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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Election Results

It looks like it will be Darlene Flynn facing Sherry Carr in District 2 this November. In District 6, it will be Steve Sundquist versus Maria Ramirez. If Lisa Stuebing had pulled in another 150 votes, Darlene would have been defeated. That's a close race.

Here are the numbers (so far)
Sherry Carr - 1,919
Darlene Flynn - 1,368

Steve Sundquist - 2,956
Maria Ramirez - 1,374

There were about 700 more votes cast in District 6 than District 2. I don't know if that means District 2 voters weren't as interested or if the District 6 race was hotter. Maybe people in SW Seattle just vote more.

For Darlene Flynn, it's not good news. She should have pulled in more people from her own district but maybe she has greater broad support citywide. Sherry Carr should do fairly well because she has done work throughout the district and likely has better name recognition than other candidates might have.

Steve Sundquist pulled in huge support but again, that's in his district. It will be interesting to see how that race plays out citywide.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like these results so far...I think these candidates are our best chance for looking out for the "good of the whole" of the district--ultimately benefiting all students--rather than focusing on a more narrow activist agenda.

Anonymous said...

Anyone hear the two City Council candidates, Bruce Harrell and Venus Velasquez, on KUOW. they talked alot about wanting the council to use the education levy to wield clout in school district issues.

StrongLeft said...

Anonymous @ 1:

Mind sharing your identity? I know people like to make lots of hit and run comments on this site, but if you have any courage whatsoever, tell us who you are. This kind of anonymous innuendo is really just cowardice.

Don't want to share your name? Okay, but at least use a username so we know who's saying what.

Anonymous said...

strongleft,
I know you weren't referring to me, I asked about the city council candidates radio interviews, but you raise a good point.
I use anonymous because i'm too lazy to set up a google or yahoo account. For anyone like me, we can always close with a signature so people can tell us apart.

Eastlake Mother of 1st grader

Anonymous said...

anonymous @12:05, my screen shows a Choose an identity area where I choose Other, then type in my "name" - does yours? If yes, you can use it to enter a screen name without having to create a google account.

strongleft - would you have felt the same way about anonymous @9:40's anonymity if he or she had said something you'd agreed with?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'll ask the question that perhaps Strongleft meant to ask but didn't. Could the first Anonymous be more specific on who has had a narrow activist agenda and are there some candidates you believe may have one?

Dan Dempsey said...

First comment here by anonymous states:
I like these results so far...I think these candidates are our best chance for looking out for the "good of the whole" of the district--ultimately benefiting all students--rather than focusing on a more narrow activist agenda.

I disagree strongly with the above statement.

Darlene Flynn does not communicate with those who contact her. She does not do adequate homework. In regard to curriculum selection, which is her duty, she is a non-performer. As one of three board members on the SLC, which recommends textbooks for adoption to the board, she failed the children on May 8th. At that SLC meeting concerning math adoption she stated she had not looked at the books.

Ms. Flynn is a minister of disinformation in her own behalf. At the Pathfinder forum in West Seattle and at the City Club forum at Plymouth Congregational from which I was excluded, Ms. Flynn stated that during her tenure WASL reading, writing, and math scores are up 50%. This is a blatant lie. I ran the comparative data and submitted it to several news outlets. None reported this lie. In Seattle the school board and the administration do not intelligently apply relevant data to make decisions. In the campaign Ms. Flynn makes up her own data to advance her candidacy. Is this for the "good of the whole"? I doubt it.

Dear Anonymous please tell me what my narrow activist agenda is?

From my website:
What are Dan Dempsey’s major concerns?
• Each child is unique and a blanket “one size fits all” standardization of education is inadequate. We must serve the full spectrum of learners.
• Research shows small schools are the most effective. I oppose the closing of small schools and the building mega-schools.
• School board policies stipulate that children at each grade level learn required necessary skills and be provided interventions as needed. Why are these policies neglected? I advocate for effective interventions.
• Public input is not solicited. As a school board member Dan will use the wisdom of the community and not ignore your concerns. Visit the discussion forum at www.dempsey4schools.org for an example of meaningful communication.
• Classroom disruptions must be reduced. Teachers should use the often-neglected State Classroom Disruption Law (RCW 28A 600.020) if needed.
• Board decision-making needs improvement. Relevant data intelligently applied will improve decision-making bettering our schools.

