Times Weighs in on NE Seattle School Board Races

I’m not sure you can have a bigger contrast between the Seattle Times’ article about the Board race between Leslie Harris and Molly Mitchell versus this article about the other two races, both in the northend.  The Times is a lot more even-handed here and that’s what you should expect in this kind of article (unless one candidate is severely deficient in skills).

The Times points out that Rankin and Hampson have the support of the teachers’ union (actually the Board because the union membership didn’t vote).

The Times also accurately reports that Rankin and Hampson worked closely together on the SCPTSA.  The Times may not know but, as one reader points out, they both have kids at Eckstein.

The Times reports that Rankin is in favor of dismantling the Advanced Learning program as it currently operates but not HCC “entirely.”  Well, at this point HCC is the whole program. Spectrum was killed off and most schools have no ALO offerings.

In District 2, the Times puts it this way - Experience versus “youthful optimism.”

Here’s the meat of the Times’ discourse on the race:
Muñiz said she is the “product of all the programs Seattle Public Schools is trying to advocate for.”
I have a really unique perspective coming from a Latinx community, coming from an LGBTQ community, an immigrant community,” she said.
That’s an interesting point from Muñiz as Director Zachary DeWolf has made that point for younger representation on the Board as well as for LGBTQ students and staff. If Muñiz wins, the Board would have three members under 35 on it.

The Times goes on:
She (Muniz) takes a firm stance against charter schools. Hampson does too. Hampson made one caveat, though, and said that in some native communities, charter schools are the only option. She said she doesn’t fault these communities for supporting such schools, she said. None of Washington’s nine charter schools exist on reservation land, but several schools enroll Native American students, according to the Washington State Charter Schools Association.
Yes, the nuanced charter school argument.  Here’s what I say - it’s fine to have a personal viewpoint on charters.  But anyone who wants to be on the Board should be against them.  Two different Board have passed resolutions against them and the district has never made any moves towards becoming an authorizer.  I would be unease with anyone who has a “I’m against charters except...” because that just leaves the door open.

I will note that after one reader reported what Rankin said at the North Beach forum about HCC, Rankin reached out to me to correct the record. Well, not in as correct the record here at the blog,no, she just wanted to let me know her stance. Which I found odd because most candidates don’t contact me just to tell me their thoughts. She said it was just an FYI email except that in her first email there was no wording to indicate that.

No, I think Rankin was hoping I’d print what she said. And she and I got into a little back and forth.  It was interesting to me because Rankin - over a series of three times to and fro - did not ever address my support and praise for Soup for Teachers.  Support and praise I carried on here for a long time.

One of last friendly exchanges we had in Jan 2018 when I wrote to her about Chandra Hampson, telling Liza how openly hostile that Chandra can be in her remarks at the Soup for Teachers Facebook page.
Thanks for reaching out. I think everyone was uncomfortable and annoyed at that whole thread, unfortunately. I was glad to hear from an educator about the real impact our system has on students, and glad that she felt comfortable sharing what she heard, as so many teachers have stopped participating, so it was too bad that it became about adult problems, yet again, and not about how we can better support students.

Chandra is a friend, so I realize I don't read her comments the same way as others do - she doesn't sugarcoat, in person or online, but I'm used to her style and don't take it personally. That said, her comments did get too personal towards people and we let her know that. Some of them I didn't see until much after they were posted, since many of her comments were nested under other comments. FB doesn't always show those at the time and then I find them later....In hindsight, the conversation should have been stopped earlier, as soon as it looked like it was just going to be another circular argument about HCC. It's generally the same few people having the same conversation over and over, each side feeling as though the other side isn't hearing them. It's just not productive or helpful.
Gee, teachers not participating at that Facebook page because they were getting smacked down? Sounds familiar.

She also said this but claimed she was not judging other people’s children - you be the judge:
Additionally, there are students who test in very early and are precocious, not gifted, and by the time they are a little older are receiving academic tutoring to keep up with the acceleration, instead of being taught at a more appropriate level.

