Mountain View Whisman school board election
As an outgoing trustee of the Mountain View Whisman School District (MVWSD) and as board president these past two years, I wanted to share my opinion on what constitutes a good board member and weigh in on the candidates seeking to fill three of the five open seats on the board.
The best board members are those who’ve demonstrated their deep investment in our schools and our communities through volunteering, continuous involvement, and direct, unwavering participation – even when things get tough.
Three candidates stand out in this regard – incumbent Laura Blakely, Patrick Neschleba and Laura Ramirez Berman.
Laura Blakely’s tireless efforts in a multitude of capacities over more than two decades speaks for itself. As the only incumbent, she will provide the much-needed continuity in leadership during these incredibly uncertain times, which will be paramount.
Patrick Neschleba has been volunteering for years on various district committees and schools. His efforts on the former District Facilities Committee for Measure G will be invaluable in guiding the current Measure T bond implementation. He would be the only trustee with a student in our middle schools, able to provide critical insight to inform our high school transition strategies.
Laura Ramirez Berman is a parent and volunteer as well as a former principal of a high-needs school in East Palo Alto, who led the turnaround efforts with remarkable student outcomes. She would bring the critical high-level approach needed to the job of trustee.
These candidates would bring continuity of leadership during uncertain times, positive intent to the job, and fresh ideas moving forward. They are demonstrably invested in MVWSD, student outcomes, and working collaboratively with other board members to build consensus.
We must avoid, at all costs, a return to the highly divisive and publicized board dysfunction which preceded my term. I’ve witnessed other candidates actively spreading misinformation online, fear mongering when people are already anxious as the pandemic drags on. Mountain View deserves better.
My decision not to run for reelection was a very difficult one. However, knowing these three candidates could continue the work, makes my decision that much easier to live with.
Tamara Wilson, Mountain View Whisman School District board trustee
East Middlefield Road
Data on vehicle dwellers
Over the past few years, the city of Mountain View has faced an issue that divided its people: the increasing number of vehicle dwellers along Mountain View streets. While we made progress, especially with the safe parking spaces, not enough data has been collected to get a better understanding of the true scope of the problem. The city still doesn't have an exact count of the RV and vehicle dweller population, nor how many of them have jobs, secondary vehicles, and children.
Mountain View recently opened its first safe parking spaces for RVs, but we don't have data on what impact they had on the RV population. Knowing that the safe parking spaces are having a positive result could incentivize other cities in the county to do the same, sharing the burden currently carried by Mountain View. If we can acquire consistent and reliable data, we would know which programs to implement and their effect on the RV residents.
Vote for Laura, Patrick and Laura
I’ve had the fortunate honor to work with three of the candidates running for election to the MVWSD board of trustees and urge you to vote for Laura Blakely, Patrick Neschleba, and Laura Ramirez Berman. They have all spent years volunteering for this community and have sent their kids to our schools. They have solid records of finishing the endeavors they start and are consensus builders who will keep our board effectively focused on delivering the best version of our schools.
I worked closely with incumbent Laura Blakely when I co-chaired two successful campaigns (bond and parcel tax). Her grasp of the issues and the business of supporting our schools never disappoints. I’ve learned so much about our schools and their needs working by her side. Laura is a tireless advocate for our schools. Patrick Neschleba has been a member of multiple task forces I’ve worked on through the years. He also volunteers for PTAs and bond campaigns. He’s most impressive because of his extensive knowledge of facilities and operations. Patrick is incredibly warm and engages with the community in a manner that is inviting and yet unyielding. Even when I disagree with him on issues I always find that I understand and can even support his positions because of his ability to present, engage and relate in an agreeable manner. I’ve been hoping for years that Patrick would honor this district by running for our board of trustees. Finally, Laura Berman served as volunteer coordinator on our most recent bond campaign and was very resourceful at engaging volunteers. As a former school principal, she has extensive experience educating children who face socioeconomic challenges. Laura Berman has invaluable experience as an administrator helping to support the students and families who struggle and need access to resources to support their students. At a time when the achievement gap is one of our biggest concerns, her leadership will be an important part of a successful strategy on this issue.
I hope you will join me in supporting and voting for Laura Blakely, Patrick Neschleba and Laura Ramirez Berman in this election.
Vote for Gilbert Wong
In the middle of this once-in-a-century pandemic, our institutions need steady, proven hands to navigate them. Gilbert Wong fits the bill for the Foothill-De Anza Community College District.
He will use his ability to build partnership and coalitions to provide community support for the colleges. His extensive civic experience will inform him as he works with his board colleagues to make decisions that will ensure the district carries out its mission to promote student success while keeping it financially secure.
A vote for Gilbert this November is a vote for reliable and trustworthy leadership.
Daniel Nguyen, teacher
Anna Eshoo for Congress
Here is why I am voting for Anna Eshoo for Congress representing the 18th Congressional District. Since 1992, Anna has served our congressional district well. I am a dietitian in health care, and I have seen directly how Anna has always supported legislation to provide meals, food, and health care for the underserved in all age groups. She is the first woman to chair the most powerful committee in Congress - the Health Subcommittee of Energy & Commerce. She is working hard to combat rising prescription costs by introducing legislation overhauling Medicare to allow the federal government to negotiate prescription drug prices. She serves Silicon Valley as a champion for net neutrality and as the author of a revolutionary digital signature bill. Anna cares about her constituents and, before COVID, met with them regularly in person. She now holds regular virtual town hall meetings to hear directly from her constituents. She respects and honors each constituent and is always willing to listen.
During this pandemic and horrendous fire season, her first priority has been assistance to first responders and those suffering from the pandemic and the fires. She worked hard on developing the CARES Act – the first bill that addressed the economic crises during the pandemic. Her experience and knowledge of how the government and Congress works has enabled her to pass over 45 bills with bipartisan support, including the Paris Climate Agreement and the Affordable Care Act. Anna knows the ropes in government and knows, respects, and protects her constituents. Vote for Anna!
Yes on Prop 15
California's Proposition 15, the California Schools and Local Communities Act of 2020, will not hurt small businesses or residential properties.
Prop 15 specifically exempts from property taxation changes:
•Small businesses. The Prop 15 definition of small businesses: those that are independently owned and operated, own California property, and have 50 or fewer employees. It exempts a small business' tangible personal property from taxes and $500,000 in value for a non small business' tangible personal property.
•Owners of commercial and industrial properties with $3 million or less of California holdings
Properties, such as retail centers, whose occupants are 50% or more small businesses would be taxed based on market value beginning in fiscal year 2025-2026 (or at a later date that the Legislature decides on).
This measure was carefully written to address the unfair tax advantage large commercial and industrial corporations have because of the 1978 Prop 13 property tax changes. Companies like Disney get away with paying very little tax compared to residential owners because their property doesn't change hands and therefore doesn't get reassessed. They're still paying almost the same amount of property taxes as they did in 1978.
Our schools used to be funded from property taxes and took a direct hit when Prop 13 was passed. You can see the results in how far California schools have fallen in rank since then, from the best in the nation to among the worst, with some of the lowest per capita spending on students in the U.S.
This measure will bring much needed funds to our local communities and schools and not at the expense of residential owners, apartment dwellers or small businesses.
Please vote yes on Prop 15.
Sheri Sprung Morrison