The list of qualified candidates for the ballot has been posted on the Ventura county Elections page. If an incumbent did not file to run again the deadline is extended to this Wednesday.
Recently in Janice DiFatta (R) Simi Valley School Board Category
The three incumbents up for election on the Simi Valley School Board have yet to declare their intentions. I am wondering why they are hesitating to declare again?
So far four challengers have picked up paperwork to run for the three seats.
If you are running for office in Ventura County and would like to be interviewed send me a message.
I am interviewing Simi Valley School Board candidate Arleigh Kidd tonight using the comments section of this blog entry. Click on continue reading later to read the interview. Arleigh Kidd is a personal friend of mine and I am supporting him. But that doesn't mean I'm not planning on asking him tough questions. I am going to ask him about charter schools, tenure, budget priorities, and more. After the interview let me know how I did.
Read his website to find out more about him:
You can also read a past guest blog entry Arleigh Kidd wrote years ago:
There are a few weeks before the election ends. Send me an email if you want to schedule an interview.
( Rep. Barney Frank wielding the gavel.)
Do you read the letters to the editor in local papers? This letter from former Simi Valley School Board Member Greg Stratton was in The Acorn and in The Star.
What goes around comes around. So Janice DiFatta and Debbie Sandland are shocked that Debbie was passed over for president of the Simi Valley Unified School District board. Obviously, their definition of "recent memory" does not go all the way back to 2004, when they broke protocol and denied me and Carla Kurachi our turns as board president and clerk. They taught Rob Collins well that the leadership decision is purely political. I'm sure he remembers back that far.
By the protocol, Eric Lundstrom should have been clerk last year. Apparently, they forgot that part of it then, but now they conveniently remember the rules. I don't know how they each can make the statements they made without being afraid of being struck by lightning for twisting the truth.
It gives me some hope to see the board escape from the path those two have chartered. We have a good district, but it needs leadership to make it what it can be -- a great district. That means change, and the two of them have been there so long they don't even understand the need for change. They have become so embedded in the status quo that they take any suggestion for change as a personal affront. Well, times have changed, and the district needs to as well.
So, congratulations to President Lundstrom, and keep up the good work. You can now chart a new course for the district that will improve it for years to come. Good luck.
-- Greg Stratton, Simi Valley
(The writer was a board member from 2002 to 2006. -- Editor)
As a matter of disclosure I am a teacher in Simi Valley. That being said I really don't know how who is the president or clerk of the School Board influences local schools. I haven't paid attention to this issue jut as I don't normally pay attention to who the Mayor Pro Tem of a city is currently. I guess it helps people when they run for office and want a title to put by their names, but what else is there to the title?
Mayor Stratton, ( I assume, like president you get to keep the title) can you fill us in? In your letter you said : "So, congratulations to President Lundstrom, and keep up the good work. You can now chart a new course for the district that will improve it for years to come. Good luck." How does a board president chart a course for the district? Is there something in the bylaws, special committees they are assigned to, or do they become the go to person for staff?
Anyone else know the powers of a school board president and clerk? If they are running a meeting it seems they would work with the other board members on schedules and the like anyway. If the position was truly powerful, why would it be rotated anyways?
None of this should be construed to say I have a strong opinion on who the board president should be.
( The candidates discussing an issue that doesn't seem to come up much in Simi Valley: Vouchers. The question is more of an ideological litmus test when you consider that this isn't going to be on the agenda of the board. A more pertinent question would be about expanding charter schools or relations with the Ventura County Board of Education. 4 of of the 6 candidates were clearly against vouchers. What questions do you want these candidates to answer?)
I went to the Simi Valley School Board debate tonight at city hall.
First, sorry about getting the time wrong. It was at 5PM. I apologize if I caused anybody to miss it.
On the way in I saw Ray Cruz's bus and van in the parking lot. Here is a photo:
As I got closer I snapped a photo of some Ray Cruz supporters standing outside with his signs:
Inside city hall chambers it was a pretty tame affair. Nothing too unexpected was said from the candidates.
Here is a brief run down of a few statements or ideas from each candidate:
We need new technology. Schools are archaic and look like something out of the 1950's or 1960's. Brad spoke about schools using webgrades ( which some schools do ) and posting homework online ( which some schools do ) as a way of connecting schools and families. He is a strong supporter of protecting and expanding programs at Santa Su High School.
Ron said he has the experience we need and this is no time for on the job training. The current board is working together unlike it has in the past and wants to continue as a team. Really against vouchers.
The current board has worked together on many issues and looks forward to working with them. Grimaced a few times at statements from other candidates, including Brad's comments about a "new" energy savings plan. I put new in quotes because they disputed how long the district has been doing it. I know there has been an energy czar position for a few years, but I don't know if he was talking about something else.
She has been on the board for many years and would like to continue with the current board and is thankful for the opportunity it has given her. She takes many trips to see the many schools in the area. She is strongly against vouchers. Debbie also explained that she is in favor of the current options for 6th graders. She ran in an earlier campaign when that was a top priority.
