Thursday, October 14, 2010

Times endorses Hansen, Adams and Larkin, how about you?

Not too much talk about the upcoming board election. Thoughts? Have you seen or attended any candidate forums? Will you attend on the 20th in Pleasant Hill?

Here's the article from the Times:


  1. The Pleasant Hill Education Commission is holding a candidates forum on Wed Oct 20th from 7-9 in the city council chambers.

    Please go and see and hear for yourselves who are the best candidates for the board.

  2. The Times just cannot admit it was wrong about the bond. Anyone who supported the bond is persona non grata to the CCT. They won't even admit they are wrong when the actual bond sales prove they are. The CCTimes claimed that the bonds would cost five times the amount of the bond to pay off. The fact of the matter is that the payoff of the first round of $110 million is less than two times. Over decades of repayment, that is a good deal and they just won't admit it.

    The CCTimes is full of crap.

    Larkin will start his term on the Hospitial board after the election. He will be on two public elected boards if he wins MDUSD. He has also gotten on the band wagon of the bond being too expensive. He is allegedly a CFO. Why can't he figure out that the bond is cost effective.

    The CCTimes endorsement should, at this point, be the main reason not to vote for these turds.

  3. Just cancelled my subscription. I am sick of them contradicting themselves, reporting inaccurate information, and just being plain stupid! As I was paid up through January, she asked if I would like to donate my remaining subcription to the schools. She didn't get the irony when I asked if she was kidding!
    To dismiss Linda Mayo for supporting the bond measure is preposterous. She has done more for the children of this community, and the state of California than just about anyone else I can think of!

  4. The first round of bonds included $59mil in CREBS bonds. Crebs bonds, unlike the Measure C bond, will need to be repaid by the district. How will the district pay the annual paymants required by the CREBs? With money from the general fund? With proceeds from the energy savings from solar- ooops that is the general fund too? Maybe they will use the high interest Measure C Bonds since those have no debt service according to Mr. Strange. The CCTimes is right and the district is simply playing a shell game with our money.

  5. Mr. Strange did not say they have no debt service. Another lie and misrepresentation from the anti-bond group. He said that the general fund does not pay the debt service.

    As for the CREBS, the total repayment amount is not 1.94, but 1.16 (including principal). For $60 million in bonds, the taxpayers will pay a total of about $11 million in interest. Pretty good deal.

    The board and the district have been very upfront about the fact that the bond approach uses bond money to support the general fund. It is not a shell game if they tell you what they are doing.

    The fact is that the bond approach is a very creative way to utilize California's school funding structure to provide funds for students. Is it the best way? No, but that is not the district's fault. It would be far preferable to allow districts to manage their own revenue, but that is unlikely to happen. The district has utilized an available mechanism to fund itself and the district should be lauded for that effort.

  6. I completed my mail-in ballot last night. I voted for people I thought had the intestinal fortitude to stand up to being bullied by the Eberhart/Whitmarsh dynamic duo.

    My votes were as follows:

    1. Linda Mayo
    2. Brian Lawrence
    3. Jeff Adams

    Can't wait to see Strange gone.

  7. Anon 9:07 am
    Yes, Mr. Strange did say there was no debt service, another lie from the pro "its only the taxpayer's money" group.
    You can find him pontificating the point on the video of the June 22 Board meeting at the end of the solar discussion.

    "The board and the district have been very upfront about the fact that the bond approach uses bond money to support the general fund."

    Yes, they have said they will use bond money to pay for solar to create a savings to the general fund.

    Yes, they said they would pay off existing debt with bond money to create a savings to the general fund.

    They have NEVER provided a financial anaylsis showing the true cost of solar including the cost to finance solar. You can't talk about what a great deal the solar revenue is unless you also provide the real costs.

  8. Anon 10:16,

    Maybe Mr. Eberhart can enlighten us all with the knowledge he gained in the class all of us (taxpayers) paid for, that he then used to get himself a nice cushy job.

  9. Anon 9:58

    If you vote for Lawrence you vote for Strange.

  10. @10:46 I'm an independent thinker and I'm not a stalking horse for anyone.

    Paul Strange, Gary Eberhart and Sherry Whitmarsh have each endorsed me and I am thankful for the support. I've sat down with Dick Allen several times and have a great relationship with him. He's offered to lend me every possible assistance if I am elected and I absolutely plan to take Dick up on that offer. Linda Mayo and I have also had coffee together and we have similar views on a number of the issues.

    One of my strengths is my ability to work with people and I think that would serve me well on the School Board. Please don't confuse that with me somehow being in someone's pocket.

    I've agreed with each of the Board members on some things and disagreed with them on the others- I absolutely expect that to continue in the future.

    Thank you for your consideration and I hope to see many of you at the candidates forum on Oct. 20th. Please feel free to email me at if you have other questions or concerns.

  11. Support the MDUSD. However this election turns out, it is time that the negative STOPS. It is too easy to find something to gripe about and too easy to find fault. This from people who have had to do none of the dirty work. So here you have an election. Elect and then support. Anyone still griping after this election should be booted from the blogs. The past decade has been BRUTAL for education and the state - rather the students - are the ones suffering. If you want your children to have any kind of decent education then step up to the plate and ask what YOU can do to support it. There is so little to work with that bitchin about it is like beating up on an anorexic student. Get real. Just my two cents works.