To which I said:
Your words, Liza. And words that you have zero ability to know factually and yet you judge these children and their parents. Unless I missed some qualification in your resume?
She came back with this:
I know that there are kids at Cascadia getting tutoring because I have a lot of friends with kids there, and they see kids suffering from massive anxiety and feeling like they’re always behind. I didn’t invent that. My parents are also both psychologists, and factually, used to get requests all the time for private testing of children whose parents wanted them in HCC/APP. Psychologists currently still working have told me the same thing.

Is this all children in HCC? No, of course not. But to pretend these families don’t exist is not helpful. It’s not helping any child to have them in a program that doesn’t suit them, just as it is not helpful to have children without access to a program that is right for them.
Take that all in. Her parents are psychologists who told her that parents in SPS were asking fothem to test their children for HCC/APP? Should they be telling people that? And other psychologists also blabbed this to her? 
She then said:
Melissa, I sent you an answer to a question you asked in a public space on the Internet. That’s it. I shouldn’t have. I might have answered on the blog, but engaging there without knowing who is behind their words doesn’t feel very productive.There is no honesty when commenters are all hiding behind made up names
Oh, I see. Well, yes, not everyone at this blog identifies themselves and I can see that point. But not everyone is anonymous either. But going the other way, when the former Soup for Teachers Facebook page has people who attack others in vicious and unwarranted ways and the mods do nothing, well, I find that problematic.

She professed fear because one reader called her “a Marxist” and said she “must be stopped at all costs.”  She was fearful because apparently that was the kind of threat used against her grandmother during WWII.  Now neither the reader nor I would have known this. And when I pointed out to her -multiple times - how I get threatened on a regular basis, she didn’t address that either.

I have had multiple Board members tell me of both verbal and physical threats.  Not nice or valid at all but yes, part of the job.


Mighty Marmots said…
Rankin doesn't have a kid at Eckstein yet. And now she won't, because Wedgwood will be reassigned to Jane Addams to make room for HCC back at Eckstein.

Problem solved.
Anonymous said…
Yep, exactly why I post here and not Facebook: there’s a very narrow (if any) range of responses allowed and then you’re labeled a racist or corporatist and screen shot and open to all sorts of judgment and smear. It is not a learning space, it’s an echo chamber, which is the antithesis of what academia should be! Appreciate this space to discuss without fear, and that you moderate responsibly.

Happier Anonymous
Anonymous said…
What about the future of Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes in high schools?

Is it true that Chandra Hampson, Liza Rankin and Molly Mitchell have taken stands against those programs, which benefit far more kids than HCC, and are open to everyone?

I think that could really affect the school board race. Does anyone have the candidates on the record about AP and IB, either in articles or on video? This is really important for the future viability of SPS.

Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
Happier Anonymous,
Hmm... most posts that disagree with MW's stance are simply deleted (besides the ones that are plain garbage, thanks MW).
It seems to me Melissa, you are unable to move on from Hampson disrespecting you. Frankly, I would love to see what that was all about, sounds juicy.
And definitely what in the world was Rankin thinking when she emailed you? Really stupid on her part. Maybe that email is the actual demise of Rankin.
I don't think telenovelas are as truculent as real life here. Let's wait for the season finale...

Fed Up
Fed Up, well, of course I have moved on. But when someone is that blatantly out of line and personally attacks you, you tend not to forget. Especially now that Hampson is running for office and I’m fairly sure that she will do the same to other parents (internally if not verbally).
There’s nothing juicy to know - she just decided she knew everything about my background and dismissed it. Because she’s just that arrogant.

Anonymous said…
I get it. Or maybe she just doesn't like you, but that doesn't make her a bad candidate. I am undecided and this is all very confusing. Thanks for answering though

Fed Up
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Get Real said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
Was that email exchange posted before? Because I would swear I read a comment recently with that exact same claim and phrasing - that kids were precocious and not gifted, and then later receive tutoring to keep up. Odd.

-Pragmatic Xennial
Rankin judges other people’s children’s abilities with no professional training or even knowledge of said children.

Hampson judges other people visually and decides she knows their racial background and upbringing.

I personally would not want such judgemental people on the Board.
Get Real said…
"It’s not helping any child to have them in a program that doesn’t suit them, just as it is not helpful to have children without access to a program that is right for them." That sounds mighty reasonable, Melissa. Surprising that you shared it seeing how it doesn't suit your narrative of her.

You deleted my other comment already!?

