Uploaded: Wed, Nov 5, 2008, 6:46 am
Grant, Arkin, Hintzke win school board seats
Trio faces tough budget decisions as state grapples with deficit
Chris Grant, Valerie Arkin and Jamie Yee Hintzke were elected to the Pleasanton school board Tuesday in what was the first time in years that three seats—or a majority on the five-member board—were up for grabs.
Grant, who was appointed to the school board in February 2007, led the six-candidate ticket, receiving 10,960--or 23.94 percent--of the total votes cast in the school board election. Close behind was Arkin, with 10,433, or 22.79 percent, of the votes cast, and Hintzke, with 9,166, or 20.02 percent.
Surprisingly, optometrist Stephen Page, who did little campaigning and declined newspaper interviews and invitations to join other candidates at public forums, trailed the three winners by less than 3,000 votes, receiving 6,303, or 13.77 percent, of the total votes cast.
Page also topped runners-up Jeff Bowser, who received 5,679 votes, or 12.40 percent of the votes cast, and Prasad V. Rallapalli, who received 3,172, or 6.93 percent of the votes.
Grant, Arkin and Hintzke will be sworn into office at the board's first meeting in December, when Grant, who is now Clerk of the Board, could be elected its president for 2009. Hintzke and Arkin will succeed board members Steve Brozosky, who stepped down to run unsuccessfully for Pleasanton mayor in Tuesday's election, and longtime board member Kris Weaver, who chose not to seek another term on the board.
The newly-elected trio will join board members Pat Kernan and current board president Jim Ott at a time when the board and Superintendent John Casey and his staff will have to grapple with possible major budget cuts as a result of the state's $16-billion—and growing—budget deficit.
Grant, a senior vice president at Kaiser Permanente, said his passion is for public education and service to schools. In a pre-election interview, he said his goals are to maintain class size reduction as well as reading, science and math intervention programs, and to aim for continued improvement in student achievement, fiscal responsibility and school safety.
Arkin's work with youth over the past 11 years includes serving as a YMCA program coordinator and as a member on their board of directors. A library commissioner and parent of three children in the district, she has volunteered at Mohr Elementary, Harvest Park Middle and Amador Valley High schools. Arkin also holds a bachelor's degree in health science and an MBA, which she said will help guide the district through budget difficulties. Her priorities include "continuing and improving the high academic standards, maintaining programs during budget challenges and ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of our students."
A longtime education advocate, Hintzke has spent the last several years with the PTA and PTA Council, most recently serving as president, as well as education-related committees. Now that her post as president is over, the mother of two has set out to ensure all students receive a great education and the district can keep pushing for further excellence.
Posted by Stephen Page, former candidate,
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2008 at 8:40 am
TITLE: Censorship affects the Pleasanton School Board Election
Despite the facts being clear to anyone and everyone in the media why I chose to protest the election process itself, not one person from any media organization, to my knowledge, reported the truth about me or my candidacy. So, please allow me to make my own statement to the citizens of Pleasanton.
The election **process** at the local level of government in Pleasanton has been broken or corrupted for quite some time, and nowhere has it been more obvious than in process of appointing School Board Members.
In a functional democracy, the members of the public **require** active citizen oversight of the school district administration, and that does not happen when friendly "insiders" get appointed. In fact, the Constitution's doctrine of "checks and balances" is circumvented when Board Members are beholden to friends to appoint them. Board Members who are beholden to interest-groups will lose the required independence of judgment necessary to act on behalf of citizens.
The corruption starts at the point of registration. Two years ago, when sitting Board Members were required to appoint another member due to Steve Pulido leaving the Board, I sought appointment. As a demonstration of why my emphasis was on bringing more focus to civics education at all levels of education, I submitted written reports to the Board summarizing my interviews with three school principals. Despite containing material information which supported the research that civics education was lacking in Pleasanton's schools, Board Members admitted publicly that they did not read the material. This demonstrated a clear abdicaton of responsibility, but more importantly, it indicated that their minds were already made up, and as a group they were not going to allow any "outsider", no matter how qualified, to upset their "insider" game. (Corrupted Process Lesson 1)
In this 2008 election cycle, the process still remains inconsistent with a functional democracy, despite it being a direct election. The following is my experience with "how it works".
The first question one is asked when one seeks to register oneself for a campaign at the Alameda County Registrar of Voters in Oakland is the following, "Would you care to make a statement with your candidacy?" "Why not?" a citizen might ask? After all, in the land where freedom of speech is a part of the Bill of Rights, it should be self-evident that "free" speech is a given in a society which prizes that right. Unfortunately, the reality quickly becomes clear that free speech does not exist. "That will cost one thousand dollars ($1000.00)." The message to any citizen is this: To all eighteen year old high school students who have been taught that anyone can run for office, everyone had better be prepared to flush $1000.00 down the drain at the point of registration IF they have the interest and passion to run for any office. (This is Corrupted Process Lesson 2)
Corrupted Process Lesson 3: News Organizations Want to Filter Information, and do not want candidates to be able to speak directly to citizens.
The local organizations want to be able to package a candidate in whatever way they want to, regardless of facts. Despite the fact that I was selected as an Army ROTC Four Year Scholarship winner, and earned Distinguished Military Graduate (DMG) honors from Santa Clara University, and was awarded the George C. Marshall Award from the Marshall Foundaton at Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in Lexington, Virginia, prior to serving with the U.S. Army as a Captain (RA) in Germany during the early, undeclared war with terrorists (1983-87). Uniformly, nobody in the media mentions any of this relevant information to the voters, despite ALL of the information being relevant and provided. To the voter this creates the false impression (the lie) that no one person out of six choices has any prior affiliation with any sort of national service in defense of the Constitution. Very simply, this is a form of censorship, and therefore more proof of corruption of the system.
As a citizen who has sacrificed since the age of eighteen (18) years old to support and defend the true principles of the Constitution, why would anyone who has dedicated his time and talent in defense of a system of government created for people and by people, want to taint themselves by participating in a such a corrupted system? I don't want to, and neither should anyone else. But if citizens like me don't make a statement, then who will?
I could go on, but let's leave it at this: For the news organizations (all of them) to censor and mislabel a candidate as they have, censoring accurate information for their own purposes, it is simply an example of a fundamental corruption of government that any American citizen could imagine.
For any news organization to say in the article above that "Surprisingly" a candidate (me) "declined newspaper interviews and invitations", was simply untrue. I provided factual information which was censored) and that corrupted process led me, as a citizen to decline to participate, under protest. (What other meaningful action could an honest citizen take under the circumstances?)
In summary, these lessons are the lessons of one candidate only, but they represent the clearest example of how our system of government has become corrupted at its core. In that context, it is not surprising that we are in the crises in which we find ourselves as a nation. I am simply doing my part to wake people up to the reality that benevolent, citizen-focused attention and oversight seems to be missing from the process, and to solve the problem will begin with the awareness that the problem exists.
I would invite anyone who recognizes the need for such changes to email me directly so that we can begin to implement improvements so that citizens can be better served.
Protesting censorship, conflicts of interest, and corruption in Pleasanton...
Dr. Stephen J. Page, MS, OD, management consultant & educator,
proponent for Constitutionality, best practices, checks & balances,
anti-censorship Candidate for Pleasanton School Board (2008),
former Captain, U.S. Regular Army, Medical Service Corps, Distinguished Military Graduate (DMG)
George C. Marshall ROTC Award Winner, Marshall Foundation, (VMI)
(c) Copyright, 2008. Stephen J. Page. (Copyright serves to authenticate the author.)