Election: Grant, Arkin, Hintzke win school board seats | November 7, 2008 | Pleasanton Weekly | PleasantonWeekly.com |


Pleasanton Weekly

Cover Story - November 7, 2008

Election: Grant, Arkin, Hintzke win school board seats

Trio faces tough budget decisions as state grapples with deficit

by Emily West

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.

Commenting on the Pleasanton Weekly's website, he said he didn't seek or accept money because he "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."

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 Dec. 9, when Grant, who is 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.

"I'm very pleased with the three that were selected," Ott said. "There will be new faces and new perspectives that we can tap into. We're going to have tough challenges ahead."

A senior vice president at Kaiser Permanente, Grant 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.

While he is excited and confident in the new board, he recognizes a potentially difficult road ahead.

"I think we need to roll up our sleeves and get to work right away," he said. "The state situation is a challenge and it's going to be important that every program and every dollar has the greatest benefit to our schools and to our kids."

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."

Responding to being elected, Arkin said, "I feel extremely honored to be elected to the school board. I am really looking forward to serving on the board and I feel proud to have the public put their trust in me."

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.

Hintzke said she looks forward to being sworn in and participating in the various activities to prepare the newly elected officials up to speed on being a board member.

"I'm really excited to be able to serve in this capacity," she said, adding that while it will be fun, it will also be hard work.

In looking ahead, Grant also said he commends each candidate for stepping forward with hopes to serve the district.

"I look forward to the opportunity to have Jeff, Prasad and Stephen to stay closely involved in our schools and participate on educational committees," he said.

Jeb Bing contributed to this report.


Posted by Beware of Stephen Page, a resident of Mission Park
on Nov 7, 2008 at 3:15 pm

This article states, "Commenting on the Pleasanton Weekly's website, [Stephen Page] said he didn't seek or accept money because he '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.'"

This sounds so noble, and the Weekly reporter is being kind to Page, because in other comments made by Page on November 5 on the Weekly's website (in response to the earlier online version of this article), he lists a series of "Corrupted Process Lessons" that chastize our school board and the Weekly itself for censoring him. He claims that government and the election process and ALL news organizations are corrupt. He writes:

"The election **process** at the local level of government in Pleasanton has been broken or corrupted for quite some time...."

"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."

Page goes on a ramPAGE with a lenthy diatribe of sour grapes and paranoia to preach these Corrupted Process Lessons to readers.

You've got to click over to read this stuff. It's a powerful lesson that as voters we should ALWAYS do our homework before voting.

Thank goodness he wasn't elected.

Posted by Beware of Hintzke, a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Nov 7, 2008 at 9:43 pm

don't know about Page but i am SO SORRY Hintzke won a school board seat. I was going to vote for her until I saw her holding a NO on 8 sign at farmers mkt. You are right, we need to do our homework on all the candidates.

Posted by Karen, a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 8, 2008 at 8:39 am

Well I am glad Valerie Arkin Won! She is smart, well educated, articulate and a big volunteer in the school system. She does not work outside the home -other than volunteering, so she has the time to made a significant contribution the school board! Go Valerie. BTW, she was not recommended by the PW either, so I would not expect to see much written in support of her by the editors.

Posted by molly, a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Nov 8, 2008 at 2:32 pm

(Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)

Posted by Hintzke on Prop 8, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 8, 2008 at 5:40 pm

Good to hear Hintzke supported Prop 8. We need leaders in our community who believe in equal rights for all: The same idea promoted in the Declaration of Independence--that all are created equal.

BTW, just because the Weekly didn't endorse Arkin desn't mean they don't like her. They just picked the top three in their opinion.

Posted by Louie, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Nov 9, 2008 at 7:37 pm

Supporters of Prop 8 do indeed believe in equal rights for all. To color them otherwise is an easy way for you smear those who have an opposing view. Marriage is NOT a right no matter how many times you want to suggest otherwise. It is apparent looking at the data re: who supported prop 8, that the blacks did indeed voted YES on 8. I certainly think they can discern a "right". End of discussion. Never knew Hintzke was a "No on 8. " If I did, here is one vote she would of NOT gotten.....I have no desire to be led down the path she obviously wants to take this community and this state. But I will not color her less than those who supported prop 8. However, if given the opportunity, I will validate her position on social issues of the family.