  12. Whatever the Times suggests I do the complete opposite.

  13. 10:16,

    See slide 14 of the ppt.

    This shows an actual Net Savings with the Capital Costs, including finance cost.

    Looks like you are wrong again.

  14. Anon 7:00pm

    Do you really think I would make that comment and not have studied that presentation?
    Looks like you are going to be wrong again.

    On slide 14 “Capital Costs” is the cost of solar. In the case of Sun Power that is $67mil. That is the only cost being attributed to the project in this presentation. What about the $11mil of interest on the CREBS that Anon 9:07 pointed out, or some portion of the $10mil allotted for Pete Pederson’s group, or the cost to fund the cost between $59mil and $67mil that will have to be financed with the high interest GOBonds, or the cost of the GOBonds that will be used to pay the debt service on the CREBs bonds?

    And while we are on that slide I am curious about the $295mil in “district utility costs w/o solar”. The district has always claimed utility costs are $3.2 - $3.5 mil per year. How do you get to $295mil? Show me the math. You would have to escalate $3.5mil at 6.4% per year compounded to reach that number. If this number is wrong and it is being used to generate the number on line 2 (showing a 60% savings) then the revenues to the general fund are even lower.

    I just hope that if you think that slide 14 shows “an actual Net Savings with the Capital Costs, including finance cost” that you are not part of the decision making team for this project or more importantly any future projects.

  15. Today, Brian Lawrence told us what many already knew: He is the heir apparent to Paul Strange. What Gary and Paul wouldn't tell you, Brian Lawrence did.

    Lawrence claims he is not a "stalking horse" and an "independent thinker". However,Eberhart, Strange, and Lawrence have political connections that go back several years which make that claim suspect.

    In fact, when Lawrence was running for Democratic Central Committee, Paul Strange endorsed him. That same year, 2008, as election chair for the Democratic Central Committee, Lawrence endorsed Gary Eberhart for the board. Lawrence appears to make no secret of using his partisan political connections if he thinks it is to his advantage. Lawrence may even see the school board election as an opportunity for partisan politics and his own political ambitions, even though it is a non-partisan office in which members represent the community at large.

    In 2008, Lawrence wrote that his top priority would be to "Contest every election in Contra Costa County and make sure we elect Democrats". Those are his exact words which means his signs that read “Putting Kids First” should really say “Putting Democrats First”.

    Anyone who votes for Lawrence and thinks that Strange’s influence will be gone needs to know, as one post accurately pointed out, "If you vote for Lawrence, you vote for Strange".

    Lawrence touts a laundry list of professional politicians who "endorse" him in an attempt to deflect attention from his absolute lack of credentials, experience, or knowledge that would qualify him to serve on the board. No better evidence of his ignorance of the MDUSD district is his placement of campaign signs in the Walnut Creek and Acalanes school districts.

    If you don't where you are, it will be impossible to get anywhere.

    Mt. Diablo Unified School District is in crisis. A once highly regarded district is collapsing before the eyes of its students, parents, community, and businesses. It needs serious people to resolve serious problems. It will take serious people to regain the confidence of a distrustful community and a demoralized and disheartened employee base. It will take communication, collaboration, and competence. It will take experienced adults doing adult work.
    It's time to begin.

    Our parents and community deserve better. More importantly, our kids deserve better.

  16. Hi Brian Lawrence, I know you are new to the district, and believe me, I am not saying that one must have years of experience in our district to be a good board member, but I am curious if since deciding to run you've jumped on board any committees or attending any meetings? I didn't see you at the last Superintendent Parent Advisory meeting, and I don't recall Sept either . Have you been to any of those meetings?

    Like I said, I'm not trying to "accuse" but I am asking as I think these committees that I've served on so far in my years around the district have been very enlightening and at the very least you get to meet and network with some of the most involved parents, administrators, board members, community.

    I'm still very much undecided.

    But I will say that I think it is ludicrous that the Times keeps harping on the bond and the possibility of a parcel tax. I was/am not a supporter of the bond, but I'm keeping an open mind to see how it plays out. This district needs a parcel tax eventually and to discount a board member (Linda Mayo) because she is honest in saying we need one, is ludicrous.

  17. Oops, I said ludicrous twice. Sorry.

    I see that the Lamorinda Democratic Club endorsed Linda Mayo, Brian Lawrence and Lynne Dennler. But why does a Lamorinda club endorse candidates outside their area?

    The democratic party of Contra Costa endorsed Linda Mayo and Brian Lawrence.

    What's it all mean? Not much.

    I was really looking forward to a less formal forum with the candidates, not the staged moderated type. But not a whole lot of interest, and those interested, have already invited specific candidates to their homes or to meetings they've set up.

  18. I wonder if Brian Lawrence would have called Linda, "An enemy of the children of MDUSD"?

    Or if he was one of the other board members if he would have stood up to the bully Paul Strange and demanded an apology.

  19. MDUSD Parents- I don't know Brian Lawrence, but I appreciate him coming on the blogs to put himself out there.

    To be fair, did you see any of the other candidates at the PAC meeting?

    This is Jeff Adams second run. I haven't seen him there. He is now involved in the UMDAF, which is great, but he probably has kids who play sports, so it's a little self serving.

