This week's Law Geek Wednesday features a special guest appearance by my younger sister, who can be seen in this photo (see if you can pick her out) along with some fellow Redlands High School seniors setting forth some biting commentary on land use issues in Southern California's Inland Empire:
The story behind this photo proceeds thusly: For many years, the stupid city of Redlands, California, had but one high school. When I graduated RHS in 1997, I was one of a class of over 1,000 people. The total enrollment was over 4,000. It was, put elegantly, ten pounds of crap in a five pound bag. In fact, during my junior year there was a "race riot" during lunch one day, something that the hand-wringers in the local government attributed partially to overcrowding in the school. Just like prison!
And so, in the mid-1990s plans were finalized for a second high school in Redlands. The only problem was land. Redlands is one of the few reasonably affluent cities in the San Bernardino area (I say "reasonably" because the po' side of Redlands is pretty damn po' by any standard), and as such land in Redlands is relatively expensive. Large development projects are pricey, and open land is scarce. During the two years I lived there, a giant multiplex and a garish amusement park called Pharoah's Lost Kingdom sprung up within the city limits. A third major commercial development - a large shopping mall to replace Redlands' current, tiny shopping mall where half the stores are jewelry stores - was also underway until the woman in charge of it was convicted of burglary (but that's another story).
And so, rather than pony up the money to build a public school on existing Redlands land, the city somehow managed to steal a large tract of cheap, unincorporated county land from the neighboring region of Mentone (I say "region" because Mentone is not a city - it is, as I said, unincorporated county land). The tract itself, through machinations about which I can only speculate, became a part of the city of Redlands, rather than remaining part of Mentone. On this land was built Redlands East Valley High School, which was opened in 1997.
Mentone, despite having a booming crystal meth industry, has a rather weak local economy, and would have benefitted (in theory) from having a large public high school within its limits. But Redlands does what Redlands wants, and this is how things ended up. As RHS and REV (pronounced "rev") became instant cross-town rivals as soon as REV opened, my sister and her friends mean by this sign to say that there is only one Redlands High School. And to this I say, "Oh Snap!"
I'm sure I'd be able to say more about the legal issues involved in this fiasco if I had taken that Local Government class at Boalt that I had thought about taking, but I didn't, and I can't, so I won't. If anyone else has more knowledge of these things feel free to showcase my ignorance in the comments.
My sister (until the instantaneous sliver of time between February 28 and March 1) is only seventeen, which you should keep in mind if you plan on making any other types of comments.