Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Candidate Web Site Update

There doesn't seem to be any nice way to do this, so I'll just stick to the facts. There have not been many changes to school board candidate web sites over the past few weeks. It is now less than two months until the primary on Tuesday, August 21.

I do recall some people suggesting that more information about candidate positions either would be forthcoming on the candidate's web site or might be forthcoming on the candidate's web site. So far, no new information has appeared. Given the delay, the sparse nature of some candidate web sites now appears to be a conscious choice rather than a lack of time or opportunity. I can't say which candidates said that they would provide more information about their positions and plans on their web sites, but none of those who had been accused of being vague have provided any details.

Forgive me if this appears to be harassment. I'm just trying to follow up. If there is a more gentle way to do it, I would be grateful to learn it.

SPS District 2 North Seattle --- Primary Election

Sherry Carr http://carr4kids.com/

Courtney Hill -no web site-

Patrick Kelley -no web site-

Darlene Flynn -no web site-

Lisa Stuebing http://www.stuebingforschools.org/

SPS District 6 West Seattle ---- Primary Election

Zeinab M. Ahmed -no web site-

Danaher Dempsey, Jr http://www.dempsey4schools.org/

Edwin B. Fruit -no web site-

Maria G. Ramirez -no web site-

Steve Sundquist http://www.sundquist4schools.com/

SPS District 1 Northwest Seattle - General Election

Peter Maier http://www.petermaierforschoolboard.com/

Sally Soriano http://www.sallysoriano.org/

SPS District 3 Northeast Seattle - General Election

David Blomstrom http://2007.seattle-mafia.org/

Harium Martin-Morris http://www.harium2007.com/


Brita said...

Hello all,

This is one area where volunteers can be really helpful. In my campaign, I developed rather rambling positions on a wide variety of education/SPS issues (they emerged throughout the campaign, from my own thoughts, comments at house parties, questions from endorsing orgs, etc.).

I emailed these rambling versions to a wonderful volunteer who pared them down to a paragraph each and after I saw the final version, we posted it.

My point is that it is possible that a candidate HAS positions on various issues but hasn't slowed down long enough to capture them and post them.

Or perhaps not. An offer to help might create a clarifying moment to a candidate.

Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure that there is not a sole alive who can pare down the ramblings of Mr. Bloomstrom.

Anonymous said...

I think Brita meant the viable candidates.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, it's time to leave this alone. You took a lot of heat last time you ranted about the inadequacies of the candidates. We know your position. You have proven your point. If you don't like the vagueness of a candidate, don't vote for them, or as Brita mentioned, roll up your sleeves and offer to help them if you have the time. But for goodness sakes, move on now.

Anonymous said...

To anon 5:56, I too thought Charlie was grilling the candidates a little too hard early on, but I've come around - especially given his approach in this recent post.

It seems especially reasonable to expect that the candidates in the no-primary races (Harium Martin-Morris and Peter Maier) would have had time to expand their websites with position statements.

My reaction to Charlie's questioning also began to change when I saw Peter Maier's conspicuous lack of answers to Charlie's pretty darn reasonable questions on the Educating Mom blog candidate forum - asked more than once.

If Mr Maier hasn't come out with more substantive stuff (I haven't been to his website in a while), he is starting to look like either candidate "lite" or one of those folks who expect you to trust that they're going to just extemporaneously make the right decisions once in office.

Anonymous said...

Harium Martin-Morris is not running unopposed. Yes, his competition Mr. Bloostrom is nuttier than fruitcake, but please make sure that people actually vote in that primary, lest the nut make it through on uniformed apathy or name appeal.

Anonymous said...

When there are only 2 candidates in a race, they advance to the general in November - there is no primary.

I will be certain to vote for Mr Martin-Morris - even without any more clarification of his positions (note - I did see him at the 46th candidates' forum and saw a lot to like.)

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen Peter Maier at a candidate forum? If so, I was wondering what your impressions were.

Charlie Mas said...

Let me be very clear. I have not spoken on the inadequacies of the candidates, but on the inadequate exposition of their positions and intentions.

