”

     “Reese said that the company plans ‘to build homes there, not a commercial complex.’”
     As you know, today, that parcel is largely a “commercial complex,” not a residential area. It is Tustin Marketplace, owned by the Irvine Co.
     “The Myford site is near what is expected to be the eventual Tustin-Irvine border and thus could serve both communities,” said Greinke.
     Today (2017), the southeastern border of the Myford parcel is the border between Irvine and Tustin. (See Jamboree on map.) The “Jeffrey/Irvine Center” site is 3 miles away from Tustin. And this, of course, is where the northern campus is eventually built.
     “Greinke said district taxpayers are paying $1.3 million this year to other community college districts, as tuition for district students from Tustin and other northern areas of the district who go to Coast and other county community colleges.”
     “By opening a satellite college facility in the Tustin-Irvine area, Saddleback trustees hoped to attract some of those students back and cut the $1.3 million loss by as much as half, Greinke said.”
     “Why are you trying to boondoggle the community of Tustin, which has waited 10 years for a college?” asked an angry Greinke.
     “…[A]n Irvine proposal to give the trustees a lucrative deal on the Irvine Center Drive site failed to satisfy trustees.”
     “Under the proposal Reese presented last week the company would sell the district the initial 20-acre site at $45,000-per-acre with a complicated five-year option to buy the surrounding 80 acres at a fixed $45,000-per-acre.”
     “Meanwhile, the Irvine Co. would deed the entire 100 acres to the district and continue to farm it tax free. A 6 ½ per cent annual interest rate would be charged to the district on the balance due on the 80-acres if the company does not farm the land.”
     “ ‘We are trying to provide the board with an incentive to consider the second site at this late date,’ Reese said….”
     “ ‘I don’t like the statement that the board has purchased 100 acres,’ trustee Lawrence Taylor added. ‘I won’t vote for anything that might commit future boards to having to purchase this land. I think it can be handled in another way.’
     (“Campus Locale Decision Due,” Register, 1-23-77)



     • Early in February, fearing another deadlock, the Tustin City Council writes to the Saddleback trustees “endorsing either of the proposed sites.”
     “Saddleback selected a 20 acre site at Myford-Bryan in September. However, the Irvine Co. as of Jan. 7 told the board it wants to keep that site and has offered 20 acres at Jeffrey and Irvine Center Drive.”
     (“Either Campus Site Will Do Says Council,” Tustin News, 2-3-77)

     • Saddleback trustees have scheduled a special board meeting for Monday at 7:30 p.m. A public meeting follows at 8:00 p.m.
     (“New Campus Local To Be Considered,” Register, 2-6-77)