    As far as Brian Lawrence being a disciple of Paul Strange--are we judging that on who someone endorses? I endorsed Paul way back when but that doesn't mean that I would support him today.

    Why are there so many mean and angry people on this blog? Some of the comments are just ignorant and nasty. I'll bet those who complain the loudest don't do a damn thing for our district.

  20. I'm not being mean or angry. I asked Brian Lawrence, because quite frankly everyone else in the race has been around the block, with the schools, with the teachers, with the district. Brian Lawrence from what I can tell doesn't have any of that.

    If you see something mean spirited in me asking, guess that is how you're reading. Perhaps I asked Brian because I was specifically interested in knowing this. I know about Linda. I am trying to form my opinions of who to support for myself. I don't think it's logical to think just because I have a question for one, it must be the same question for all.

  21. Is anyone else mortified that Lawrence is endorsed by the "majority" - he said himself he's endorsed by Strange, Eberhart and Whitmarsh. He said he's been talking to Dick Allen, but he sure didn't say he got an endorsement.

    Just for the fact we need to shake up that majority I will not vote for Lawrence. We need an independent thinker and quite frankly I think his admmission that the trifecta support him harms him. He should've just kept that quite.

  22. one of the heads of the three headed beast that runs the district was going to be removed.....only to see another head begin to grow.

  23. @ 9:45- Linda was kind enough to invite me to her home to meet with her and other interested parents. I enjoyed the meeting and was happy to hear their concerns while sharing my views on the issues. No name calling ensued.

  24. MDUSD parents,

    I'm happy to share some the outreach that I've done since I joined the race 8 weeks ago. I've been trying to meet with as many different groups as I possibly can. Here's a quick sampling:

    - Met with individual teachers and two principals
    - Met with MDEA, Local One, CSEA and the CAC
    - Coffee events with concerned parents in multiple parts of the district
    - Attended school board meetings
    - Spoken individually with all 5 current board members
    - Met with Superintendent Lawrence
    - Participated in the 5k to benefit UMDAF
    - Walked precincts throughout the district
    - Volunteered in my son's classroom
    - Spoken to members of the School Closure Committee and the Measure C Oversight Committee
    - Met with school board members in other districts in Contra Costa to learn about what has been successful for them

    In addition to being the first candidate to post on this blog, I'm also accessible on Twitter and Facebook. My email is and my phone number is 925-526-5354.

    Thank you!

  25. Yes, Linda Mayo and I were endorsed by the Democratic Party of Contra Costa County. Jeff Adams has been endorsed by the Republican Party. I'm not aware of any other party endorsements.

    I assume the Lamorinda Democratic Club endorsed because quite a few of their members live in the Mt. Diablo district and because a part of Lafayette is in the district.

  26. We know MDUSD needs better communication. Support the 3 candidates who have shown communication skills on this blog:

    1. Cheryl Hansen
    2. Brian Lawrence
    3. Jeff Adams

    Who's Roy Larkin? Does he have a web site or email?

  27. MDUSD Parents- Sorry! I certainly didn't mean you when I was talking about mean and angry comments! You have done a great job keeping things neutral.

    I was talking about the other people who write posts that are nothing more than nasty comments with no substance. I seriously doubt that any of them have done anything positive for our kids.

  28. .The CC Times is out of step with the majority of those who read it. Linda Mayo has worked tirelessly for the students of the MDUSD. Her experience and knowledge are desperately needed at a time when the district is in dire straits. To not endorse her is irresponsible on the part of the Times. Shame on you CC Times! More than one person should be making these endorsements.

  29. Mr. H - I'm a big fan of yours :) Fond memories of my student with you in 4th grade :) (I assume you're the same Ken H :)

  30. I concur with Kenhousfel - Linda Mayo has been a dedicated, tireless board member. Her experience and knowledge is invaluable. I will be voting for Ms. Mayo in November.

  31. Roy Larkin is also running for the Md. Diablo Health Care district board, which has been in the news lately because it is no longer a necessary board.

    Even some of it's own board members are calling for it's dissolution. I believe Larkin is a shoe in since there is no one running against him.

    I don't like it that Larkin is running for both boards. He doesn't seem to be focused on our kids.

    Maybe as a retired CFO or whatever he was, he is bored and wants to get involved with something.

    I haven't seen him at any meetings, so I don't know what he can add to the board.

  32. I voted for Brian, but isn't having Paul Strange give you an endorsement sort of like receiving the kiss of death.

  33. I am pretty angry with Paul right now but the personal attacks don't sit well. He is not running for reelection. He has dedicated hours of his time to make a postive difference. Question the issues he supports or the policies he has enacted but attacking the person seems a bit mean-spirited.

    It will probably make him angry that I am defending him. However, I think putting yourself out there is difficult and at the very least we should be civil when it is about the person and not about the issues.

