School Board candidates square off Monday, Oct 30

Press release

Posted by on Sun, October 22, 2006

The five candidates for the three vacancies on the Cabrillo Unified School District—Pamela Fisher, Ken Johnson, Kirk Riemer, Jolanda Schreurs and Dwight Wilson—will meet to discuss the issues at the General Meeting of the Half Moon Bay Branch of the American Association of University Women on Monday, October 30, at 7pm at the Community United Methodist Church, 777 Miramontes Street, Half Moon Bay. The public is invited to attend.

Kathee Tyson, League of Women Voters will introduce the candidates and moderate the discussion. Candidates will be asked the following questions:

1. What, in your background, has prepared you to sit on the Cabrillo Unified School District Board of Trustees?

2. What are the 3 most important issues facing the CUSD in the next 4 years?

3. Which of these issues is most important to you and why?

4. What is your plan for addressing this issue which you feel is most important?

Questions from the audience will be taken during the program and the moderator will pose them to each of the candidates.

After the Candidate Forum, Kathee Tyson, will give a brief synopsis of the one San Mateo County measure which will be on the November 7 ballot: Measure A, the 1/8 per cent sales tax increase to benefit parks.

A lot of people have been making a big deal over Pam Fischer’s involvement with litigation against the school district. Why aren’t those same people talking about Jolanda Schreurs’ litigation history which has been far more costly to the CUSD school district?

Jolanda Schreurs was one of the most outspoken
cheerleaders for the Wavecrest middle school site over the years, together with former CUSD board members Ken Jones, Ken Wilson, Marina Stariha, Ruth Palmer, and current CCWD director James Larimer.

Those people told us for years that the Wavecrest middle school site was a “good deal” for the community. We were also told that the 1996 Measure K bond language prevented the school district from going with Cunha because it was not a “new site”.

In October 2005, we found out that the proposed Wavecrest middle school was about $30 million underfunded (cost = $56-62 million versus about $27 million of remaining Measure K money in bank). See link below

Many of us recall CUSD board member Ken Wilson’s arguments concerning the Measure K bond language back in June 2002. He claimed at a public meeting of the CUSD board that the Measure K money could not be used to build at the Cunha site.  Here is a link to the 2002 HMB Review article describing the meeting:

At the time of that meeting, Jolanda Schreurs (who was not yet a member of the CUSD board) was part of a group who actually threatened to sue the school district if the CUSD board tried to use the Measure K bond money to build at Cunha.

In October 2005, two reputable attorneys on the CUSD Professional Advice Committee stated that the Measure K bond language was very general and presented no problems whatsoever for building at Cunha.

The bottom line is that Jolanda Schreurs’ litigation threats back in 2002 helped to delay the Cunha project by at least 3 years—which translates directly to nearly $10 million in escalated construction costs (according to the Professsional Advice Committee’s escalation estimates).  

“A lot of people have been making a big deal over Pam Fischer’s involvement with litigation against the school district.”

Seems that most people who are “behind” Fisher spend an awful lot of time and words on why the other candidates are so bad.  My 30 out of 500 something calculation was just that - not very much on how Ms. Fisher is “so great” but a lot of how the others are not.

From the “Coastsider endorses Pam Fisher for CUSD board” comments:

“Otherwise your posts risk looking like nothing more than a smear campaign. —Darin”


What am I to make of the post above?  Looks like me to be a smear campaign.

All of the candidates and voters are people first, and Ms. Fisher does not seem to treat other people very well.  That makes the discussions of her character here very relevant.

On another point, why is it that people keep bringing up the “anonymous attack ad on Jonathan Lundell” conveniently leaving out the part that he was one of the people behind the the Voice of the Coast “faux newspaper disguised as campaign materials” -or- “faux campaign materials disguised as a newspaper.”

The domain is registered in Mr. Lundell’s name.  Are you trying to tell me that his actions were any different?

Comment 3
Mon, October 30, 2006 4:44pm
Barry Parr
All my comments

Did I miss something?  Is Jonathan Lundell running again?  If I’m not mistaken, Lundell and the LCP put their names on Voice of the Coast.

The issue is that Jolanda Schreurs and Kirk Riemer hid behind a nonexistent campaign committee that provided them with cover until the election was over. 

The ad was an anonymous, unanswerable, last-minute attack on Lundell’s motives.

Follow this link for Coastsider’s original coverage and to read the ad that they refused to put their own names on:

Here’s the Review’s coverage:

One thing about the ad was true. It noted that further delays would “hurt kids and cost more”. But the delays were the result of Jolanda Schreurs’ threat to sue the district over an interpretation of Measure K that the board (including Schreurs) and the district have since repudiated.

And they had the chutzpah to say that Lundell had delayed the building of the new school. Sheesh.

Comment 4
Mon, October 30, 2006 9:19pm
Ken King
All my comments

Brian Ginna floats another red herring into a Coastsider discussion. Jonathan Lundell worked on Voice of the Coast the year after he lost his election, so the two events are unrelated. But don’t let facts stand in the way of a good fish story.

The dirty trick for a school board seat (of all things!), exposed the character of the board member implicated, Ms. Schreurs, as well as that of her ally, Mr. Riemer, who financed the prank. And let’s not forget that this was done not just to damage Jonathan Lundell, but to elect Charlie Gardner to the CUSD board.

Kirk Riemer’s interview in the Review revealed that he wants to be elected to CUSD’s board to support the current majority because he’s happy with everything they’re doing. This hardly promises an independent voice for what many coastsiders, consider a troubled district. In weighing independence and critical scrutiny as desirable traits in a new public official, Mr. Riemer’s candidacy gives off a stale odor at best.

Again, more talk, and none of it about how great Ms. Fisher is.

“...that provided them with cover until the election was over.”

Smells an awful lot like LCP spending $23K (mostly) on the HMB City Council elections and not having to file details until the following January.  HOW IS THAT ANY DIFFERENT?

Half of the “articles” in the Voice of the Coast do not have “authors” names attached to them.  How are there “letters to the editor” of a three (or four?) edition faux newspaper?

My point is clearly that the tactics are no different.

Comment 6
Tue, October 31, 2006 8:21am
Barry Parr
All my comments

So, if you believe that the tactics are equivalent, can I assume you’re voting against Ms. Schreurs and Mr. Riemer?

Sorry, Barry, but I am merely pointing out that the arguments against the two are seriously flawed mainly because they are out of context.

Are you still leaning against having PACs on the Coastside?

Is former mayor Jim Grady seriously for “reform?”  If so, how is Leland Yee a part of “grassroots” campaigns?

Granted, these questions reach well beyond the CUSD race, but they are all having an effect on it.

I recommend reader take the timer to watch the video of the AAUW forum on Coastsider:  Pam Fisher does a fine job of presenting her qualifications.


Comment 9
Tue, October 31, 2006 10:23am
Barry Parr
All my comments

The video will be up shortly.

I support either eliminating funding from all non-human entities (including PAC’s, unions, and businesses) or limiting them to the same contribution as individuals.

What makes you think Grady isn’t for reform? I believe he’s for smaller limits than the other city council members, and for tightening the limits on multiple contributions by individuals.

I don’t think I ever called Yee a grassroots candidate, although he was an underdog in San Mateo County.

Comment 10
Tue, October 31, 2006 10:38am
Hal Bogner
All my comments

Mr. Ginna,

Your suggestion that we return to talking about the candidates is an excellent one.

I don’t know if you attended the CUSD Candidates Forum last night, moderated by Kathee Tyson. I did. I commend watching it to anyone who wasn’t there. Darin Boville was taping, so I assume we’ll see it here on, and perhaps MCTV will carry his recording, too.

Based on what I heard said by each of the six candidates last night, the person we all should be questioning is CUSD President Jolanda Schreuers, rather than Pamela Fisher. Ms. Schreuers claimed to have stood up for busing, spoke in platitudes, and declared that her focus is “on every single child’s individual needs” - which is no focus at all; she also repeatedly contradicted herself on whether things were “all fine” or “really terrible”, too. At least the other incumbent stuck consistently to the mantra that everything has gotten better in every way, as each year led to the next, throughout his tenure, while also acknowledging how much there is still to do.

All four challengers repeatedly put their fingers on real problems that are clear and urgent. Ken Johnson’s data on dropping enrollment - including a 7% drop last year - was particularly damning. Pam Fisher spoke both to how to govern better and how to spend education dollars more effectively across the entire spectrum of kids - from “special ed” to “gifted and talented”. Bob Ptacek described how to make the difficult budget choices better than anyone else.  Kirk Reimer pointed out grave deficiencies in how the school district utilizes technology.

Besides the significantly dropping enrollment, budget problems, the busing issue, and the very obvious loss of public trust in the school board, one major issue surprised me: Cunha seems to be a very troubled school, educationally. And while Ms. Schreuers insisted that things are rosy there, I learned that both drama class and shop class had been axed udner the current school board. Dwight Wilson seemed to tell us that things were actually OK, and Ms. Schreuers said they have a multi-year plan to make things OK in maybe five years or so. Pam Fisher outlined the need to address this effectively now, and how to do so.

Those were the main things I gleaned from the forum, which lasted about two hours.

Maybe someone could transcribe their remarks for folks to read here on Coastsider.

