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Jordan BrandmanI have noted on this blog numerous times of the disconnect between the lead plaintiff on the ACLU lawsuit seeking to force single-member districts on the Anaheim City Council while simultaneously doing nothing to bring them to the Anaheim City School District – in spite of the fact that the circumstance Jose Moreno says warrant them in the City of Anaheim are equally present in the ACSD.

Last night, a different advocate of single-member districts stepped forward to impel the ACSD to action. Anaheim City Councilman Jordan Brandman attended the meeting of the ASCD Board of Education. During public comments, he invoked Section 35145.5 of the California Education Code and requested of the Board that:

“the following two ACTION items be placed on the Anaheim City School District Board of Education Agenda for your next regularly scheduled meeting on January 27:

1. Adopt a revised Board policy to shift to By-Trustee/By-Governing Board Member Area/Single Member District elections for the November 2014 General Election, and 2. Adopt a resolution seeking a waiver from the California Department of Education of the requirement that board member areas and adoption of a By-Trustee/By-Governing Board Member Area/Single Member District election process be submitted to the electors for approval in November 2014, as set forth in Education Code Sections 5019, 5020, 5021, and 5030, inclusive.”

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Jose Moreno jedi mind tricksI’ve written previously that Jose Moreno, the lead plaintiff in the ACLU lawsuit seeking to impose single-member council districts on the people of Anaheim, has made no effort to shift elections to the Anaheim City School District Board of Education from at-large to the single-member districts he judges so critical to democracy.

Moreno is a member of the ACSD Governing Board of Education, and he can push to have the ACSD adopt by-district election without filing a lawsuit or going to a vote of the people.

Moreno is basically claiming the Anaheim should have more Latinos on the city council since the city’s population is 54% Latino, and citing the [intellectually dishonest] factoid that only three Latinos (or four, if one considers Lorri Galloway’s Latina blood content high enough) on the Anaheim City Council since the city’s founding.

The same conditions which Moreno deplores in the City of Anaheim are present in the Anaheim City School District. only more so.

64% of the 203,816 people who live in the ACSD are Latinos.

86.3% of ACSD students are Latino.

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In addition to the proposed addition to the governing board bylaws regarding how it is elected, there was another interesting item on the agenda of last night’s Anaheim City School District Board of Education agenda – related to paying for candidate statements.

Candidate statements are probably the single most important communication a school board candidate has with the public. It’s the candidate’s chance to explain their stands and issues in 200 or 400 words, and it goes to every voter in the OC Registrar of Voters sample ballot..

Traditionally, the candidate is responsible for reimbursing the OC Registrar for the cost of the printing and mailing the statement. that is the case in every Orange County jurisdiction with an elected body, and the Anaheim City School District — currently — is no different:

The district shall assume no part of the cost of printing, handling, translating, or mailing of candidate statements filed pursuant to Elections Code 13307. As a condition of having candidate statements included in the voter’s pamphlet, the district may require candidates to pay their estimated pro rata share of these costs to the district in advance pursuant to Elections Code 13307

Last night’s agenda item on the subject asked the governing board members to keep the current policy or replace it with this:

In order to help defray the costs of campaigning for the Board, the district shall pay the cost of printing, handling, translating, and mailing candidate statements filed pursuant to Elections Code 13307.

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"We don't need single-member districts at ACSD!"

“We don’t need single-member districts at ACSD!”

Let’s say a member of a school district board of education was the lead plaintiff in litigation against the city in which his district was located, alleging the at-large council election system disenfranchised the city’s Latino majority and asking the court to force a change to electing councilmembers from single-member districts.

Let’s also say this same school board member was himself elected at-large to a five-member board of education that had only two Latino members – despite a student population and voting base that are even more overwhelmingly Latino than the city in which the district is located.

Let us further posit that the board of education on which the plaintiff served could switch from at-large elections to single-member district elections at any time, by its own action, without even having to put it to a vote of the people. All that would be required would be action by the board and a waiver from the state Board of Education – which has granted such waivers to other school districts.

Let us further suppose that despite months of heavy coverage of this plaintiff’s lawsuit, no media outlet (save one) ever raised the question of why that plaintiff had never sought to enact within his own school district what he was trying to impose on the city in question via litigation? It is, after all, a reasonable and screamingly obvious question — and the failure to pose it raises its own set of questions.

Why Hasn’t Moreno’s Anaheim City School District Abandoned At-Large Elections?
Of course, this isn’t a hypothetical but a reality:  it is true that Anaheim City School District Board of Education member Jose Moreno is the lead plaintiff in the ACLU lawsuit seeking to impose single-member council districts in the City of Anaheim.