Mr. Maier and Mr. Sundquist, the two candidates I have been accused of harassing, appear to me to be excellent candidates from what I have been able to learn about them. I would like to learn more, specifically about their positions and intentions.

Those who accused me of harassing these candidates often suggested that I give the candidates time to more fully describe their platforms on their web sites. I have now given them this time, but no more information has come forward from the candidates. I am merely noting this. It's not like I'm posting daily about it or "ranting".

Anyone else who thinks they can do it more fairly is certainly free to take on this work.

I would also like to learn more about Mr. Kelley and Ms Ramirez, to name just two, who do not have candidate web sites.

Ms Stuebing, Ms Carr, Mr. Blomstrom, and Mr. Dempsey have web sites which, I feel, adequately describe their positions and intentions.

I been able to observe Ms Soriano and Ms Flynn in office for the past four years, so I feel adequately informed about their positions and intentions.

As for Mr. Martin-Morris, I sense that his election is assured, so any discussion of his candidacy would not be practical.

Anonymous said...

In the upcoming election, we're voting for candidates not websites, correct? Voting for individuals to be board members, not webmasters, no? Given that, Charlie's ongoing obsession with candidate WEBSITES is tiring.

I think Brita's response to this post carries a lot of merit.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 9:40 am: I find your anonymous criticize much less credible than any previous posts on websites or the lack thereof. The reality is that an online presence reaches a growing constituency.

More of us are doing our due diligence online. When I didn't have a connection at home, I made time to use a PC at the library or at school. I have three school age children. My time is limited. When I don't have time or coverage to attend a forum, I can catch up on the issues via a candidate's website, or this blog.

Candidates, as well as board members, have to use all the tools at this disposal to get their message out, and listen to feedback. WenG

Charlie Mas said...

It's not about web sites. It is about the candidates openly discussing their positions and intentions.

We are voting for candidates and voting for them as potential school board members. How can we get information about the candidates and about how they would perform as Board members if they are not forthcoming with that information?

I think Brita's post on this thread shows that the candidates could easily have their positions and intentions on their web site if they chose to. The absence of that information is the result of a decision to exclude it. It isn't an oversight. It isn't something that they just haven't gotten around to doing. That decision is one that we should keep in mind when casting our votes. It may not be a determining factor, but it is a factor.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, were you ever able to sit down with Peter Maier and ask him the questions that you have? Have you attended any candidate forums where Mr. Maier spoke of his positions? I love the forums because the candidates are usually available before and after for some conversation and questions. Are there any other ways besides the candidates websites that you can access the information. I have found Peter to be very forthcoming when I have spoken with him. Perhaps you can try other ways besides blogs and websites to engage him.

Anonymous said...

WenG - my point is that there are multiple means of communicating with voters. Given that the job involves a lot of work on committees, time interacting directly with the public and relationship-building, my impressions from the candidate forums and in-person conversations carry much more weight than someone's website. I know that Charlie and some others on this blog have talked with candidates - I'd like to hear as much about those in-person encounters as about who's done what with their websites.

BTW, building and regularly updating a website (even with website-building tools)is not easy for all of us - I'm speaking as someone who's tried unsuccessfully to set up a personal site before. Which is why I appreciated Brita's nudge for potential volunteers.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, not everyone lives in cyber space like you (and I). Not everyone is comfortable with this means of communication. It is not a requirement of a board candidate to have a website, nor is it required to have long conversations on blogs. Heck, it's not even a bad reflection on them. All it says is they may not be as tech saavy as you or I. I don't really care how web saavy a candidate it. I care about how saavy they are with school district issues and their positions on the matters that relate to them. I have been very satisfied with Mr. Maiers response at candidate forums, and thought he came across articulate and committed to his positions. Please, try other means to communicate with the candidates that do not FOR WHATEVER REASON (time, lack of web skills etc), fully utilize their website or blogs.

Anonymous said...

To anon and not a webmaster - I would have to agree with Charlie's expectation that a really viable candidate who is intent on sharing his views and positions, and on reaching the most folks (not putting at a disadvantage those who can't physically attend live events or otherwise take the time to seek him/her out) would put (or have his volunteers put) a significant investment in his website.

