Posted by Anonymous, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2010 at 9:56 am
I have heard good things about Joan Laursen. My only concern is that she is part of the PTA mentality, and what we need is someone who can get on the board and find real solutions. Decisions have to be made but they involve not just fundraising and parcel taxes.
The last PTA member we elected, Hintzke, has proved a big disappointment in my opinion, and I hope Laursen, if elected, brings more that just her PTA mentality.
These are tough times and require real leadership. From my personal experience, people who sit on school site councils and PTAs tend to be yes people, and we already saw how damaging that can be to a school district.
Posted by Disgusted, a resident of the Golden Eagle neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2010 at 11:38 am
We need people who are creative and willing to think outside of the box to help us through these tough economic times. We need people like Arkin who is not afraid to listen and explore options to really shake things up. Yes-sayers and people who already have their mind set on a parcel tax won't bring much value-add to the board.
Posted by kelly, a resident of the Canyon Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2010 at 1:07 pm
Great another big leftists in the school board. The PTA has voted to support the Teachers Union strikes, supports irresponsible special elections backing parcel tax increases (which are proven NOT to work), supports the Liberal California Coruption Convention coming soon to a ballot near you, resulting in an Ammendment to the California Constitution removing the required 2/3rds vote to protect Proposition 13 against skyrocketing taxes on home/property owners.
Pleasanton doesn't need more failed fiscal irresponsability with liberal ideology in a PTA Representative. Pleasanton residents need to be warned that the PTA is not what your moms PTA used to be. It's just another arm of the liberal left Teachers and SEIU Unions.
Posted by Anonymousse, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2010 at 2:00 pm
I find it ironic that many posters here complain about union self-interests, when actually these posters have their own self interests at heart.
They don't want to support the local schools now that their kids are no longer in school, so they are trying to villify Ms. Laursen and the teachers, spreading lies and malicious rumors. They are the ones who ought to be ashamed.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2010 at 3:06 pm
I don't think anyone (besides the wing nut librarian) has tried to vilify Ms. Larsen, but I (like many, I expect) have always assumed that she was “a reader”. I don’t think that is anything to be ashamed of, but more than most candidates for public office, she has documented her intention ad nauseam. And that intention is to pass taxes benefiting PUSD regardless of the consequence to others. I, for one, will campaign against her and hope for the rise of more pragmatic candidates.
Counting down to the “you’re a selfish so-n-so” rant in 3,2,1 …
Posted by resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2010 at 3:29 pm
“They don't want to support the local schools now that their kids are no longer in school … “
And again … enough with the theatrics. We are ALL paying our taxes here in California. And we are paying some of the highest in the country. Our income is down because we have been effectively taxed out of business.
Posted by Amador Parent, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Mar 23, 2010 at 3:46 pm
I have seen Joan in action at various meetings and although well intentioned, she will not go outside the box in her thinking or actions. She plays it straight down the middle for the teachers ala Jeff Bowser. We can do better.
Posted by Cathy, a member of the Lydiksen Elementary School community, on Mar 23, 2010 at 3:48 pm
I have personally worked with Joan on a number of school issues over the past few years, and I am SO excited that she is running for school board! She is an incredibly smart and thoughtful person who has years of experience in our school system here in Pleasanton. She is definitely a hard worker, one who listens to all sides of the issues, and is a strong supporter of our schools. And those who know Joan know that she IS creative, she DOES think outside the box, and she will be a great addition to our school board. Go Joan!!
Posted by Is she really "a reader"?, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm
She is a reader? Are you sure? Because if she is, she does not have my vote at all. "A reader" pushes for parcel taxes no matter what and from some of the posts, a reader:
- would not mind asking the community for money for X (programs) and then turn around and use it for Y (raises)
- said this is not a time to worry about bad teachers, that our priority should be to raise revenue! Yikes! The priority should be to fix what is broken. Until all the unnecessary expenses and ridiculous raises are dealt with, no amount of money will be sufficient
- said San Ramon was great because of its parcel tax. Look now, San Ramon is not doing any better, it is raising class size and more, even with the parcel tax. But "A reader" insisted the parcel tax definitely helped!
I know that last year when the cuts were announce, Laursen quickly jumped into the parcel tax (measure G) effort without questioning the true amount of the deficit and without asking the district to make some cuts.
PTAs in general do great things for the district, but only as far as fundraising goes. They do not challenge the status quo, and we need someone who will join Arkin in questioning the nonsense and trying to change things
Posted by Holly Sanders, a member of the Lydiksen Elementary School community, on Mar 23, 2010 at 6:10 pm
My vote is Yes for Joan! Joan is a parent who has been volunteering and closely involved with the schools, experienced in working with the many different stakeholders in our local school system, follows and is involved in the state and federal legislative issues, and I have found her to be open minded about listening to new ideas. Regardless of one's position, I respect those who step forward to run for these positions, because they will be pulled away from their family and dedicating much of their time and energy towards our children and Pleasanton's educational system in the worst of times.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2010 at 8:32 pm
I’m sticking with my original theory. I think Joan has considered that some of her past posts, presented under the veil of anonymity, might not hold up well in a political campaign. That said, I think it would be best to come clean now before things get out of hand.