Psychologists "blabbed" that parents request independent testing? That's no mystery, and it also isn't violating any confidentiality with no names attached. You're reaching. Oh and, Pragmatic Xennial, Melissa did post that same bit from the email recently. Odd that she says it's the first time she's posted it here since one could just go back several posts and see it.
Anonymous said…
The Times missed the point.

Hampson was born with a diamond encrusted spoon in her mouth with her 16 Stanford graduate family members spread over 4 generations while Muniz was born furthest from educational justice and first in her family to get a degree.

If we’re centering our district on those furthest from educational justice, then Muniz is the only one between the two of them, to understand first-hand what our students are experiencing (immigration, poverty, ESL).


Vote Muniz
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
Melissa, why did you delete my comment? It was literally a copy and paste of the times report and copy and paste of your rendition of the same paragraph.

Fed up
SEA said…
SEA endorsements are meaningless. They don't poll or ask members to vote. There are a few people at the top that make decisions. Harris gave the teachers raises in excess of 20%. She gave them Amplify...still that wasn't enough.

Rankin wants to bring advanced learning into schools. She is naïve. The district already tried and dismantled ALOs.

I'd like to hear Rankin and Hampson's position on IB and AP.

I voted Blumhagen. I won't vote Hampson.

Anonymous said…
Vote Muniz,

Stirring the pot of class warfare, eh? I’m all for centering the underserved, but at the end of the day, where’s her experience overseeing multimillion dollar budgets? An integral function of the school board is stewarding taxpayer funds - its an operating budget of one billion dollars! Where’s her experience working with the school board, within the schools, managing constituencies? Also, please show me where an outsider running on identity politics has ever become an effective policy maker? There is not a good track record here.

Happier Anonymous
Anonymous said…
@Happier Anonymous I nearly choked on my coffee this morning when I read your comment. Talk about hypocrisy. The candidate who is "running on identity politics" is Chandra Hampson. She is ALL ABOUT her Native American background. She leads with it in interviews. References it in her logo. Wears long beaded earrings as a visual reminder, and in case you STILL don't get it, there's a Navajo blanket in her marketing photos.

She doesn't talk about her privileged Windermere Stanford legacy background much though. When has Hampson "worked with the school board"? Instead she protests them from the audience at board meetings. Understandable but hardly "working with" the board. Hampson also claims she has been on boards for 30 years. Really? she's 49. She's actively served on boards since she was a teenager? There's a whiff of puffery to her story overall.

Muniz has an authentic history of hardship that she overcame. She's smart and empathetic not judgmental. She has a degree in educational leadership from UW and has researched equity in SPS. She'll be a fine board director.

I agree with your implied criticism of Dewolf and Juneau though. They're outsiders who are only about identity politics. Nothing great happening there.

Anonymous said…
Spike The district states on paper they want to increase AL options for all schools. In practice though this meant not fully funding IB programs, even at Rainier Beach. It has also meant cutting alot of budget this year from high schools with much higher enrollment, and more demand and readiness for AP courses, thus forcing those schools into cutting staff and courses.

I envision more of this down the road with the optics of some schools having more student demographic being ready for and demanding more AP and IB course sections. You have to look at what is happening in practice. We are stuck with economically,racially and academically segregated schools and some students needing and demanding different courses in high school unless we go back to bussing.

HS Parent
Anonymous said…
Spike the superintendent repeated a "slaveship" analogy in regards to who takes opt in AP courses at Garfield. How is this any different than between various high schools? With our difference in student demographic this cannot be remedied without bussing. The district also eliminated systematically have been eliminating stand alone honors classes without any community engagement at not only Garfield, but also other schools with a stated goal of "equity". Hampson, Rankin and Mitchell's various ideologies on AL do not make them the best candidates to work to expand, nor preserve AP/IB options in all high schools, including those with much higher demand. I expect more rationing like what is currently happening.