It seems tribalism is alive and well in Seattle – much to the detriment of “the good of the whole” .


Sincerely,

Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.

Dan Dempsey said...

Unofficial Cumulative 8/22/2007 4:00:57 PM

DIRECTOR DISTRICT NO. 2

Ballots Cast/Registered Voters: 8130 / 53302 15.25%

Director District No. 2

Sherry Carr 2692 40.16%

Darlene Flynn 1833 27.35%
-------
Lisa C. Stuebing 1517 22.63%

Patrick Kelley 448 6.68%

Courtney Hill 175 2.61%

Write-in 38 0.57%

DIRECTOR DISTRICT NO. 6

Ballots Cast/Registered Voters: 7389 / 47184 15.66%

Director District No. 6

Steve Sundquist 3236 51.89%

Maria G. Ramirez 1507 24.17%
-----
Danaher M. Dempsey Jr. 1065 17.08%

Zeinab M. Ahmed 258 4.14%

Edwin B. Fruit 146 2.34%

Write-in 24 0.38%

Charlie Mas said...

The news story on the election that appeared in the Times today confused me. The Times reporter, Emily Heffter, wrote:
"In all four races, voters will choose between a business-minded candidate pushing for more accountability and order and one with a history of community activism."

Which are which? Is Ms Heffter saying that Peter Maier doesn't have a history of community activism? After all those years working for SchoolsFirst? Isn't that activism? And are we to believe that Mr. Maier is pushing for more accountability? Because I haven't seen that. He uses the word, but he hasn't told us how he implement it. Sally Soriano also has a history of community activism, and has a record of demanding accountability from the Superintendent.

Steve Sondquist and Maria Ramirez each have a record of community activism, but which of them has been pushing accountability? Again, there is a world of difference between throwing the word around and actually enforcing it.

Anonymous said...

I don't really get Emily Heffter - she often seems really capable and bright, but just as often seems to go for the superficial. Who knows - maybe it's the editor...

I wonder too whether reporters have to pander to some degree so they can continue to get candidates and electeds to give them stories and return their calls - a lot of quotes seem to go without challenge (when in fact inquiring minds really do want to know.)

In this case, it seems somewhat facile to classify the white candidate who works (or worked) for a for-profit as "business-minded" and not having a history of community activism - I guess it depends on how you define activism. Sherry Carr's PTA and CACIEE work is active if not activist - and I agree with Charlie's question as to whether Peter Maier's Schools First work isn't activism...

Def'n of 'activision' (emphasis mine): the doctrine or practice of vigorous action or involvement as a means of achieving political or other goals, *sometimes* by demonstrations, protests, etc.

Dan Dempsey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan Dempsey said...

You don't understand Emily Heffter some of the time. Wow, that puts you miles ahead of me. I see a lot of folks who fail to investigate other than superficially the aspects of what goes on in Seattle Schools. I thought we might have an investigative press. It looks as though news budgets do not allow that type of through investigative research.

Four years ago when four directors were elected communication was a large topic. I was sadly disappointed as few communicated during the last year of their terms. Look at the School Board Candidates responses in Linda Thomas' PI-blog the communication problem hardly appears to be improving during this election cycle. At the Pathfinder forum all candidates were sent additional questions to answer. I responded none of the other Candidates did. The message now appears clear - discussion of real issues and responding to public concerns is not required. No wonder most of the current school board members feel little need to respond to anyone about anything. Why even think that intelligent decision making will ever proceed through the intelligent application of relevant data? These board members rarely even take the time to explain their decisions.

They never required Mr. Manhas or Ms. Santorno to explain much of anything.
You can read my responses to the 22 additional questions from the Pathfinder forum at http://westseattleblog.com/dempseyresponse.doc

You can read in the letters section of my website at
www.dempsey4schools.org
-The letters to Ms. Santorno and Mr. Manhas.

I made the comment that tribalism is alive and well in Seattle.
Explanation:

Told unless I was democrat I could not speak at school board candidate forum and thus gain an endorsement.

I answered in great detail all questions asked by Lynne Varner in a SCAN media 15 minute interview. I was told this would be broadcast on Channel 77 with the 15 minute interviews of Mr. Sundquist and Ms. Ramirez many times prior to the August 21, election. It was broadcast once at a reasonable time and once in a time few would watch. If you were a working individual neither 3:30 PM nor 1:00 AM are reasonable times.