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2010 at 8:35 pm
"a reader" is Joan. The statements on this forum were exactly what Joan was saying during the parcel tax election. The way that Joan and the others at the decision level of the pro-parcel tax campaign ran the campaign is not what I would consider to be a role model for our students. They had people lying to the residents, knocking on doors of seniors telling them to vote for the parcel tax while they gave them forms telling them how they would not have to actually pay the tax. She was involved in personally attacking any person who spoke out against the parcel tax, instead of honestly pointing out their differences. She will be just like the other "yes" members we have on the board. We need somebody who can question staff and hold them accountable.
Posted by Karen, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2010 at 9:11 pm
After having put all my kids through school, I have a lot of pent-up frustrations with the educational system and the last thing I want is an "insider" on the board...or someone who has been on a "typical" track for a board position, like a PTA leader.
I certainly don't want anyone who is sympathetic with unions. I'm just done with that.
Posted by a reader, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2010 at 9:33 pm
No, I am not Joan Laursen, and I have not been giving as much thought to running lately. That's looking like a no-go at this point because I have other responsibilities that are just going to take too much of my time.
I don't know who the above poster claiming to be me was, but he/she got it right. If you look carefully through my posts, I never claim to have the depth or breadth of experience that Joan has.
I'm just a parent who wants the best for our community, and couldn't let some of what was being said here on these forums go unanswered. I think reasonable, intelligent people can disagree without resorting to incivility or lies. That's why I spent so much time here. Serving on the board will not be an option of me for now, but maybe will be in the future.
I wish Joan the best of luck with campaign.
Your Humble Servant,
p.s. I need to work through some stage fright if I ever do run for office.
p.p.s. It was weird seeing someone post something under my pseudonym that could have been written by me. It had an "I AM SPARTACUS" quality to it.
Posted by No PTA members, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 24, 2010 at 6:36 am
Another PTA type on the board would not help. Is anyone else running? Last time we had about 5 people running. A PTA type got in, and I have not been impressed with her role. If I recall correctly, the teachers union endorsed Hintzke (a PTA type) but not Arkin, and Arkin has done a good job but is all by herself among all those yes people.
Hopefully others, non-PTA types, will run for the board.
Joan L. is nice, and is an excellent PTA person. She knows how to raise money. But from that to being on the board.... we need someone who is not as willing to say yes to the district and run and ask for money.
I do remember during Measure G, the people involved would not listen to anyone who opposed G. There was no willingness on their part to ask the district to make necessary cuts and then see how much was really needed. No, they just immediately started pushing for a parcel tax, did so with a special election. And then they were surprised that G failed!
We need real leadership, someone who has not been so involved with the PTA.
Posted by letsgo, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 24, 2010 at 8:05 am
Its odd that so many people are irrate about the current board and the fact that Joan is running - where are all of the otehr names? I'm not sure when you have to declare your intention to run by, but by the ferocity of the posts agaisnt the current system I would hope that there are at least 20 people running for school board so we all can make the best choice possible, not just have to elect what was given to us. I seem to recall (of course I could be wildly mistaken) the last election there was only one more person running than seats availble - meaning we realy only got to choose one person we didn't want on the board, not those that we did want on the board.
Posted by a big fan!, a member of the Walnut Grove Elementary School community, on Mar 24, 2010 at 8:12 am
I have known Joan Laursen for many years and couldn't think of a finer applicant for a School Board Member. She is bright, dedicated and totally invested in our schools, as you can see by her history. Walnut Grove School has so many Joan Laursen supporters and I am proud to be one! Go Joan!!!!!!!!
Posted by Janine Mattison, a resident of the West of Foothill neighborhood, on Mar 24, 2010 at 8:37 am
Joan Lauren is the best person for this job! She has the true interest of our students and understands this community very well! She is an excellent communicator who will represent our children's voices! Go Joan! Can't wait to see you representing our kids next year!
Posted by resident, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Mar 24, 2010 at 9:25 am
I think Joan is "a reader" and as such she will never, ever get my vote. If "a reader" does not want her pro tax rants to taint Joan as a candidate then the time has come for the big reveal.
Actually, any person who is pro tax and not pro cuts should not stand a chance in the election. We have seen our money wasted, we have seen the raises extended, was have heard the rhetoric about how if only the dumb voters would only give us more money we promise not to waste it this time. And that ocean front lot in Arizona is still for sale.