  34. Linda- Well said.

  35. When evaluating an incumbent, you have to look at their record of leadership and accomplishments. What has happened in the last 13 years at MDUSD ? Ten schools have been named "program improvement schools", six of which are designated as the worst 5% in California -- "persistently underachieving schools", and to boot, the entire district is on the verge of being named a "program improvement" district which is not an honor by any means. Six schools as "persistently underachieving" is the worst in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties -- in fact one-third of the total schools in that category. If this were a sports team, the manager or coach would have been fired long ago. But no one can doubt the hard work of Linda Mayo, but she must be held accountable for the failed policies she adopted and supported of MDUSD that have led to these educational failures. Linda has always been "involved" but she has been unable to provide the leadership and problem solving that MDUSD needs. No one has ever criticized her for her demeanor or effort, but that is not enough. All incumbent board members need to be held accountable for the decline of educational progress in MDUSD -- MDUSD has become the laughing stock of the East Bay. Its time for some new blood that will make hard choices, and sweep clean the failed administrators that continue to protect each other by playing musical chairs. I hope Linda finds a place to dedicate her ideals towards helping children. I wish Linda the best.
    Doctor J

  36. There's some blog posts saying that Lawrence was able to jump to the head of the line to get his son in at Mnnte Gardens. How do parents of kids on the waiting list feel about that?

  37. 12:37. Don't believe everything you read on a blog. In fact, i have heard in several places and interviews with times , that his child is going to cornerstone not Monte gardens. Hopefully he will also set record straight for you.

  38. If someone wants to disagree with me because of a policy or an issue, then I'm happy to have that debate. When some tries to use my five year old son to attack me, I find that reprehensible.

    My son was signed up on the waiting list long before I entered the school board race. If someone has a shred of proof showing anything to the contrary, I welcome them to bring it forward.

    I'm running for the school board because this district has some serious challenges. When people use lies and innuendo to attack me, I don't think that does anything to help the children in this district. When I'm talking to people in the community, the things they ask me about our class size, Measure C, school closures, teacher retention, adult education and many other things. I'm happy to talk about those issues any time and any place.

  39. A day or two after I entered the race, Theresa Harrington asked me where my son would be attending school. I told her he would be attending Cornerstone. Prior to the start of the school year but after my conversation with Theresa, we found out that our son had a spot at Monte Gardens and that is where we decided to enroll him.

    After Theresa published her item, my wife pointed out that it might not be a great idea to publicize where our five year old son was attending school- out of concern for his privacy and security. Since then, I've refrained from sharing on the Internet that he was at Monte Gardens.

    My children are the biggest reason why I'm running for the school board and I think it is important to share that with people. However, I'm trying to balance that with protecting them and respecting their privacy. Hopefully people understand that I'm doing the best I can to balance those things.

  40. You people are out of control. Are you all off your meds?

    I hate the current board majority just as much as the next guy. I have great hope that their unethical and immoral practices will end with the election of new board members.

    With that said, are we really going to let our unease and distrust with the current board majority make us so worried and paranoid about where a prospective board member's child attends kindergarten?

    In my mind, I would worry about Brian Lawrence's intelligence if he didn't enroll his child in one of the best schools in our district and Monte Gardens is one of those schools.

    Maybe the Brian's other choice besides Cornerstone was one of our "wonderful" (said with sarcasm) schools where English is not spoken. Would any of you really have enrolled your child there if there were other options? If so I question your intelligence.

    Get control of yourselves people. Where is the respect for people willing to be public servants?

  41. Well Brian, that's all well and good, but you better grow a thicker skin. Everyone knows where the other board member children go to school, as a public figure in Our schools, it should not be a secret. You aren't running for president of the USA. This is only the beginning brian, have you not been following the nastiness that follows the board members? Everything you do will be scrutinized. Get used to it. I hooe you really are up for this and not recruited by Paul and Gary to carry the torch. I know how persuasive they can be. And manipulative. Do this for you. But be ready. Its not pretty. This is the legacy and culture left and created by the current board and admin.

  42. Who else did Gary and Paul endorse for the board?

  43. I heard Brian Lawrence tell us at a candidates night with the MDUSD CAC less than two weeks ago that his son was attending Monte Gardens. I'm confused as to why he thinks there is a privacy and security issue since he volunteered the information. When a mother told me she thought his son was going to Cornerstone, I told her that he said his son was going to Monte Gardens.

  44. Sorry that there is any confusion about this. My son attends Monte Gardens. I've told that to anyone who has asked me and I've also spoken about it with certain groups of people. I merely had not rushed to publish that information on the Internet.

    We were at Monte Gardens last night for the Bingo fundraiser and I talked to a number of people about the fact that I was running for the School Board.

    My wife and I had put him on the list for Monte Gardens a long time ago- I believe it was about a year ago. There is a shorter waiting list at Monte Gardens than there is at Sequoia Elementary (many people sign up on Sequoia's wait list when their child turns 3). We, along with a number of other families, found out a few days before school that he was eligible to attend Monte Gardens. We had friends who signed up a few days before us who found out at the exact same time that they had also been moved off the wait list.

    I'm sure that a lot of you reading this could care less about where my son attends school, but I'm trying to lay everything out for the people who seem to have questions about it. I'm certainly willing to switch to other topics about the district and about my candidacy.

  45. Long-time Board WatcherOctober 16, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    Anon 2:24 said, "In my mind, I would worry about Brian Lawrence's intelligence if he didn't enroll his child in one of the best schools in our district and Monte Gardens is one of those schools."

    I assume you were just being flippant and not really suggesting that Board members should choose the "best" schools for their own children. Having a variety of schools and neighborhoods represented by Board members can only benefit the district.

