LETTER: The real Cardiff way

In its recent press release about a loan obtained for construction funding, Cardiff School District asserts that OGALS, the state agency overseeing the park conversion, “assured the District that no redesign was necessary … and that only the interference of these neighbors … caused a delay in the approval process.”

The District learned about Berkich Park’s federal protections in February 2018. The District contacted OGALS while forging ahead with its plans to expand into the park. OGALS provided guidance for boundary adjustment, and in February 2019, the District submitted preliminary information to OGALS. A month later, noting that it still had not received an official proposal, the National Park Service, the sole authority that could approve a conversion, expressed concerns; OGALS notified the District that their application was unlikely to be approved.

The District’s response threatened legal action — OGALS had assured approval! But how could OGALS assure approval if the District hadn’t even submitted the required information for review? And how could OGALS, a state agency, assure federal approval?

In sworn testimony, the District’s bond manager could not identify any documents, or a witness, to corroborate these alleged “assurances.” The District’s complaints of “assurances” are akin to a child’s tantrum when he doesn’t get a “promised” ice cream — an ice cream contingent on eating vegetables he refused to touch. The District accuses “these neighbors” of interfering with their ice cream when the District failed to follow the rules.

The District finally gained its approval by giving OGALS until close of business Nov. 25, 2019, to approve the conversion, or else. Not coincidentally, the approval signed by OGALS on that very day includes the District’s promise not to sue OGALS or NPS.

The Cardiff Way encourages students to “Act Responsibly,” “Be Honest,” but these rules aren’t part of the School District’s way. “Bullying,” on the other hand, apparently is.

Eleanor Musick
May 22, 2020

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