Much like all but the smallest mom and pop stores, businesses, and public agencies have robust websites - it's just the way of the day. If the candidate can't marshall those resources from his volunteers or supporters, maybe s/he's a nice and well-intentioned person, but not really viable as a school board candidate or director.

Anonymous said...

The disadvantaged who cannot go to candidate forums??? How about those (and there are many) who do not have computers at home?? And as for those little businesses without a website. Those are the ones I find myself supporting. Much rather give them my business than Walmart with their fantastic, state of the art website.
I respectfully disagree with the whole "gotta have a website" theory. But it goes hand in hand with Ballard and Roosevelt becoming way oversubscribed when they got a shiny new remodeled building. I guess it's all about your perspective. I'd much rather hear what a candidate has to say in person at a forum, on the Seattle Channel, on KUOW, etc., then read some well thought out, carefully typed position on their website.

Anonymous said...

I think the point isn't where you get your information. If you prefer it in person, great. If you prefer it written, then a website is good for you, (By the way, since when is a "well-thought out, carefully typed" answer a bad thing"? Lisa Stuebing has a plan on her website that has grammatical errors, spelling errors and at least one factual error. When this was pointed out to her, she admitted it was an old document that hadn't been updated. What you say and what you write does matter and it reflects how you might be as a Board Director.)

If you have a website, it should have some content beyond who you are, a reason for running, endorsements and how to donate time/money. Many people can't go to forums, etc. and do depend on websites for information. I agree with the person who says it is likely not just an oversight but by design. And that's fine as well but recognize that if a person doesn't want to give you information on their stands while running, what makes you believe it will happen once he/she gets into office? Example A; Darlene Flynn who, when she was running said she would be responsive to the public, and yet wasn't and isn't.

Charlie Mas said...

Let's just calm down a bit, shall we?

No one is saying that web sites are the only way that people can or should get their information about candidates.

No one is saying that the candidates are under any obligation to create a web site or under any obligation to put any specific information on their web site.

Thank you for raising those points. They are not in dispute.

Whether any of the candidates are tech-savvy or not is not the issue. Those who have web sites are clearly tech-savvy enough to create them. Some of those sites are very slick; for those candidates, technical ability is clearly not an obstacle.

If a candidate lacks the time necessary to write their positions and intentions, then I suggest they might not have the time to serve. Perhaps they are busy with higher priority tasks. In that case, it could be that they lack the ability to delegate effectively.

The most plausible explanation, however, is that the candidate simply does not wish to tell the general public about their positions and intentions. That is certainly a legitimate choice for the candidates to make.

If there are some who have heard from the candidates at forums or in meetings and can speak to the candidates' positions and intentions, please don't be so reticent. Tell us what you heard.

For me, it is difficult to go to meetings in the evening. I have no schedule of candidate events. I do have access to online resources and I use them. I pay attention to what the candidates say and write. I am not interested in their ability to make a web site, but it their statements about what they will do if elected and how they will do it. That's what I'm interested in. I don't care how they distribute that information, but a web site, if they have one, would seem a natural place for it.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, I wasn't suggesting that anything was wrong with a well thought out answer on a website, but I prefer to hear how candidates answer questions on the fly, when they havent had time to sit down and think about all the politically correct things to say and write. I like hearing them as kests on KUOW and in forums much much more than reading what they have put on their websites. I did alot of reading about Cheryl Chow, and heard her in a forum, and was impressed enough to want to endorse her. It wasn't until I spoke with her after a forum one night, that I was shocked at some of the very negative things she said, and her lack of compassion.

As for your comment about Darlene Flynn, isn't that ironic? You could put anything you want on your website, and then completely blow it off after election.

Anonymous said...


Am curious if you've had the opportunity to speak with Peter Maier and your thoughts currently.

Also received Sally's election piece that leads with your quote in bold "Sally Soriano is doing a great job - - - -" somewhere else in these blogs you had referenced that Sally was using an old quote on your website - is this one w/ your permission and endorsement?

