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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Parham’

OC’s Top 10 Primary Election Stories

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 4, 2014

Eric Woolery, Robert Hammond, Linda Lindholm, and Ken Williams

OC Board of Education Group Photo at the Custom Campaigns June 3 Election Night Party at BJ’s in Irvine:
Auditor-Controller-Elect/Orange City Treasurer/Former OCBE Trustee Eric Woolery, OCBE Trustee Robert Hammond, Laguna Niguel Mayor/OCBE Trustee-Elect Linda Lindholm, and OCBE Trustee Ken Williams.

Woolery achieved a historic margin of victory in his race for Auditor-Controller (story #6) while Lindholm knocked off Orange County’s longest-serving-in-a-single-office incumbent (story #5). 

As expected, it was a busy night in yesterday’s primary election.  Here’s a rundown of the top 10 stories:

  1. AD-74: Keith Curry and Matt Harper Advance, Emanuel Patrascu LastEmami called it, mostly.  Thanks to Karina Onofre spoiling the Democratic vote for Anila Ali, we have an all-Republican battle for AD-74 to replace Assemblyman Allan Mansoor.  Shockingly, Emanuel Patrascu who had the second most money in AD-74 came in fifth while Harper who spent next to nothing (and what he did spend focused on slate mailers) came in a comfortable second.  This comes down to a Newport vs. Huntington battle in the November runoff, as Newport Beach Councilman Curry fights it out with Huntington Beach Mayor Harper for the Assembly seat.  How much in Republican resources will be drained by the AD-74 race in November, as Republicans seek to capture SD-34 and AD-65 from the Democrats?
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  2. AD-73: Bill Brough Wins GOP Nomination, Anna Bryson Last – In this safe Republican seat, Bill Brough’s low-budget operation demonstrated that precinct walking does work for winning open seats.  With Democrat Wendy Gabriella advancing to the runoff with Brough, he is the prohibitive favorite to be the next Assemblymember from the 73rd District and the district’s first Assemblyman in 16 years after Assemblywomen Patricia Bates, Mimi Walters, and Diane Harkey.  Depending on completion of vote counts for absentees and provisionals, Anna Bryson’s IE-laden campaign may have cost well over $100 per vote.  (To put the massive IE spending for Bryson in perspective, here’s how much spending would have been needed for several other candidates in other races to match that rate: Michelle Steel would have needed $2.4 million, Linda Lindholm $3.1 million, and Eric Woolery $11.0 million.)  This race clearly demonstrated: money can’t buy everything.
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  3. AD-55: Ling-Ling Chang Captures Top Spot – In a brutal slugfest between Diamond Bar Councilwoman Ling-Ling Chang and Walnut Valley Unified School District Trustee Phillip Chen with Diamond Bar Councilman Steve Tye threatening to play spoiler, well-funded Chang managed to overcome very-well-funded Chen’s financial advantage to capture the top spot with 28% of the vote, pushing Chen into third place with 23% of the vote and Tye with 22% of the vote.  Democrat Gregg Fritchle came in second with 28% of the vote.  In this safe Republican district, Chang is the prohibitive favorite to be the next Assemblymember from the 55th District, replacing Curt Hagman.
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  4. SD-34: Janet Nguyen Captures Majority of Votes Cast; Republicans Take Almost 2/3 of Votes Cast – It was a foregone conclusion that Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen would be the Republican nominee against the Democrats’ nominee, former Assemblyman Jose Solorio, in the hotly-contested SD-34.  What is shocking is that despite the presence of Republican former Orange County Board of Education Trustee Long Pham on the ballot, Nguyen still managed to capture 52% of the vote to Solorio’s 34% in the two-county SD-34 race.  Pham captured 14%.  With Republicans capturing nearly 2/3 of the vote, and Nguyen herself capturing 52%, this builds significant momentum for Nguyen heading into the November race, with Republicans turning to Nguyen to break the Democrats’ supermajority in the State Senate and Democrats turning to Solorio to preserve the Democrats’ Senate supermajority.  (For the record, I am not related to Janet Nguyen. The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)
