I post guest blog entries from my readers when I am asked. This does not mean I agree or disagree with the entry. Here is the latest from school board member and teacher Denis O'Leary:
The November 2nd election brings 4 of 5 seats on the Rio School District Board up for a vote from the community. Big changes are needed.
I am endorsing Eleanor Torres, Ramon Rodriguez, Henrietta Macias and Mayra Sevilla for the Rio School Board.
The Rio School District has faced many challenges and distractions over the past year. The focus of educating students has taken a back seat to criminal conduct on the part of the Superintendent and a Rio School Board member. The Board President has serious conflict of interest issues between his employment and his duties as a Trustee.
While our schools are in need of new equipment and smaller class sizes, the Rio School District Board is spending thousands of dollars on a public relations firm to enhance the image of the Superintendent and Board Members.
The Rio School District needs to televise its meetings. No amount of public relations can stand up to open democracy. Parents should be allowed to address the Board Members, not having to submit a form at the beginning of meetings to speak at the end of the meeting. The School Board should encourage dialog.
With four new and capable Trustees representing the interests of the children and families of El Rio, I am sure that the district will not only leave the turmoil of the past, but rightly place the focus on the real needs of a better education for Rio's students.
Four seats on the School Board are on the ballot. One Trustee decided to not run, one is in jail and two incumbents want to continue.
On November 2nd, I ask that you vote for Eleanor Torres, Ramon Rodriguez, Henrietta Macias and Mayra Sevilla to be the new Trustees of the Rio School District. Working together we can build a better future for our children.
Oxnard School District Board Member
Teacher in the Rio School District
I have more videos and pictures to post later this week. If you have videos of pictures from today you want posted send them to me.
Former State Assembly candidate Ferial Masry has news regarding her intentions:
Candidate for Sheriff Geoff Dean (R) worked the crowd. Here he is speaking to Ventura City Council Members Brian Brennan and Ed Summers. I expect Geoff Dean's list of endorsements will be updated with new bipartisan additions soon.
I ran into a friend of this blog Denis O'Leary of Oxnard. Denis has been a long time activist for a variety of progressive causes.
State Assembly candidate Susan Jordan gave a speech that outlined her life story and the causes she supports. Her opponent Das Williams was there too. I will post his picture later. Das, if you have pictures from today you want posted send them in.
Here are a bunch of polls related to the labor day picnic and candidates that were there.
After reading this statement I have a few questions for Denis:
1. What reforms do you support to reduce costs in education without impacting students? Have you read this series by The LA Times on the waste and fraud in Los Angeles Unified? I ask because I think if schools did a better job to be accountable with the resources give to them taxpayers would be more willing to provide increased funding. I know that LAUSD doesn't govern local schools but it does influence public perception. Waste and fraud shouldn't be defended.
2. What local State Assembly Members and State Senators are supporting this event?
Here is his announcement :
Please join me in an action to call for the restoration of State education funds. As you well know, Governor Schwarzenegger has led a confrontation over our state budget. Backed by a 2/3 vote rule necessary to raise any new revenues, the Governor's leadership has brought cuts to education which could be felt for a generation of students.
I am standing with fellow Trustees in the Oxnard School District, teachers, classified employees, administrators, union leaders and parents in a seven day fast in a call to Sacramento to restore education to the priority that many a politician has proclaimed as they ascended to their present leadership roles.
Click on continue reading for the entire announcement.
( In his run for County Supervisor Denis O'Leary was endorsed by UFCW Co-Founder Delores Huerta. He has been a long time supporter of unions and their ability to improve workers' lives.)
Former County Supervisor candidate and current school board member Denis OLeary sent me a copy of Oxnard School District's new living wage resolution. Click on continue reading to view the entire resolution. I have not studied the financial impact of the issue or the impact on the lives of the employees. But I figured I would share with you the new policies that local elected officials are pushing to implement.
It got me thinking about other policy innovators from across Ventura County. Regardless if you agree or disagree with their policy preferences or not there are some elected officials that push for policy innovation and some that improve on the existing ways of doing things.
In your town, who are the policy innovators? Here is a few people I want to draw attention to their efforts:
Steve Bennett. I haven't followed him closely lately but his campaign finance reform and limits on urban sprawl or growth has captured my attention.
Peter Foy: He pushed for term limits for county supervisors. I think the proposed rules will be on the ballot. Is that correct?
City Councils: Keith Millhouse. Between pushing for a transportation bond to looking at ways to reduce plastic bags in Moorpark the man that I am going to start calling Mr. Transportation for his focus on traffic seems to be constantly looking for new policies for his town.
I don't want to name all of my choices and take away your opportunity to nominate people so I will stop there.
Nominate someone as a policy innovator. You don't need to agree with their policies to nominate them. They could be from your city council, park board, school board, or another elected official.
( A youtube video of Charles Weis speaking about the Ventura County Educators' Hall of fame.)
Looks like the process to replace outgoing Superintendent of county schools Charles Weis might take some time. Here are my quick thoughts on the replacing him, the county board of education, and the recent articles about Charles Weis.
1. It is true that most incumbents win election or reelection when they choose to run again. That means that if the person who replaces Charles Weis plans to run after this term ends in 2010 they will have a significant advantage and will likely win.
Being that Charles Weis was appointed and then ran again do you agree with me it is a problem when there are very little open seat elections?
If you have been paying attention to county politics long enough when was the last competitive election for county superintendent? When was the last open seat election?
Of course, many people appointed to an open seat go on to serve the public in great ways. I am not denying that they have good intentions and frequently great outcomes.
But in a democracy people should choose their leaders.
What could be done to fix this problem?
2. None of the articles I saw have the details of Charles Weis's new compensation package. That is sure to upset my reader Andy Levinson. Maybe it is because his new employer is out of this area and makes it less news worthy?
3. Do you remember the governor's push to eliminate the county boards across California to save money? Do you think we will see such a push again anytime soon? Do you favor eliminating the county boards?
4. Not many people can explain the policy portfolios of the county board of education. Is this a problem? Voters are often educated during election about the functions of government positions they are voting on. Maybe more competitive elections could help out with this ignorance. There is a move to recruit candidates for this November to run. Do you know anything about it?
5. But for the people that use the county services this board is critical. Do the stake holders think they could be better served by local school districts? What do you think Donna Prenta? You seem to understand the county board better than most of the people that comment here, myself included.
6. Do you think there should be term limits for the county superintendent or the board members? How much exactly do they get paid? How can I check the figures? Citizens would be better served if this information was easy to access online/
7. Two of the current board members are on their party's central committee and a third is a political activist. Do you think the next Superintendent will be free from being involved in partisan politics?
9. I am impressed that even with all of their disagreements between the board and the superintendent they were able to keep their working relationship professional. Grudges are so easy to keep it impresses me when people keep to Reagan's maxim:
"I always throw my golf club in the direction I'm going."
Does it further your interests to stay angry? If not, move on.
10. That's it but I didn't want to stop a list at #9. What are your thoughts on these issues?