I have questions that were not answered last night:

Jolanda’s lawsuit threat cost the district $10,000,000 (according to the Professsional Advice Committee’s escalation estimates). What other costs were there? 

Has this board successfully terminated the contract with Ocean Colony Partners or is it a future legal problem hanging over future boards?

How much has the lack of competitive bids for the middle school construction project cost the district?

How much has the 8 year period declining enrollment cost the district?

Given the 8 year period of declining enrollment, will the new middle school be too big?


Comment 12
Tue, October 31, 2006 3:36pm
Carl May
All my comments

Barry wrote:
“I support either eliminating funding from all non-human entities (including PAC’s, unions, and businesses) or limiting them to the same contribution as individuals.”

What the heck are you trying to do, Mr. Parr, start a democracy? Next thing we know you’ll be trying to limit the contributions of candidates to their own campaigns to the limit that anyone else is allowed to donate. These represent steps toward an unAmerican denial of the right to buy and fix elections.

Carl May

Comment 13
Tue, October 31, 2006 4:17pm
Ken King
All my comments

What can Brian Ginna possibly be trying to convey when he lands in a discussion about school board candidates and asserts, “Smells an awful lot like LCP spending $23K (mostly) on the HMB City Council elections and not having to file details until the following January.  HOW IS THAT ANY DIFFERENT?” That to most folks, Mr.Ginna, is known as a non sequitur, which means it doesn’t follow from any previous discussion anyone else is having, even though it makes sense to you alone.

First, there you go again with your obsession to introduce LCP into every discussion you can camandeer. This discussion is about the qualifications of those running for the school board, and their past activities are telling, even as you deny it. Lundell is not running, LCP is not running, Mrs. Fisher is not in LCP, and she has said plenty about why she should be elected, despite your denial that there is anything out there about it.

Your point that people are saying bad things about the incumbents and not Mrs. Fisher ain’t true either, but that doesn’t stop you from asserting silly stuff that flies in the face of everyone else’s experience. She’s been skewered by the sports crowd and CCF members on the Review website, and the incumbents have not, which shows that you are not stating the truth.

The incumbents are running on their record, and Kirt Reimer is also running on their record, so, of course, people are entitled to challenge the record Reimer and friends are running on. They’ve been in office and there is a record to question—more is known about them. Barry does not have to reiterate their record or their campaign for them.

Those interested ought to view the video that Barry and Darin take the trouble to provide. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the video supercedes all the words on this blog for sure.

School Board Election – The Politics of Hate, Division, and Blame

We see one major group at the national level with a history of Hate, Division, and Blame in its messages and programs. At the local level we have an identical group known as Coastside Community First (CCF).
For over a decade this group and it’s name-switching predecessors have held a monopoly on membership on the School Board. Their well-financed campaigns have sought successfully to exclude all portions of our community they disagree with. In this year’s election they have focused their venom on a candidate with stellar educational credentials. Since none of the current members or their new proposed exclusionary slate can match Pam Fisher’s credentials, they fall back on their traditional blame game.
When The CUSD Board failed to include the public in its process on the baseball lights incident, the local neighborhood group was forced to take legal action. The CCF group blames the locals for the suit, of course, and not the Board that caused the suit in the first place.
Maybe we need action people, not the blamers CCF continues to endorse.
The CUSD Board’s record speaks for itself on this and other issues.
Wasted nine years and millions of dollars pushing Wavecrest and blocking our Middle School.
No Parcel taxes passed after angering the public.
No Facilities plan.
Declining enrollment in a time of increasing population.
Lost busing.
No Board members with educational credentials.
Even their paper, the HMB Review, refused to endorse one of their candidates for her last two election runs.

The CCF and its prior incarnations talk of Community Bonding.
The TALK is “Working Together”
The WALK is blame others and exclusionary politics.

Why has the CCF done this to our kids?
Why do they refuse to endorse someone with the solid education credentials they lack?
Why do they always put their personal politics above the community’s educational welfare?
Why are they blaming others instead of providing education?

Ric - This is the very reason we have trouble attracting educated, passionate, experienced candidates to office on the coast.  I can’t tell you how many people I’ve heard from, who are highly qualified to run, but don’t want to subject themselves, or, importantly, their families, to “The Politics of Hate, Division, and Blame” on the coast.  In the CUSD this is particularly true of parents of young children in the school system, who have direct experience with the district and who personally live with the outcomes.  Until that environment of smear campaigns and personal vitriol stop, I fear this will continue to be the case, and we all suffer the result.

I haven’t had time yet to watch the video.  Did anyone ask when construction of the new middle school at Cunha is actually going to start?  Throwing a spade of dirt doesn’t count.  I fear that they’re waiting until after the election, and still hoping that they can build at Wavecrest.  Didn’t the Superintendent show a very quick timetable for this?  Hasn’t a good part of his timetable passed with essentially nothing happening?  What exactly is the status of the rebuild?  When is actual construction going to start?

On a side note, which shouldn’t have anything to do with this at all but apparently in some people’s minds it does, I happened across a copy of the October 4, 2005 (Vol 1, Edition 2) Voice of the Coast which I kept because it has a map of where on the Coastside are lots of things that we keep discussing.  On page 2, column 1 immediately below the fold is a 2.5” x 3.5” box, with font sizes the same or larger than the articles.  In the box:

Voice of the Coast
San Mateo County League
for Coastside Protection
Scott Boyd
Contributing editors
Ken King
Jonathan Lundell

and email and snailmail addresses, then

ID 1234363

Doesn’t look to me like they were trying to hide anything.

Ric Lohman is well known for participating in the very tactics which he decries which is no exception in this latest posting.

The most recent action taken by Coastside Community First was a direct mailing to everyone on the Coastside about Disaster Preparedness and what to do in the event of an emergency. This comprised a team of dozens of coastsiders over several days just to prepare the mailings, and provided what we felt was a much needed benefit to the community. We believe actions speak louder than words.

A separate polital action commitee, Put Community First conducted a forum for the school board candidates, and an endorsement vote was taken by a group of about a dozen representatives of the coastside (of which I did not participate, but was in attendance)which selected the candidates PCF endorsed.

I was actually pleased to be present at that meeting with whom I would consider a prominent member of the LCP, as well as a friend, which goes in the direction of building bridges and not in the way Mr. Lohman would like to suggest.

One of the tenents of Coastside Community First is to “debunk the myths” that seem to pervade our local political scene as it is obviously a detriment to the greater community benefit as witnessed by Mr. Lohman’s diatribe. Our website is and it can speak for itself.

To answer Leonard’s questions about the middle school build. We expect to have additional board meetings in November to publicly discuss the bid letting process for competetive bids (yes, competetive bids!) for construction to actually start at Cunha next summer.

Charlie Gardner

Mr. Lohman, You certainly entitled your comment appropriately.  The only thing you forgot to include was the Lies, and you certainly included plenty of those along with your Hate, Division and Blame.

Barry,  Maybe it’s time for you to step up to the plate;  or are you opening the door?

Dale Dunham

Kathryn, et al.;
“The Tipping Point”! 
First, Ms. Schreurs earned her support by the “Wavecrest Forever” group through her attorney’s threatening lawsuit letter of 17 May 2002. Mr. Gardner drank the Kool-Aid and Ms.  Schreurs and Mr. Riemer carried out the groups actions in support through the infamous advert. Mr. Riemer also earned his stripes then. Many parents are far smarter in their children’s interest than the “Wavecrest Forever” group allows. It is reflected in the enrollment numbers this school year.

You will find a link to a chart representing the district’s enrollment on CUSD.Info. The peak occurred 1997-98. From then on, the drop is a simple and predictable stepwise drop with a period of two years. I suggest it is not a coincidence that the ‘step’ occurs in anticipation of each school board election. The “Wavecrest Forever” group has a pretty successful record in electing their slate at any cost.

The truly scary thing is that this year’s projected drop would result in an enrollment of 3,401. Instead, the enrollment this year was 3288! It suggests that we have reached “The Tipping Point”! 

If the “Wavecrest Forever” group slate is elected; it would result in Mr. Gardner, Ms. Schreurs and Mr. Riemer as a consistent majority voting block.  If you will recall, there   is nothing yet that binds the district from returning to Wavecrest or something else equally absurd.

The “Enrodlment Report for the First School Month” this year was due to be reported out at the October 12 CUSD meeting. It was suppressed by Board President Ms. Schreurs and Superintendent Bayless who are responsible for the meeting’s Agenda -  presumably for political purposes. So, I can only provide data for Cunha through last year.