The City Club held a forum and denied me the opportunity to speak.

Now on this blog I find the first comment implies I focused on a narrow activist agenda.

Yes I do believe that tribalism is the only plausible explanation for many of the decisions made during the Manhas years. This tribalism appears to invade most aspects of Seattle politics and decision making.

Yes, I think there is a severe problem:
I a teacher with 32 years teaching experience producer of many statistically significant improvements in the learning of his students---
I a teacher who actually responds to the issues with precisely devised explanations and proposed solutions---
I a teacher who has set up discussion forums on his website---
I a teacher who sits on the State Board of Education math advisory panel---
I a teacher who had attended 13 school board meetings in 2007---
I a teacher certified k-12 and Highly Qualified In Math, Chemistry, and Science---
I a teacher who had attended every NAACP meeting since November with one exception---

In spite of the above seven points and many others, The City Club denied me the opportunity to speak at a forum prior to the primary. City Club Tribalism stamping out democracy – nice work for a 501c3 if you can pull it off.
---------------
• CityClub is a non-partisan, nonprofit education organization dedicated to informing citizens and building community leadership in the greater Seattle region. CityClub has presented over 1000 public affairs forums and events since it's founding in 1981. CityClub does not take positions on issues. As a primary convener, we bring people of many different perspectives together to consider a range of critical community issues
----------------
The above is clearly not true. The City Club had decided prior to the primary to decide who should be allowed to make it through to the general election and who should not.

Limiting Freedom of Speech of those who address the serious short comings of Seattle Schools direction and decision making appears to a high priority for many tribes in Seattle of which the City Club is certainly one.

SCAN channel 77 could have done a much better job of televising interviews that could have greatly expanded public knowledge prior to voting. The City Club validates the necessity of money for campaigning by excluding those candidates who wish to speak that they deem not worthy.

My advice to future non-partisan candidates who are independents:
Abandon your principles and lie – join a tribe.
Of course you can always adopt my plan – stay faithful to the children and your beliefs and just plan on losing in this illogically irrationally run school district. Remember if there was any logic involved here we would not be in this mess. Tribalism wins and kids lose.

I do hope that Harium, Sherry, Peter, and Steve as the newly anointed power group by informed individuals like anonymous, can provide a path to better learning for all through the intelligent applicant of relevant statistical data.

Sincerely,

Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Dempsey,

Thanks for running. The more voices in our community the stronger our community.

Many of those who participate are affluent, and too many of those who are affluent got that way and stay that way by going along to get along.

They seek out fake 'middle' grounds, terrified of going outside the group think and having some ostracizing label affixed.

The labels which perpetuate group think, labels such as 'team player' or 'angry' or 'divisive' or 'political', serve to limit the discourse and make sure the boat doesn't rock.

When the boat doesn't rock, we the community get stuff like WASL legislation passed ... 14? years ago, then inadequete funding, then tepid or terrible implementation,

then about 32,000 kids out of about 72,000 in spring 2006 don't pass the Math WASL, and, worse, these kids, our kids, our future citizens, probably don't have much for math skills so that they'll be able to compete.

I've not found any magic answers or set in stone answers during my whole 2 years IN the classroom. My ideas are forming, but I think it is great that someone who has stood in my shoes ran for office.

Best of luck.

Bob Murphy,
a math teacher in seattle.
(ONLY speaking for ME the voter and me the taxpayer and me the citizen!)

Anonymous said...

While I really appreciate hearing Mr. Dempsey's perspective, with all due respect, it sounds like he is ranting. In my opinion a ranting school board director would not work cohesively with the other directors and administration, and could be divisive. It is not that I disagree with what he says, it is the way he is relaying it. He sounds angry, and outraged, and a bit over the edge.

Anonymous said...

1964, I had the same reaction - and thought Mr Danaher might be pretty formidable (in a good way) if he put the same energy into beating the establishment at its own game as he is putting into denouncing it.

Dan Dempsey said...

Ultimate Fan - thank you for your thoughts:

"if he put the same energy into beating the establishment at its own game as he is putting into denouncing it."

I am in many regards a country bumpkin - new to the ways of the city. My dad told me you can't fight city hall and win.