HS Parent
Anonymous said…

Identities aside, tell me how Muniz is qualified? Has she worked in finance or managed sizable budgets? Hampson has. Has she worked on Seattle school district issues? With Seattle students? Hampson has been involved with SCPTA, coaches a softball team for her school. Muniz arrived out of nowhere, no connections to Seattle schools that I can see. Muniz has other good qualities - less hostile to HCC, firmly anti-charter, an outsider to the Seattle SJW school crowd. But take away the ethereal identity stuff, which as you mention is intersectional (and Muniz has some means, if she can afford to get and live on a masters degree in Seattle), there’s not much there. If I was on the fence before, you’ve convinced me identity politics is BS and Hampson deserves the votes.

Happier Anonymous
Anonymous said…
If you do not want to give your vote to Hampson that is perfectly fine. But please don't do it because she is Native American centered, or has a socio economic privilege (which every candidate needs to have in order to be on a school board that pays Zero - remember JVA planning to dedicate her whole time to the board as she quit her job?)
Just yesterday, Chandra was at the Hazel Wolf protest in support of African American/Black students being bullied and called names I cannot repeat here. She also attended most of the Listening and Learning tours centered on families of color. I did not see Muniz or any other candidate there (maybe Ranking but don't quote me).

La Verdad
SCPTSA Cabal said…
Hampson and Rankin are part of the SCPTSA cabal. They pretend that they represent the entire district- they don't. They are no different than SEA. You get a few people at the top that pretend to run a democratic organization representing thousands of individuals.

Rankin admits that Hampson crossed a line and got too personal with Melissa.

I voted Muniz.
I was mistaken; I did put a snippet of Rankin’s email elsewhere to clarify her thoughts on HCC.

Happier Anonymous, thru the years we have had directors who had different skill sets. Betty Patu was not great on budgets. But I believe with the likes of Harris, Mack and Blumhagen, there will be several sets of eyes on the budget. Also, if you read Muniz’ webpage, her master’s is in education AND she did research on the district while at UW.

You could easily say the same about DeWolf and Hersey and they are on the Board.

Blumhagen has been great about going to various events, far more than I have seen Rankin.

I will have to have a post on Hazel Wolf K-8 as I was quite startled to hear this on KUOW.

As to comment deletion - I feel that some readers just want to needle me and do not really contribute to the discussion. Call me old and cranky but I actually am not going to put up with that.

I do want to close with one other personal assessment of Rankin and Hampson. I have actually (and I didn't have to at ALL) said good things about them her. I didn’t have to do that but I’m a fair person.

When I first met both of them, I praised their efforts for school communities. I told Rankin information at Board meetings to help her get up to speed. And Hampson came to ME, asking for help. AndI I came to a lengthy meeting to try to listen and help as I could.

Neither of them ever came to me in the last year and quietly asked me about various stances; they could have. Instead they joined the unfortunate Castro-Gill crowd.

Where is the best intent in those actions? Not there.

That is what you will get if they reach the Board; battlelines firmly drawn and if you don’t toe to their line of thinking, they will not be listening to you.
Get Real said…
I used to come here for information and analysis about the district that no one else had. But you’ve devolved into personal attacks and slander and still call it fair and balanced “reporting.” You don’t support Hampson and Rankin because they didn’t “quietly ask me about various stances”? Apparently when anyone “quietly” emails you directly you save it up to make public later, so why would anyone give you any sort of benefit of the doubt? Vote Hampson. Vote Rankin. The candidates who have been showing up for YEARS, not just for a campaign.
cult of personality said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
@Happier Anonymous, if Hampson is such a financial wiz surely she protested the district's budget last year, right? The one that was based on historically inaccurate enrollment projections that cut teachers unnecessarily and left hundreds of students without teachers or classes this fall?

No. All we got from Hampson was silence. No testimony, no statement opposing it. Nothing. Maybe she thinks gross mismanagement is "normal" like Juneau and CFO Berge said in their idiotic video.

The two board directors who did exercise appropriate financial oversight did not vote for that terrible budget--Directors Mack and Pinkham, and they have both endorsed Rebeca Muniz. https://www.electmuniz.com/endorsements

Did Hampson oppose the expensive, unfunded adoption of the crappy K-12 Amplify Science curriculum? Or did she support it? I don't remember hearing anything from her about that.

What good is a financial background if you don't use it?

Former directors Sundquist, Carr, Maier all had financial backgrounds but they didn't exercise oversight. The Silas Potter scandal happened on their watch. The Superintendent had to be FIRED because of that. Over $1 million went missing.