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  5. Orange County Board of Education: Linda Lindholm Unseats 32-Year Incumbent Giant Slayer Liz Parker – For the last few years, there was a joke in education circles that the way to win an Assembly seat was to lose an Orange County Board of Education race to Liz Parker.  Chuck DeVore lost to Parker in 1990 and won an Assembly seat in 2004. Don Wagner lost to Parker in 1998 and won an Assembly seat in 2010.  However, Parker is done.  After nearly a 1/3 of a century in office, Liz Parker has been unseated by Laguna Niguel Mayor Linda Lindholm.  No elected official in Orange County has held the same office longer than Liz Parker.  (Indeed, Parker graduated from college the same month she was elected to the Orange County Board of Education.)
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  6. Auditor-Controller: Eric Woolery’s Unprecedented Majority – In a five-way race with no incumbent for Auditor-Controller, Orange City Treasurer Eric Woolery won nearly 57% of the vote, nearly 40% better than the second-place candidate, Deputy Auditor-Controller Frank Davies, who won 17% of the vote.  In a race with three or more candidates with no incumbent, there has not been a candidate who has won by such a large margin in at least 30 years and, quite possibly, ever.  Indeed, there was only one candidate in those incumbent-free, 3+ candidate races who even averted a runoff: David Sundstrom, who received 50.3% of the vote for Auditor-Controller in 1998. (Anaheim Mayor Tom Daly won 41% of the vote in a five-way race for Clerk-Recorder in 2002 before winning the runoff.  Assistant Public Administrator Vicki Landrus won 41% of the vote and College Trustee John Williams won 36% of the vote in a four-way race for Public Administrator in 2002; Williams won the runoff.  OC Internal Auditor David Sundstrom won 50.3% of the vote in a three-way race for Auditor-Controller in 1998.  OC Assistant Assessor Webster Guillory won 26% of the vote in a seven-way race for Assessor in 1998 before winning the runoff.)
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  7. Irvine Unified School District: Ira Glasky Renders Special Election Moot, Beats Agran-Backed Candidate – After IUSD Trustee Gavin Huntley-Fenner resigned due to business and family obligations, the IUSD Board appointed Ira Glasky to fill the seat in November 2013.  Utilizing an obscure section of the Education Code, a petition drive gathered the necessary 1,643 signatures (1.5% of registered voters at the 2012 school board election) to invalidate Glasky’s appointment and force a special election.  The special election cost IUSD schools hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars.  Three candidates filed to run: Glasky, Larry Agran-backed Carolyn Inmon, and Bob Vu.  Glasky won 42% of the vote to Inmon’s 37% and Vu’s 22%.  IUSD was forced to spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on a special election that had the same end result as if the special election had never happened.
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  8. Assessor: Webster Guillory vs. Claude Parrish Runoff – In 2010, Webster Guillory won 53% of the vote to Claude Parrish’s 47%, but Parrish ran as “Businessman/Tax Consultant” in 2010.  Parrish is “Taxpayer Advocate/Businessman” this year.  Last night, Guillory won 47% to Parrish’s 43%, with Jorge Lopez getting 10%.  Parrish’s stronger ballot designation narrowed the margin between Guillory and Parrish.  In Guillory’s favor is the fact that November voters are more favorable to incumbents than June voters.  In Parrish’s favor is the fact that he has a stronger ballot designation in 2014 than he did in 2010.  Also in Parrish’s favor is the investigation around whether or not Guillory’s nomination papers were signed by his subordinates at the office on County time; if this garners more publicity it helps Parrish; if it fizzles, it’s moot.
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  9. Supe-5: Robert Ming vs. Lisa Bartlett RunoffThe narrative in this race always had business interests spending on IEs for Mission Viejo Councilman Frank Ury to put him into the runoff for the Fifth District Supervisor’s race.  The conventional wisdom was wrong, as Laguna Niguel Councilman Robert Ming and Dana Point Mayor Lisa Bartlett each achieved 29% of the vote (Ming ahead of Bartlett by 0.4%), with Ury in third at 24% and Deputy District Attorney Joe Williams last at 18%.
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  10. Supe-2: Steel Beats Mansoor 2-1 as Both Make Runoff – Conventional wisdom held that the Second District Supervisor’s race would result in a runoff between Board of Equalization Member Michelle Steel and Assemblyman Allan Mansoor.  What wasn’t expected was just how close to 50% Steel would get or how large her margin over Mansoor would be.  Surpassing most expectations, Steel pulled off 47% of the vote to Mansoor’s 24%, with Coast Community College District Trustee Jim Moreno at 22% and Huntington Beach Councilman Joe Carchio at 8%.