Back to Kathryn’s questions:

Q - What other costs were there?
A - Enrollment at Cunha dropped from 871 in 2001-02 to 758 in 2005-06 or 113 students. The drop in white enrolment, those who could afford alternative schooling, was 185. Increase in Latino enrolment propped up the district. Our middle school is now a minority white school. The cost was five teachers and a much more difficult job for the remaining teachers.
It seems there are those that don’t understand basic math. The district is paid by the state based on ADA, Average Daily Attendance. If enrolment drops, then state funds drop. You have fewer students - you ‘need’ fewer teachers. Even if the new makeup of the district is more challenging to meet minimum standards.
I tried to get the board to take up the Cunha ‘situation’ three months ago when Cunha was designated for “Corrective Action” by the State - Jolanda put it off till months after the election resulting in another difficult year! Her re-election is more important to her than the student’s needs.
Q - Has this board successfully terminated the contract with Ocean Colony Partners or is it a future legal problem hanging over future boards?
A - Dwight has been ‘working’ on the busing problem for FIVE years with no accomplishment yet! They don’t do well in a ‘rush.’
I’d rather see it wait than see another in a long string of bad deals!
Q - How much has the lack of competitive bids for the middle school construction project cost the district?
A - The drawings of Cunha could have been obtained as a required part of a competitive bid process rather than paid for by us. They like spending OPM - Other Peoples Money. Competitive biding could make a significant saving and local business could win keeping our money on the Coastside. So far, the existing board hasn’t supported Competitive Bidding per the ‘recommendation’ of Bayless.
Q - How much has the 8 year period declining enrollment cost the district?
We have 601 fewer students and dropping faster each year. That is roughly 24 fewer teachers.
Q- Given the 8 year period of declining enrollment, will the new middle school be too big?
A - Well that is sort of the good news in a very bad story. If you will recall, the district still didn’t have enough money in the bank for going with the cheaper, faster and better solution at Cunha. The size and quality was downsized from what we were promised a decade ago to fit what was left in the bank even with the matching State funding. So, if the “Incumbent slate” is re-elected and they “Stay the Course” we will have an ever increasing excess of capacity.
Obviously, I hope the “Incumbent slate” is defeated and we can “Change the Course!”
Personally, I think we would be better off to do the promised quality and leave the excess capacity as ‘shell space’, constructed structurally yet left unfinished, until needed when the ‘flight’ from the district is stemmed by restoring the trust in the board. 

Ken Johnson

Comment 21
Wed, November 1, 2006 6:34pm
Don Bacon
All my comments

So, Ric Lohman venomously decries “venom,” accuses CCF of being “identical” to the national Republican party, all the while practicing the politics of hate, division and blame.

Below is a quote from Ric practicing the politics of love, unity and compassion on MidCoast Lists.  The context was a discussion of tsunamis, and their potential effect on the Coastside:

“This, of course, would solve the monster home problem in West Miramar.”  Ric Lohman, June 16, 2005

Folks who live in those “problem” houses in West Miramar that Ric thinks a tsunami would “solve” won’t be amused when Ric predictably claims he was just joking.  What kind of a person—much less a public official—would make light of people having their homes washed away in a tsunami?

To Charlie Gardner:
Thanks for joining the discussion.
Let me be more specific about my “blame” comments. Maybe you can then explain your comments about painting me with “same tactic” brush. Please be speific.
I am very specific about the “blaming tactics” of your extended group. I speak specifically when groups have absolute power over a decision. Two examples:
1. CUSD had absolute power over the choice of a Junior High site. Against the advice of everyone, including the Coastal Commission (the governing body of the process), they went with Wavecrest. This failed for nine years. During this period they “BLAMED” everyone for the problem, except for themselves. Opponents were “Children haters”. The Board CHOSE to take a course that the CCC said wouldn’t fly. Blaming any one other than themselves is the “Blame Game”.
2. In the recent Baseball Field lights issue, CUSD “blames” a citizen group for costs incurred in a legal suit. One again, the CUSD Board had absolute power over the process. They chose a path that could only lead to confrontation. The “Blame” sits with the group that had the absolute power to choose a better path and didn’t.
So in these cases, yes, I “Blame” the CUSD Board because they were the ones with the power to do the right thing.

To Dale Dunham:
I’m sorry you think I’m lying about something, whatever that is. Maybe you could be more specific.

The declining enrollment at Cunha is a direct result of not building a new middle school years ago. All that one has to do is look at the changes in demographics and income levels that have come with the rise in housing prices to understand that there is a growing group of parents who do not have to wait for the school board to solve the political battles on the coast.  They are not willing risk wasting their children’s development on a dysfunctional district.  Those with the resources are opting for the Coastside private schools, going over the hill in growing numbers to either the private or charter options, or foregoing other interests to home school. 
Do they what better public schools?  Absolutely.  Will they send their kids there? Only when they are convinced that they are better.  New facilities, better test scores and united community support would be some key indicators of progress.  So where do we start?

The current school board performance has been less that stellar.  A no-bid contract?  Withholding attendance numbers?  “Working” on the busing issue?  How is that construction going at Cunha after “breaking ground”?  Probably the most annoying is shipping children from one end of the coast to the other because of the color of their skin.  What great educational experiences are they having riding a bus for over two and a half hours a week?  They are failing the children who need them the most in order to try to balance test scores when that money could be used for educational programs.  Makes it hard to vote for them.

The other choices have not stepped up with any brilliant insight.  Funny how I don’t recall seeing their comments on this board trying to support their position.  It is a tough place, but so are the issues at hand. 

So why should I vote for any of them?  Because not voting won’t change anything.  I do not know what the best combination of change and retention will move things forward, but something different has to happen.

Comment 24
Thu, November 2, 2006 12:10am
Barry Parr
All my comments

Unless you can produce evidence that someone knowingly said something false, accusations of lying are a violation of the civility rule.

I’m going to cut Dale some slack, because I should have bounced his comment and not released it as-is.

Comment 25
Thu, November 2, 2006 11:28am
Don Bacon
All my comments

It is an irresponsible and baseless lie to state that CCF is “identical” to the national Republican party, that it is a reincarnation of a prior “name-switching” organization, that it excludes all elements of the community it disagrees with, or that it is participating in the school board race.  CCF is a 501c3 (educational), with no parent organization or party affiliation.  By law it can take positions on legislative acts, including ballot measures, as a non-substantial component of its total activities, but is prohibited from campaigning for or against candidates for political office.

I know these things because I, as much as any other person, am responsible for the organization’s creation.  I long argued the need for such a group, recommended its “Community First” name, drafted its mission statement, served as a founding director, wrote a number of its position papers, and continue to offer direction in its public policies.  CCFers will all agree I have significantly influenced the group’s evolution.

Yet I am a long-time progressive opponent of both major national political parties, and would never participate in forming and developing an organization that is allied to, much less “identical” with, either party.  CCF is quite heterogeneous, with directors and supporters from all over the political spectrum.  That’s what makes it a good group.

Comment 26
Thu, November 2, 2006 11:48am
Bob Ptacek
All my comments

Lots of rhetoric around lots of good topics, but the CUSD election should actually come down to a very easy decision.

If one believes that the board has not wasted money, that CUSD couldn’t afford to loose,  by the course they have stayed on for years and staying on that course is the management of the district that should continue, then the choice is extremely simple. Vote for the incumbent slate Schreur-Riemer-Wilson.

If the course they have pursued and plan to continue on is not the best use of the limited and precious resourced CUSD has, then vote for someone else.

Comment 27
Thu, November 2, 2006 12:03pm
Barry Parr
All my comments

I’ve released Don’s comment because a request was made to substantiate the use of the word “lie”. It’s my fault for releasing the first comment to use that word. From now on, let’s discuss the facts and assertions without calling one another liars.

I believe that CCF has a problem with its claim on its website: “We are a group made up of a diverse range of people living here on the Coastside of San Mateo County.” That does not square fully with what I have observed.

The people may be diverse, but their political viewpoint is not.

The organization was funded and organized, and its board constituted out of the public eye. To my knowledge, no attempt was made to include members of any but a limited range of local viewpoints on the board. The names I recognize on the board are all friends of development and property rights. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it cannot be described as politically diverse.

Regarding political affiliations, I’ve attended one CCF and one Coastside Democrats event. (I’m not a member of either group.) Both had about 50 to 60 people in attendance. To the best of my knowledge, I am the only person who attended both events.

Barry Parr stated:

The people may be diverse, but their political viewpoint is not.

I believe a little more investigation is in order, Barry, before forming this opinion. As you stated, you have attended one CCF event. It seems that you have a preconceived notion about who is part of CCF.

I betcha most CCF/PCF members don’t even know the political affiliation of many of the other members. I know it runs the gamut because once in a while state and national issues pop into the conversation. But not for long, because we are held together by our concern about local coastside issues. We put aside our party line ideologies (if any) because we care about where we live

Don Bacon says, “It is an irresponsible and baseless lie to state that CCF is “identical” to the national Republican party”

On the 2004 voter registrations for CUSD, one can find the party affiliations of five of the seven members of the CCF board of directors:

* Charles Gardner, President : Republican
* Nathan Serdy, Treasurer : Not on the list
* Stephen Wilson, Secretary : Republican
* Don Bacon: Decline to state
* Mary Bordi: Not on the list
* Terry Gossett: Republican
* Silvia Prewett: Republican

Nate and Mary may be registered elsewhere.

There is nothing wrong with being a Republican. But it appears to me that the Coastside Community Foundation board is a lot less diverse than the Coastside.

Barry Parr wrote:

...Mary may be registered elsewhere.

It would be strange indeed if my registration turned up in the CUSD. I’ve been staying out of this discussion since I live and vote (only once per election) in the LHPUSD. (By the way, I support Measure I in the La Honda/Pescadero disctict. Not that it has anything to do with this discussion.)

Talk about diverse! I have been a registered member of three different parties in my lifetime (not at the same time!). I am now registered as Decline to State, which could indicate any number of things.