    With all due respect to Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence for their decision, I appreciate Sherry Whitmarsh and her husband, who made the choice to send their children to their neighborhood school, Oak Grove, and work actively there as parent volunteers. As a result, Sherry has first-hand experience with the challenges that schools designated as "Program Improvement" must overcome and can make informed decisions related to educational plans for these schools.

  46. Anon 7:42,

    Sorry to tell you, you are completely wrong on this one. All the Whitmarshes are doing is doing a disservice to their children's future to send them to underperforming schools.

    In reality what the Whitmarshes should do is send their children to the best schools they can, and then and only then if it is in thier hearts to try and make Oak Grove a better school.

    Why put the burden of a bad school onto your young children? That is just selfish and negligent parenting in my opinion.

  47. According to the address I saw on the candidate info, mr. Lawrence does not live in a an area zoned to an underperforming school. That said, there is nothing wrong with making another choice, that is why Monte gardens and sequoia are as they are. They are an alternative in the district and have their own enrollment procedures.

    Now his area school may be closed as it is under enrolled and near other underenrolled schools, but I guess time will tell.

  48. 9:59- You have no idea what the future presents for the Whitmarsh children. Their parents are involved in their education and the district.

    You are fooling yourself if you think JUST sending your kid to a "good" school means that they will be successful.

    It is the people like the Whitmarshes who are actively trying to make their neighborhood schools better by attending them instead of bailing out to go elsewhere.

  49. Anon 2:18,

    Because of the gross negligence and incompetence of the current board my child would have had to gone to a school whose primary spoken language is SPANISH.

    This is America g'damn it! My child will go to a school where ENGLISH is spoken. So excuse me for "bailing out" on my school to send my kids somewhere else.

    Let me guess your "home" school is Valle Verde?

  50. Anon 4:50 p.m.

    What a great opportunity that would have been for your child to become fluent in another language. His or her wage potential would have increased because of that.

    College graduate fluent in Spanish, Mandoran, or Farsi have a high wage potential and more job opportunities.

  51. If you are bashing the Whitmarshes for sending their kids to their neighborhood schools, and for helping out at those schools, shame on you. It just goes to show that they care about all the children in this district, not just their own!

  52. 4:50- No, Valle Verde isn't my home school. I don't live in WC. Our home school has a very strong PTA and decent test scores, but there are still plenty of parents who choose to spend their money on private schools.

    If you leave it up to a school to be the sole education for your children, you are making a mistake. The Whitmarshes are teaching their children to make the best of what they have and I respect them for it.

    I have no idea what you are talking about when you say "the current board". What has the current board done that previous board's didn't set the table for?

    It would be hard to send my kids to a neighborhood school that was in Program Improvement. That's why I respect Sherry. She puts her children where her mouth is.

  53. Anon 4:50pm- "This is America g'damn it"? That's pretty funny.

  54. Who are Eberhart and Strange endorsing?

  55. Anon 3:24,

    Why would anyone care who those guys are endorsing? I suspect getting an endorsement from them is like getting one from Obama, notice how no democrat wants to be associated? I bet the current board candidates feel the same way about them.

  56. Who are Strange and Eberhart endorsing? That's easy. On October 14, Brian Lawrence said they are endorsing him.
    This is not surprising since the three of them have been engaged in a mutual endorsement triumvirate for the past two years. Remember that Strange endorsed Lawrence two years ago when Lawrence ran for Democratic Central Committee and Lawrence was responsible for Eberhart's endorsement from the Lamorinda Democratic Club in 2008 when Eberhart was running for re-election.

    The only real unanswered question is why the deafening silence from Eberhart and Strange. Maybe they don't want too many people to know that Lawrence is their guy.

  57. This comment has been removed by the author.

  58. Somehow my comments appeared on here twice. I am the same Ken who taught 4th grade. That was my favorite grade. I would hope that the candidates are judged on their positions and experience and not where they enrolled their children. Keeping the dialogue civil and pertinent to the issues at hand, will help choose the best candidates.

  59. This comment has been removed by the author.

  60. I was at the PH Ed Commission Candidates Forum last night.

    I was very impressed with Cheryl Hansen. She has been a teacher, principal and now works as a teacher trainer for the County office of Education. She had great energy and to me, seemed very knowledgeable.

    Jeff Adams also impressed me. I didn't vote for him in the last election but I think he might make a good addition.

    Brian Lawrence had some good things to say, but in my opinion, he could use a little more seasoning.

    Roy Larkin seemed pleasant, but he didn't really give me much. He wasn't really specific about things, but he did refer to trust and communication a few times. He is a retired CFO, but I don't know what size company he used to work for. He is also running for the Mt. Diablo Hopsital District Board.

    Jan Trezise was a last minute addition, and quite frankly, she didn't have a lot to offer. She chose to pass on a few questions and seemed confused in her answers to others.

    Linda Mayo touted her experience and record with the board, which could be a good thing or a detriment, depending on how people feel about the decisions the board has made over the past few years.

    There were a decent amount of people attending the forum, but many seemed to be affiliated with a campaign.

    It was sad that so many people complain on the blogs, but as usual, few show up to participate.

    The forum will be rebroadcast on Comcast channel 26, on the 22nd and the 25th. Unless you see the candidates and hear their responses, they are just names on a paper.