     • The Tustin News reports the Monday meeting:
     “In a board meeting with the sparks flying and bickering among board members, Saddleback … trustees again deadlocked Monday night voting 3-2 for the Bryan-Myford northern campus site. Four votes are needed for a motion to pass. Trustee Jim Marshall was absent because of illness [he’s deathly ill]. The seventh seat … [is] vacant….”
     “Voting for the Bryan-Myford site … were Frank Greinke, Pat Backus, and Donna Berry. Voting against were Norrisa Brandt and Larry Taylor, who favor the site at Jeffrey and Irvine Center Drive (site 2).”
     “The board had selected the Bryan-Myford site back in September after a year in studying 10 different sites [not including Jeffrey/ICD]. However, the Irvine Co. on Jan 7 told the board that they had found that it would not be in the company’s best interest to sell that site…..”
     They’ve offered site 2.
     “Within the last week, the Irvine Co. has made three additional offers on Site 2 including 20 aces at $30,000 and additional acres at $60,000; 20 acres at $35,000 and additional acres at $55,000; and 20 acres at $40000 and additional acres at $50,000.”
     “The sparks began to fly when Trustee Frank Greinke arrived … two hours late and made statements referring to the timing of Irvine Co. changing the site only three weeks after Tustin Trustee Bob Bartholomew had resigned and also similarities between Judas selling out for 30 pieces of silver. When he was interrupted by Board Chairman Norrisa Brandt, who objected to such statements, he demanded that he be able to say his piece and told Mrs. Brandt to “Shut up.”
     Later, trustee Backus stated that the trustees had “gotten off the track.” He told Brandt that she was a “lousy chairman” to let Greinke say what he said. Greinke later apologized for his remark.
     “Trustee Donna Berry said, ‘Greinke is just trying to bring something out into the open that has been continuous. The timing was strange indeed.’”
     Greinke then explained that he was sick of the politics. The board should focus on what’s best for the district. He explains that he ran for the board “because I wanted to make this district more responsive” to the interests of Tustinites.
     “Why must we change because Irvine City and the Irvine Co. want to spin us off. I think it is important that the district represent the balance of the county and not just the south of the county,” said Greinke.
     Trustee Brandt suggested that purchase of the Jeffrey site “would be more economical in the long run….” There was much talk of projected values.
     “Backus said he still favored site 1 [Myford]. ‘I like the accessibility of it,’ he said. ‘I feel if we do not choose that site we are making a mistake.’ ”
     Ms. Brandt noted that “the main reason that the Jeffrey-Irvine Center Drive site was not picked was because of the price. ‘I felt it to be too expensive. The facts have changed. We have a chance to purchase better site at a better price. We have Irvine Co. in a bind.’ She noted, too, that the greatest growth in the area is expected to be in the El Toro-Irvine areas.
     “Mrs. Berry said she felt the board should stay with 20 acres. ‘The board has never agreed on more than 20 acres.’ ”
     “Paul Brennan, instructor at Saddleback College, said, ‘Twenty acres is fine for a start, but I don’t see how 20 acres can serve that area, three, four years from now. You will need 10 acres for parking. I don’t see how you can escape expansion later and still meet the needs of the district.’ ”
     “Mary Ann Gaido, councilwoman from Irvine, said the Irvine Council had unanimously voted their support for site 2….”
     “Robert Greene … [of Tustin] favored site 2. ‘It all boils down to a difference of 3 ½ miles,’ said Greene. ‘That is a minor problem. It’s quibbling. You should get a northern campus site at the lower price as soon as possible. Take the facts you have and make a decision. You are not going to make everybody happy no matter what you do.’ ”
     (“Another Deadlock on Second Campus,” Tustin News, 2-10-77)


     • Trustee James Marshall of Laguna Hills dies on Feb. 9th “following a lengthy illness.”
     “ ‘He was dedicated to spreading knowledge and love to the Indians in Brazil, the college students in Texas, and the community and Saddleback College in Orange County,’ said Norissa P. Brandt, President of the Board of Trustees.”
     “He was one of the greatest friends the college ever had, and we’ll never be able to replace him,” said Trustee Frank Greinke.
     “Prior to joining the Saddleback board in January, 1973, he served as a member of the college’s Citizen’s Advisory Committee.” (“JC Trustee Jim Marshall, Age 69, Dies,” Tustin News, 2-17-77)

     • The Saddleback district holds a 10th Anniversary Celebration on February 14th. “A guest list of up to 2,000 names is being prepared for the reception….” (See photo.)
     (“10th Anniversary Celebration Set at Saddleback JC,” Tustin News, 2-10-77)