A candidate that didn't get his candidate statement in:
I will put in his thoughts when he gets his candidate statement sent into me. The program for the night said he didn't submit a statement. Maybe I am being harsh, but if you want to have us take the time to discuss your policy views, then show us you are taking this seriously. I will post your candidate statement, website URL, and any videos you have as soon as you send them in. I look forward to posting them for you. You have many talents that will serve you well in life. Make sure to stay involved after the election.
Ray has refocused his campaign from divisive social issues like creationism that came up in the last election and is instead focusing on the drop out rate and the expulsion rate. He does support vouchers and was criticized by many of the other candidates for this position. He brochure mentions his involvement in Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley and the endorsement of the Ventura County Republican Central Committee.
I found it odd he hasn't switched the words he uses like much of the conservative movement in America. Many supporters of teaching creationism now call it "intelligent design" and many supporters of vouchers now call it "school choice".
I spoke with Ray outside the event very briefly and although we likely don't agree on very many policies, he is very friendly. His involvement in church life shows in his daily life. In his last election I took a few videos of him that I have posted below.
Ray did show up with the most supporters by far. The parking lot had a bus, a van, and more vehicles with his campaign signs on them. He looks like he is putting much more effort into his campaign this time.
I talked to a few candidates about campaign finance and they directed me to the county government website to learn more. Click here to see some of the campaign finance reports. I tried using it to look up current information but I am done with it for now. The information seems to be out of date and not organized in an easy to use way. The most recent report has been downloading for a few minutes and at this rate I will finish the entry before it is done. What's wrong with html reports? If you find anything interesting in there let me know.
There were many responses to questions I am not going to write about. If you went to the debate and want to share what I left out, by all means post a comment. I saw a few people that post on my blog there including Mike Chandler of VoteSimiValley.com. Mike, I know your video quality is much higher than mine. I use a digital camera with a video feature whereas you actually have proper equipment. Do you have the ability to post the debate in full? I am going to leave it up to you and others to share their thoughts on the debate. My report is not meant to be conclusive.
Do you know how you are going to cast your three votes? This is a unique blog entry. Instead of a writer trying to convince you to support a cause or a candidate I am asking you to convince me.
I have my thoughts on the different candidates and I am familiar with most of the issues that they bring up. But I haven't finalized my three votes. Please leave your suggestions and picks as a comment. Make sure to explain how you are going to vote and why.
Thanks for the help.
I like to look at the bumper stickers on cars in the parking lots of debates. I don't know if they were attending the debate but I saw this Mike Judge supporter's vehicle which included a McCain/Palin sticker, a NRA sticker, and a Mike Judge sign showing his unique URL: JudgementSV.com
Mike, feel free to put up a link to the entry where you answered questions here on this blog.
This graphic appeared at the top of a recent flyer being distributed in Simi Valley. For the rest of the flyer click on continue reading.
Brad Jashinsky is going on the offensive in his campaign to get elected to the school board. His is targeting the incumbents for what he sees as a lack of progress with the bond money.
Here are two upcoming events for voters:
Chamber of Commerce event
Lost Canyons Golf Course 11am to 1pm.
School Board Candidates' Forum from 5pm to 6:30pm.
Simi Valley City Council Chambers
Are any of you going to either event? I plan to go and submit some questions. I will also be asking candidate's to do short interviews. Any specific questions you want me to ask?
Brad, I saw this on your website:
This led to other issues coming my way including gay rights, school safety problems, overly aggressive teacher policies, and the false promises made by the school board about when the projects would be completed across the district.
What was your involvement with gay rights and what are your thoughts about tolerance in Simi Valley schools? Do you think there is dramatically more that teachers, administrators, and the school board could do to increase an atmosphere of respect and safety for all? There is room for improvement in every school, but do you see gay rights, tolerance, and respect as a priority if you are elected?
Also, does your URL indicate you are a Batman fan?
For more information:
Click here to see Brad Jashinsky's website.
Click here to see his "Ask a candidate entry" where he answered many questions from readers.
If you have information about any other school board candidate, a mailer or flyer they are using, or a photo of a campaign sign send it in and I will post it.
( If I was on a board I would consider every school playing this on the last day. Maybe not.)
Is your local School Board interesting or boring? Would you rather have it the other way?
A maxim has been attributed to the Chinese as "May you live in interesting times". Read this interesting article for insight on the quote.
The top three school boards that attract the most political attention include Conejo, The County Board, and Camarillo.
To read an update on Camarillo schools click on continue reading. Otherwise consider this an open thread about local schools.
My suggestion: Instead of slagging people down tell us who you really want to run again for a school board seat or who you want to run for their first time as a school board member.
The Tony Strickland for State Senate campaign has announced the support of many Simi Valley City officials and other Simi Valley citizens. You can click on continue reading to read the whole list. Rep. Elton Gallegly is one of the most prominent, but so far it looks like a who's who of the Simi Valley Republican Party. Most of them could be relied upon to endorse the GOP candidate in most campaigns.
The list includes the entire city council except for Michelle Foster. Anyone know why Michelle didn't join with the rest of the council? The other prominent names not mentioned are Republican school board members Eric Lundstrom and Janice Difatta,
On a personal note, thank you to Tony Strickland and his staff . Tony has put together a quick responding and young staff. Thanks for your help! I will write about it more later.
I will have a Hannah Beth Jackson campaign update next week. But in the meantime enjoy their new campaign widget:
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