    Get involved and please vote!

  61. Who are Strange and Eberhart supporting? Cause I'm going in the exact opposite direction. That's all we need is another board majority to vote with those jokers.

  62. 7:26am- It might be nice if you educated yourself on this election before you spout off.

    Paul Strange is not going to be on the board anymore, so you don't have to worry about someone voting with him.

    Personalities aside, what votes did Gary and Paul (on their own) make that gets people's panties in a twist?

    From what I can tell, there is a pretty active rumor mill with very little substance behind it.

    Who cares who they want? Take a minute to find out for yourself who you like and vote for those people.

    It's called democracy.

  63. Like the previous writer, I attended the forum on Wednesday and I thank the Pleasant Hill Education Commission for hosting the candidates’ forum. It gives us an opportunity to see candidates as people.

    My impressions:

    Cheryl Hansen is an outstanding candidate. Her blend of experience and knowledge along with her candid manner would be most welcome on a board too long without any active educators on it.

    Roy Larkin, though narrow in his focus and background, has the financial background to help the board look at the budget through a realistic prism. I think he would be good choice.

    Linda Mayo, the incumbent, must live with her record, as someone else posted. It is a two edged sword but she has interest and experience.

    Jeff Adams may turn voters off because he is an attorney. The board has had one before and the district has its own counsel. Seems to do a lot of research.

    Brian Lawrence didn't exhibit a grasp or knowledge of fiscal and educational issues His answers lacked specificity and, often, didn't seem to address the question.

    Jan Trezise seems to be a pleasant woman but, like Lawrence, lacks any real knowledge of education.

    Thank you again to those who made this possible and I encourage everyone to vote on November 2.

    Thank you

  64. Maybe a lawyer like Mr. Adams can tell us why we're spending money on two district lawyers AND another $866,000 on outside lawyers. Perhaps his expertise can keep the district from getting sued all the time.

  65. Because we are not getting 2,000 billable hours from the District lawyers like most private lawfirms require their lawyers to bill. Jeff Adams' lawfirm would not employ him if he didn't get his billables. Its that simple.

  66. Two lawyers in the district, another $866,000 for outside attorneys, and another attorney running to replace the one leaving? Don't you think the district is lawyered up enough without putting one more on the board? Though, all the hot air generated could be sold back to PGE for geothermal energy.

  67. I will not vote Adams for his politics alone. Staunch mrmon, pro prop 8. No THANKS!!!!! I think we need to leave experience on the board. I think the chance of Eberhart or Whitmarsh running again in 2 yrs is almost nil and we will be left with a bunch of newbies.

  68. Anon 11:25
    So does that mean you won't vote for someone who is Catholic, Jewish, Baptist, Lutheran, etc… let’s be tolerant when it comes to marriage but not religion?
    While I am NOT a prop 8 supporter, tell me exactly what that has to do with running for school board. Gary Eberhart and Sherry Whitmarsh are not up for reelection for another 2 years. How much experience do you want people to have and how much is too much?
    Linda Mayo is a nice person with a lot of experience but we need board members who are not afraid to ask hard questions and pursue innovative (but fiscally sound) solutions to the problems facing our schools. I don’t believe Linda Mayo has shown us that she has that skill.

  69. No 8:28 it doesn't mean that. It means he contributed personally to prop 8 . He made no apologies and no excuses for his feelings on what should be taught in the schools too. Guess what, it's a free country vote for who you want to but I won't vote for a backwards way of thinking that could impact our schools when sex ed curriculum and the like go in font of the board.

    Lawrence hasn't even bothered to get involved at any level other than the involvement that involves his campaign, and I don't like his endorses in this board majority. I'm sick to death of our board, all of them .

  70. Two weeks ago I sent a letter to the CCTimes in support of Linda Mayo. As the Times has not yet published my letter, I am sharing it here:

    "Linda Mayo has been an independent voice and tireless force supporting Mt. Diablo USD students, staff, parents, and the instructional program for 13 years as a Board member and many more as a parent volunteer and state PTA leader. She actually understands school finance and construction project specifications. She regularly visits classrooms, sits in on trainings and committee meetings, attends student activities, keeps current on education issues and policies, and responds to constituents' concerns.

    "Concerns about cuts to district programs have taken Linda to Sacramento to lobby state legislators for more education funding. Finding no help there, she’s contributed time and money to campaigns for local funding measures to make up budget shortfalls and save programs and jobs. The Times (editorial, Oct. 14) criticizes Linda for supporting the recent bond initiative and suggesting a parcel tax may also be necessary. Her doing so reflects her willingness to make difficult decisions when she believes students will benefit.

    "The Mt. Diablo community will benefit by re-electing Linda Mayo. I’ve worked with Board members in two large Bay Area school districts over the past 17 years, the last 9 in MDUSD. For her intelligence, poise under pressure, and commitment to children, Linda excels."

  71. Does anyone know why Cheryl Hansen has not filed a campaign report? She said at the Pleasant Hill debate that she was financing her own campaign instead of buying a new BMW. If you spend more than $1,000 dollars you are legally required to file a report.

  72. Just found out that Cheryl is a sister to Ron. Ron was the president of one of the unions foe the district.

  73. Has Cheryl Hansen even spent any money? Today was the first day that I saw one of her signs among the dozens along Taylor Blvd.