     • On the 17th, Bill Moses (Tustin News) notes that the News “editorially proposed the new [South County] district” years before it was actually created, a point that Governor Reagan made.
     “And we are now seeing more new facilities, even to where a new campus is in the works. The question is whether it will accommodate Tustin school district more conveniently as promised by trustees or whether it will be diffused into the Irvine Co.’s newest plans for their commercial development in Jeffrey and Irvine Center Drive?”
     “And isn’t it interesting Site No. 2 [Jeffrey] was not pushed by the firm until it had begun negotiations with Santa Ana College (Rancho Santiago District) over a 150 acre or so parcel for their new campus in the Newport-Chapman area? We have heard rumbles Irvine Co. wants to spin off Tustin Unified School District in to the new SAC plan and then shunt Irvine Unified School District to Orange Coast College.”
     “This could be a ploy as Irvine Co. historically has been very sympatico with the Newport Harbor area and has shunted many ‘goodies’ into that zone, including Fashion Island, Newport Center development. The latter area Irvine Co. officials pressured Tustin Union High and San Joaquin School Districts (now dissolved) into “de-annexing” to Newport. That was on grounds those districts could not handle the new residential growth. We now know they put Newport Center and Fashion Island there, costing our school district millions in revenue loss.”
     “What we don’t know is will Saddleback College trustees be gulled by the latest Site No. 2 move the Irvine Co. is offering?”
     “It’s easy to say, it’s only 3 ½ miles farther from Tustin.”
     “Let’s realize Tustin folk have driven 18 miles to the first campus for 10 years. We are 25 per cent of the assessed valuation.”
     “Fair is fair. Trustees of Saddleback should stick by their guns, select Site No. 1 at Bryan and Myford. It’s a fine location for Tustin and Irvine City students.”
     (“Will Trustees Permit Tustin a Campus Site?” Tustin News, 2-17-77)


     • In a February 17 Tustin News article, Trustee Greinke is reported as suggesting “that it would be possible for a motion [such as one selecting one of the two proposed sites for the district’s second campus] to pass with only three members since there were now only five board members remaining.”
     “Taylor replied that in all his experience as a board member he never heard of such a possibility….”
     “Greinke said he was anxious to see the board iron out their differences and come to a decision as soon as possible. Mrs. Berry agreed stating she would like the present board to make the decision since they are the ones who have been studying the site selection for over a year.”
     (“Second Campus on Saddleback Agenda Again,” Tustin News, 2-17-77)

Newport Ave., Tustin


     • On the 21st, the LA Times takes notice of the hot “2nd campus” issue at the south county JC district. According to the Times, “The impasse over selecting a site for the second campus of the Saddleback … District is turning the March 8 trustee election into an emotional, and increasingly bitter, race.”
     “The Saddleback campaign appears to be the most hotly contested among the 29 school districts and four community college districts which are holding elections for vacancies on their governing boards….”
     “In southern Orange County, one candidate described the Saddleback … District race as ‘a real battle,’ while another said ‘it’s a mess’ as a result of the furore over the second campus site.”
     “The controversy developed only recently when the Irvine Co. abruptly decided it did not want to sell the district a site trustees had agree to buy on Irvine-owned land at Myford Road and Bryan Ave.”
     “The board has deadlocked over the two sites, with trustees adamantly favoring one site over the other. The impasse is further confused by a shrunken board of five members. One trustee recently died and another moved away and resigned.”
     “Earlier this month, the board voted 3 to 2 to buy the original Myford property despite Irvine Co. objections. That wasn’t enough votes to carry the matter….”
     “Now that the board is down to five trustees, those favoring the Myford site think they can clinch it at the Feb. 28 scheduled meeting—a week before the election.”
     “But Trustee Lawrence W. Taylor, an incumbent who strongly favors the alternate site, cites State Education Code rules requiring a two-thirds vote (or four out of the current five) to approve land acquisition….”
     “This week, the Saddleback College faculty and staff began circulating flyers urging the election of three candidates favoring the alternate site—Alan H. Greenwood, Eugene C. McNight and Robert L Price. The flyers are signed by the school’s Faculty Assn. president.”
     Incumbent Patrick J. Backus “favors the Myford site because it is closer to the Tustin portion of the college district.”
     “He pointed out that the board originally voted 6 to 1 last September to purchase the Myford site, and that he still believes it’s the best one.”
     “But trustee Taylor, on the other hand, maintained that it will close [sic] the district $500,000 more immediately and from $2 million to $6 million additionally over the long run if it decides to reject the Irvine Co. financial inducements for the second site and insist on buying the original Myford location.”
     “I just don’t believe in spending taxpayer dollars foolishly,” he said.
     “Taylor said he is exploring legal options of preventing board action before the election through a court injunction or other means.”
     “(The Orange County Counsel’s Office is preparing a written opinion….)”
     “Board President Norrisa P. Brandt, who favors the alternate site, said ‘it would be inopportune’ for the board to make a decision before the election, no matter what the county counsel says. If the new, full-sized board, could make the decision, ‘it would be more representative of the school district,’ she said.”
     “A candidate for one of the board vacancies, Robert Price, administrator of Leisure World Laguna Hills, said ‘It really does make a whale of a difference who gets elected,’ because of the site selection issue.”
     “Price, who supports the Jeffrey site, said the campaign ‘has become an extremely emotional and political issue.’ At the last board meeting, he said, ‘trustees were telling one another to shut up, accusing one another of making insinuations, and some were rude to people in the audience.’ He said it was an ‘ugly scene.’ ”
     “The person in the middle is the district’s superintendent-president, Dr. Robert A. Lombardi. He doesn’t think it matters which site is chosen.”
     “ ‘From my point of view, both pieces of property are perfectly satisfactory to build a college on. Educationally, we don’t know of any great advantage of one site over another,’ he said.”
     (“Campus Site Debate Marks Trustee Race,” LA Times, 2-21-77)