How many people do you suppose consistantly vote their party line? People are not the silly little automotons that some folk (usually with differing political views) would like to think.

You are also leaving out the board of PCF and the interested people who attend meetings and help with fundraising.

As far as it goes with the affiliations you listed above, maybe Republicans are more apt to volunteer to serve on boards?

Maybe there’s grant money out there available for a study?

Now, for a reminder. Folks, if you are registered, please vote!

Okay! Okay! Okay! I will now expose myself.  I am a registered Democrat for those who care to know. I am also under the age of thirty and for those that don’t know yet, I am a male.  My agenda is not about school boards, yet, and I have not clearly taken a side in regards to pro-growth versus no-growth since that seems to be the “divide” in this town. But the least I can do is get to the polls to vote.  I would even like to see the demographic of voters under the age of thirty who vote in this town?  I am sure it is appauling and pathetic, but I could be wrong.

I feel like comments from Mr.Lohman and Barry are really unfair.  I was also in attendance for the PCF interviews for candidates.  I don’t even have a kid yet!  But one thing I can say, is that these people all were interviewed with the same questions and material.  It was very democratic and exposed.  Part of it was videoed, until my battery died, and it is available for people to see.  The bottom line is that the people voted just like Congress or Senate, and Pam Fisher didn’t win.  BUT IT’S OKAY, she went someplace else, but the least she could do is participate and we did like that.  She is a very nice lady and she may win and she may lose.  Either way she is still a good person.

BUT PLEASE, CCF DOES NOT PROMOTE HATE, BLAME AND DIVISION.  Those are just harmful and hurtful words and nothing I would ever want to be associated with.

If there is one thing I can say is that I hope there is no reason to label us as bad people.  Like Charlie said before our group was sending out over 10,000 booklets and flyers to the general public on what to do in case of an emergency.  I hope that we are not confused with PCF.

The bottom line is that CCF is not as diverse, yet because we are solely working on networking to have people come to our meetings and get involved.  Unfortunately, people in my generation and age group are either finding ways to get their mortgage or rent paid for and just don’t have enough time. But that is all I can really speak for.  CCF’s vision is to incorporate diversity in our group and also in this community, much like Cheri Parr does for the Coastside Opportunity Center (now Coastside Hope), also a non-profit organization.

We just ask that you give our group some time and not stereotype us as an evil group against everything.  All in all these people that I just recently met are very nice :) 

So, since I am Democrat amongst a bunch of Republican’s are you saying I should ask for a life preserver or throw in the towel with this group?  We didn’t sit around the table and ask in our introductions “what political group are you in?”. We don’t care, but it seems like you do, and I don’t understand? It would seem like such a petty reason to quit something that could potentially be beneficial for our community because of my political orientation.

Thank you all for your time.

p.s. Don is not a Board member.

Comment 32
Thu, November 2, 2006 4:35pm
Don Bacon
All my comments

The organization is Coastside Community First, not Foundation.  And as Mary points out, it is diverse enough (as we quickly learned) that raising state, national or international politics in a CCF meeting held zero hope of agreement.

Would the LCP run into that difficulty?  If Barry is concerned about organizational diversity, perhaps he could list the party affiliations of the LCP leaders for the sake of comparison.  He might explore whether any LCPers have ever publically expressed any regret over publishing the sham “Voice of the Coast.”  Or whether any LCPers have publically urged the LCP-dominated boards of GSD and MWSD to follow the Local Coastal Program and exclude the rural areas from their boundaries.  Or is Barry attacking CCF while practicing “groupthink” with the LCP?   

What is the real lesson here?  Barry has no criticism of Ric Lohman’s spleen-venting, or even Darin Boville’s crude parable a few days ago in Town Hall, where he execrably portrays his political opponents as taking out their male members and urinating on a political discussion.  Incredibly, Darin’s diatribe is delivered as a blinkered lament at the loss of public decorum!

Allowing scurrilous and abusive language, while 86ing George Muteff for defending himself (then shutting down George’s popular, but politically inconvenient, thread) is a transparent double standard. There can never be any doubt: George’s exclusion was, and remains, craven political censorship.

>or even Darin Boville’s crude parable a few days ago in Town Hall, where he execrably portrays his political opponents as taking out their male members and urinating on a political discussion.  Incredibly, Darin’s diatribe is delivered as a blinkered lament at the loss of public decorum!<<

Hi Don,

I’m glad you enjoyed my parable. You might want to read it again, and more carefully.

The parable was set in a bar in a town very similar to ours but in that town instead of ejecting the rickus-raisers when the beer got dumped on peoples’ heads it got worse. In that town they fell for the false cry of “censorship” and in the end all political discussion was cut off.

Thankfully, in *our* town the guy in charge has enough sense to set a few rules to keep our little discussions from getting out of hand.

It was intended as a parable about the bugaboo of “censorship” as a tool to inhibit political discussion (such as I judge the cries of “censorship” here to be) rather than a lament about the loss of public decorum.


Comment 34
Thu, November 2, 2006 6:39pm
Ken King
All my comments

Alexis De Tocqueville wrote in his Democracy in America (1835) that Americans have a greater propensity to form associations than people of any other country. It only stands to reason that those of us forming groups like CCF and LCP, to name two, would have more in common than not, and that since the goals of these respective groups are inverted, that sparks fly when we meet here on Barry’s “commons,” much as those between Shakespeare’s Montagues and Capulets.

I am an avowed partisan, but I also admire Barry’s expressed wish to “maintain a sense of community,” which he expresses above the box we all compose in. It would be a good idea if we each read and considered it before typing our say. What about “community,” is it a valid idea and is it achievable here in this forum? Is it worth striving for, and for what reasons?

When our main point in posting is to score rhetorical points, then some of us writing might better employ our time chiseling statues and donating them to public parks for display and admiration. Sound arguments need accurate information as well as logical coherence. Emotive language is permissible for color, but can short circuit good arguments by its electrifying effect. It should be used carefully ONLY if we want to pursue a “sense of community.”

I laugh (and shudder) to think of what some folks imagine LCP folks are like, and view the expressed consternation of CCF proponents as equally justified. We’re all locked into our own viewpoints, so much so that we do the all-too-human thing of generalizing the humanity out of each other. That is the basis of all hate and prejudice. Coastsider provides the means of breaking this down into bite-sized pieces so we can stop and consider, maybe even regard each other.

The problem rises, of course, when we envision the several audiences we address, maybe the author(s) of a certain polemic, then those who might be swayed one way or the other, and then those that already agree with us. We’d like to win the argument and maybe some converts, but the converts aren’t ever the people we argue with, who remain unpersuaded no matter how valid the information given, the logic employed—the utter reasonableness of the position is so off-putting it seems. Hmmm. This suggests Barry’s sentiment toward building community can only fail.

Unless. Unless the effort itself, provided it’s leavened with civility IS the only “sense of community” possible. That’s what Barry’s democratic experiment seems to be about. It affords the opportunity not just to clobber others and tell the little each of us knows, but to be in community and learn from and about each other, grudgingly often, but nevertheless.

If we subscribe to Barry’s “sense of community” as a goal worth pursuing for its own merit, we might salvage a shred of love for our opponents that we reserve only for our friends and families. Then maybe this place won’t resemble so much the Afghan tribal culturescape it does now.

Ken’s right. This might be a good moment to return to our discussion of the school board election.

Did anyone else see the incumbents’ ad in Wednesday’s Review—the one where they said we should vote for them because they decided to build the middle school at Cunha?

Comment 36
Thu, November 2, 2006 10:36pm
Ken Johnson
All my comments


I don’t get the Review.

Actually, they voted to ‘plan’ - give them another decade to ‘build’ [maybe]!

Ken Johnson

Charlie Gardner,
“competitive bids”?? You wrote:

“To answer Leonard’s questions about the middle school build. We expect to have additional board meetings in November to publicly discuss the bid letting process for competetive [sic] bids (yes, competetive [sic] bids!) for construction to actually start at Cunha next summer. “

Really, one of the best predictors of board future actions is to look at past and present actions. The current design contract was NOT let as a competitive bid. The board was not bound to the present / past contract. The board majority deferred to the Superintendent’s desires. Your fellow Board member, Mr. Roy Salume’, didn’t appear impressed that competitive bidding had, is or will be used.

The nice pretty drawings of the concept for the remodeled Cunha, shown to all, could and should have been a requirement of a competitive bidding process - free to district. Not only would we have gotten them free; but we would have multiple rendering concepts to choose from.

Contrast that with my past action:

I was a chairman of a Half Moon Bay Committee, Business Revitalization, hosted a “Charrette”. You should be familiar with the term, but just in case: “a Charrette is a collaborative planning process that harnesses the talents and energies of all interested parties to create and support a feasible plan that represents transformative community change.”

About two dozens members of the San Mateo Chapter of The American Institute of Architects volunteered their weekend time. Broke into teams to do design for the ‘entry ways’, Main Street and our then future Coastside Trail into the city Main Street.

Cost to the City - Zero.

Actually we made money, by selling tickets to a “Presentation of Design Concepts” conclusion dinner.

CUSD looks at spending public funds as OPM - Other Peoples Money.