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"Parents: sorry but seeking your input is not politically advantageous to me at this time."

“Parents: sorry but seeking your input is not politically advantageous to me at this time.”

A couple of weeks ago, Dr. Jose F. Moreno, in his capacity as head of Los Amigos, issued a call for the City of Anaheim to hold a series of public forums at which “residents, community organizations and stakeholders” — i.e., scripted participants recruited by Los Amigos and allied interests —  could “provide input in the characteristics that their city needs in a new City Manager.” My suspicion is the real purpose was to have the city do the work of organizing events to which Moreno could invite the media to report on what he and his comrades had to say.

So, it is interesting that when it came to pushing out Dr. Roberto Baeza, the popular and effective principal of Benito Juarez Elementary School, Moreno – in his capacity as the de facto jefe of the Anaheim City School District Board of Education — had no interest in having the affected stakeholders (parents) provide input on keeping the principal they have and want to keep.

It’s sort of like how Moreno agreed to be lead plaintiff in the ACLU’s lawsuit against the City of Anaheim for allegedly not electing enough Latinos to the City Council, but takes no such action against his own Anaheim City School District Board — which has had proportionately fewer Latinos elected to it.

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Dr. Roberto Baeza

Dr. Roberto Baeza

This is a bit unusual for me, but I’d like to re-publish, as a  stand-alone post, this comment left early this morning by a “Heather J” regarding the decision by the brand-new superintendent of the Anaheim City School District (ACSD) to transfer the popular and successful principal of Benito Juarez Elementary School – apparently in the face of opposition from parents — barely two weeks after she arrived at ACSD.

While the commenter used a pseudonym, I reached out to others knowledgeable about Anaheim schools and corroborated what the commenter is saying.

According to the comment, there is a rally of school parents this evening at Juarez Park.

Now, for the comment itself [NOTE – in response to valid criticism from some commenters, I’ve edited the following to keep the focus on Benito Juarez Elementary.]:

Moreno asks for transparency???? What a hypocrite! He is a tyrant and a showman.

Last week, it was announced that the principal of Benito Juarez Elementary School in the Anaheim City School District would be transferred to another Anaheim school. Dr. Roberto Baeza is just now reaching his 5th year as our principal. If you look up the test scores of our school, which is the current gauge for current accountability efforts, Juarez has had an upward trend since Dr. Baeza arrived at the school. I mention test scores only because progress as measured by test scores is evident under the leadership of Dr. Baeza.

But that is not all he has achieved in his 5 years as principal. Parent engagement is up. The children love our principal. He is connected to them and it is evident as you walk the campus with him. We, the parents, trust this man to be in charge of our children’s education. His rapport with all in this community is evident in how approachable he is to children and adults alike. He has rid our school of mediocre teachers and is vigilant about our children’s safety.

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Megaphoning for socio-ethnic justice for a peacefully diverse environment.

There are three plaintiffs to the ACLU’s lawsuit against the City of Anaheim, seeking to force the replacement of the current at-large council election system with election by districts. One of them is Dr. Jose Moreno, a member of the Anaheim City School District Board of Trustees.

The basis of the lawsuit is that Anaheim’s current system violates the California Voting Rights Act because not enough Latinos have been elected to the council of a city that is 50% Latino, and believe a district-based system will ensure the candidates of the right ethnicity are elected.

Which leads me to ask: why doesn’t Moreno sue the Anaheim City School District? After all the Latinos are the dominant ethnic group in the district. The vast majority of the students are Hispanic. And yet, four of the five members of the Board of Education are white:

Mighty white.

This week’s election changed nothing. Two union-backed candidates, Al Jabbar and John Santoianni, went down in flames. Board of Education member James Vanderbilt was re-elected, and will be joined by a former ACSD principal, Bob Gardner, who is also unarguably a white guy:

Bob Gardner.

If matching the ethnic composition of a jurisdiction’s elected officials with that of the residents is the sine qua non of representation — which is the underlying rationale of the ACLU/Moreno’s lawsuit — then shouldn’t Moreno lead by example by suing his own school district for being so unrepresentative of the community? Are not the same conditions that exist in the City of Anaheim also present in the Anaheim City School District — only more so? The ACSD’s Board of Trustees is elected at large — and is whiter than the Anaheim City Council.

What argument could be made against Moreno suing to implement trustee districts, other than being indecorous and not very cricket?

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