Grant, Arkin, Hintzke win school board seats Comments on Stories, posted by Editor, Pleasanton Weekly Online, on Nov 5, 2008 at 8:40 am
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.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, November 5, 2008, 6:46 AM
Posted by Stephen Page, former candidate, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood 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.)
Posted by raven, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 5, 2008 at 9:30 am
I am not quite sure what to say. Thank you for posting and your service to our country. If as you say the newspapers ignored your service record, shame on them. My husband served his time in the military and I am very proud of this. The behavior of the district isn't a surprise, the district constantly needs a wake up call on many venues. As far as the $1,000 dollars for to register as a candidate, usually this can be covered with your campaign contributions from those who want you to run, but I agree it is too high of an amount and does put off some people.On this beautiful day, smile because you did beat out two of the other candidates. There are people who votes did count for you.
These three new school board members have a lot of issues coming their way, right away. I for one will be very involved making sure that especially Hinske and Arkin don't start off as the "yes" board members for the district. But I won't be surprised. Good luck Stephen I wish you the best.
Posted by Stephen Page, former candidate, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 5, 2008 at 11:49 am
As a potential candidate I decided it was time to share my service philosophy, to demonstrate the value of my experience, and to bring creative ideas to the table. I sought $0.00 and accepted $0.00 because I wanted to test the idea that a person could run on the value of his ideas, merit, dedication to citizen-service, and the value of one's experiences.
Posted by Mary, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 5, 2008 at 12:40 pm
Thank you for all of the above information. I do wonder why you waited until now to share all of this with us. Mr. Rallapalli posted on these blogs a while back with information that I presume he would have included in a statement had h chosen to pay the $1,000 fee. A letter to the editor of the local papers would have been another way, while limited in words, to get some of your message out.
I agree that the $1000 is too much to ask from candidates. I was not even aware of the fee until discussion on these blogs a few months back. I understand that most of the cost is to pay for the translation of statements into various languages and that the cost is only expected to escalate as more languages are translated. (Another matter, but I firmly believe that since English is the official language of the US, ballot information should only need to be published in English!)
Before knowing this fact, I assumed that any candidate who did not have a statement published either missed the deadline or did not care enough to spend the time. Thus, they did not deserve my vote. I do believe that personal statement in the ballot is the most important thing you can do when a candidate decides to run for office. In a major election like this, too many people do not read newspaper articles or watch local candidate forums but they do look at the sample ballots.
While I admire and respect your military service and the awards you received, it does appear that this was more than 20 years ago. I would have liked to hear what you have done more recently. If civics education is your passion, tell us what you have done specifically to try to improve that aspect of our schools. After meeting with the 3 principals and drafting a report with your findings and perhaps recommendations, did you work with a school or even one classroom to implement a program? How about other school involvement? As another parent in the district, those are important things for me to know.
I commend you for the statement you are trying to make and the changes you would like to see! And I would certainly welcome learning more about you before our next election. Just don't keep things to yourself until after the fact!
Posted by Sour grapes for Page, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 5, 2008 at 1:14 pm
Page writes: "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."
So Mr. Page, with all due respect, if you had been appointed by the board in 2007, may we assume immediately after your appointment you would have stepped down? After all, you wouldn't want to be associated with a corrupted process, true? Or would the appointment process have suddenly been acceptable because the board selected you?
Posted by Hmmm, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Nov 5, 2008 at 1:59 pm
I would like to point out that both Amador Valley and Foothill High Schools DO have a VERY rich history in Civics education. Both are typically in the running for the Dept. of Civics Educations "We the People" competition at the District, State, and in most years National level in the case of Amador Valley. To say Pleasanton schools lack civics education to me seems like someone has a lack of insight.
Posted by Is Page Paranoid?, a resident of the Jensen Tract neighborhood, on Nov 5, 2008 at 2:25 pm
Stephen Page: You say you provided factual information which was censored by the newspaper, and this 'corrupted process' led you to decline interviews, under protest.
I guess the newspaper only targeted you. I recall reading in the Weekly impressive statements from the other candidates expressing their views on school-related issues.
Ironically, the same newspaper you claim censored your information is now allowing you to state anything you want in this public forum. If the Weekly's so corrupt, why haven't they shut you down in this public forum?
Posted by Pull back my vote, a member of the Pleasanton Middle School community, on Nov 5, 2008 at 4:30 pm
Wish it wasn’t too late to pull back my vote for Page. Looking at his delusional diatribe above, I now understand why his election strategy focused on not participating in forums or being interviewed. Stop with the excuses. At least McCain had the intelligence to recognize that he was beat, congratulate the victor, and offer support. Grow up – it is all not about you.
Posted by Voter whodid not see your statement anywhere until now, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 7, 2008 at 1:16 pm
To Stephen Page:
Having moved to Pleasanton from a different school district, I was aware of the fees for the candidate statement. But I was also aware about the smart voter website. I looked at that site for information about candidates, rather than at the ballot candidate statement:
Stephen: you did not bother to put your statement on smart voter, something that is free and available, made known to all candidates for any office.
I voted for two of the candidates who had statements, but also for Prasad, who did not have a statement... I found his statement online, smart voter website. I also received a flier from Prasad the weekend before the election. I knew his statement, so I voted for him - I was disappointed that he did not get elected.
Why didn't you fill out your statement? I cannot and will never vote for someone based on a name and a profession. I think you could have at least delivered fliers, filled out the free online statement with smart voter, sent a letter to the editor, etc.
I do not think it is not right for candidates to have to pay 1000, but I honestly did not see anything but your name, so it was hard for me to justify voting for someone unknown.
Reading your post, I am glad you did not get elected, though. We need people who know how to work together, rather than complain after the fact - especially knowing that you did not try at all to make anyone know about you....until now, that the election is over
Posted by I've Been Around Here a Long Time, a resident of the Jensen Tract neighborhood, on Nov 8, 2008 at 9:07 am
I'm sure your Mother is very proud of you. If you actually believe that stuff you wrote, you are way too naiive to be in politics or local government. You would have been a disaster as a school board member. Board members have to be able to get along with the other board members and the district administration. You are obviously in love with yourself only. Your defeat is no loss at all for Pleasanton.