“Stay the Course?” Or “Change The Course!”

Ken Johnson

Eric Nelson,

As an individual, running opposing a well resourced incumbent slate that is using public resources to further their campaign, there must be a two part effort.

The first is to honestly reference credible resources exposing, as you observed, why the incumbents should not be re-elected.

The second is to attempt to answer your: “The other choices have not stepped up with any brilliant insight.”

You will find a number of items at both the MCC and AAUW Candidate forums videos on Coastsider. I am not certain that I hit the “brilliant insight” bar, but I am giving it a shot: A summary of some of my comments:
* Workshops at each of the schools with the Board inviting all the parents, teachers, students and public with the board primarily listening and asking questions. In all humility, I don’t feel I have all the answers.
* I have identified schools and District in our county that with less money and greater demographic challenges, they have two to three times the effectiveness of this district. In my contacts (and I will continue to follow up in greater detail) here are a few observations I will be asking the Board to implement:
++ The Spanish immersion program can continue; without our ELL (English Language Learners), I actually personally prefer Cantonese or Mandarin immersion. The Latino students exit the program today NOT fluent English.
++ Implement a K-5 English Immersion program for our ELL students with proper support and tutoring—the goal is to Mainstream these students within a 2 to 4 year period depending on their initial language skills. This benefits not only the students but reduces the overhead associated with a separate and unequal school system.  Win-Win.
++Invite AAUW, community, more peer to peer and church - yeah, we can do it with proper observation of state and fed requirements, you can and should have separation of Church and State without treating a membership like they have the plague - to assist with tutoring.
++Provide more communication and information on students to middle school teacher from the elementary teacher and the transition from middle school to high school.
++We need to speed the reorganization of Cunha to shorter span of control and group responsibility.
++Maybe a successful school district can afford to meet only 11 times a year—this is not a successful school district! It took 10 months for a presentation on the ELL program to the board. Cunha, which is designated for “Corrective Action”, will not air a plan till half of the school year is over. Unacceptable.
++The school board needs to see monthly expenditure reports - once a year report that ‘it balances’ is insufficient control. If our Superintendent is not capable of arranging that - the board needs to discuss that in public.
++One of the tasks of a board member is to actually get out into the schools to observe and listen to our teachers.

++Administrators might also benefit from closer contact with the students—hmm, I have a thought for a class for our Superintendent.

You can find a number of my comments on this and associated threads in the past couple of months. I hope you can distinguish between:

“Stay the Course?” Or “Change The Course!”
Ken Johnson

Thank you Ken for you response.  I would like to follow up on some points.

The exclusion of ESL students from the immersion program is problematic.  How can you discriminate based on ethnic background from a school program?  This quickly becomes a separate but equal issue which will not fly.  Making a change to another language changes the game (why not French?) but still presents the same problem with another group.  Would there be a hurdle English skills test of entering first graders to determine if they can be in the program?  Why does this program exist at all?

Your K-5 English Immersion program needs to be in addition to and not instead of the current school day.  Otherwise you will run problems with the bilingual education ban.  These kids need the help if they are to keep up with other areas.  The question is where is the money.

The money.  Your call for monthly financial reporting is excessive.  It would be far better to have stronger controls, better budgets, accurate reporting, open books and less discretionary spending with maybe quarterly reporting.  There just should not be that much monthly variability in a school operating results. I don’t think that you find a lot of loose money, since most of it goes into salaries, more lack of control of exactly where it goes vs. where it was suppose to go.

I have been trying to follow up on the available information on all the candidates and I thank you for you time.


The coastside is unusual in that it does not have a greater diversity in initial languages. CUSD has a significantly easier task in concentrating in English and Spanish. Many confuse initial language survey with ethnic origin categories. Many and I am one of those that believe in the value of having knowledge of multiple languages - fair enough that you don’t share that belief. The goal is to have ALL of our children English fluent. That is not happening in CUSD. The district originally chose Spanish as an ‘easy’ solution for our native English speaker’s second language. CUSD is operating on a waver from current recognized educational standards. I have suggested changes which successful districts are using.

Reporting, Accountability, Transparency and Oversight. We agree on the value of greater: oversight, reporting frequency, involvement in the budgeting process and availability to public scrutiny. Few successful organizations have the same person responsible for all the financial operation. We will agree to disagree on the value of monthly reporting. Most organizations comply and are capable of complying with normal board oversight. You might want to take a look at HMB and the other School Districts in the State of California; besides noting the greater frequency than a single monthly meeting, the monthly financial reporting is a standard. “Trust but verify”.

“Stay the Course?” Or “Change The Course!”
Ken Johnson

Don Bacon mentioned a quote from Ric Lohman, to the effect that a tsunami would solve the problem of monster homes in Miramar. In response Don said:

“Folks who live in those problem houses in West Miramar that Ric thinks a tsunami would solve? won’t be amused when Ric predictably claims he was just joking.  What kind of a person, much less a public official, would make light of people having their homes washed away in a tsunami?”

I agree with you, Don, that it was a tasteless comment. I wonder what you’d say to this quote from Ken Johnson on another thread:

“As one of the few benefits of Hurricane Katrina, your [New Orleans] old schools improved – it allowed reorganization of schools.”

As an ex-pat New Orleanian, I’m sure you can imagine how I felt about the statement that a storm that destroyed my city, including many of its schools, and killed and scattered its teachers and students, including many of my friends, thereby conferred a benefit. Unlike Ric’s comment, this was no hypothetical—it was the excruciating reality.

And now Ken wants to be elected to the school board. I wonder if he thinks a tsunami would confer a similar benefit on HMB schools?

Comment 43
Fri, November 3, 2006 10:27pm
Carl May
All my comments

Looks like someone doesn’t know that some houses in Miramar were built callously and greedily (to say nothing of being in violation of zoned lot size requirements)in a tsunami hazard zone. Why would someone wish to respect the feelings of someone who knowingly does something stupid like that? They set themselves up for a little sarcastic ribbing, don’t they?

Carl May

Barry Parr wrote:

This might be a good moment to return to our discussion of the school board election.

Did anyone else see the incumbents’ ad in Wednesday’s Review—the one where they said we should vote for them because they decided to build the middle school at Cunha?

It is good to get back on topic again! Speaking of ads…

Did anyone see Fisher’s ad in Wednesday’s Review—the (half page) one that lists “Key Endorsements”? Right here on Coastsider, one of those endorsements stated:

I was surprised and dismayed to open the paper this evening and find myself listed as a community endoresment for Pamela Fisher….I did not sign the neighborhood petition regarding the HMBHS field issues neighborhood issue nor did I sign up as a community endorsement for a variety of reasons…

Read it

Comment 45
Sat, November 4, 2006 9:53am
Ken King
All my comments

Talk about chutzpah! I think it’s hilarious that Kirk Reimer is sandwiched between the two incumbents in the Review ad, sharing credit for their stated accomplishments, as if he has already been a board member. I wonder if voters are really as credulous and easily manipulated as that?

Matt Berman,

Thank you for commenting, it gives me the opportunity to apologize for my apparent lack of sensitivity. As I had mentioned, I had also previously lived in the hurricane affected area and said thanks that mine were safe and pray that for you and all others here were so blessed. I should have, at a minimum, put it in the context that the comment had originated in the hurricane affected area speaking of their own school system. Those who have survived a personal tragedy, on occasion, develop a ‘dark’ sense of humor looking for some benefit from tragedy.

As to your rhetorical question: No, the tsunami in CUSD is the massive flight of parents withdrawing their children from this district - a 6.7% drop in just the past year. Seems that the only beneficiary of “Stay the Course” with the incumbent slate in CUSD are those in the Private School business.

Ken Johnson

Comment 47
Sat, November 4, 2006 12:01pm
Don Bacon
All my comments

CUSD candidates were not invited to the MCC candidates’ forum until one day before its occurrence.  The late notice was protested in writing by candidates unable to attend.  The MCC acknowledged as the forum began that “due to the weekend and some organizational issues we weren’t able to notify the candidates until very late.”’s ‘reportage’ covered up this shortcoming by stating that “For scheduling reasons, only Ken Johnson and Pam Fisher appeared at the event.”  Ken Johnson then disingenuously posted: “Does anyone else think it strange that ALL THREE, on the incumbent slate, were too busy for the MCC debate?”  Neither Ken nor Barry, who could not have been unaware of the improper lack of notice, have to my knowledge publically mentioned, much less criticized, the MCC’s behavior.

Reportorial instincts would have caused Barry to explore a number of questions.  For example, why would the MCC wait until the day before a candidates’ forum to invite the candidates themselves?  Hasn’t the election been scheduled for months?  And does the MCC’s behavior observe requirements for proper public noticing?  Aren’t candidates routinely given the opportunity to provide input on the format of electoral forums at which they are expected to appear?

Responsible journalists would then be led to the bigger questions.  Could the lack of notice, causing a majority of candidates to miss the forum, have the effect of prejudicing the public and the election against those candidates unable to attend?  If the election is close, couldn’t that prejudice, including prejudicial reporting of the forum, affect the outcome?  More broadly, has the MCC held regular meetings over the past few months?  Is it really a good idea to have public agencies conducting candidates’ forums?