Ultimate Fan are you serious? There is a way to beat the establishment forces. Please share this with me.

Thanks,

Dan

Anonymous said...

Yes there are ways to "beat" or at least work with the establishment/system. Sometimes you have to play the game. Anger, denouncing and butting heads will get you nowhere fast.

Brita Butler-Wall decided that she wanted to get rid of vending machines in High Schools. She worked quite cohesively, and civilly with administration, and viola, she beat the system. There are no vending machines in our schools. She worked WITH the system, and the people, and made it happen. That's what the school board needs, directors who are positive, cohesive, and collaborative. They are the ones who can get things done. The people who think they will never be able to beat the system, and are tired, and angry at everyone will never get anywhere.

Anonymous said...

outside the box, I agree with you very much - Brita Butler Wall is a great example of someone who took her more "activist" (in the sense of work intended to protest the status quo) ideas and worked firmly, skillfully, and respectfully with the district administration and stakeholders to move them forward.

I think she did almost all of her work that way (not just the "activist" stuff).

Her absence going forward is a loss for me.

Charlie Mas said...

Of course the vending machines didn't change even after Brita had managed to get the Board to pass the Policy, so she had to stage a publicity event by "arresting" one of them. Only then, after she publicly shamed the administration, were the fronts of the machines replaced.

A number of methods have been tried. The two I have observed to be the most effective have been bad press and the threat of litigation.

The only time I ever got any results out of the District were when I could generate some press attention. It resulted in a promise-filled letter from Superintendent Manhas. While it is true that he failed to fulfill any of the promises in the letter, it was the closest thing I ever got to a response from him and I would not have seen it without the press behind me.

I should say that going through the system has generated actual responses, however dissatisfying.

I used the Citizen's Complaint process twice. One of them was found to have merit, but the promised resolution to the complaint was never implemented.

I was able to use a Board Policy to stop an action, but the Policy was interpreted in such a way that the Staff could have gotten away with their plan. Fortunately (unfortunately?) the Staff was incapable of making a case for their decision. I have started another effort to enforce a Board Policy, but with very low expectations.

Generally speaking, if you want to beat a bureaucracy I suggest establishing at least one front in which you fill out all of their forms correctly and completely and then wait patiently for their wheels to turn. Know the system; know the process; know the rules; know your rights. If you get the right form, you can effectively request the machine to eat itself.

Charlie Mas said...

I certainly sympathize with Mr. Dempsey. I feel an obligation to support my statements and place them in context. As a result, I tend to run a little long. Over the years I have learned to cut things short - yes, this is short compared to how I started.

It takes time to learn what to leave out for the sake of brevity. It takes longer to learn what to leave out so you aren't dismissed as ranting. Finally, it takes time to learn how to add those bits that acknowlede the possiblity that you could be wrong or that you could have mis-interpreted someone else's words. I'm willing to wait for Mr. Dempsey.

Anonymous said...

But keep in mind that Brita's issue had unintended consquences: the dramatic decrease in funds available to the high schools and middle schools for activities, most specifically sports. So, in an effort to improve student health (restricting access to soda), there was an unintended harm to student health (decreased access to sports). The "pay to play" was a direct result of the loss of the vending machine revenue.

The is why canidate (and district staff members) have to have a global view, not just an issue view.

Charlie Mas said...

When the Board passed that Policy they directed the Superintendent to provide a list of means for replacing the lost revenue. He didn't do it. Let's remember that Superintendent Manhas did not share, support, or work to fulfill the Board's Vision or values. He would frequently neglect to perform directed tasks and would frequently violate Board Policies.

This was but a single case in which he failed to follow Board direction.

I'm sure that Director Butler-Wall could direct any interested party to a long list of fundraising activities that any school could adopt to replace the soda revenue.

Anonymous said...

Re the lost revenue from vending machines, I have to say that I liked it when she (Brita) reminded people that this revenue came primarily out of student's pockets, and, being now unspent on vending machines, was presumably still there for application to school needs.

Brita said...

Hello all,

OK, I'll take the bait. Thank you for your kind words, first of all.

Actually, I have never had a quarrel with machines. We did not get rid of vending machines. What we eliminated (before and after I got on the board) was advertising on the machines, unhealthful items sold in the machines, and an exclusive pouring rights contract. This was the work of many people in the community.