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2008 at 10:00 am

I did not vote for Hintzke, but I am glad to hear she is a "no on 8" person... I will be more inclined to support her in the future

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2008 at 10:03 am

I did not vote for Hintzke, but I am glad to hear she is a "no on 8" person... I will be more inclined to support her in the future

That being said, I think it is a bad idea for people running for local positions to get involved in national politics. I was not sure who to vote for when it came to mayor, but after seeing house after house with Brozosky's signs next to McCain's, the choice was clear for me, and I voted for Hosterman. Seeing Brozosky's signs next to McCain's made me look closely at his record, and I did not like what I found, just like I did not like what I found out when it came to Palin.

Posted by Anonymous makes me LOL, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:55 pm

Below are quotes from Anonymous.

"I think it is a bad idea for people running for local positions to get involved in national politics"

"I was not sure who to vote for when it came to mayor, but after seeing house after house with Brozosky's signs next to McCain's, the choice was clear for me, and I voted for Hosterman."

........so local politicians should not get involved in local politics but I the voter will draw my conclusions who to vote for locally by seeing whose local sign is next the national sign.

Pleazzzzze tell me we have more thinking going on in our voting booths then this person demonstrates

This is a CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF "DO AS I SAY NOT AS I DO" if I ever saw one.

Posted by chico, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2008 at 12:40 pm

regarding Hintzke, i'm disappointed she won a seat on the school board, regardless of her opinion on prop 8. i talked with her at length at the farmers market before the election. i asked her what was the first thing she would change if she was elected. she himmed and hawed, but couldn't answer that simple question. then i thought, maybe she doesn't think anything needs changing so i asked what she would spend her time and energy on if elected. she answered that question but to be honest, i couldn't understand what she said other than do the things that moves pleasanton from number 8 to number 5. then we talked about how i could tell if she was doing a good job if and when she got elected and she mentioned test scores at the two high schools. i reminded her that there are four high schools in pleasanton (foothill, amador, village and horizon). ;-)

then one of her cohorts started talking more about test scores, graduation rates, percentages of kids moving on to college and how the school my kids attend was an inferior school. i live in pleasanton and obviously pay property taxes to support the public schools and i volunteer in the public schools as well so i do have an interest in the performance of the schools, but i choose to send my kids to a private school. then the cohort went on to say how awful the school my kids attend was and i needed to remove them and Hintzke said nothing. even when i reminded her that the test scores and college attendance rates (the same stats she used previously for measurements of school quality) for the school my kids attend is higher than pleasanton public schools, Hintzke still had no response.

maybe she's not a good debater? maybe she's not good with constructive conflict and disagreement? still, she was elected and i hope and pray she does well to improve the schools for all the kids in pleasanton.

Posted by Public vs Private, a resident of Downtown
on Nov 14, 2008 at 1:02 pm


A couple of thoughts for you. Private School is not close to a guarantee your student will get a better education. In fact due to its private nature, private schools can hire non credentialed or accredited teachers wheras a public school can't. Additionally, Marketing folks are great with statistical manipulation to make their desired points. As a % I do believe that more private school kids do get into colleges, but not for the reasons some might believe. A lot has to do with entrance agreements, relationships etc.... I do not believe you can find any survey or documentation that prove private school kids arrive to college any more prepared for life as a college student than public school kids.

Regarding your hopes and prayers for Pleasanton Schools. Test scores have unfortuately become too much of a focus regarding success of any school. Statistics tell you little about the total makeup of any person. Some kids are great test takers and some panic under pressure. Having gone through the college entrance process twice now I can tell you from admitting Universities, that Amador Valley and Foothill are both VERY highly regarded. The bar is already set VERY high.

Posted by chico, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2008 at 2:23 pm

hi public vs. private,

i agree that there are no guarantees about a better education at a private school than at a public school. i never said that a better education could be had from a private school. i said using the same measurements presented to me didn't justify the bashing from the Hintzke supporter and Hintzke's non-response. that's where my vote for Hintzke was lost.

it's a choice to send our kids to a private school, just like those of us that bought homes or moved to pleasanton so they could send their kids to the highly regarded pleasanton schools. and it's true, statistics can be bent many ways to see what you want to see. and as for entrance agreements between private schools and colleges, i am ignorant of that. i hope it's not true, but i fear there may be some truth to what you're saying. i want my kids to be rewarded based upon their talents, abilities, commitment, dedication and character, and not based upon what what i could afford to buy them.

it's important for our community that all children have the best education experience possible in pleasanton; not just the ones with the high test scores, but also those struggling. we need to prepare our children for the world they will live in. to do less is a disservice to them and our community. we need to live up to the saying of a Community of Character, not a community of characters.

and hey, i'm not so blind to know that in this economy, i'm just a pink slip away from my kids attending the great public schools of pleasanton.