No, it isn’t.  That’s why groups like the League of Women Voters and AAUW routinely sponsor the forums.  The public has learned not to trust that public officials will behave responsibly and impartially when it comes to elections.

The only safeguard the public has is to watchdog the government.  And journalism (the “Fourth Estate”) should help us do that.  Otherwise it becomes a part of the problem.

Comment 48
Sat, November 4, 2006 12:26pm
Ken King
All my comments

Anyone notice, “CUSD candidates report contributions” on page 12A in this week’s Review? Kirk Reimer is reported to have over $6000 in campaign contributions, roughly four time that of either Scheurs or Wilson.

The saying goes, “Follow the money,” if you want to understand how things really work in politics. $4000 of Reimer’s $$ comes from Keith Waddell, now known as CUSD’s “anonymous donor” for the work on the athletic fields.

Mr. Waddell also paid CUSD’s legal costs in the Highland Park neighbors’ successful defense of their rights, the suit that the sports network says proves Pam Fisher’s entire educational career and school-involved past is a sham because she’s just a selfish person with her own agenda.

Connecting the dollar dots is enlightening here. The current CUSD board sanctioned Superintendent Bayless to treat the renovations involving multiple million$$ and the wholesale removal of earth and plants as “routine maintainance.” It was such a clear violation of the Coastal Act that even the reluctant Half Moon Bay City Council recommended compliance with the permitting process, but to no avail because Mssrs Waddell and Bayless were in a rush to install the amenities.

There is nothing wrong with impatience in a good cause, but one must follow the law or suffer the possible consequences. However, there is no reason why voters should suffer the consequences of more bad board decisions by swallowing the propaganda regarding Mrs. Fisher. She is the most qualified person running for CUSD board and should be easily elected, Mr. Waddell’s money and network notwithstanding.

Comment 49
Sat, November 4, 2006 12:36pm
Barry Parr
All my comments

Don forgot to mention that Coastsider had the only camera at the AAUW/LWV event, providing two hours of video of the full candidates’ forum.  MCTV wasn’t there.

You can see the complete video here:

Speaking of campaign contributions, did anyone notice that following “Riemer was fellow challenger Pamela Fisher whose total fund-raising hit $3,432.”

No details were provided, but since I have a copy of her filings, here are some facts to match up against Mr. King’s recitation of Mr. Reimer’s funding

The $3,432 included a $1,500 loan to her campaign from herself (no problem with that) as well as $500 from Leland Yee’s campaign.  I keep asking myself - Why is Mr. Yee contributing to a school board race? 
Does anyone know if Mr. Yee and Ms. Fisher have met in person?

Mysteriously, the reports, which covered the period ending 10/26/06, did not include costs for the two Review ads, the second of which reads as a Who’s Who of the LCP (kind of strange that the organization did not endorse her).  Oversight?  Judging by the handwriting on the reports, I wonder if it was unintentional.

Barry said:

“Don forgot to mention that Coastsider had the only camera at the AAUW/LWV event…”

C’mon Barry! Don wasn’t writing about the LWV event.

But thank you for reminding folks where they can see the video and thanks for providing it.

Hmm…they say one picture is worth a thousand words…so how many thousands must video footage be worth?  :)

I pulled up Coastsider last night to catch up on comment in regard to the election. Shame on me. Look what I’ve been missing. I was shocked at what I read. Now, upon observing what’s being discussed, I find that among other things, my genitalia, and bodily functions are being talked about by Darin Boville (The Bar, post #12). I see the dialog has regressed to new levels in my absence.

I am offended and disturbed that ‘discussion’ has deteriorated to the current level. I’m also disturbed that I was blindsided because of the way I ‘presented’ my opinions; yet should not a discussion of my genitalia and bodily functions reasonably fall under the same set of rules?

I have no problem identifying, and then discussing issues. They should be discussed. I thought that was the purpose of this site and Talkabout. Am I missing something?

To Mr. Lohman, you are sorely misinformed. CCF is a 501C3, whose purpose is to educate. CCF takes no political position on candidates, yet you insist otherwise without evidence. By the way, as the subject of lying was raised by Mr. Dunham, and responded to by Mr. Parr, I don’t believe Mr. Dunham would mind me quoting him; “a lie is something meant to deceive, or give a wrong impression”.

I must admit that I was surprised at Mr. King’s post on this thread (11/02 @ 6:39 PM). For the most part, I agree. Unless I’m mistaken, I believe he’s saying can’t we all just get along?

Regarding a few comments made earlier;
•  Barry, Ms. Fisher’s ad in the 11/01 Review reads like a who’s who of the LCP … would that be the support Mr. Ginna was referring to?
•  Barry, Dale was referring to the dispute over H. S. lights (Post #8, The Bar)
•  CCF is a diverse group of individuals, all with one purpose: Educate
•  Mr. May, I agree. Things got way too wet. I do hope they all pipe down when the music starts.
•  While our school district receives approximately $6,000.00 p/student, p/yr, many other districts over the hill, and throughout the state receive $13,500 p/student, p/yr. Makes it tough to compete.
•  School Funding is a very complex issue, but the foundation is based on density. In that regard, CUSD children will always be at the back of the line until the formula is changed. Although the consequences of this formulation are local, the real problem with financing public education in California starts with Sacramento.

I have a very difficult time endorsing a candidate who has sued the District twice, then elected to run for the District Board. I believe I’m in a good position to make that claim. I was in a very similar position one year ago. I felt I had to make a choice; sue the City, or run for City Council. I chose to run (for those of you that are unaware, I was not elected). When one sues, it’s been my experience that everyone loses; it’s merely the degree of loss. The conflict arising in this election is a good example of that. Ms. Fisher will not get my vote.

George Muteff

Don Bacon,

Regarding the ‘Incumbent Slate”: one absent is a scheduling problem, two is a coincidence, three absent is a BOYCOT!

With the exception of Kings Mountain, ALL the at the school, ‘meet the candidates’ were canceled!

Superintendent Bayless ‘commanded contact at schools only through him’!

Remember, that he received a SECRET new contract signed by the two incumbents!

Superintendent Bayless and Board President Jolanda Schreurs suppressed this year’s enrolment report!    A 6.7% drop!

“Aren’t candidates routinely given the opportunity to provide input on the format of electoral forums at which they are expected to appear?”
NO! Unless you are referring to the “Incumbent Slate”!

Lastly, regarding the PCF, MOM or what ever they are calling themselves this election cycle, that: I DID BOYCOT! 

“Stay the Course?” Or “Change The Course!”
Ken Johnson

Comment 54
Sat, November 4, 2006 11:04pm
Ken King
All my comments

CCF (and PCF) found a pliant candidate in Kirk Reimer to round out its slate. No surprise that LCP members rank competence over political loyalty in choosing who to vote for the school board.

Mr. Ginna implies Leland Yee’s $500 donation to Pam Fisher is suspect, since Yee appears to gain nothing by Fisher’s election. Ginna wonders if Fisher even met with Yee—I wonder at Mr. Ginna’s naivet�. Yee not only met with Pam Fisher, but was sufficiently impressed to make a substantial contribution to her campaign. Some may remember that Mr. Yee was a college teacher before going into politics, so besides being a dedicated educator himself, knows one when he sees one.

Nick Casey wrote a piece on the CUSD candidates Financial Form 460 filings to the County Election Board. His report is accurate, but might need a little enhancement. I saw some minor issues with all the ones I reviewed, but nothing too serious for any, other than Ms. Fisher’s. To highlight the major discrepancies;

•  It is my understanding that Ms. Fisher has received in-kind contributions that I did not see in her filings. (All the signage, materials included.)
•  Ms. Fisher placed two ads in the Review (which endorsed her). Both of those ads were paid for prior to the filing deadline, therefore should have been included in the filings. The dollar amount was in the neighborhood of $2,100.00. There is no accounting for this.
•  Ms. Fisher sent out mailers, and placed door hangers in some neighborhoods. They were two different pieces. The costs of layout, printing, mailing, and hanging the door hangers are not delineated in her filings. 

Although these are certainly not felonious occurrences, full disclosure is the whole purpose behind the State’s requirements for filing. I imagine they do things a little different in Rhode Island; however I suspect they too have filing requirements, so this should not be foreign to Ms. Fisher.

Following the money tends to lead to some interesting conclusions. It’s hard to do that when all contributions and known expenditures aren’t filed.

George Muteff

Comment 56
Sun, November 5, 2006 3:00pm
All my comments

I disagree with Eric Nelson’s contention that Cunha’s enrollment drop is a function of not having built a new middle school, mainly because that drop only reflects the K-12 enrollment drop. Eric’s other reasons are more plausible—demographic changes and a general dissatisfaction with the district.

The board’s rather stubborn refusal to investigate the reason for the district’s falling enrollment is perplexing, ever since I raised the question in 2002. If parents are really sending their children elsewhere, we really ought to find out why. On the other hand, if the drop is due to ongoing coastside demographics, we ought to find out what that implies for future enrollment.

“So why should I vote for any of them?  Because not voting won’t change anything.  I do not know what the best combination of change and retention will move things forward, but something different has to happen.” Thus Eric.

Here we agree, and here’s the scorecard. Schreurs and Wilson are business as usual, having already served for four or more years each. Riemer has firmly aligned himself with the status quo.