These honorable mentions were things that happened as expected but may have interesting footnotes:

Honorable Mention #1 – CD-45: Raths Falls Short, Jockeying Begins for SD-37 and Even AD-68 – Republican Retired Marine Colonel Greg Raths fell 4% short of overtaking Democrat Educator/Businessman Drew Leavens to advance to the general election with Republican Senator Mimi Walters.  Did Walters’s hit piece (calling Raths a “Bill Clinton Republican” for his assignment to the Clinton White House while serving in the Marine Corps) move the needle 4%?  Jockeying for the special election for Walters’s SD-37 seat and even Assemblyman Don Wagner’s AD-68 seat has already begun since Walters is expected to crush Leavens in CD-45 in November.

Honorable Mention #2 – Shawn Nelson: OC’s Biggest Supervisorial Landslide Ever? With 84% of the vote, Supervisor Shawn Nelson’s reelection bid may well be the most lopsided victory ever achieved by an Orange County supervisor (excluding races where a Supervisor was unopposed or a Supervisor’s only opponent was a write-in candidate).

Honorable Mention #3 – Measure A: OC’s Biggest Landslide Ever? – With 88% of voters in casting ballots in favor of Measure A, the measure may well have achieved the highest percentage ever for a ballot measure in Orange County.

In the interest of full disclosure, clients of Custom Campaigns (the consulting firm that owns OC Political) include four IUSD Trustees (story #7: Ira Glasky, Paul Bokota, Lauren Brooks, and Michael Parham), three OCBE Trustees (story #5: Linda Lindholm, Robert Hammond, and Ken Williams), Eric Woolery (story #6), and Robert Ming (story #9).  Separate and apart from the consulting firm that owns OC Political, this blogger also did the staff work for Measure A (honorable mention #3).

Posted in 2nd Supervisorial District, 34th Senate District, 55th Assembly District, 5th Supervisorial District, 73rd Assembly District, 74th Assembly District, Orange County Auditor-Controller, Orange County Board of Education | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Larry Agran Apparently Attempting to Gain Control of Irvine School Board Again – This Time Via Special Election

Posted by Chris Nguyen on December 19, 2013

Councilman Larry Agran

Larry Agran: Doing for Irvine Schools What He Did for the Great Park

(Update: 12/20 6:55 PM: I now have multiple conflicting stories as to whether Agran is behind this or if he is simply a supporter of the effort. A few OC Political sources closer to the Agran camp state he denies being behind this effort and argue that when Agran has been behind petition drives, ballot measures, etc., he’s been very public about it.  At this point, it does remain unclear as to who is indeed the person or people behind the effort to force this special election.  However, it does appear that Agran is supportive of this effort even if he is not necessarily the organizer of the effort.)

It appears Irvine Councilman Larry Agran is attempting to force a special election to oust an Irvine School Board member from office and potentially get one of his own allies elected because the school board failed to obey Agran’s will in the Great Park battle.

During the 2012 elections for the Irvine Unified School District, Larry Agran attempted to get his own slate of candidates elected to the Irvine School Board.  The slate of Michael Parham, Lauren Brooks, and Paul Bokota swept the top three positions to block Agran’s slate of Carolyn Inmon, Cyril Yu, and Omar Ezzeldine, who came in fourth, sixth, and seventh, respectively.  (Nine candidates ran.)  Bokota narrowly defeated Inmon by 706 votes. Incumbents Carolyn McInerney and Sue Kuwabara had opted not to seek re-election, thereby setting up the hotly contested slates.  Parham was the sole incumbent to seek re-election.  (In the interest of full disclosure, Custom Campaigns, which owns OC Political, ran the campaigns of Parham, Brooks, and Bokota in 2012.)

Not only did Agran fail to get his slate elected to school board, but also, as is well-known to most of our readers, he lost his own race for Mayor against Steven Choi and lost control of the Council when Christina Shea was elected over his ally, P.K. Wong, thereby setting up the Republican majority of Steven Choi, Jeff Lalloway, and Christina Shea.  Considering the domination at the presidential and state level by Democrats in 2012, Larry Agran may well have been the saddest Democrat in California on election night 2012.