    She mentioned at the candidates forum in PH that she was Ron's sister and said that she waited until he retired before considering to run, so there would be no conflict of interest.

    To me, she was the best candidate at the forum.

    Why does it matter that her brother was in the union? My brother is a total jerk and I would hate for that to limit me in whatever I try to do in life.

  74. I mentioned the connection between Ms. Hansen and her brother the first time I mentioned her on the site. She is very well spoken and does well at the candidate forums. As does Ms. Mayo. I mean I don't think anyone is particularly horrible in this race, so it is a tough call who's the best for the future of our district. I personally lean toward experience with the schools, knowledge of the "system," and the desire to put the kids first. I have to admit the last go around in 08 left a bad taste when it came to the connections between one candidate and his religious views and how that "could" effect curriculum... perceived or real, it's how *I* feel and everyone is entitled to their opinion. So , while I'm mostly decided... its a bit still up in the air.

  75. MDUSD Parents- I already voted, but I do think that someone's beliefs do matter when it comes to being on a school board.

    There are many school boards comprised of people who believe their religion, and their beliefs, are the only way.

    It is important to know who you are voting for. Personally, I think that Mr. Adams might make a good candidate, but I do worry about that he may have voted for Prop 8.

    I think it is more important to have moral people on the board than religious ones. A moral person is honest and treats everyone fairly. A religious person believes that their way is the only answer.

    That is scary to me.

  76. I don’t care what religion Adams practices. And while I do care a great deal about this issue, it’s not the Prop.8 stand itself in particular that bothers me.

    More and more, I’m taking a stand against voting for people who have demonstrated that they are willing to impose what I view as their personal morality upon public policy. Adams alleged strong support of Prop. 8 demonstrates that very clearly for me.

    What exactly does that have to do with running a school board? Everything. I would think the very last place you’d want to put someone who believes that their way is the only way, despite the fact that our government is not designed to function in that manner, is in a position to influence schools. The opportunities are great to make an impact: book selection, policy influence, sex education policy, etc. Does it outweigh budget expertise? Sound management thinking about other issues? I honestly haven’t decided yet. Frankly, I’m having a very hard time choosing three candidates I actually like and feel comfortable with.

  77. Colleagues have received training from Ms Hansen and she did not know her material. She could speak it at the high level but did not know the details.

    I have the same fear on the board.

    Additionally why do I need another educator on the board? That's what we are paying others to do

  78. With Jeff Adams we are not talking about a person that just made a small donation to a campaign that he liked. He gave almost $5,000.00 to the campaign. I don't like all that I have seen on the Board lately, but what I have never seen is our Board spending time arguing about religious issues. We have real serious issues that we need our school board to deal with. I don't want to listen to discussion about whether or not students have more sex if they receive sex education or less sex. I don't want the school board banning books or deciding that they are not going to recognize that there are gay people in our community and that some of them may be students. Our school board has remained out of the discussions about religion and I want it to stay that way. Jeff Adams was a large part of the yes on 8 campaign and whether it is marriage or some other issue, I don't want the government telling me who I can like and who I can't, what I can do or what I can't. Jeff Adams finished in last place in 2008, behind April Trece even, and I hope he finishes in last place this time too, or at least in 4th place.

    Here is the link to the donation that Jeff Adams gave to the yes on prop 8 campaign. You have to scroll down to the transaction date of 08/06/2008 and you will see it:

  79. For the record, it was $5,000. Adams made a $250 contribution in addition to the $4,750.

    Jeffrey Adams Support
    $4,750.00 CA Concord 8/6/08

    Jeffrey Adams Support
    $250.00 CA Concord 6/10/08

    They both show his law firm as his employer.

  80. 9:25 -

    Cheryl Hansen knows education. As a principal, she started a new high school (in Fairfield?). Now she works for the County Office of Education, training principals. She's plenty knowledgeable!

    I had questions about her position on special education, and I met with her and a couple of special ed parents. Hansen takes pride in expressing her views, based on her extensive experience, and the special ed parents agreed with her. Hansen believes K-3 teachers need extra training if necessary in order to identify special ed students, because early intervention can prevent escalating problems later on. This would be better for students and families, and can save the district a lot of extra special ed costs and law suits.

    Hansen is a candidate who is willing to meet and discuss with parents, and who has ideas to bring to the board. She's running because she has the skills to improve this district. Hansen is the best candidate!

  81. She may have been a good principal but not up to snuff on her current job.

    Not voting for Hansen...No way No way!

    She didn't even have enough skin in the game to put in a ballot statement.

  82. 10/28 @2:01pm- Too bad you feel personal about this. I have never met her, but have attended a candidates forum and think she will be excellent on the board.

    Why do we need another educator on the board? All we have is Dick who is retiring. One educator would be great to provide perspective.

  83. Need an educator to provide perspective? We have thousands of educators in the district. What we probably don't need is another board member who is used to doing everything a superintendent says. That is what Hansen will do and her brother may be retired, but he still works with the union.

