Thursday, November 22, 2012

School board election results

Since I ran for school board in Chino Valley Unified, some have wanted to know how it went.  As for me, the British expression "stood" is more accurate than "ran," in that I spent no money and did nothing else besides attend candidate forums and answer questions for the papers.  So I came in third from the bottom with 4100 votes so far, which actually pleased me well enough, since it showed that my base of special ed parents and a few others of that sort delivered better than one other candidate who ran strongly last time based on her support in her large church, as well as another guy who once ran strongly but has now begun to fade away like Harold Stassen, who ran for President 10 times over 48 years.

I was encouraged that incumbents mostly did not fare well, except for James Na, who has stood against the other members on cuts and other issues.  Dave Black, as expected, came several thousand votes short. 

The big surprise was that Fred Youngblood, the top vote-getter in his last election, now appears to have been knocked off by Andrew Cruz, a newcomer that no one has heard of and who barely campaigned.  Last week Youngblood was 140 votes ahead of him in the count.  Then the county counted 30,000 provisional ballots county-wide, and Cruz now leads by 109, a gain of 249.  4500 provisional ballots will be counted and posted Monday.  Its hard to see Youngblood picking up 150 votes in Chino Valley based on 4500 county-wide.  It looks like Youngblood is gone.

If so, I will not mourn.  He was a unrelenting enemy of special ed kids and their parents, because he was a reliable shill for the district administration in every situation.  I know nothing about Andrew Cruz, but it's hard to imagine he will be worse.

Two other candidates who were not incumbents were definitely men of the status quo.  Brandon Blanchard was appointed to fill a vacancy and then resigned to avoid a conflict of interest when the district hired his wife.  He was far back.  Likewise Roman Nava collected all sorts of endorsements from politicians and certainly represented the thinking of the incumbent board, and he clearly would have been more of the same.  He spent a lot of money and worked hard, and he too finished well out of the money.

So the message in Chino is that people seem to be getting the idea that the way of the present board, shilling for the superintendent and his administration, and ripping off those that don't seem able to push back, is maybe not such a good idea. 

If so, the district hasn't gotten the memo. They just filed for a due process hearing to avoid paying for an independent assessment on a kid that they have ripped off ever since she showed up in the district a year ago, although they have been unable to teach her and haven't figured out why.  But their assessment is perfectly appropriate - it's fine that it hasn't shown them why they're totally failing her!  We plan to file for a Section 504 hearing because they have discriminated against her all year and retaliated against her mother instead of trying to figure out how to do their jobs.  As the girl herself wants to know, "Why am I getting As when I'm not learning anything?"

Would the district cheat like that, in order to push a kid up and out without doing their job?  You bet they do, all the time.  Now you know how much to trust the education industry's statistics.

Other good news: we did elect one of our own in Central School District - Kristie Sepulveda-Burchit.  Not bad for our first year.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Losing by winning

A small instance of this principle is what happened this year in the 35th Congressional District.  California has an open primary, in which the two top finishers in the primary face each other in the general election, regardless of party.  So in the 35th, the incumbent Joe Baca faced State Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod.

They fought each other hard for the Democratic Party endorsement, and Baca narrowly prevailed.  But this didn't turn out well for Baca.  McLeod was thereby made the Republican candidate.  A Republican super PAC in Arizona gave her a lot of money, the Republicans evidently went for her, and the Democrats split.  So having come in second in the primary and lost the Party endorsement, McLeod won where it counted, and she's off to Congress.  Baca lost by winning, which made me pay more attention to this principle in larger matters.

This week, Israel has been bombing and shelling Gaza again, having provoked this latest round by killing a Hamas commander who had just negotiated a long-term truce, and thereby ensuring that peace is avoided.  Peace wouldn't help Netanyahu in the upcoming elections in January.  No doubt Israel will win another glorious military victory, as it did 4 years ago.

But it will be another strategic defeat, by revealing the nature of the State of Israel more clearly to the world.  I remember how the Germans in August 1914 responded to a successful counter-attack by the Belgian army by sacking and burning Louvain.  Looking back, it is quite clear that that act ensured that the Germans would be seen as barbarians and that their enemies would fight them to the death - and this led to the eventual defeat of Germany and the overthrow of the monarchy.

45 years ago, Yehoshua Leibowitz warned that Israelis were turning into "Judeo-nazis," and people were not too pleased when he said that.  But it is becoming increasingly clear that he was absolutely right.  Gaza really is the Warsaw Ghetto, or would be apart from such international pressure as there is.  Or perhaps if the Nazis had been under the same pressure as Israel now is under, the Warsaw Ghetto would have looked more like Gaza today.

But the same genocidal impulse is there.  Yesterday Gilad Sharon wrote in the Jerusalem Post that Israel ought to "flatten" all of Gaza, as the Americans had flattened Hiroshima and followed up at Nagasaki because the Japanese weren't quick enough about surrendering.

He hasn't noticed that his father didn't do anything for Israel by equipping and encouraging the Phalangist militia to slaughter thousands of helpless people in Sabra and Shatila in 1982.  Cruel people win all the battles, but they eventually lose all the wars.