Last month, Gavin Huntley-Fenner vacated his seat on the Irvine School Board.  On a 3-1 vote, the school board appointed Republican Ira Glasky to the board.  (Parham voted to replace Huntley-Fenner with Hugh Hewitt.)  A mysterious group has launched a petition drive to void Glasky’s appointment and force a special election.  The web site does not disclose who is behind the drive, other than in the PDF of the petition, which is required in the mandatory disclosure required in state law, which names only Stephen Buxbaum and Patricia Schneider-Zioga.  Schneider-Zioga is a linguistics professor at Cal State Fullerton.

In the Irvine Matters newsletter published by Agran and Councilwoman Beth Krom, they write in support of the petition drive and blast the school board for not opposing the site of the new high school at the Great Park (scroll to the bottom of this post to see the Irvine Matters email).  The school site issue has been the bogeyman created by Agran to attack the plan by FivePoint Communities to develop the Great Park.  The Council majority of Choi, Lalloway, and Shea voted in favor of the plan, doing in one year what Agran and his allies could not do in a decade in power – actually build the Great Park.

Additionally, multiple sources in Irvine have told OC Political that Agran supporters have stated he is behind the petition drive.

Agran is trying to turn the school board and the school site into a political football in his battle to stop the construction the Great Park; this special election is Agran’s attempt to bully the school board into backing his position on the school site at the Great Park.

The text of the petition itself notes, “The cost for conducting the election called for in this petition is estimated by the Orange County Registrar of Voters to be $392,779-$443,329 if the election is a stand-alone election.”  Glasky is forced to run for re-election in November; this special election would be held just a few months before Glasky is due to run.  There are many times when forcing a special election in lieu of appointment would be appropriate, but it simply is not the case here.  Agran’s agenda is not an adequate reason to force a special election.

Pursuant to Education Code Section 5091(c), petition proponents must gather signatures from registered voters within the Irvine Unified School District equivalent to 1.5% of the number of registered voters at the last election for school board. There were 109,490.  In other words, they must submit 1,643 valid signatures of registered voters by tomorrow’s legal deadline to the OC Superintendent of Schools at the OC Department of Education.  (Our information indicates the proponents have been gathering signatures for about two weeks now.)

People who have signed the petition but now wish to withdraw their signature should contact the OC Department of Education at 714-966-4000 or the OC Registrar of Voters at 714-567-7600, as those two agencies are responsible for the administration of the election and the ministerial acts involving the petition, including the verification of petition signatures.

Dan Chmielewski at The Liberal OC and we here at OC Political don’t agree on much, but we agree with Chmielewski on this issue, as he has written in opposition to the petition drive: 

IUSD has progressives, moderates and conservatives on the Board; they work well together with a minimum of politics to advance education in Irvine so that the teachers, administrators, students and parents have the education possible considering the low state funding we get regularly.

So whoever is behind this petition drive really isn’t pro-education in Irvine; a special election six months in advance of a regular election is a waste of money. At least have the backbone to stand up and identify yourselves as being behind the effort. This is a shame to Glasky. His family donates countless hours to the schools and the community so he clearly understands the issues our district faces and his legal background is an asset to the district.

Simply put; if you’re in Irvine and you’re pro-education, don’t sign the petition.

The entire IUSD petition web site states quite simply:

Irvine Unified School District
Petition for Special Election

The Voters, Not the Politicians, Should Decide who Represents the Students and Taxpayers.

INSTRUCTIONS: Please click on the button to download the petition. You can collect up to six signatures on each petition, but be sure that just one person collects the signatures on any given sheet and fully completes the bottom portion. Signers and collectors both need to be registered voters. Signers need to be voters in the Irvine Unified School District (collectors can be registered anywhere in CA).

Have petitions to be picked up?

Call or text us at (949) 214-4250 or email us info@iusdpetition.com and we will have a volunteer get them from you.

Irvine Matters, the Agran-Krom newsletter, sent this message out to their email list:

Irvine Matters

Dear Friends,

We’re writing to you because of your opposition to Site A for Irvine’s next High School — Site A is adjacent to a toxic landfill and 1,000 yards from the rapidly growing Musick Jail.

