Kickoff meeting of Prop P campaign group attracts more than 90

By MIKE ANTHONY

An organizational meeting of a citizens’ group promoting the passage of the Mehlville School District’s Proposition P in September 2000 drew more than 90 people, far surpassing expectations.

The kickoff of the campaign for the passage of Proposition P, led by the Citizens to Protect Our Investment, begins this installment of the Call’s review of the history of the Proposition P districtwide building improvement program.

Voters in November 2000 approved Proposition P, a nearly $68.4 million bond issue funded by a 49-cent tax-rate increase. However, a final budget revision approved last month raises the Proposition P budget to $89,137,440 — a roughly 30.3 percent increase — more than $20.7 million over the nearly $68.4 million building improvement program en-visioned in 2000.

The seventh installment of the Proposi-tion P chronology, based on Mehlville doc-umentation and published accounts in the Call, picks up on Sept. 5, 2000, with the organizational meeting of the Citizens to Protect Our Investment:

“I think the turnout is really a result of the community coming together and realizing how important this issue is for the betterment of our community,” said Dan Fowler, chairman of the Citizens to Protect Our Investment.

During the meeting at the Cliff Cave Branch County Library, a campaign plan was outlined and four subcommittees were formed to promote the passage of Prop-osition P, which voters will consider in the Nov. 7 general election.

Fowler, a former Board of Education member who served as chairman of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee for Facili-ties, now is heading the Citizens to Protect Our Investment. While letters about the Sept. 5 organizational meeting were sent to CACF members, many of those who at-tended were “new faces,” Fowler said.

“I have never seen such a turnout,” he said. “I think this is because of the public engagement process and the fact that the community has ownership in the plan.”

• September 2000 — Citizens to Protect Our Investment officially opened its campaign headquarters during a ceremony in which the ballot measure was endorsed by a state senator and two state representatives.

Nearly 70 people attended the grand opening of the campaign headquarters for the Citizens to Protect Our Investment. A light rain sprinkled the crowd that gathered in front of the campaign office at 5532 Telegraph Road, but did not appear to dampen participants’ spirits.

Those attending heard predictions of Proposition P’s passage by Fowler, Board of Education President Chuck Van Groni-gen and Superintendent John Cary.

They also heard endorsements of the ballot initiative by state Sen. Anita Yeckel, R-Sunset Hills, and state Rep. Carl Hen-drickson, R-Concord. State Rep. Joan Bar-ry, D-Oakville, was unable to attend, but Fowler read a letter from Barry in which she endorsed Proposition P.

Van Gronigen pledged, “I want to give you my personal guarantee that I will do everything in my power to help the campaign and get the word out. The biggest thrill of my term on the board will be to thank you for passing Proposition P on Nov. 7.”

The chronology continues next week.