Sunday, October 31, 2010

Candidate recommendations

As we're on the eve of the election, I felt it prudent to get this posted. I've been avoiding doing this mostly because as a reporter, I'm supposed to stay neutral on issues or candidates. But as a citizen of our fine community, it's rather difficult for me to just sit by the sidelines and not speak up, which is probably a reason why I'm a reporter in the first place.

School Board Race

  • Andrew Ratermann (Incumbent) - Santa Clara Unified School District; Trustee Area 3
  • Pat Flot (Incumbent) & Anna Strauss - Santa Clara Unified School District; Trustee Area 2
My reasons? I think Ratermann, although a bit verbose at times, is the best candidate for Trustee Area 3. He's intelligent, gives a darn about what happens, isn't running for a political cause (or for political revenge) and is looking out for the best interests of students.

For Trustee Area 2, I think Anna Strauss & Pat Flot are the two best candidates. Flot is articulate, gives a darn about what happens, isn't running for a political cause (or for political revenge). The same goes for Strauss. When I first met her a few years back, I wondered why she wasn't on the school board or running for it. I think she'll be a fresh face and voice on the board.

One BIG problem I have with Christine Koltermann is that Santa Clara Plays Fair has endorsed her, yet she's a member of their board. That just isn't right - see my previous posting about the Sniff Test - Part II. What's even more amusing is she happily lists them as endorsing her on her webpage, but fails to include that she's on the board and then goes on to state that SCPF believes in "...ethical government, transparency in governance..."

One BIG problem I have with Ina Bendis is that two of her endorsements come from fellow board members on Mission City Democratic Club - see my previous posting about the Sniff Test

A problem I have with Christine Koltermann, Ina Bendis and Adela Saadat is that they appear to have copied from each other.

On either their webpage (in Bendis' case) or on the page (for Koltermann and Saadat) their ballot statements all include these key words or phrases:
  • fiscal responsibility
  • administrative accountability
  • transparency in governance
  • increased educational opportunities/options/choices
  • supporting (retaining) teachers and staff
  • narrow the achievement gap
Those are all great ideas, but for all three of them to have essentially the same ideas, down to the same wording sounds like they should go back to school to learn why plagarism is bad before they consider running for office.

A problem I have with Ashish Mangla is when he states one of his top priorities is to: "Increasing Education standards of the Santa clara city schools along with incentivizing children from economically weaker section of our community"

Except the SCUSD has schools in Sunnyvale and Alviso. Does this mean he'll just worry about Santa Clara schools and those schools in Sunnyvale and Alviso can get by on their own? Also, exactly what does "Incentivizing Children" mean? Is he proposing the district pay students to go to school?

City Council
  • Mayor: Jamie Matthews
This one was looking like it would be a difficult choice, but one candidate made it easy. I'm recommending a vote for Jamie Matthews. Say what you will about him, I think he'll be more open and honest than Chris Stampolis. Stampolis appears to be a very gifted chameleon candidate - he's able to provide answers he thinks a target audience wants to hear. I've never really seen Matthews do that - he pretty much states his opinion whether you like it or not.

Also, back in 2008, when Matthews was running for Council, I related this story. Even though time has passed, I still think this is relevant in talking about Jamie's character:

"One thing that impressed me about Matthews is his turning down free press. After Hurricane Katrina hit, Matthews and several other Code Enforcement Officers went to New Orleans to help identify houses that were still habitable. Upon his return, I told him the paper could run a story on this, but to my surprise, he declined. He explained that he was just doing what he could to help the victims and didn't want to be in the spotlight. In starting his Council race this time, I offered to do a story on some website shenanigans committed by a former Council member and he declined. Both stories would have shown him to be an upstanding guy but he turned them down. Why tell the story now? I related these stories to a Santa Clara resident who said she felt they should be known."

City Council Seat 2

  • Mohammed Nadeem
Nadeem answered a series of questions I put to him that unfortunately, won't make it into an issue of the Weekly. However, the questions I asked of him are questions any Santa Clara resident can ask of a candidate. I'll post the questions and candidates answers soon. Although Nadeem didn't impress me with his answers, I think getting a fresh face on Council could be a good thing.

City Council Seat 5
  • Teresa O'Neill
  • I signed Teresa O'Neill's campaign filing statement - not because I'm now supporting her but because she needed a signature and I thought it would be kind of neat thing to do. Since that time, I've emailed and chatted with Teresa - she answered the questions I mentioned above - but we've never discussed the issues or much of anything else.
  • I've used Patricia Mahan as an attorney. My wife is quite fond of Patty and has already disagreed with me over this posting. I think Patty is a fine candidate and as a reporter, I've been duly impressed by the gravitas she's displayed sitting on the dais.
That said, I'm in favor of Teresa, in part because of the apparent loophole in how the term limits law applies. I'm sure if elected, Mahan will do a fine job, but I feel term limits should take priority. I think Teresa O'Neill will bring a fresh perspective to the City Council.

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