  84. Anon 10:15

    I had never met Cheryl Hansen until she decided to run for school board. I too would have said her credentials would make her a status quo candidate... something I don't want.
    However, by speaking with her one on one I did not find that to be the case. I do not believe she has any intention of being a "yes woman" to the Superintendent or anyone else for that matter. She works with Principals and districts throughout the County which means she comes with a perspective beyond MDUSD and the ability to compare and contrast. She has good strong opinions, cares about the kids, and sees a need for change. She is not a status quo candidate.

  85. 10:15am- You make no sense. What does thousands of educators in the district have to do with someone being on the board?

    Her background gives her perspective as a teacher, administrator and county education dept employee.

    I think the question should be do we need another lawyer on the board?

  86. Do you think any of the unions are happy with the Superintendent or the Board? Then you haven't been following any negotiations or attended any Board meetings. CSEA not only voted down the latest offer, their rep said the "S" word - STRIKE.

  87. Maybe you don't realize this, but many parents are not happy with the unions either.

    Our kids are being forced to go without, and MDEA is playing games with negotiations. CSEA may strike? Is that supposed to sway public opinion?

    Do you think that the district isn't in financial trouble? Can you get blood from a stone?

    When a union would rather hold wages and benefits and force layoffs for some of their members instead of everyone taking less, you have lost me.

    That being said, I think everyone who is on the front lines in education is under paid, but so is my spouse who has taken a 10% pay cut and my brother who has been looking for a job for over a year.

    Times are tough and if CSEA wants to strike, that is their prerogative. I just don't think they will see a groundswell of support among the families of the students.

  88. Anon 9:33

    I agree with you 100%. I too support our teachers and staff. I believe they have a difficult job. However, I also believe there is a lot of complaining at a time when things are difficult for many people.

    I personally am tired of tenure and until that goes I will not be out in front of school standing side by side with our teachers and staff. The good teachers need to say enough is enough and elevate their profession by stopping the protection of those who are incompetent.

    I do not think that the support the unions saw two or three years ago will be there this time around. The unions have become part of the problem.

  89. While I support individual teachers, I no longer support the unions. The tenure system needs to be re-vamped so that the good teachers are retained and the low performing and incompetent teachers are the ones to go.

  90. All union members should be thrown in jail. They are ruining our once great country. Yes teachers I am talking about you. You are nothing but leeches on society at this point.

    Can we elect a board member who pledges to break the unions?

  91. 11:45am- Teachers are leeches on society? I think the unions are not helping their cause, but your comment is ridiculous.

    Please don't skip your meds in the future.

  92. It is my understanding the teachers have to belong to the Union in MDUSD. I think if they had a choice many would not be a part of the current MDEA and its leadership. I was told that in the San Ramon District it is voluntary if a teacher wants to join their Union.

    I do support our teachers but do not agree with current MDEA leadership. If MDEA had worked with the district months ago and taken furlough days in 09/10 and again this year, then the other employees would not be facing drastic cuts or layoffs. Sad that MDEA leadership would rather see people losing jobs than to try to work together.

    Administration has taken furlough days and accepted caps on their medical. I believe that the BOE has done the same thing. What about you MDEA? Teachers still get step up in column increases. Who has ever had a job that had automatic increases for years of service? Take additional units and get more money? Granted I feet teachers are not paid enough to begin with. But in these economic times everyone has to do their part.

  93. On a positive note....

    Win... Lose.. or Draw...

    Thank you to all the candidates for stepping up to the plate. Thank you for being willing to put yourself out there!

    I am spending too much of my time trying to support my own children thru their educational process that I can not dedicate time to the "larger" process.

    But, I can appreciate those who are willing and able to step up to lead.

    So thank you all and good luck!!

  94. Anon 7:38,

    You are right the reign of Strange is almost over. We should rejoice. A more arrogant asshole has never been seen on this board. I hope none of the new board members take after him.

  95. The CC Times has an article about the candidates on its website. Interesting how Hansen is the only one supported by Local One - that is the same union that her brother was part of as a district employee.

  96. Anon 7:57

    How many times are you going to post that in order to get people to vote against her? We are not that stupid. She has been a fomidable candidate and resonates with voters. If you have a problem with her be honest and stop with the passive agressive politics.

  97. Anon 7:57

    I agree with Anon 8:27. Hansen and Mayo are the two most qualified candidates.

  98. Isn't there a union that also is supporting Mayo? So what does that say?

  99. CST (Clerical, Secretarial and Technical), M&O (Maintenance and Operations) and CSEA (the Special Ed assistants) HAVE taken cuts! Most of us have had between 20 and 30 days taken from our time - and of course, that's up to a month less pay. The teachers voted away their benefits to fatten their paychecks. Then the Board gave them money for benefits - and didn't cut their pay. So, they got a raise. What did the rest of us get? Cuts. We'd have been happy to work with administration if we were ALL gong to share in the pain. But when admin takes a token few furlough days and a 3-year cap on benefits, then asks the workers to take a LIFETIME cap on benefits, that's crap. At the same time they give the teachers back benefits - when the teachers voted their benefits away? How is this fair, in any universe?

  100. Anon 9:39,

    Maybe you should become an administrator? Or maybe a teacher? I'm not currently aware of any rule here in America from preventing you from doing so.

  101. So only teachers and administrators deserve to be paid a reasonable wage? The rest of us peons can just pound sand? Very classy. Hope your kid doesn't need the help of a lousy custodian or office manager. You get what you pay for.