You talk down about outsiders. I'm worried about insiders. Hampson acts like she's already a part of the JSCEE and part of a slate. She is an insider. She was on the SCPTSA, worked on the strategic plan, never utters a word of criticism about Juneau. There is zero sign that Hampson will exercise any oversight of Juneau and JSCEE. She's already in lockstep with them. That's what worries me most about her.

I'm not on the fence at all. It's a clear choice. I want change and oversight. That's why I'm voting Muniz.

Anonymous said…
Liza Rankin may have parents who are psychologists, but apparently that doesn't confer any expertise on child psychology to Liza. To state that "there are students who test in very early and are precocious, not gifted, and by the time they are a little older are receiving academic tutoring to keep up with the acceleration, instead of being taught at a more appropriate level" is ignorant. Has she assessed those students for learning disabilities? Is she suggesting that anxiety disorders are based on level of school challenge and not other factors? Is she somehow certain that the struggles of such students are based on their inability to keep up with the subject matter content, and not that they face executive function or similar challenges?

Learning disabilities, anxiety disorders, executive function problems, and so on are NOT dependent upon the level of academic challenge. Switching a student with trouble in one or more of these areas from HCC to GE does NOT make their problems go away. In fact, it can make their problems worse. Ms. Rankin seems to take an overly simplistic and uniformed view of things, that students who need support are simply just not capable of advanced work. In reality, many gifted students are MORE likely to face additional challenges that require support.

Maybe she should have her parents craft her a more accurate statement she can share next time.

pop psych
Anonymous said…

Your last response contains real actual facts and reasons to vote for Muniz, much better than “Hampson went to Stanford and has money therefore she is bad.” Just tryna wrestle this dumpster fire of a school board race back from hackneyed election narratives and stick to actual issues. More comments like that, please.

Happier Anonymous
Anonymous said…
Pop Psych --

Agreed. Rankin's observations about HCC sound like small-minded schoolyard sniping from an embittered neighborhood mom, which you hear a lot of north of the canal.

It's not the informed, educated perspective of someone who's going to possibly be entrusted to make major decisions about education for the gifted.

She also appears to think parents asking a psychologist for testing is going outside the rules, when that's exactly what SPS instructs parents to do when they appeal.


Anonymous said…
This election is going to be interesting because the Seattle Times has been deliberately pocking the racial hornets nest to energize the POC votes in Seattle.

Here is my district by district analysis of the School board races in the city wide general for the D1 candidates.


D1- Rankin won the D1 primary and she will win a close one in the D1 general.
D5- Will go to Rankin by 15 points.
D6- Will go big for Rankin by 40 points.
D7- Will be a landslide for Rankin as much as 60 points.


D2- Will go to Blumhagen by 20 points.
D3- Will District 3 will lean Blumhagen by 5 points.
D4- Will go to Blumhagen by 20 points.

There are just are not enough votes for Blumhagen. The D7 and D6 landslide count for Rankin will be too large to overcome for Blumhagen. Plus, I think Rankin will win the UW student vote.

Hopefully Blumhagen will be willing to help Board member Rankin in the future.

Just Facts
Anonymous said…
"She also appears to think parents asking a psychologist for testing is going outside the rules, when that's exactly what SPS instructs parents to do when they appeal."

Many districts have eliminated private appeals because they are *ahem* paid for. Rankin is way too smart and informed to not know this.

Getting rid of private appeals is an equity issue that SPS is once again behind on.

cult of personality said…
This blog is not going to convince anyone who to vote for, so all the name calling is ridiculous. I don't think that Beth Bakeman would approve of that you are doing to this blog.

Anonymous said…
I find it strange that the pro HCC/AL crowd in District 2 just gave up their school board seat to self described "Social Justice Advocate". I think Westbrook is responsible for faking out voters in D2 and leaving them with Rivera Smith. There is not a word about AL in Rivera Smith's voters guide statement. Rivera Smith has opened everyone of her forum statements with "I'm a Mexican" and I find that very strange and inappropriate.