That leaves Pam Fisher and Ken Johnson as the only agents of any change whatsoever. Pam’s a relative newcomer to the district, which in this case may well be a plus, and has impressive credentials. I don’t always agree with Ken’s views, but he’s certainly dedicated, and it sure as heck won’t be business as usual if he’s elected to the board.

Counting Riemer, the incumbents are guaranteed a minimum of three of the five board seats. Do they deserve all five? I think not.

Comment 57
Sun, November 5, 2006 10:53pm
Ken King
All my comments

Dwight Wilson must shake his head about how his handlers opted to push the unknown Reimer over Wilson, a cynical ploy at bottom. Witness the plethora of split campaign signs with Reimer’s name over Wilson’s, as if Wilson is boosting Reimer on his shoulders.

If that isn’t galling enough, Wilson, the largest vote getter in the school board race four years ago, appears at the bottom of the Review ad with Jolanda Schreurs on top and Kirk Reimer again straddling Dwight’s fictive shoulders. (Post cards printed in the same format are blanketing the Coastside.)

I wonder if voters are so easy to manipulate as this, and I’m sure Dwight Wilson must wonder about this too.

I don’t see how any informed voter can think that the CUSD school district is doing just fine. The district’s customers are fleeing, which means that the product being offered to the public is subpar. 

If the Schreurs-RIEMER-Wilson ticket is elected, (format taken directly from their huge Hwy 92 sign) then nothing is going to change.

Maybe when all the local realtors wake up to the fact that the quality of the local school system is not exactly a major selling point, we’ll finally get some new leadership on the school board.

Mr. King is quick to “forget” the LCP’s Blue/Red/White (so patriotic) Grady-Ferreira-Skinner signs, almost all of which had Skinner at the bottom, coincidentally where Mr. Skinner finished, taking valuable votes from Ferreira.

Trying to grab three City Council seats but only winning one - now that is some fine campaign strategy!

The two posts above mine seem awfully desparate.  Makes me think the polling for Fisher is not going so well.

Johnson gets short shift again from most.  Dedication does mean a lot, and in Fisher’s case, we know there has been none (quite the opposite!)

Comment 60
Mon, November 6, 2006 9:30am
Ken King
All my comments

One more brilliant Ginna “insight” pertaining to CUSD election. By his logic, Steve Skinner would now be on HMB’s council had his name been promoted above Grady and Ferreira’s. We might now guess why CCF placed Wilson’s name last: they want him to lose!

Cute !!!! The real crux of the CUSD campaign that matters has finally been revealed.
The order of the candidates on signs.

Never mind past performance or possible future performance for any one of the 6 candidates. Never mind facts and data about running the school district for it’s primary purpose, education. Never mind the qualifications of the 6 candidates for taking the district where it should be or where it should have been years ago.

Once we know the hidden and secrete purpose of order of candidates on signs, the educational and finical issues facing the district will drift away like fog clearing out for the sun.

And if sign ordered doesn’t help voters make a decision, we can always go to the old standby criteria, only actions that have nothing to do with being a board member, meeting the educational objectives of the district, is what is truly important.

We absolutely deserve the government we get.

“We might now guess why CCF placed Wilson’s name last: they want him to lose!”

Readers should ask themselves why Mr. King insists on consistently mistating a fact he knows very well - the signs are the work of PCF, not CCF.  They are different organzations (and I belong to neither).  Why Mr. King brought it up in the first place is a mystery, but I find it funny that he once again resorts to his “let’s twist the logic of the original argument to fit my funny retort” argument style.  Hopefully after the election you can send the Review a few more pointers on arguing styles so the electorate can be more informed.  Lord knows you are not going to inform them on the important issues (like how much support you are giving to a particular candidate).

“We absolutely deserve the government we get.”

And I can say to Mr. Ptacek is that I am glad you have given me an opportunity to not for for you.  I thought I would have to live in Montara to get that.  Why the elected officials in Montara act the way they do is astounding.

Comment 63
Mon, November 6, 2006 5:15pm
Ken King
All my comments

Had PCF signs bothered with truth in advertising, they’d have displayed Riemer’s name under Schreurs’—remember that they worked together to elect Charlie Gardner to CUSD board in 05?

PCF’s strategy was to distance Schreurs and Riemer’s names because of the taint of “the ad,” the one they camouflaged to look like Lundell’s in the Review in 05. So Ms. Schreurs has her own signs to bolster an independent image, while Mr. Wilson gets to play second fiddle to Kirk Riemer. Image management 1a.


and you have the gall to complain how others phrase things and insinuate and insult. Man what are you smokin’.

I am very glad you have the opportunity to not vote for me. I would actually consider it an honor and badge of courage not to receive your vote.

Since you know nothing of my positions or values yet find that the fact I’m running for an office offends you so much that you have the need to spill venom in public without any supporting arguments is the best evidence yet that my desire to serve the majority and do the right things for the community is on track.

I’ve read your various posts and based on how you treat other people, I am very glad that I do not appeal to you. If you thought I was doing the right things, I’d quit.

Comment 65
Mon, November 6, 2006 10:01pm
Ray Olson
All my comments

I have a question for Ken Johnson.
I have a concern that if he is on the board he would be obstructive and not constructive in getting things accomplished. I state this concern due to his past statements that have been very critical of the board, his oppposition to Measure S, and his negative comments when attending school board meetings. Ken, how would you work with current board members to make sure that you are a value-added member of the board? How would work to a comprised solution (at certain times) so that you are doing what the public wants you to accomplish. Given your past record, I don’t see how any other folks could vote for you, but I would like to hear what your response to my concerns would be

Comment 66
Mon, November 6, 2006 10:07pm
Ray Olson
All my comments

I would not disregard the opinion that Cunha’s enrollment has gone down due to no new middle school. I know of several parents that have stated as such. And I know many parents are fed up with the past history of no middle school being built, but only with the recent board has progress been made. However, for some parents it may have been a decision that was too late in coming.

Mr. King, you were doing so well with the ‘can’t we all just get along’ theme. What happened?

Regarding ‘PCF’s strategy’; what strategy? Is there a strategy that PCF has that I missed?  PCF held an interview for all CUSD candidates that wished to participate. Four did. You may remember it; you were there, and welcome, I might add. You participated in the process. It was a fair and open process. After the interviews, the selection committee, about a dozen local residents, discussed, then voted on whom to endorse. They chose to endorse Schreurs, Wilson, and Riemer. That’s it!

I left the room a couple times, for a few minutes each time. Did those guys talk strategy while I was gone? I’m sure there was no talk of strategy while I was there, so it must have been when I stepped out. I’ll have to ask those sneaky little devils about that next time I see them. It’s getting to the point where nobody can be trusted.

PCF interviewed all interested candidates. PCF picked three, for three open seats on the CUSD Board. PCF made some signs, and placed them. End of story. It’s that simple. Although your assertion is interesting, and far smarter than anything I could come up with, it’s completely baseless, and false.

I liked that Ken King that took the broader perspective (posted 11/02, @ 6:39 PM). Can he come out and play?

George Muteff

Regarding the post a few days ago about campaign contributions, it seems that 83% of Kirk Riemer’s contribution dollars were from just two people.  It would be instructive to know how many people contributed to Pam Fischer’s “second place” dollar total.  I’m betting that it’s spread out a lot more than 83% from two people.

Jonathan Lundell wrote: Counting Riemer, the incumbents are guaranteed a minimum of three of the five board seats. Do they deserve all five? I think not.

Hello?  I’ve seen at least two reports that Bob Ptacek is running as a write-in.  So anyone who isn’t interested in more-of-the-same actually has 3 new people to vote for.  (Amusing that all 3 have 3 letter nicknames—Pam, Ken, Bob.)

Comment 69
Tue, November 7, 2006 7:14am
All my comments

Ray, I don’t doubt that there’s been a lot of frustration with the slow pace of building the middle school. It’s now more than ten years since the construction bond was passed, and while it appears that progress is being made, ten years without breaking ground is way too long.

My point, though, is that K-5 enrollment, for example, has dropped just about as fast as middle school enrollment, and high school enrollment nearly as fast.

Go back and look at the record: the current board was dragged kicking and screaming to the decision they finally made, and even that was dragged out for months, well after the independent advisory body made it crystal clear that they were riding the wrong horse.

Falling enrollment saved the district from the consequences of inaction on the middle school in at least one respect: it solved the overcrowding problem.

But as a result of construction cost increases since bond passage, building the new middle school at Cunha, even though it’s much less expensive than the Wavecrest boondoggle, is going to exhaust the district’s facilities fund. That means no performing arts center, and worse, no funds for needed improvements at the K-5 sites. How kindly will voters look on yet another facilities bond?

Comment 70
Tue, November 7, 2006 9:34am
Ken King
All my comments

Mr. Muteff’s parsing of my 11/02 message misses the mark, since I didn’t suggest, “that can’t we all just get along.” That sounds nice, but doesn’t strike me as a realistic goal given the inverted order of our respective values I mentioned in that post.

What I did suggest is that given our differences, we should all strive for clear communication with less intense emotional expression because to the degree we stay on message, to that degree we can talk with and to each other. Brian Ginna’s tone and tactics beget Bob Ptacek’s stinging reply. That was out of character for Ptacek, who as much as anyone I’ve read in public forums, engages issues with facts and rational discussion. Mr. Ginna’s style of slashing attacks, vituperation, and innuendo is not of much use as an epistemological tool, to put it mildly.

