So I've gone to forums, talked to candidates one-on-one, read the editorial pages and wrapped that around what I know about this district. Here are my picks for School Board along with a bit of the why. Keep in mind; I vote both for what the person has individually and what I think they will bring to the Board as a whole. A person can be bright and even qualified but that doesn't mean they work well with others OR have something to bring to a team effort.
District III: Harium Martin-Morris. I won't even mention the other guy because he's a lunatic. Luckily, Mr. Martin-Morris is NOT just a default winner. He is bright, knows a lot about the workings of the Board (you can't go to Board meetings for years and not pick up a lot of information, both directly and indirectly plus learning about the players) and, hurray! has a sense of humor (which I predict may get him into trouble sometimes from humorless folks). I think he brings an honesty and candor with that humor that is going to be more palatable to the public (than say, Darlene Flynn who is blunt to a point). Years of working on Site Council and PTA boards makes me believe he can work in a group.
District I: Sally Soriano. I know some of you just can't get past the affidavit she filed for the school closure lawsuit (which, by the way, didn't cost the district extra - they were already working on the lawsuit). I thought it wasn't a good idea but Sally is a principled person. Sally has integrity and is willing to stand up and say she doesn't agree. She doesn't do it in snide or unpleasant way, she asks for support and asks many questions. In short, she does her homework. Her work on the water and mold issues has been aggressive and ground-breaking.
Peter Maier is a bright, hard-working guy. That said, he doesn't bring a lot to the table. I fear that Peter is easily lead and willing to go with the flow of the majority. We had that problem with the previous board (before the current board) who just wanted to support the superintendent and didn't EVER want to look like they had a disagreement. It's dangerous and it lead this district to the brink of financial ruin. Peter also stated today in an article in the PI in answer to a question about school safety :
"The district must also continue to replace buildings that are not earthquake-safe or that have unhealthy air or water quality. The February 2007 bond measure that voters approved overwhelmingly, and whose campaign I led as president of Schools First, made great strides on these projects."
First, Sally is the one who championed the mold and water quality issues. Not Schools First or Facilities staff. She did her job a Board member and listened to constituents and stood her ground.
Second, the Feb. 2007 bond measure is not going to make great strides in either case. Why? Because many of the schools already had it in motion to clean up the air and water quality. Facilities wanted to do the bare minimum when the mold issue at Hale when it came up (ask the parent of the child who has cancer who feared for her child's health) and yet, when the bond measure came, it was either a $1M fix or a $64M fix. Interesting. Also, as I said before (and I'll say again), this bond list does NOT address all the schools with the most pressing earthquake problems. Mr. Maier, if elected, will be the Board member to be held most accountable because of the head of School First he rubber-stamped their recommendations.
District II: Sherry Carr. She's bright, has proven she knows how to work with diverse groups of people on complicated issues and knows the district. More than any other candidate, Sherry knows this district and that is a huge plus for a new board member. Darlene has alienated far too many people, knows it and has excuses for not being communicative rather than even saying she will try to do better.
District VI: Maria Ramirez. A very hard call but I give the nod to Maria Ramirez. She, like Sherry, has a depth of experience, will bring needed diversity to this district (see my post on Latina candidates and the stats in it) and knows how to work with groups. Steve Sundquist just has less experience on this front although he has good financial knowledge. I would be proud to have either candidate on the Board.