Posted by Jacquelyn R., a member of the Foothill High School community, on Mar 24, 2010 at 9:33 am
The positive aspects of Joan, her thoughtfulness, attentive & concern for the educational system, years of public service & pleasant demeanor are unfortunately far outweighed by her (IMHO) utter disdain for the general citizenry, her lack of fiscal or business knowledge & complicit nature towards the teachers unions & PUSD. She has never to my knowledge supported merit pay or testing for teachers or attempted to enact more accountability within the schools. This leads me to believe that she is yet another tax the public, make no teacher accountable, (possibly) left-of-center leaning bureaucrat in training.
Sorry Joan, for the sake of Pleasanton I simply cannot give you my vote.
Posted by Long time homeowner, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 24, 2010 at 9:48 am
I don't know her, but I always try to keep informed on everything in town. My first reaction was, oh, she's on of those PTA activists that think unions in some way contribute to the education of our children....which of course, they do NOT !! So she's a big red flag as far as I'm concerned.
Posted by To letsgo, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 24, 2010 at 10:26 am
Unfortunately, it costs money to run. There are fees and then the cost of the campaign. Last time, there was a very good candidate running, but he did not win because the others campaigned, put signs, etc.
My guess is that Joan L will have an easy time getting elected because the ptas, school board will all support her.
We did have a choice last time, but people like Hintzke and Grant won easily because of the amount of people they know in Pleasanton, not because they are qualified to sit on the board. I remember a post questioning Hintzke's educational qualifications (did she have a college degree?) and so many came to her defense. Friends unfortunately do not realize that by electing their pal they do a bad thing for their town. How can someone who cannot manage personal finances do so for an entire district?
The one person that looked qualified and better than the choices did not get elected.
Posted by Long time homeowner, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 24, 2010 at 10:59 am
The League's "concept" of vetting candidates and their REAL positions, is a really GREAT concept. However, THEY, with their superior knowledge, CHOOSE the questions, and somehow they favor the MOST liberal, or MOST UNION, etc in a favorable light. IF the question might have a negative slant against THEIR FAV...they "sorry we couldn't get to your question' !! So, they are little more than you can learn from the newspaper. So much for the 'OPEN-MINDED' ideal called OBJECTIVITY ! ! So the gatering is OK, as long as you KNOW going in, the 'direction'. I assure you, the UNION candidate would be shown as the FAV.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 24, 2010 at 2:12 pm
I would point out that during here “information meetings” her posts always went silent. A couple of hours later “a reader” was always back and fired up to shout down any opposition. While that in itself is not proof of identity and I understand the motivation to “deny, deny, deny”, I’m not buying it. Joan is “a reader” the tax zealot.
Posted by mythbuster, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 24, 2010 at 3:27 pm
I'd like to dispel the misconception that somehow there is a "PTA Mentality." I am on the board of one of Pleasanton's PTAs and I can tell you that we are a group of diverse people who often disagree on issues--including the parcel tax.
Regarding Joan, I have been in many meetings with her and can attest to the fact that she does ask tough questions, and does have the ability to think outside the box.
Posted by To mythbuster, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 24, 2010 at 5:00 pm
"I'd like to dispel the misconception that somehow there is a "PTA Mentality." I am on the board of one of Pleasanton's PTAs and I can tell you that we are a group of diverse people who often disagree on issues--including the parcel tax."
Yet PTAs endorsed measure G last year. I know because our school proudly announced it. I was upset that money I had donated was being used for something I disagreed with. I gave the money to be used for school needs, whether it was to give to a teacher for class supplies, or field trip, but NOT for a parcel tax campaign led by Joan L.
Posted by Rosemarie, a member of the Pleasanton Middle School community, on Mar 24, 2010 at 7:11 pm
I am a conservative, registered Republican, Tea party participant, ex-PTA VP and was pro-Measure G.
How can this be?
I firmly believed that we needed local control of tax dollars for our schools and the amount requested by Measure G was something I was willing to contribute to support the specific programs outlined by the Measure.
I am also a supporter of Joan Laursen. From personal experience, I believe she would be an excellent candidate for school board. Joan and I may not agree on all things political, but she will fight for our schools, and not just at the local level, but also in Sacramento. (We all need to understand that it is the way that CA is run that has caused so many of the school funding issues. Get rid of the incumbents, vote new blood in, and maybe some things will change.)
It is not my place to quote Joan, but I have sat in round table discussions where she understood the issues AND was willing to listen to ideas, even when our views were 180 degrees apart, and come to some win-win action plan. I would not call her 'pro-union'....
Joan knows what our schools face. She is also very aware of the feelings of the community. She is approachable, creative, passionate and not afraid to take on any of the previously blogged establishments.
I am a conservative who will support Joan in her candidacy.
Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org, a member of the Donlon Elementary School community, on Mar 24, 2010 at 7:29 pm
I am glad to see a person like Joan step up. She has stepped up on many occations and this is the perfect place for her! Her time, love of schools and concern for children getting the necessary education they need a priority- You go Joan!