Regarding PCF’s hand in electioneering, it is the political action committee associated with CCF, the self-proclaimed educational organization. Mr. Ginna says I know the difference, but I confess that because of overlapping membership and goals, I find the two confusing. CCF first made its appearance advocating for Foothill Blvd—remember Mr. Bacon’s campaign here on Coastsider? which by all appearances looked like the politicized a priori arguments of a Pac, not those of a so-called “educational” group.

I attended the PCF forum with Charlie Gardner thinking CCF hosted it, but just afterward he mentioned the legal distinction between the two, although I’d gone knowing he was the president of CCF. I’ll admit confusion about the two entities. In PCF and CCF are current and past CUSD trustees, some of whom previously helped elect these same candidates they were now interviewing and endorsing. This cozy set of relationships formalized into different tax status groups doesn’t fool anyone about the raw intention to dominate, and politicize, every elected office on the Coastside.

Comment 71
Tue, November 7, 2006 11:13am
Ken Johnson
All my comments

Ray Olson,

Would I be “Obstructive” if:
Jolanda wanted to move the middle school site back to Wavecrest after the election;
Dwight and Jolanda wanted to approve contracts in secret again, ignoring state law;
Dwight and Jolanda wanted to again suppress public documents;
Dwight and Jolanda wanted again to approve non competitive bids and cut out local business people;

My hope is that it is an incumbent free zone!

With that said; I welcome all reasoned open rational legal discussion.

Sometimes you agree, disagree, or agree to disagree and move on to the next item.

If you ever do attend your first school board meeting, I would feel obliged to treat you with respect if you wished to address the board - that alone is worth your vote.

“Stay the Course?” Or “Change The Course!”

Ken Johnson

Comment 72
Tue, November 7, 2006 11:25am
All my comments

Leonard: I’d have voted for Bob, it’s true, except that I found out he was running a week before election day, and I (along with, I’d guess, roughly half the district’s voters) had already voted.

Best of luck to Bob, nonetheless.

Comment 73
Tue, November 7, 2006 11:55am
Ray Olson
All my comments

Good information Jonathan on the dropping of enrollment, and it makes logical sense.

As to the point about “Kicking and Screaming”. I don’t necessarily view it that way. How I would view it is this way: When voters approved the measure for a new middle, they expected to see a “NEW” middle school. The board was trying to accomplish what was promised to the voters, but had to fall short due to other obstructions. It was thus a decision that was not exactly what the voters had voted for. The point about increasing construction costs is another justification for trying to build a “new” school. What we are left with is paying for a total retrofit of an old building, which means less “features” that could be obtained with a new school.

Comment 74
Tue, November 7, 2006 12:09pm
Ray Olson
All my comments

Ken Johnson,
I’m sorry but I don’t think you answered my questions.. you just replied with other questions. I think my concern is an important point for all persons thinking about voting for you. How would you work effectively with the rest of the team, in order to make strides in our school?

You did mention something that would lead me to believe I shouldn’t vote for you. You state “an incumbent free zone”. This shows me you may have some personal attitudes towards other board members.

Comment 75
Tue, November 7, 2006 12:17pm
Ken Johnson
All my comments


There seems to be the usual disinformation campaign underway from the ‘usual’ source.

Enrolment CUSD last year 3,507
Enrolment CUSD this year 3,288

You can confirm my statement:
“we started this September with just fewer than 3,300 students.”
Roy Salume serves as a trustee for the Cabrillo Unified School District.

Surprise, usual disinformation desperate campaign source, is the same one who suppressed the public release of the information!

I’ll trust Mr. Salume, who is retiring from the School Board with his honour intact!
“Stay the Course?” Or “Change The Course!”
Ken Johnson

Comment 76
Tue, November 7, 2006 1:10pm
All my comments

Ray, what features have you noticed that are present in the Wavecrest design and absent in the Cunha design? Having reviewed the Wavecrest design in some detail, and having attended some of the Cunha architectural review meetings, it seems to me that the Cunha design is quite a bit nicer, and “new” by any meaningful definition of the word.

The independent review committee determined that the Wavecrest construction project would cost considerably more than the Cunha project, and take considerably longer. I don’t have my copy handy, but the numbers are available here on Coastsider (Barry might even link to them…).

Regardless of which site was chosen, though, the cost would have been far less 6-7 years ago.

Why did it take so long to do what in retrospect seems inevitable? My best answer is twofold. One is that the Wavecrest developer was in no hurry to move the project forward, and the way the agreement was structured, the district had to wait for the developer. The other was that the board (though not, to its credit, the administration) became fixated on the Wavecrest site, believing, somewhat credulously, that things would work out Real Soon Now.

The arguments against Cunha were trotted out year after year, until they were finally debunked by the expert committee.


Let me say a word in Ken Johnson’s favor. There’s no reason that we should be looking for constant consensus on the school board. There’s nothing that the board does that requires a 5-0 vote, and the lack of a real diversity of views on the board for many years now has not been helpful.

If a few votes end up 4-1 or 3-2, what’s wrong with that. Heck, maybe Ken will even win a few; he’s certainly a dedicated student of the district. What we don’t need is another board member who can’t find anything at all wrong with the current board.

Hi All,
Hope everyone who didn’t do an absentee went out to vote already.  I tried the new machine - interesting - I thought it would be a touch screen.  But of course it had to be some kind of computer voting machine no one has seen before.  Not hard to use, but different.  Anyway….
I was wondering the other day about the low enrollment numbers that are being flung around here lately.
As the baby boomers age, and their children are already cycled through the school system, wouldn’t it just be a given that there are less children enrolled in schools?  I believe they consider most baby boomers to be about fifty right now.
I’m not trying to argue with anyone, just curious about the facts.

Comment 78
Tue, November 7, 2006 3:20pm
Ray Olson
All my comments

You make a good point on the voting, being that it doesn’t necessarily require a unanimous decision. My point is about the details of a decision and trying to add value (because it is in the public’s best interest), even though you are opposing something. My guess is that Ken would oppose most things, but I would take that even further and state that he wouldn’t want to try and add to the solution, even though he may be on the losing side. We do this every day in business life, I would expect that of him if I were to vote for him. This of course is my opinion.

And I agree with you on the inevitability of the increased costs due to delayed construction. I don’t want to dwell on that fact since nothing can be done about it at this point, and I would rather move forward and press for a completion schedule.

As to the new design, I have to say I have not looked at it for a while, but I am very interested in doing so. I did look at the information regarding the proposed Wavecrest site and from memory I believe there were quite a bit new benefits to that site. And don’t get me wrong.. I am very happy we finally made some decision and moved on, and want to make it the best it can be. But, I have to say that it is not what the original voters were expecting.

Comment 79
Tue, November 7, 2006 3:37pm
All my comments

Bev, if the underlying cause of the enrollment drop was the graduation of boomer kids, we’d expect to see the same pattern statewide (indeed, nationwide), but we don’t.

The population of San Mate County has been dropping in recent years, but not nearly as fast as CUSD enrollment (and I don’t think that coastside population has dropped, though I don’t have numbers).

My underlying point is that we (and the district) don’t know why enrollment has been dropping steadily for the last 10 years. But we do know that enrollment trends have a profound effect on how the district must plan for the future, and the board’s reluctance (“refusal” would be a fair characterization) to look into the issue has always puzzled me.

The district did a study in 1995-96 that culminated in a Facilities Master Plan. That plan asked the district to follow up with an annual review, but ten years later there’s never been such a review.

Ken Johnson mentioned that the current district enrollment is 3,281. The district’s master plan, from 1996, predicted it would be 5,072, which was a big part of the motivation for the facilities bond (Measure K) that funded the middle school construction.

It’s easy to see why it’s a good idea to review—and correct—the master plan.

Comment 80
Tue, November 7, 2006 3:56pm
All my comments

Ray, it’s hard to say at this late date what the voters were expecting, back in 1996, but I think we can say this much with confidence.

* They knew that the current (1996) enrollment was about 3850.

* They knew that the district projected 2006 enrollment to be over 5000. They didn’t know that it would instead fall to less than 3300.

* They would have been very surprised to learn that, ten years later, middle school construction had not yet started.

What I’m trying to say is that we need to remember that whatever the voters expected in 1996, they expected it based on assumptions that turned out to be wrong. We need to make our decisions today based on the best information we have today.

(And, for what it’s worth, the expert committee included a bond counsel who assured the board that the Cunha project was entirely consistent with the terms of the bond—contrary to what the board had been insisting.)

The La Honda Pescadero School District did an informal exit poll for students leaving the district.  The reasons are so varied, religious school, prep school, sports school, special arts schools, and the migrant population must vary every year as well.  I know that some students do not attend school from November through January as they go home to Mexico for the Holidays.
As a parent watching some children leave the coast for other schools it usually is for some reason other than an aging middle school.  Also I have seen students who have attended schools over the hill return to the coast as the driving times and demanding schedules pay a large toll on them and their parents.
Additionally, Seacrest has probably taken some students would otherwise have been enrolled in the district.