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Laursen elected Pleasanton school board president in 3-2 vote

Original post made on Dec 16, 2011

In a 3-2 vote, Joan Laursen was elected president of the Pleasanton school board Tuesday night.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, December 16, 2011, 7:19 AM

Comments (26)

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Posted by Bigotry Rules in Pleasanton
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2011 at 9:28 am

It seems as though the voters have elected a black man to be president of the USA, but according to the insulated world of Laursen, Grant and Bowser, an Asian American woman cannot chair a meeting, even after serving almost four years as a board member.

This shows mindboggling poor judgment on Laursen's, Grant's and Bowser's part and is a new low in political combat. Everyone who is outraged by this should email all of Laursen's, Grant's and Bowser's previous endorsements (elected officials and Alameda County Democratic Party, Pleasanton Teachers Association, California Teachers Association, PTA) condemning them for this outrageous action and indicate that their blatant display of bigotry means they should never ever get any endorsements from these people or organizations again.


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Posted by long time parent
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 16, 2011 at 9:42 am

I don't think it is bigotry but rather an environment that does not like to question or evaluate things. We have only two members on the Board who ask questions of staff and represent the residents; Arkin & Hintzke. The other three feel their job is to approve everything staff presents without question and to praise the staff as much as they can (for doing their job).

Watch the replay of the meeting and you will be appalled by the behavior of Laursen, Grant and Bowser at that meeting. They were definitely an example of how you DO NOT want your kids to act. It was a sad day for the school district and those people should minimally apologize but I would rather they stepped down. Those three are an embarrassment to what we used to have; a District of Character. I think their intent is to bully Arkin and Hintzke into not running at the next election so those three can get up to five members of the board who question nothing. We need to send supportive messages to Arkin and Hintzke and work to replace the other three.


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Posted by Ridiculous
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 16, 2011 at 10:56 am

The prior two posts are very wrong. Race had absolutely NOTHING to do with this issue. Laursen is much more of a broad thinker and does have the agenda that Hintzke has. I am very glad this happened. Jamie Hintzke does not run this school district.


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Posted by Michele
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 16, 2011 at 12:57 pm

It is simply a matter of respect and fairness. It was Hintke's last year that she could serve as President and it should have been her turn to serve. I whole-heartedly hope our community supports Arkin and Hintzke if they choose to run again! They really are concerned about community input and how our hard-earned tax dollars are spent. I encourage everyone to watch the last three school board meetings. They are real eye-openers about how we should vote in next year's school board election! Please refrain from posting on this unless you have actually been watching the school board meetings.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 16, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Ridiculous, the previous poster said it wasn't bigotry. You can bet the union leadership wanted this outcome. Totally a political squeeze play.


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Posted by Withheld
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Knowing Arkin, Laursen, and Hintzke long before they ever got involved in PTA or school politics of any kind, this is NOT about Laursen being a broader thinker. This is about Grant, Laursen, and Bowser doing things the way THEY see fit. I agree with the other poster, Arkin and Hintzke are the only one's on the board that actually listen to and ask questions that the public wants asked. They have both been consistantly willing to buck the traditional PUSD School Board line. Every one needs to vote them both back in. Grant, Laursen and Bowser were wrong. Being president of the school board is about taking turns, because Grant chose to do two turns, and with electing Laursen, Hintzke now does not have her turn. I think Laursen, Grant, and Bowser all need to go back to Kindergarten and relearn some basic rules.


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Posted by Lisa
a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on Dec 16, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Having watched the meeting, it is not bigotry. It is a lack of respect for the only two board members who think independently from staff when appropriate.

I hope there is a strong candidate to run against Chris Grant. And I hope there will be candidates ready to run against Laursen and especially Bowser in two years.


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Posted by say what?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2011 at 2:19 pm

To "Ridiculous" - What do you mean that Hintzke has an agenda? She is one who appears NOT to have an agenda. Laursen and Bowser are clearly using the school board as a stepping stone to a higher office. THEY are the ones with an agenda!