Please advise - respect your leadership and thoughts immensely and just want to know where you are coming from -


Charlie Mas said...

Leslie (et al),

The quote from me on Sally's web site was not written for her and her campaign but taken from a blog posting I made some time ago. I stand behind what I wrote then and I stand behind it today.

That said, I have not endorsed Sally in this campaign.

Despite all of the complaining I have done about Peter Maier's refusal to discuss his intentions in any detail and his apparently over-ambitious promises, he may yet win my vote.

I haven't spoken to him, although he has offered to talk with me. I've been pretty busy.

I know these blog entries make it appear as if I have a lot of time, but they are usually written in one- and two-minute installments over the course of several hours.

I have a lot of respect for Director Soriano and her principled decisions. If anything, I wish she were louder. I don't always agree with her, but I always know where she's coming from. I have seen her work in Committee and I have seen her work with staff. She conducts herself as a professional, treats everyone with courtesy and respect, and keeps the focus where it belongs.

Director Soriano has been repeatedly vilified in the Seattle Times to the point that Peter Maier is probably smart to keep his mouth shut. His whole platform seems to be "I'm not Sally Soriano". But the Seattle Times is wrong and there is a chance that the voting public either knows it or may learn it before election day.

Director Soriano is good. Of course there is always the possibility that we could do better. I can't tell if Peter Maier represents an improvement because I can't tell what Peter Maier really wants to do on the Board. I'm keeping an open mind, but he hasn't stepped up and made the case for himself yet.

The election isn't until November. Perhaps between now and then Mr. Maier will state his intentions. If he does, that will help me decide. If he doesn't, then I will likely vote to re-elect Director Soriano largely because I do think she is doing a good job, but partly as a vote against Mr. Maier because I don't want a Board Director who is so unwilling to share his thinking with the public.

Charlie Mas said...

Steve Sundquist has updated his web site and added a page called Questions and Answers.

It is a good addition.

Charlie Mas said...

Steve Sundquist has made a final post to the Educating Mom web site, as he promised to do.

Anonymous said...

Yes, and Steve's final comment is as inspirational as it is educational...

"Charlie and others raised the question about accountability and neighborhood schools. Clearly there are no guarantees on the question of accountability, but my belief is that parents have a particularly strong incentive to help their neighborhood schools succeed, as they are logistically the most accessible schools for most families to support with their time and energy."

Well, DUH...

"We know that schools work best when parents are highly involved."


"The strong incentive to "make it work" coupled with the fact that it is easier to participate as a parent when the school is close should help to increase the overall level of parent involvement."

No kidding.

"This should enable more communication of expectations, goals and requirements between parents and the school staff, and hence more accountability."

Gee, do you think?

"Administrators would of course need to research the issue to make sure they were interpreting the signal correctly, but they will be more likely to perceive a signal when the system is optimized to assign kids to the neighborhood school."

Time to put on the hip waders!

"There was also a question on the achievement gap, and how to close it. This is clearly a complex problem, but I have been heartened to see progress being made at schools like Maple Elementary, and also by public comments Chief Academic Officer Carla Santorno has made expressing her optimism that we know what needs to be done."

Yes, indeed, if Carla knows what needs to be done, then we can consider the problem solved!

"Among the tools and techniques we need to employ are serious efforts to turn around under-performing schools; smaller class sizes . . ."

So is Sundquist speaking out against school closures???

"Finally, there was a question about what I mean by educational equity. In my mind it simply means that all children and youth have a right to a high-quality, comprehensive public education."

Simply brilliant, Einstein!

"This implies that we must work to ensure that all of our schools are safe, effective, and relevant places for our children to learn and reach their highest potentials."

Gosh, how many times have I heard that?

Sheez, this is some of the most audacious BS I've heard yet. And have you checked out Sundquist's endorsements?

The Seattle Times, Seattle P-I, The Stranger, Don Nielsen, Barbara Schaad-Lamphere, the Muny League, the Alki Foundation...

For crying out loud, this clown's a walking advertisement for Microsoft and Boeing. It's obvious why the people who frequent this forum adore Sundquist.