Coastsider endorses Pam Fisher for CUSD board


By on Thu, October 26, 2006

Pam Fisher is the best-qualified candidate for the board. She’s a former six-year school board member from another district who can bring a fresh perspective to our community.  She advocates more responsiveness in and community involvement from the district. She wants more oversight of the district by the board, including doubling the frequency of board meetings. The board currently meets less than once a month.

We’re lucky to have Pam Fisher as a candidate. The current school board is the hand-picked successor of the boards that have failed to deliver a new middle school or a parcel tax in ten years of trying. Qualified candidates have refused to run for the CUSD because of the vicious personal attacks against challengers by school board members and their supporters. It would be refreshing to have at least one person on the board who is genuinely independent.

I’m not particularly supportive of Fisher’s neighborhood campaign over the modifications of the high school athletic fields. But the district’s neighbors and parents deserved better treatment than they got from the district. If the district had been more responsive in this case, a mutually-destructive lawsuit could almost certainly have been avoided.

What about my other two votes?

Voters have three votes for three open seats in this election. In my opinion, your best course of action would be to vote for Pam Fisher only.  If you feel the need to vote for more candidates, I recommend you vote for Ken Johnson and Dwight Wilson.

Ken Johnson is a gadfly who has been after the district for years over their test scores. I like Ken and know he’s sincere, but he’s probably better as an outside critic than he would be as a board member. His principal qualifications are that he cares about quality education and he’s an outsider. You could do worse.

Dwight Wilson is part of the machine that has consistently failed to deliver the goods. However, among that group he took the lead in solving the middle school location problem, and is willing to listen to other voices.

There are also two candidates who do not deserve your support.

Jolanda Schreurs has been a leading member of the faction that has created an atmosphere of hostility and negativity around the district and its board.  I believe she cares about our kids’ education, but she has actively contributed to the ugliness that has surrounded the board and its elections. She played a big part in a last-minute anonymous attack ad in the last school board election. She was the last member of the board to accept a solution to the middle school problem and did so in a way that stoked the flames of bitterness.

Kirk Riemer looks like the hand-picked successor of the misguided cabal that has controlled the board for too long. He is endorsed by past and present board members Jolanda Schreurs, Dwight Wilson, Charles Gardner, John Moseley, Marina Stariha, Ruth Palmer, and Ken Jones.  Furthermore, he helped create the attack ad that anonymously smeared Jonathan Lundell two years ago. Even if, as the Review believes, he only reviewed the ad before it was printed, that’s pretty damning.