Given the role the Irvine Unified School District Board will play in determining the future High School site, we wanted to make you aware that a petition drive is currently underway to require a special election to fill the Irvine School Board seat previously held by Gavin Huntley-Fenner.

Disregarding the democratic process, the School Board quickly appointed someone to fill the seat in an attempt to foreclose any opportunity for Irvine voters to have a say in who represents them on the Irvine Unified School Board. Incredibly, the man they appointed has already gone on record in support of Site A! In fact, he’s been quoted as saying, “Nothing I have seen so far, has led me to believe that Site A is not a qualified, acceptable, preferable site.”

To download petitions, go to: www.iusdpetition.com.

Those who sign must be registered voters and live within the Irvine Unified School District boundaries. As circulator of the petition, you must fill in the information at the bottom of the petition, including your own signature.

To ensure that signature gathering procedures are followed,
please read the instructions on the petition carefully, and be sure the completed petition is turned in BY DECEMBER 20th the “old fashioned way” — either picked-up from you by an authorized person in the petition drive or mailed (snail mail!) to the petition proponent: Stephen Buxbaum, 4666 Sierra Tree Lane, Irvine, CA 92612.

Petition drive organizers will collect your completed petitions if you e-mail them at info@iusdpetition.com or text to 949-214-4250.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Petitions cannot be scanned, copied or sent electronically to be considered valid.

If you believe your views on where to site Irvine’s next High School are not being effectively represented by the School Board, we encourage you to sign and circulate the petition.

Valid signatures must be gathered and turned in by December 20th to ensure that deadlines are met for submitting signatures to the Orange County Superintendent of Schools.

Time is short. If you think the School Board seat should be filled by special election, please get your family members, friends and neighbors to sign this petition over the next week.

Like you, we have been frustrated by the seeming lack of concern the Irvine Unified School District Board has demonstrated with respect to the serious health and safety issues associated with their proposed Site A for Irvine’s next High School. At a time when issues of elevated levels of toxins at Malibu High School are a major news story here in Southern California, (LINK: http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news%2Flocal%2Flos_angeles&id=9335630), officials for the Irvine Unified School District seem determined to build on a site adjacent to a capped toxic landfill and just 1,000 yards from the rapidly expanding Musick Jail site.

Only with a special election will voters have a choice in who represents them. Remember, time is short. If you want your interests represented, help gather the signatures needed by December 20th.

If you have questions about the petition drive, you can e-mail the organizers at info@iusdpetition.com.

Posted in Irvine, Irvine Unified School District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Republican, Democrat, Independent??? The Partisan Affiliations of Everyone Holding Office In Orange County

Posted by Chris Emami on March 22, 2013

I was working on a database of the part affiliation of all Orange County local elected officials. Finally, I have completed the project with all of the special districts and county seats being added. I also fixed some errors in the previous versions (here, here, and here) and have combined the database into one post.

duck-elephant-donkey-logos

We have added a button on the menu bar for our readers to always be able to access this database and use it for whatever research/political needs that they may have. Due to the length of th epost you are going to have to click the below link to read the rest of the post.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 2nd Supervisorial District, 3rd Supervisorial District, 4th Supervisorial District, 5th Supervisorial District, Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Anaheim City School District, Anaheim Union High School District, Brea, Brea Olinda Unified School District, Buena Park, Buena Park Library District, Buena Park School District, Capistrano Bay Community Services District, Capistrano Unified School District, Centralia School District, Coast Community College District, Costa Mesa, Costa Mesa Sanitary District, Cypress, Cypress School District, Dana Point, East Orange County Water District, El Toro Water District, Emerald Bay Service District, Fountain Valley, Fountain Valley School District, Fullerton, Fullerton Joint Union High School District, Fullerton School District, Garden Grove, Garden Grove Unified School District, Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach City School District, Huntington Beach Union High School District, Irvine, Irvine Ranch Water District, Irvine Unified School District, La Habra, La Habra City School District, La Palma, Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach Unified School District, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, Los Alamitos Unified School District, Lowell Joint School District, Magnolia School District, Mesa Consolidated Water District, Midway City Sanitary District, Mission Viejo, Moulton-Niguel Water District, Municipal Water District of Orange County, Newport Beach, Newport-Mesa Unified School District, North Orange County Community College District, Ocean View School District, Orange, Orange County, Orange County Auditor-Controller, Orange County Board of Education, Orange County Board of Supervisors, Orange County Clerk-Recorder, Orange County District Attorney's Office, Orange County Water District, Orange Unified School District, Placentia, Placentia Library District, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District, Rancho Santa Margarita, Rancho Santiago Community College District, Saddleback Valley Unified School District, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Santa Ana Unified School District, Santa Margarita Water District, Savanna School District, Seal Beach, Serrano Water District, Silverado-Modjeska Recreation and Park District, South Coast Water District, South Orange County Community College District, Stanton, Sunset Beach Sanitary District, Surfside Colony Community Services District, Surfside Colony Storm Water Protection District, Three Arch Bay Community Services District, Trabuco Canyon Water District, Tustin, Tustin Unified School District, Villa Park, Westminster, Westminster School District, Yorba Linda, Yorba Linda Water District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

