Monday, July 22, 2019

Seattle School Board Candidate Updates

On Filling Betty Patu's Seat
District Communications tells me that answers to the questions the Board has put forth are due from candidates by Monday, July 29th.  I would think they would be uploaded that day but I'll keep track and let you know.  Personally I found some of the questions somewhat repetitive and leading but it's always good to hear what candidates think.

Also to note, if you have new information that you think reflects badly on a candidate, you need to sign your full name to your comment or I will have to delete it. I see a slight uptick of people trying to smear candidates and that won't fly here. 

You are absolutely welcome to give your opinion of a candidate, hopefully based on the knowledge you have gathered about that candidate.  I think it important to say how you got the information (candidate website/Facebook page, newspaper, school website, working with the candidate etc.) that forms your opinion.

Candidates: if you are having individual events to interact with the public, please let me know and I will put it up here.  sss.westbrook@gmail.com

Candidate Updates
 (Please note, I only include those who have registered there and/or have raised funds so not all candidates who file to run will be in the following list.  As well, I rounded numbers off.)
District 1
Eric Blumhagen - $3600 raised, no debt

Liza Rankin - $4500 raised, no debt

Of interest:  Both Blumhagen and Rankin have paid out fees to consultants.

More recent endorsements
Blumhagen - King County Dems; Local 242; 7 current and former school board members including Scott Pinkham (whose district is District 1)

Rankin - The Stranger

District 3
Benjamin Leis - $2,000 raised, no debt

Chandra Hampson - $11,000 raised, $18,000 debt
WA Dems $550

Rebeca Muniz - $3,800 raised, no debt
WA Dems $580

Of interest: Hampson has a consultant and has spent more on that than other candidates by far.  In all my years of covering school board races, I have never seen a candidate with this much debt.

More recent endorsements
Leis - State Senator Jamie Pedersen
Hampson - The Stranger, Councilmember Debora Juarez
Muniz - Scott Pinkham, Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez

District 6
Leslie Harris - $2,600 raised, no debt

Molly Mitchell - $6,500 raised, $1,800 debt
WA Dems $4,000

More recent endorsements
Harris - King County Democrats, Metropolitan Democrats Club, King County Executive Dow Constantine, The Stranger
Mitchell - former school board director Marty McLaren


Anonymous said...

@Westello, based on your anger-filled smears I would be very wary of voting for Hampson and Rankin. If people like you are attacking others on their behalf, I would start by assuming they may not be effective advocates for Seattle's children.


Anonymous said...

The state's Gov is off chasing some irrational pipe dream explains a lot about why we can't get school funding straightened out.


Anonymous said...

Agreed Momof2. These fairly unhinged posts are extremely compelling reasons to vote against those two. This is the kind of thing that moves people off the fence.

Primary Voter

Anonymous said...

So true m-2.

What is going on with the district 7 green dot board member. Have they pulled their name for not disclosing such a conflict?


Melissa Westbrook said...

I deleted that for many reasons (it's a reprint from The Stranger if you want to go read it).

I want to make a couple of things clear - in the name of being a fair person which I am and many detractors are not, readers remember that - about Rankin and Hampson.

I don't have to say one nice or helpful thing about either candidate but I will.

Both of those women are smart and know the district (Hampson more than Rankin). While Hampson has great professional attributes, Rankin does not. However, just as it rankles me to see that advocacy and service to community seem to not count if you don't make money, I don't necessarily put that against Rankin.

To the issue of Hampson and her unmitigated gall in saying that I bring out my Mexican heritage as needed and I'm not really Mexican. That was at a Facebook forum page that had nothing to do with me. I was offering information and insights based on my background and Hampson thought it necessary to smack me down.

And who is she to do that? I have no idea. She doesn't know me, know my family, know the area I was raised and who my friends are to this day. It's appalling and I ask you to consider if she does that to me, what will she be doing when parents come to the dais? Mentally dissecting them and deciding if they are lying about who they are or not? And, if she will truly consider their concerns? No thanks.
Other readers said when she first announced (and unbidden by seems to think that she's the smartest person in the room. It's off-putting to say the least but, to the issue at hand, I don't think it is a good measure of being a team player on the Board. And that is crucial to getting work done.

I'm sure out on the campaign trail you'll see a kinder, gentler Hampson who wants to get elected. Don't be fooled.

As for Rankin, she's a good, decent person but I think Eric Blumhagen's professional background and his deep dive knowledge of the district - including working on important committees - make him the better choice.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Westello-too, I have not heard of any Patu candidates dropping out. I'm sure the Board will vet carefully and reject any candidates that appear to have public education beliefs contrary to stated Board resolutions (from two different boards).

If that person should appear in the final three, I would be disappointed.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, I think there are a lot of trolls on the board who are assuming regular commentators monikers. Someone keeps posting as me. I wouldn't be surprised if they are doing the same to others.