Fooled Twice
Anonymous said…
Here's the thing....I have watched several of very good people on the school board for 15 years accomplish close to nothing. They don't seem capable of oversight or of reining in district excesses and incompetence. While I think Rankin and Hampson have the potential to be quite damaging to the district, it is already damaged beyond repair and certainly will follow its own juggernaut of destruction and family alienation without much extra help on their part. Especially with Juneau at the helm (I was sorry the board approved her - she did not seem like a good choice IMO). Maybe the impotent board is the best place for Rankin and Hampson? I won't vote for them but I won't cry if they are elected. I'll just keep voting against the levies. What else can you do?

Anonymous said…

Yep. An all volunteer board running a billion dollar budget with superintendents that last a few years tops is not a recipe for a successful district. Add a dash (er, generous helping) of income inequality, I don’t see a good outcome for anyone.

Happily Anonymous
Get. Real, you know who started a personal attack? Hampson. I bring it up because it goes to temparament.

I may have phrased it poorly but I meant that I had a working relationship with both of them and if they found my stances here problematic, they could have come to me and asked me about them. Instead of deciding that yes, personal attacks were the way to go.

Happier Anonymous, I would agree for the most part about talking about who you are for. But sometimes it helps to point out real flaws that could play out badly on the Board, especially when they have to work as a team.

Just Facts, what is your analysis based on? Because the vote counts for school board are historically lower than say, city council. And the number of voters in each district varies. Not sure your are so spot on there.

Cult of Personality, where did I name call? Not me. As for Beth, she probably doesn’t agree with a lot of what I say but I think she is proud that this little blog that could has lived on and on.

Fooled Twice, I didn’t “fake” anyone out. I filed because no one had (and that would have meant a totally different process to find a candidate). When Rivera Smith did,along with another candidate, I no longer needed to be there. I had no idea the second candidate would also drop out.

And if you don’t like Rivera Smith referencing her background, you probably don’t like Hersey, Pinkham, DeWolf, Hampson, or Muniz because they all do it.

I wish the state would move to pay the board directors of the three largest district because of the huge amount of money involved.
Anonymous said…
I made a few assumtions on my part in trying to call the outcome by percentages. I would say if there were going to be any flips then those would most likely go to Rankin.

I'm not sure this year will follow 2015, but I sense this will be a election dominated by women. Just a hunch on my part. The Democrats have certainly not helped men and certainly helped justice advocates and those indicators both favor Rankin.

There is also the ST endorsement and the Stranger endorsements to consider, the Stranger has been more accurate and was correct in 2015.

I just don't see Ms. Rankin losing. We will see what happens.

Just Facts
Listen Carefully said…
There are people trying to warn voters about Hampson's personality traits. Voters would be smart to listen.

Rankin thought inequality was responsible for a delayed construction project. Does she not realize that, with construction contracts, the district might not of had much control. She was the first to shout inequity, when the PTA had a different position. Rankin is an ideologue that thinks the district can break HCC and deliver dual language to every school.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that Juneau has never run a district before.

Hampson and Rankin could join with DeWolf, Juneau and a weak board member to cause historical damage.
Anonymous said…
@ Listen carefully,
What do you mean "might not of had?" English is not my first language.

La Verdad
Listen Carefully said…
Hampson, Rankin, DeWolf, Juneau and one weak board member = Historical Damage
Anonymous said…
Just Facts,
Your analysis is fascinating. Please tell us your predictions for Hampson/Muniz and Mitchell/Harris.

La Verdad
Glass Houses said…
It's ironic for someone with 3 white grandparents and 1 Native American grandparent to bully someone else with 3 white grandparents and 1 Mexican grandparent about how white they are.

Jeanette and Elmer Dow H. were both white. So was Robert Carver North, Ph.D.
Anonymous said…
This is sounding more and more like a Republican debate stage. We have:

"Diamond Encrusted Spoon" Hampson!
"Clueless" Muniz!
"No Ghetto Here" Harris!
"Grouchy Mama" Mitchell!
"Cookie Baking Lady" Rankin!
"Bulldog" Blumhagen!

You cannot make up stuff like this. Glad it's almost over.
And please don't delete me, I think it's pretty hilarious.

La Verdad
La Verdad, now fair is fair - they could be Democratic candidates. Or characters on an SNL skit.

But I don’t understand the “grouchy mama” or “bulldog” reference.

No matter, I think we will end the discussion here.

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