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Competition heats up for open school board seat

Original post made on Jul 29, 2015

The deadline to apply for the vacant school board seat on the Mountain View Whisman board of trustees is fast-approaching, and several more parents have announced they will be throwing their hats in the ring.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 5:13 PM

Comments (30)

Posted by Doug
a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2015 at 6:01 pm

Too bad former LASD board member Doug Smith can't run for MV-Whisman, he'd send our school system back to the 19th century while creating a ton of town discord


Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 29, 2015 at 6:17 pm

I am puzzled by the District's refusal to disclose the applications. Is there any legal basis for denying access to the applications? If the District has no answer, the matter should be given to the Civil Grand Jury. Even though the public will not be voting to fill the vacancy, the public can only competently comment on the relative qualifications of the candidates if the candidates and their applications are available to the public - including the press.


Posted by Public Viewing
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jul 29, 2015 at 6:33 pm

It's my understanding the applicants and applications will be made public immediately following the application deadline. I have absolutely no problem with that.
I presume a person can pull out up until the deadline (and might want to do that confidentially), so the pool isn't "official" until the deadline.

I believe that application deadline is 2 weeks prior to the interviews (which will be in a public board meeting). So it seems this will all be transparent.


Posted by Abigail
a resident of Willowgate
on Jul 29, 2015 at 6:44 pm

I am glad to hear there are so many interested people coming forward to put their names in the hat!


Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 29, 2015 at 6:55 pm

If "Public Viewing" (above) is the District's only explanation for denying access to public records, this is a case for the Civil Grand Jury.


Posted by Bud
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 29, 2015 at 7:18 pm

@ Gary
civil grand jury!!! Just throw unnecessary statements to insight more of the same.


Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 29, 2015 at 11:02 pm

So, as it stands, the Voice will report in Friday's July 31 issue that six persons have applied for the vacancy - 3 of whom are known to the press. The practical problem is that other persons will not know whether to apply by Monday's deadline in light of the identity and stated qualifications of the applicants. But there is another problem evidently lost on some public officials and readers. Applications are public records subject to public examination and copying. There are exceptions under the California Public Records Act; however, the District evidently has cited no alleged exception. The District just does whatever it wishes to do - without regard to the Public Records Act. It is indeed more of the same from this District.


Posted by @Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 29, 2015 at 11:07 pm

Just wondering. Not everything is a conspiracy. Just sayin'


Posted by Board to Blame, Not District
a resident of Gemello
on Jul 30, 2015 at 6:55 am

@Gary

It seems the board, not the district, is the problem here. They are the ones who decided to delay releasing names. I bet staff are as frustrated as we are. Normally, I'd think of the board and district as one team, but in this case, I don't think it's fair to criticize the whole district because of the board's mistake.


Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 30, 2015 at 9:07 am

I am interested in whether and when the school board "decided to delay releasing names." One board member is a lawyer and long-term trustee who would know better. The applications are held by the District - not board members who may have copies. The District is responsible for complying with laws - including the California Public Records Act. If any Board members have told the Superintendent to disregard the law in this circumstance, the Superintendent should still make sure the District follows the law. I had not raised the matter of a "conspiracy" to disregard the Public Records Act; however, a conspiracy requires only two persons and does carry additional liability. The District should simply have shown all applications to the press and any other members of the public who asked.


Posted by More Than Enough
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 30, 2015 at 9:14 am

@Gary, Does the Public Records Act require instant compliance? Why not release all of the information together at the same time, so that the public has equal access to all of the info? Does a potential appointee's personal information become public instantly? When a candidate pulls papers, only their name is initially public. If they decide not to file, why is their personal information now public? At the information sessions the announcement was made that all of the information would be released together.


Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 30, 2015 at 10:11 am

The CA PRA makes records public unless exempt. It provides that members of the public may inspect and later get a copy of any non-exempt record. The Act does not state that access must be "instant." The public entity must be open and find the time to locate and present what is requested. But that was not problem encountered by the Voice. Someone just decided it would be better to delay access.


Posted by Cfrink
a resident of Willowgate
on Jul 30, 2015 at 12:04 pm

Cfrink is a registered user.

Jeez.....the very definition of the struggles we face is this very issue. Squabbling to find out the who and what 3 days before it's all publicly announced. Missing the forest for the trees. We should be focused on what we want the Board to get done. They will appoint a person that matches their needs. I seriously doubt given the current climate on the Board that they're going to select someone who will only bring more drama. I'm looking for a well informed, and probably previously well involved citizen who's familiar with many of the issues already, or has past experience with the district in some capacity, but who is interested in running for the elected seat.

I think things are shaping up well and that this is just a distraction. Let's move on.


Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 30, 2015 at 4:24 pm

This certainly is a distraction. We appreciate the folks who serve on school boards. It is time-consuming and relatively thankless. However, the law and the process are important. The Voice editorial this week is about those subjects and rightly so. The editorial also discloses that Trustee Wheeler orchestrated the violation of the Public Records Act in part through discussions with other Board members outside of any noticed meeting in violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act. Ms. Wheeler previously led the censoring of Trustee Steve Nelson for not complying with Board policies designed to suppress the disclosure of non-privileged information and free speech in violation of CA Education Code section 7052. So now what?


Posted by More Than Enough
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 30, 2015 at 5:00 pm

Maybe the whole thing is moot because I believe the Public Records Act allows an agency 10 days to decide as to the privacy impacts of the release. Aug 3 will be less than 10 days. If I was applying I would not really want my address, phone numbers, and email addresses all over the web just because the Voice had a slow day. I doubt they would be required to dribble the applications out one at a time if that is how they were submitted. Otherwise, feel free to take more money away from the students by litigating.


Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 30, 2015 at 5:53 pm

I appreciate the feedback, but the right of access to records is not subject to the 10-day deadline for determining whether to provide a requested copy of a public record. Here, we have a deliberate violation of the right to inspect public records specifically identified and readily available orchestrated in a manner that violated the Brown Act and in the context of an ongoing violation of Education Code section 7052 - all for the purpose or with the effect of excluding the public.


Posted by More Than Enough
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 30, 2015 at 5:58 pm

@Gary:
Maybe we can do a fundraiser watching you, the Board, and Greg Dannis in court!=)


Posted by Resign, Nelson!
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 30, 2015 at 6:05 pm

@More Than Enough: Be careful, Gary might actually take you up on that offer...


Posted by Interested Observer
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2015 at 11:58 pm

@Gary - do you really think you are the only one how knows the law? Haven't you even considered that the District and Board have gotten legal advice about releasing and/or not releasing the names until a certain date? You are wasting everyone's time - as you have done for many years - with your frivolous and ill-founded complaints. The Board needs to focus on selecting the best candidate - not your accusations of violation of the Brown Act and/or release of public records.


Posted by More Than Enough
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 31, 2015 at 3:02 pm

So even though the Voice was completely flumoxed by the MVWSD decision not to immediately release all of the application data, they seem to have had no trouble giving four applicants advance publicity because they sought it.


Posted by Relax man
a resident of Bailey Park
on Jul 31, 2015 at 3:13 pm

Yes, that's right. What law is being broken by this?
None. Hush.


Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 31, 2015 at 4:06 pm

I cited laws (above). No sense in further chatting with anonymous posters with (quite possibly) hidden agendas except to suggest that readers look at the application form on the district's website which advises every applicant that the information (provided by the applicant) is public.


Posted by More Than Enough
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 31, 2015 at 4:20 pm

@Gary, Posting anonymously with the rest of us I see. Having volunteered in Silicon Valley for forty years, and been personally threatened more than once, why would anyone give up any privacy any sooner than absolutely required. I read all of the "burden of privacy" sections of the CPRA and still disagree with your premise. In fact, your diatribe may be discouraging applicants as I write.


Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 31, 2015 at 5:04 pm

Your privacy claim is answered by my last post. The application form advises every applicant that the information provided is "public." It does not state that a submitted application may someday become a public record after an application deadline. Check online for California school boards filling vacancies. The advisory on the form is standard because it becomes a public record when submitted. The Board is not hiring a Superintendent. It has chosen to appoint a board member (otherwise to be elected). The appointee will be given the office until someone (else) is elected next year. If you actually have read part of the Public Records Act, you might try the Brown Act next. And read Education Code section 7052 and see if you think the Board policy on trustee behavior violates that section. This response assumes you are commenting in good faith.


Posted by Un-pact
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 31, 2015 at 6:24 pm

Gary you're gaining on Mr. Nelson, resign. You are a blowhard!!


Posted by Public Viewing
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jul 31, 2015 at 6:50 pm

In a regular election, while the names may be released when a candidate pulls papers and files, it's my understanding that the candidate ballot statement and other qualifications aren't released until after the filing period is closed.

Correct?


Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 1, 2015 at 1:12 am

No. Statements of qualification are available when filed.


Posted by Public Viewing
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Aug 1, 2015 at 10:37 am

Ballot statements? (Which are the most detailed listings of qualifications)


Posted by Greg Coladonato
a resident of Slater
on Aug 4, 2015 at 10:20 am

Greg Coladonato is a registered user.

The redacted candidate applications are available now: Web Link

In case that link is changed and doesn't work any longer, you should be able to get the new URL from this page: Web Link


Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 4, 2015 at 11:07 am

Good that you have made the applications available. The District should have allowed the Voice to see the applications earlier as they became public records when submitted. The application form itself even warns applicants that the information provided becomes "public." You may "redact" whatever you wish from papers you provide, but the school district may not lawfully redact from copies provided in response to a request under the Public Records Act any of the information requested on the form.


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