     • On the 24th, Tustin News presents statements by candidates for the board positions.
     Williams Watts, a school principle, is a candidate for Tustin Tustee area 2. He has indicated that he supports choosing the Bryan-Myford site for the district’s second campus.
     (“William Watts A Candidate for JC Board,” Tustin News, 2-24-77)

     • Eugene C. “Gene” McKnight, a “retired college consultant,” is a candidate for Trustee Area 4 (San Clemente-San Juan Capistrano-Dana Point). He’s served on the “Citizens Advisory Board” since 1973.
     (“Eugene McKnight A Candidate for JC Board,” Tustin News, 2-24-77)

     • Clifton Rowland Brooks, a medical doctor, is a candidate for the Tustin Trustee Area 2. He has “concerns about the funding of the different programs” and embraces a “conservative attitude.”
     “ ‘I hear concern about the possible whims of the Irvine Company and their effect on a ‘several-months-long, costly study’ of the location of the northern campus.”
     “ ‘I am concerned with high prices and the high cost of deferring or delaying decisions.’”
     “Brooks served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam on three tours with combat support missions. He retired in 1975 from the USAF Reserve as a flight surgeon after 22 years of active reserve service.”
     (“Dr. Clifton Brooks in Saddleback JC School Board Race,” Tustin News, 2-24-77)

MARCH 1977


     • In early March, incumbent Pat Backus puts out a statement concerning his candidacy:
     “ ‘I have no commitments to the power bloc of the teacher’s union or any other special interest group.’ ”
     “ ‘My view is that government, including education districts, should be more frugal and should look for ways to be more efficient. As a trustee, I will continue to scrutinize all spending by the college district, and certainly this will mean tighter budgets in the future.’ ”
     “A charter member of the Saddleback Community Colelge District board, Backus, 44, is a resident of Dana Point….”
     (“Pat Backus in Re-election Bid for Board,” Tustin News, 3-3-77)

Backus, an advocate of choosing the Myford/Bryan site, lost despite being an incumbent.


