Editorial: Vonnegut, Torok and Walter for MVLA school board


For anyone who remembers Steven Nelson's term on Mountain View Whisman's school board, the Voice's recommendation for the three seats on the Mountain View-Los Altos High School District board will not come as a surprise. The Voice endorses incumbents Fiona Walter and Debbie Torok, and school volunteer Catherine Vonnegut.

Nelson, who said he made a last-minute decision to throw his hat in the ring, forced an election in what was shaping up to be an uncontested school board race. While the Voice applauds his zeal for democracy, it is impossible to overlook his previous stint as an elected representative. Nelson's tumultuous tenure in Mountain View Whisman, from 2012-16, quickly hit a low point in 2013, when he was formally censured by his fellow board members for unprofessional behavior, offensive outbursts and violating the code of conduct. He was stripped of his position as clerk of the board as punishment.

Nelson is widely blamed for creating a hostile work environment for district staff, leading to the abrupt resignation in 2014 of then-Superintendent Craig Goldman. (Goldman's surprisingly generous $230,000 severance payment included an agreement not to sue the district or the school board.) In 2015, board President Chris Chiang resigned mid-term, saying he was leaving to work on a recall campaign against Nelson.

Incumbents Torok and Walter, on the other hand, have demonstrated effective leadership and, importantly, the professionalism, communication skills and collaborative spirit necessary to be effective public servants. Vonnegut's extensive 40-year background of volunteer service and leadership positions on local PTAs, PTSAs, advisory boards and site councils indicates that she has a strong command of those same crucial skills.

Mountain View-Los Altos has no shortage of challenges ahead, from teacher retention to closing the student achievement gap to preparing for a wave of new students as Mountain View's population climbs. A thoughtful, effective and responsive board of trustees will be crucial to the future success of both the high school district and its students.

Read the Voter Guide story: MVLA candidates vow to keep up the good work

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2 people like this
Posted by all good PTA people
a resident of another community
on Oct 13, 2018 at 3:19 pm

There ladies are all good PTA type people and will support the school district administration.

9 people like this
Posted by @all good PTA people
a resident of Willowgate
on Oct 13, 2018 at 10:52 pm

Not sure if you are saying that as a negative but I would vote for three kids stacked on each other’s shoulders wearing a trench coat before I would vote for Steve Nelson to hold any public office.

6 people like this
Posted by Council endorsements
a resident of Bailey Park
on Oct 14, 2018 at 11:36 am

Next week the MVV will announce their council endorsements. Like the PA daily post they will likely endorse the two incumbents. Incumbents usually win reflection, so it's a safe bet to endorse them. Unlike the Post which endorsed John Inks, the Voice will likely endorse Ramirez. All three of these individuals support rent control and Prop. 10 ( despite Ramirez flip flopping). One would think the Voice would not be swayed by politics, but they support rent control and likely prop. 10. None of these policies are in the best interest of MV residents. Ramirez is young, lacks the training and life experiences to be a council member. Inks on the other had has tremendous expertise and life experinces to be a council member.

Rather than make responsible endorsements, the Voice pushes their political agenda in making endorsements. I ask all residents to vote for those council members who you feel will represent all residents. I think. Showalter and Seigel have done a poor job in representing MV residetns. I am voting for Kamei and Inks.

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