2012 School Board Party Affiliation Post

Posted by Chris Emami on November 16, 2012

As promised, I have now put together a database for the School Board members and their party affiliation based on who will be serving post election. Based on results in a couple of races being close, this list may change before it goes up on the website permanently.

If anybody reading this finds an error (like the situation where I thought Wendy Leece ran unopposed for NMUSD) please let me know so I can fix it.

Here is the database: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Anaheim City School District, Anaheim Union High School District, Brea Olinda Unified School District, Buena Park School District, Capistrano Unified School District, Centralia School District, Coast Community College District, Cypress School District, Fountain Valley School District, Fullerton Joint Union High School District, Fullerton School District, Garden Grove Unified School District, Huntington Beach City School District, Huntington Beach Union High School District, Irvine Unified School District, La Habra City School District, Laguna Beach Unified School District, Los Alamitos Unified School District, Lowell Joint School District, Magnolia School District, Newport-Mesa Unified School District, North Orange County Community College District, Ocean View School District, Orange County Board of Education, Orange Unified School District, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District, Rancho Santiago Community College District, Saddleback Valley Unified School District, Santa Ana Unified School District, Savanna School District, Tustin Unified School District, Westminster School District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Irvine Unified School District: Meet the Candidates – Agran’s Hostile Takeover vs. the School Board’s Picks

Posted by Brenda McCune on October 29, 2012

Everything in Irvine seems to be about slates of candidates battling for control of the City. The Democrats’ slate consists of Councilman Larry Agran for Mayor with Beth Krom and PK Wong for Council. The Republicans’ slate consists of Councilman Steven Choi for Mayor with Christina Shea and Lynn Schott for Council. Agran’s slate has governed Irvine for years, and it seems Agran wishes to gain control of Irvine’s schools.

Agran is attempting to gain control of the Irvine Unified School District Board. Many big-city mayors have tried this such as when Richard Riordan and Antonio Villaraigosa each attempted to gain control of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board. But the one major difference is these mayors have only attempted to gain control of failing school districts. Irvine Unified schools are some of the best in the country. It makes no sense for a councilman to try to gain control of a successful school district.

Regardless of whether you support or oppose Agran’s governance of the City of Irvine, it doesn’t make any sense to try to give him control of the Irvine Unified School District, which by all accounts is running quite well under the current school board. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

There’s two major slates of three candidates each, plus three more minor candidates. One slate is part of Agran’s hostile takeover while the other slate is the one backed by all five IUSD school board members and seeks to continue doing what Irvine schools have done for years.

So here’s a run-down of the IUSD candidates:

Agran’s Hostile Takeover Candidates

  • Omar Ezzeldine – He is Agran’s biggest puppet. Ezzeldine is Agran’s appointee to the City of Irvine Finance Commission, and recently began serving as its Chair – when he’s actually there. The man misses a significant percentage of the Commission’s meetings. He is repeatedly quoted on Agran’s campaign literature. He claims eight years of involvement in the Irvine Public Schools Foundation, yet several active board members had never even met him before the school board race began, and they’ve never seen him at a foundation event. I guess that could be the saving grace for those opposed to Agran’s attempt to seize control of Irvine public schools: Ezzeldine will probably miss half the meetings thereby making it harder to implement the seizure. Interestingly, his children don’t even attend the Irvine public schools, but attend a private school.
  • Carolyn Inmon – She seems to be searching for an office she can win. When she ran for Republican Central Committee in June 2008, she came in ninth. In November 2008, she unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Republican College Board Member Dave Lang.
  • Cyril Yu – He’s a prosecutor with one daughter in an IUSD school, but has only lived in the Irvine School District for 3 years.