     • The March 3 issue of the Tustin News reports that “The Bryan-Myford site was chosen once again Monday night for the northern campus by the Saddleback … board in a 3-2 vote. Superintendent Robert Lombardi was directed to take immediate steps necessary to purchase the site.”
     “Voting for the site were Franke Greinke, Donna Berry, and Pat Backus. Voting against were Larry Taylor and Norrisa Brandt, board chairman. Both favor the alternative site offered by the Irvine Co. at Jeffrey and Irvine Center Drive.”
     “Taylor, who believes four votes are needed for a motion to pass on the seven member board, said he will seek a court injunction through his lawyers privately.”
     “…County counsel has ruled that three members now represent a majority vote. However, county counsel added that four votes were needed to condemn property which the board must do with the Bryan-Myford site since it is in the agricultural preserve. According to Greinke, the board already voted to condemn the site back in September….”
     At Monday’s meeting, many came to speak, including Dick Boranian of the Tustin Unified School District Board, which urges selection of the Bryan-Myford site.
     Said Boranian: “The last 10 years the Tustin community has given tremendous support to the … District in anticipation of a promise made that in the future there would be a campus in the Tustin area.* Tustin has waited and waited. Finally it was decided that we would have a second community college campus and it would be within the sphere of influence of Tustin.”
     “I know the initial investment is great for the Bryan-Myford site, but I feel it is the only site. The initial cost is not important, it is the attitude of the people who will supporting it. … I’m asking you to keep your promise.”
     “Jim Bass, assistant superintendent of Tustin Unified School District referred to the possibility of the Rancho Santiago … District purchasing land at Newport and Chapman right outside of Tustin. He suggested that if this happens and Saddleback does not choose the closer campus at Myford that a petition to secede from the Saddleback district could be a definite possibility.”
     The Saddleback faculty union president urged waiting on a vote since, with Jim Marshall’s passing, “the people of Leisure World are not represented.”
     One speaker reminded the board that it already voted for the Myford site back in September.
     Some Irvine homeowners urged the board not to select the Jeffrey site.
     After these remarks from the public, trustees presented their positions.
     Trustee Backus stated that “He still favored the Bryan-Myford site and the 20 acre only concept.”
     “In answer to Boranian’s statement of 10 years of support from Tustin, Taylor said that the 1971 bond election which specifically mentioned a 100 acre campus at Jeffrey and the Santa Ana Freeway failed in every single precinct in Tustin.” Taylor seeks to “defer this decision until after the election.”
     “Mrs. Brandt stated that the Jeffrey site would save the taxpayers money. She said she was also very concerned about the narrow roads. ‘We’ve spent two years talking. Let’s do some smart planning for the future,’ she said.”
     “Greinke called Mrs. Brandt’s arguments about the roads ... scare tactics, calling it ‘hogwash’ and adding, ‘I don’t buy it.’ … Greinke said he was also critical of the ‘suede shoe’ operation of the Irvine Co. trying to remove Saddleback from the Bryan-Myford site.”
     “Greinke agreed that the Jeffrey site was a good buy, but that it would mean a lessening of identify [sic] with the Tustin community and make it more attractive for Tustin [youth] to want to go to the new Rancho Santiago site.”
     “Mrs. Berry said she had many of the concerns about the Bryan-Myford site back in September that came up when the Irvine Co. offered the new site. She said that no one listened to her concerns then stating that it could be worked out without any problem.”
     “Mrs. Berry then moved to direct the superintendent to advise the Irvine Co. that the district intends to pursue its earlier decision to purchase the 20-acre site at Myford and Bryan….”
     (“Bryan-Myford Site Chosen for Campus,” Tustin News, 3-3-77)

     *I have encountered several references to this “promise by the board to build a campus in the Tustin area. Assuming there really was some kind of promise, the question, of course, is what was meant by the Tustin area? One might suppose that a campus that is only three miles from the Tustin border is indeed in the Tustin area, especially when viewed in relation to the entirety of South County. I'll try to track down the so-called promise and its wording(s). —RB


      • Mr. Moses at the Tustin News explains that he’s “been concerned with the teacher union activity this time at the college … and [we] have decided to endorse Pat Bachus, veteran Suddleback trustee and Dr. Clifton Brooks, Tustinite who seeks to succeed Bob Bartholomew on the board….”
     “On Backus, we feel his continual support for Tustin satellite campus Site No. 1 at Bryan and Myford has earned our votes. Tustinite Dr. Brooks, a man of conservative convictions, and wide outreach, has studied Sites 1 and 2, discovered the people of Irvine City are not so sold on the second site as their trustee, Mrs. Brandt, might think….”
     “It’s important to know that Backus and Brooks are independent of the Teachers Union which is vigorously supporting some of their opponents. This is in concert with the teachers union recent attempts to run the school boards by choosing their trustees. We don’t believe in this activity…. We hope you agree. Remember to vote next Tuesday….”
     (“Backus and Brooks Our Choice for Saddleback,” Tustin News, 3-3-77)