HP (Hale Parent)

Melissa Westbrook said...

HP, I am aware this is happening. It is sad and pathetic that people can't make good points without resorting to confusing/being rude to others. It speaks to their lack of civility and, of course, negates everything they say.

Benjamin Leis said...

I'll be @ the University Branch of the library from 2-4 on 7/27 to meet people. I hope to see folks out there.
Benjamin Leis (District 3)

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks, Ben

Anonymous said...

Anyone know why the Seattle Times is not endorsing school board candidates this election?

Just Wondering

Anonymous said...

If people think a school board full of parents is going to turn this district around then I say be prepared for another disappointment.

Lets see,

In 2013 it was stop ed reform.
IN 2015 it was lets get back learning and systemic racism.
In 2017 it was equity.
In 2019 it is HCC and SJW complex.

We are screwed again.


Melissa Westbrook said...

VSP, interesting point. It would appear that several candidates do have kids in SPS. That's not so unusual but what is different is that some of them still have elementary kids in SPS.

I'm not sure it's having parents on the Board that is the problem. It's people who run on accountability and then don't keep to that promise every single time.

What I see on the horizon is a City Council mostly full of newbies (and two City Council members who will be new moms and possibly a third). That will help Mayor Durkan and CM Gonzalez consolidate their power (although Gonzalez will be having her baby at some point and we all know how distracting that is).

Plus, we will have up to 5 (and maybe 6) new members on the Board. I'm sure the Superintendent will like that; the learning curve for the Board is huge and while all those newbies are getting up to speed...

That's why we need to keep Leslie Harris. Public disclosure: she is my friend but we grew to know each other thru the work of being district watchers. I know some of you don't like her style at the dais but she knows the district inside and out and absolutely will stay on issues. Neither of her challengers have that knowledge of the district.

Of course, having DeWolf lose his bid for City Council means he'd be staying on the Board (until the next shiny thing comes along).

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just Wondering, I believe the Times will be announcing their picks this week. I think they had so many City Council folks to meet and vet that it took more time than usual.

The Stranger endorsed:
District 1 - Liza Rankin
District 3 - Chandra Hampson
District 6 - Leslie Harris

My predictions for the Times? Hard to say in District 1, either Rankin or Blumhagen for sure. I think it will be Blumhagen.

District 2 - Chandra Hampson

District 6 - Again, hard to know because even the Times sees that having so many new people on the Board is not necessarily a good thing (unless they want to see the Superintendent with more power which is probably true). But I think Harris for the experience (otherwise, Mitchell).

Unknown said...

Can/will someone call me to share why, because this is a part-time Board, they don't have more support and/or policy analysts to do research to ensure they're votes are better informed? Enlighten me...(206) 324-2098

Unknown said...

Whoops..correction, "their votes"

Melissa Westbrook said...

Unknown, that's a question that has been asked...a lot. At this point, I think the Board should have pushed for funding for their own independent policy person, even if it were just parttime. Erin Bennett used to do policy research for them but the issue there is that she was supervised by the Superintendent side. That doesn't make for independent work for the Board.

It would take a united Board to tell the Superintendent, "We need dollars for our work."

Meanwhile the district spends money on consultants that produce work like this. I took the survey and told them what I think but I am astonished at what has been produced. I think the logos are silly (and definitely do not easily project "public education") and the motto choices are tepid.


Anonymous said...

Ok, that survey is ridiculous. Both logos suck (and don't evoke the ideas that they say they do), and the mottos are bizarrely tied to the city and this unrealistic notion of excellence--which is not true for either SPS or the city as whole these days.

Personally, I think the current logo is WAY more effective and appropriate, as is the motto (though just as aspirational and unrealized).

Not that they'll listen, but I urge people to express their concerns if they have them. 5pm today is the cut-off for survey response!

all types

Anonymous said...

all types, How did you find out the survey is only available through 5pm today? I didn't see any response type listed in the email or on the SPS website.

I was thinking that it was pretty shocking that the survey was only available in English, especially given Juneau's stated focus of "building bigger tables", but putting a less than 48 hour turn around in the middle of summer (especially without the timeframe being clear seems bizarre).

NE Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

NE Parent, I won't be doing this well anymore but I urge you and all parents to report this to the district.

Otherwise, the Board hears, "Yes, we solicited public input on our new logo/motto" when, in fact, it was for a very limited time, with limited choices in one language in the dead of summer.

Anonymous said...

@ NE Parent, I saw that when I took it earlier today, after seeing Melissa's link. That was the first I'd heard of the survey, and was surprised to hear it was about to end. I just tried the link again and it's no longer active, so apparently they really did take it down this evening as stated in the survey introduction. But you're right that the deadline does NOT seem to be posted on the website. Why am I not surprised?

all types