It is true that ending the sales of sugary, caffeinated drinks to students did decrease the funds to the subset of students who participated in high school athletics, primarily to fund their busses to games. The principals and Superintendent were given about a year to come up with a replacement plan and the King County STEPS to a healthy U.S funded some 'revenue replacement workshops' which were poorly attended by SPS staff but did draw people from other districts.

I wish we had the funding from the state to fully fund education, including extracurricular and athletic activities--however, we do not even have ample funds to support our academic programs, which is why we are participants in the current lawsuit against the state.

Encouraging kids to drink stuff that is demonstrably bad for their health (and therefore can impact their learning) in order to support after school sports seems like a poor trade-off to me and the rest of our board. It is basically a tax on students' bodies.

What students and their families choose to do outside school is their business, of course.

Brita

Dan Dempsey said...

Charlie,

Well said about Mr. Manhas and his failure to implement board policies.

So what did the board do on the repeated occasions when he and his senior staff ignored these policies?

They did nothing when I notified them of continuing improper practices. By failing to adequately hold Mr. Manhas accountable, the board demonstrated a lack of concern for state law, school board policies, and appropriate curriculum selections.

I thought Mr. Manhas was the School Board's only employee. Was it not their job to hold him accountable?

Sincerely,

Dan

Charlie Mas said...

Yes, the Board did, on a number of occassions, seem to countenance Mr. Manhas' violations of Policy and failures to fulfill directions. What did they do about it? What could they do about it? As I have noted a number of times, the Board has very few mechanisms for enforcing Policy. They have to rely on the superintendent's willing cooperation. They have to persuade him to comply, they can't force him.

More than that, the Board must conduct the bulk of their business through the Superintendent. They had to preserve some sort of working relationship with him. This meant that they couldn't repeatedly browbeat and humiliate him and still expect him to ever do anything for them ever again. They had to pick their battles and if they called him to task, they had to do it privately and tactfully.

For example, the mass re-classification of 10th graders to 9th graders (in violation of Policy) wasn't repeated the following year. I can only suspect the Board's influence in that change, but the Board never publicly censured the superintendent for the year when he did it.

I'm sure that the Board found the Accountability Plan as pathetic as the CACIEE Committee did, but the Board didn't publicly point at it and laugh.

The Board helped Mr. Manhas sweep his $35 million capital budget deficit under the rug.

The funny thing, of course, was that the whole time the Board was being patient with their foul-up superintendent and keeping faith with him in public, he was bleating to the press and the Alliance about how the Board was impossible to work with.

In the end, I suspect that the situation became untenable for Mr. Manhas. There was the CACIEE report which - for all intents and purposes - called for his immediate replacement. Then there was his inability to respond to the committee's recommendations. There was the disastrous Phase II of closures which were totally absurd complete with the botched public process - every single public process under his administration was botched. There was the growing awareness of the gap between what he said and what he did. And the Board was clearly reaching the end of their patience with him and preparing an unflattering performance review.

Fortunately for the Board and the District, Mr. Manhas took the only honorable path available to him - he resigned.

Was the Board too complacent? I'm not sure we can say without having been in their shoes. Conducting a national search for a new Superintendent is a high risk decision. They pulled it off, but not without losing one of their finalists and they could easily have lost the other. A botched superintendent search proved the final nail in the coffin for the previous Board. Just the same, you can be sure that a couple Board members were not complacent and were not shy about publicly confronting the Superintendent, and they were called to task for it regularly in the Seattle Times.

On the whole, the Board was far too trusting of the superintendent, but given the governance structure of the District what choice did they have?

Dan Dempsey said...

Charlie,

Thank you so much for taking the time for such a detailed explanation.

The question I have to ask is:
are any of these rogue superintendents ever fired for just cause? Instead of being bought out?

Clear to me the Tacoma Supt. probably could not have been fired for just cause. However it appears to me that this board never was concerned enough to require either Mr. Manhas or Ms. Santorno to answer questions. Mr. Manhas should have been fired for just cause as he continually failed to fulfill the obligations of his office.

Can our new board coming in 2008 make the centralized disfunction accountable to the parents children and broader community?
If so how?

Thanks,

Dan

StrongLeft said...

ultimate fan @ 5:

Yes. People ought to stand by what they say, or at least keep straight who's saying what.