      • In the Tustin News, James Marshall’s widow, Ruth, urges voters to vote for Robert Price to replace her husband on the board.
     (“Mrs. Marshall Urges Voting for Price,” Tustin News, 3-3-77)


      • According to the Tustin News, Tustin resident Ursula Kennedy addressed the Tustin City Council Feb. 22, “Asking that it reaffirm its original support for the Bryan-Myford site.”
     “Kennedy challenged the council to share with the public any information that they might have as to why the Bryan-Myford site should be abandoned.”
     “The Council sent a letter indicating its support of either of two alternative [sic], whichever is more economical for the location of the new campus following the annexation of more than 400 acres of Irvine Company owned farm land to the city Jan. 26.”
     “The Irvine Company has … been attempting to persuade the Saddleback … trustees to accept an alternate site farther south into the City of Irvine….”
     “The council did not respond to Mrs. Kennedy’s challenge or request….”
     (“Support Urged for Bryan-Myford Saddleback Site,” Tustin News, 3-3-77)

A union-backed winner: supported selection of the
Jeffrey/Irvine Center Drive site.
     • According to the Tustin News, “Several Saddleback … District board members objected to a letter sent out by the Saddleback … Faculty Assn., endorsing candidates, Dr. Alan Greenwood, Eugene McKnight and Robert Price…”
     The problem is that the letter is written on Saddleback College stationary “on which board members[’] names are printed.”
     “Paul Brennan, president of the Faculty Assn., took the responsibility for sending out … letters” disavowing Donna Berry and other trustees’ endorsements of those candidates." He apologized.
     (“Political Use of Stationary Objected To By Board,” Tustin News, 3-3-77)


     • The LA Times reports that “Several incumbent school board members lost their seats in Orange County elections Tuesday, including a charter trustee of the Saddleback Community College District.”
     Mr. Backus.
     “ ‘I thought sure I was going to win; I really did,’ said Patrick J. Backus, a trustee of the … district since its formation in 1967. He lost to Eugene C. McKnight, a 70-year-old retired college professor.”
     “An issue in the campaign that could have affected the outcome, Backus said, was the selection of a site for a proposed second college campus for the district.”
     “Backus was a strong advocate of a 20-acre site close to the Tustin portion of the district while his opponent, McKnight, campaigned in favor of an alternate site about three miles away in Irvine.”
     “Another upset in the same college race was the election of William Watts … to the board seat vacated last year by conservative trustee Robert Batholomew. The odds-on favorite had been dentist Alan H. Greenwood, who was endorsed by the Saddleback College faculty union.”
     “Watts said he was surprised at his victory. ‘I didn’t think there was much opportunity for me to win,’ he said. ‘At the time I filed, I just thought it was important to have more than one person running.’ ”
     “He said he spent only $5 for the entire campaign….”
     “ ‘I’m not a political person at all,’ he said. ‘This is a new game for me.’ ”
     (“Saddleback Trustee Unseated by Voters,” LA Times, 3-10-77)
LA Times, 3-10-77
Union endorsed candidates Price and McKnight win
Union endorsed Greenwood loses to Watts.
Watts favored the Myford-Bryan site.
McKnight favored the Jeffrey site.