School Board’s Irvine Education First Candidates

  • Paul Bokota – Bokota’s qualifications for IUSD are impressive and directly applicable to the Irvine School Board position. He’s a Harvard-educated business attorney who spends countless hours volunteering in IUSD. His Irvine public school service includes: IUSD Finance Committee (for 6 years), IUSD Revenue Enhancement Committee Chairman, PTA President, School Site Council, Irvine Public Schools Foundation Legacy Partner, three-school PTA Member, and Harvard Alumni Admissions Interviewer for Irvine high school students.
  • Lauren Brooks – Brooks is similarly committed. She’s been an international business executive and a teacher in Hong Kong. An Irvine resident for over a quarter of a century, she’s was named IUSD’s Volunteer of the Year and awarded the California PTA’s Golden Oak Award, the PTA’s Highest Honor. She’s served on School Site Council, Irvine Unified PTA Council Executive Board for a decade, PTA President at two schools, PTA Parliamentarian, PTA Legislative Action Chair, PTA Grad Night Chair, Irvine Public Schools Foundation Executive Board Member, Irvine Public Schools Foundation Community Relation Co- Chair, Irvine Public Schools Foundation Legacy Partner, IUSD Accreditation Committee, IUSD Principal Selection Committee, IUSD Curriculum/Homework Committee, IUSD Health & Wellness Committee, and Irvine Children’s Fund Board. On top of that, she’s gone to Sacramento for the last decade as an IUSD volunteer advocate, and she co-founded and co-led the IUSD PTA’s annual high school student advocacy trip to Sacramento.
  • Michael Parham – An Ivy League-educated business executive, former PTA President, and the only incumbent running, Parham is currently the President of the Irvine Unified School District Board and has served two terms on the School Board. Considering how happy Irvine voters are about their schools, surely Parham comes in first. Parham serves as the IUSD Board Representative to the Emergency Response committee, the City/District Liaison Committee, and the California Association of Suburban School Districts.

Minor Candidates

  • Michelle Ollada Alipio – A school nurse, she’s seemed very nervous and ill-prepared at candidate forums. She was the only candidate to seek the OC GOP endorsement. Several OC GOP Central Committee Members admitted that they only voted to support her out of deep respect for her sister, Yvette. They indicated they weren’t particularly impressed by Michelle and wish it had been Yvette running instead.
  • Bob Vu – His ballot designation is Educator/Scientist/Entrepreneuer. He’s clearly a brilliant man, but he doesn’t seem to have any IUSD experience. In most districts and cities, it would be no big deal if he had no district experience, but in IUSD, voters love the status quo and want people with direct district experience.
  • Margaret Brown – Um, yikes:

Brown’s exit marks the second time in three years she has left a school district while helping to process a large bond-funded construction schedule. In 2010, she resigned from a similar position at the San Ramon Valley Unified School District amid complaints of sexual harassment lodged by four male colleagues.

Brown received a $200,000 payout from the Northern California school district when she left after five years on the job, according to a lawsuit filed by one of the plaintiffs in July 2010.

http://articles.glendalenewspress.com/2012-01-24/news/tn-gnp-0125-lead-planner-out-at-gusd_1_bond-funds-citizens-bond-oversight-committee-margaret-brown

Here’s a relatively dry story: http://www.sanramonexpress.com/news/show_story.php?id=2296

This story, wow, don’t read this one near your children: http://sanramon.patch.com/articles/alleged-rogue-randy-employee-prompts-sex-harassment-lawsuit-against-school-district

One complainant could be a frivolous lawsuit by one disgruntled employee. Four complainants is a lot.

So that’s the choice IUSD voters face: Agran’s Hostile Takeover vs. the School Board’s picks, plus a trio of minor candidates.

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