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 24, 2010 at 7:41 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Thanks for taking the high road by wrongly assuming that those who spread false rumors are school-haters. Maybe they're people who just don't like Joan but love the schools?
As for Joan, good for her for running. I don't know her, but believe she'll have to be open to taking criticism and develop a thick skin if she doesn't have one already. I also don't think she's "a reader". Is she the best candidate? Don't know yet. Let's see names on the final ballot.
Posted by mythbuster, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 25, 2010 at 8:34 am
To "To Mythbuster"
I would like to point out that not ALL PTAs in Pleasanton supported Measure G. Amador, for example, was quite split, and voted to endosre the measure "in spirit only," but gave NO money toward the campaign because of strong feelings such as yours. I will re-emphasize my point: PTA is full of diverse opinions.
Posted by Disgusted, a resident of the Golden Eagle neighborhood, on Mar 25, 2010 at 3:53 pm
I agree with "To Mythbuster". I also donated money which I thought was going to the schools and our classrooms but it turned out that it was used for a Measure G campaign. So this year I ceased all donations to the school and took the cash directly to my children's teacher. The PTA basically do whatever the district tells them. That is precisely what we don't need. We need to elect someone who will work with Arkin to ask the tough questions and exhaust all spending cuts before going to the voters for a parcel tax.
I've met Joan L. in a couple of PTA meetings and she seemed like a great person. She spearheaded the fundraising efforts to support the Measure G campaign, which is disappointing considering all the wasted money that could've gone to the classrooms. For that, she will not have our 4 votes.
I really hope someone similar to Arkin would step up to the plate and toss his/her hat in the ring. We really need people who can lead our district out of this financial crisis and not blindly follow the district's lead.
Posted by Disgusted, a resident of the Golden Eagle neighborhood, on Mar 25, 2010 at 10:15 pm
"Arkin has said many times she supports a parcel tax. How is that something different?"
Arkin was the only one out of the 5 board members to suggest exploring other cuts before asking for a parcel tax. If you watch some of the meetings held prior to Measure G you'll see that she had a whole list of things the district can cut to balance the budget while having only minimal impacts to the classrooms. Her suggestions were generally ignored by the other board members, as they opt for Measure G.
Well, my friends, the time has come for us to rid those who can't stand up to the teacher's union and the district. We need board members who can help eliminate the excess fat in PUSD, not those who ask "how high?" when the district says "jump".
Posted by curious, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 26, 2010 at 8:49 pm
Folks, Valerie Arkin signed the rebuttal against Oak Grove!! Hello, she is a Trustee of the School Board and NOT of the City. The facts are Oak Grove will generate revenue for the school district. As a Trustee she has a fiduciary responsibilty to the district and not to the City. And BTW, her husband also signed the rebuttal argument against Oak Grove. I have really agreed with Valerie up to this point, but now clearly her motives are questionable. As a trustee she should be interested in anything that brings in additional revenue to the school district!
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Mar 27, 2010 at 9:19 am
Valerie Arkin is entitled to her opinion as a private citizen. It's disappointing, certainly, but she will be one vote at the ballot box. We'll see what the outcome is.
As to the PTA in general, it is "Parent/Teacher Association" so it is unlikely a pubic stance for change regarding issues affecting teacher negotiations will be lead by this organization. Individuals, however, can work within the organization to help their child's school and still hold different opinions when they vote. I hope any candidates for the board will face tough questions about a lot of educational issues, finances in particular.
Posted by curious, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 28, 2010 at 8:57 pm
Kathleen, I agree with you that Valerie is entitled to her opinion as a private citizen but in this case she used the title "school board trustee". I have been a huge supporter of Valerie up until this point. However, I'm having a tough time reconciling this with the fact that she supported the Measure G parcel tax for the school district but yet is not supporting a Measure that would bring additional revenue to the school district. There's a huge disconnect there for me. Also, her husband signed the ballot argument against it as well. Probably nothing wrong with that but somehow something doesn't seem right there--doesn't pass the smell test for me. I think she needs to review what her responsibilies as a Trustee of the School District are including the fiduciary responsibilities.
Posted by Trudy, a resident of the Bonde Ranch neighborhood, on Mar 28, 2010 at 9:04 pm
Don't any of you realize the reason why Arkin nor any of the others are jumping all of a parcel tax initiative or any other school tax for that matter is that we already pay a school bond and any hopes of another tax are terrible at best. They know it is a losing proposition in the economic environment.
Posted by Sharolyn, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 2:14 pm
I have known and worked with Joan Laursen for years, as the Walnut Grove PTA president and as the co-chair of the Measure G campaign. She is informed and informative, and is the definition of service! Joan is a wise woman. I am thrilled she is running for school board and she has my vote.