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Posted by Really?
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 16, 2011 at 3:54 pm

I thought that Hintzke was not voted in because she simply does not work well with others. Sure, she has a lot of opinions, but they're usually just putting down others around her.

I appreciate what Arkin has to say in the Board meetings. She probably supported Hintzke because they're friends and it was protocol. Still, she seems to be the one who looks at issues from more than one perspective. If Hintzke wanted to be president, she could have been more diplomatic with those around her. You don't have to agree, but it certainly pays off at least if you are nice.

I wonder what will happen with the "Gang of Two," though come November.

I'm hoping Sandy Piederit runs again!


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Posted by Michele
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 16, 2011 at 5:30 pm

To Really?
If you don't like a board member who puts down others than I'm sure you haven't liked Bowser's behavior in the last three board meetings. He certainly has been rude! Hopefully, the community likes board members who read proposals from consultants before they vote to approve them (I'm referring to the $260K proposal for a facility planning consultant). If you don't know what I mean, I encourage you to watch the board meeting meeting about two months ago. If the "Gang of Two", as you say, are not voted back to the school board, we are in trouble, folks!


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Posted by The CYAEDU downward spiral
a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 17, 2011 at 1:09 am

"I thought that Hintzke was not voted in because she simply does not work well with others. Sure, she has a lot of opinions, but they're usually just putting down others around her."

- Good one! Is it possible that...just maybe, the teachers union doesn't appreciate people that ask questions that make themselves and their board members uncomfortable? I've watched. This school board majority is nothing more than a extension of the teachers union.


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Posted by Really?
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 17, 2011 at 2:07 pm

This has nothing to do with the union. A good president is someone who can take ideas, build consensus if necessary, and move them forward. That is not possible with her Us vs. Them mentality. Hintzke simply isn't capable of doing that.

PS It isn't about race either.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2011 at 2:40 pm

A school board member, especially the president, should be someone who at a personal level, has a history of making good financial decisions. After all, the board of trustees is making decisions that affect the financial well being of an entire school district.

I think Laursen will be a good president. I too hope that Piderit runs for the board again.


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Posted by long time parent
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 17, 2011 at 3:49 pm

I believe the board members should play fair and let all members rotate through the positions. It has typically been the person who is Clerk one year is President the next. That rotation should continue. It should not be a majority of the Board playing favorites. All five people were elected by the people. They should all be given equal time, unless one of the members does not want that position.

The Board should be leading the students of the District by example. What they are now saying is there is no problem with your clic excluding others. And the behavior of those three (Grant, Larson, Bowser) was no different than bullying and public humiliation of the two others (watch the replay and you will see). None of them had the right to say others were not qualified or were not leaders. The voters have already said they were qualified and leaders.


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Posted by Residnent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2011 at 4:56 pm

". The voters have already said they were qualified and leaders."

But the voters may not have had all the information when they voted for certain members.

Again, a board member, especially the president, needs to have a history of good financial practices in his/her personal life.

That may be why Laursen got elected president. I am glad that we have board members looking out for the best interest of the district. Hopefully next election, all information about the candidates will be disclosed. Perhaps newspapers should not be afraid to dig in and find all the relevant information during the election.


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Posted by just remember
a resident of Danbury Park
on Dec 17, 2011 at 6:23 pm

The more we increase class sizes, the more we fire support staff, the more we reduce "services", the better the education we provide for students. If we manage to squeeze teachers and staff on salaries and benefits, the benefits will accrue to our students. Larsen and Bowser have proven that they will not cut costs.

Wouldn't it be great if the district managed to run a surplus and sent a refund on our property taxes to the hardworking citizens of Pleasanton? I'm still waiting for my refund check. Let's elect people who will do more with less. Government is never the answer.


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Posted by long time parent
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 17, 2011 at 7:06 pm

"But the voters may not have had all the information when they voted for certain members."