     • The Tustin News reports that “The Saddleback … District board spit 2-2 to execute an agreement for sale and purchase of the Bryan-Myford site including escrow instructions.”
     “Voting for were Trustees Frank Greinke and Donna Berry. Voting against were Larry Taylor and Norrisa Brandt…. Pat Backus … was absent.”
     “…Mrs. Berry stated she was upset with those, who because of ‘sour grapes’ had been ‘playing a stalling game.’ ”
     “Both Taylor and Mrs. Brandt have favored the site at Jeffrey and Irvine Center Drive since the Irvine Co. offered it at a special price in January….”
     “In answer to Mrs. Berry’s comments, Taylor stated, ‘We are here to make a decision on what is best for the college.’ He added that when the board originally made its decision in September that it had stated that if changes occurred that the board would have no qualms in selecting another site.”
     “ ‘The conditions as they existed are different,’ said Taylor. ‘It’s going to cost a million and a half more to bring in utilities….’ ”
     “Greinke stated that conditions would always be changing adding, ‘The more we wait we are going to deny the people in the northern area a chance to go to a college in their area.’ He added that if the full board was planning to reverse its vote, it should go back to the community. He said he would support the Jeffrey site if the people did.”
     “At this Mrs. Berry became concerned stating, ‘We simply turned down escrow instructions. A firm vote has been taken on the site. The new board, I hope, is certainly not going to presume to come on and change the site.’ ”
     “She added that she would like to see a legal opinion…. Roy Barletta, business manager, said such an opinion had been sought before and it was decided that matters could be brought up again.
     “Mrs. Berry threatened to bring up every matter for consideration that she disagreed with if the site issue was brought up for vote again.”
     (“Saddleback Board Splits on Escrow Instructions,” Tustin News, 3-31-77)

The "new" (i.e., post March 8, 1977) Saddleback board of trustees


     • According to the Tustin News, “The Saddleback College Academic calendar for 1977-78 was approved by the board … March 14 with only Trustee Frank Greinke voting against.”
     “ ‘Why do we have to close the campus down for a month?’ he asked.”
     “Norrisa Brandt, board chairman, said she understood the time would be used for short courses.”
     “George Gilbert, director of maintenance, told Greinke, that many maintenance repairs could only be done when classes are not in session…”
     “Greinke replied that that was the first positive statement he had heard regarding the subject.”
     (“JC Academic Calendar Approved,” Tustin News, 3-31-77)

APRIL 1977


     • The Tustin News reports:
     “With the City of Tustin’s annexation of over 400 acres of Irvine Ranch land [between Bryan, the 5, Jamboree, and Myford] warm, city officials’ smiles are already beginning to fade.
     The acreage, the last large undeveloped area within Tustin’s sphere of influence, is being included in the County of Orange’s updated listing of “areas subject to flooding.”
     That implied that the land was suitable only for “agricultural, recreational or open space uses.” (Remember, site 1 [Myford/Bryan] is in the middle of this 400 acre parcel.)
     “Both the City of Tustin and the Irvine Company are planning on developing the property into a planned community within the next seven years.”
     Community Development Director R. Kenneth Fleagle “recommended to the city planners that they request the mayor to send a letter objecting to the inclusion of the Tustin property in the flood plain listing.”
     Evidently, the “flood plain” designation “could impose some liabilities for future development….”
“The commission agreed with Fleagle that the designation was not appropriate.”
     (“Irvine-Myford Annex Called “Flood Plain,” Tustin News, 4-14-77)


     • “Charter Saddleback College Trustee Patrick J. Backus was honored by his [recently ousted] fellow board members … when they adopted a resolution citing his achievements….”
     “ ‘Pat has done an outstanding job as a board member,’ [said] Donna C. Berry. ‘Because of his support of our athletic program, we are presenting him with one of our award blankets….’”
     (“JC Board Honors Pat Backus,” Tustin News, 4-14-77)


     • “Saddleback College teachers are still without a 1976-77; salary agreement….”
     “The Saddleback College Faculty Assn. … has made no proposals, but has reacted negatively to proposals by the board.”
     “The average Saddleback faculty contract salary for 1976-77 is $22,445 with gross earnings by faculty averaging at $27,272….”
     (“JC Faculty Earnings Average $27,00 a Year,” Tustin News, 4-14-77)

Tustin News, 7-12-79

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