BUT it is up to the voters to decide what to do. We did not elect specific board members to evaluate the others. That is the voters job. If something comes up on a Board member that the voters think is material, there are measures to take care of that. Let the system work. We did not elect specific Board members to be judges of the other.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 17, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"Again, a board member, especially the president, needs to have a history of good financial practices in his/her personal life."

Why? Don't you think people learn from their mistakes? Success starts with failure. Has Hintzke repeated her mistakes while in public office?


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Posted by Pathetic Smackdown
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Dec 18, 2011 at 9:02 am

Those that have had the misfortune to have worked with Laursen on parcel tax campaigns know that it is very uncomfortable. Negative attention seeking behavior and constant bullying and bickering are very unpleasant, and nothing positive can come of Laursen's recent stunt.

Laursen also worked for the recently shuttered federal agency that had a leading hand in causing the latest recession and economic downturn through institutional lack of fiscal oversight of the large savings and loans that collapsed. Her employer's failures triggered the taxpayer bank bailouts. It is no surprise that she is angered by Arkin's and Hintzke's attempts at fiscal oversight of PUSD and that Laursen wants the local taxpayers to bailout the PUSD with more and more taxes.


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Posted by who knew?
a resident of Danbury Park
on Dec 18, 2011 at 11:02 am

"Laursen also worked for the recently shuttered federal agency"

Please tell, which agency was that?


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Posted by who knwe
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2011 at 11:06 am

Oh, it was the office of thrift supervision. More big goverment tax tax tax spend spend spend.


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Posted by Michele
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 18, 2011 at 11:11 am

To Resident
You have NOT been watching the school board meetings. Go back and watch the last three meetings and then tell us which school board trustees are watching out for the district and being fiscally responsible. Tell us which school board members actually read the proposals and ask the questions that every concerned community member would ask if they themselves were going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on something. Bowser said this was "micro-managing"! I asked that only people who have actually been watching the school board meetings post on this. Let's keep the focus on what is going on at the school board meetings. I'm sure (I know!) we can drag out alot of dirt on each candidate's personal life and what we were told or NOT told when they each ran for school board. That is not appropriate nor helpful in this conversation. I really want each of us to be educated voters. Record the meetings if you can't attend. It is really important that we don't vote in "rubber stampers". This is why Hintzke is getting bullied; she dares to ask questions and requests input from the community. THIS, by the way, is how you build consensus.


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Posted by Pathetic Smackdown
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Dec 18, 2011 at 11:33 am

Laursen is the epitomy of a lax regulator just like her former employer, the Office of Thrift Supervision, the closed down agency whose bungling and ineptitude initiated the recent US financial collapse.

From Wikipedia -- ...Declining revenues and staff led the OTS to market itself to companies as a lax regulator in order to get revenue. The OTS also expanded its oversight to companies that were not banks. Some of the companies that failed under OTS supervision during the financial crisis of 2007–2010 include American International Group (AIG), Washington Mutual, and IndyMac. The OTS was implicated in a backdating scandal regarding the balance sheet of IndyMac.


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Posted by Beth
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 21, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Laursen does not have a concillatory personality. This wasn't about Hintzke's negativity. This is because Hintzke asks the tough questions. Michele is right, watch those board meetings. Who are the ones questioning the spending of money, who are the ones who pushed for open communication and transparency of the board with the public. Grant didn't, and you better believe that Laursen and Bowser won't. I'm not saying Laursen wouldn't be a good president, just that it was Hintzke's turn. When the by-laws (yes, they have by-laws) state Presidency will rotate among board members, it means that each board member gets a turn. 2012 should have been Hintzke's turn!


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Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 27, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Jamie Hintzke has been a disappointment as a Board Member. Tough questions? Hmmm, seems to me more like preventing progress. I will not be supporting her for re-election should she choose to run. She would have been a disaster as president of the board.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 27, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Fact Checker, Where are the facts in your post (other than your choice to not vote for Hintzke)?


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