Normandin Booster Needs a Civics Lesson

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In her letter to the editor (“Writer Questions GOP Involvement in School Race,” Indy Dec. 5), Mary Jo Winefordner stumbles into the argument it’s wrong for the Republican Party to support candidates for non-partisan School Board seats.

In remedial Civics 101 she would learn City Council and School Board seats are classified as non-partisan so candidates for these offices don’t run in primaries to be on the general election ballot.  That doesn’t limit First Amendment freedom of speech and political association protecting rights of candidates and supporters to campaign based on party affiliation.

It is part of the mediocrity and hypocrisy of Laguna Beach political culture that Democrats run for non-partisan office on Democrat candidate slates and no one seems to notice. But when Republicans dare to do the same it somehow is undue partisanship. LBGOP adopted a platform on schools and endorsed two candidates by votes under our bylaws, that is how we do things in America.

Winefordner also renews the attack on first time candidate Annette Gibson for “severe lack of qualifications…including not having any vested interest of any kind in public education.” Of course, as a resident and taxpayer in our school district who went to public schools K through college, Gibson was qualified for the ballot and to serve. But Winefordner betrays her true subjective motives by describing Gibson as an “unconnected…single issue candidate” whose campaign deservedly ended in “defeat by a large margin.”

First, national studies show conflicts of interest and inappropriate motives impede school board performance when members have “vested interests” in schools.  Someone not “connected” in the little world of school board, PTA, Schoolpower “vested interests” is just what LBUSD needs.

Gibson made Common Core the central focus, and that is not a “single issue” at all, but rather will impact every issue facing students, parents and teachers in our schools. Gibson’s honesty forced Normandin and Brown to show their true colors as unquestioning advocates of Common Core, and that will not be forgotten by voters when the day of reckoning on Common Core comes.

Finally, in an election with 17,418 votes cast for school board, a shift of less 444 votes to Gibson and the same number away from Normandin to the three other candidates and Gibson would have beat Normandin.  For a candidate qualified by being “unconnected” in the petty, incestuous politics of LBUSD, Gibson made this the most substantively contested school board election.

Christopher Kling, Laguna Beach

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  1. After losing in the school board election, Annette Gibson decided to attend her second school board meeting on Tuesday to spew forth her continuing fears about Common Core. The basis for her current unchecked alarm came from a forum she attended that was sponsored by certain members of the Board of Trustees recently elected to the Orange County Board of Education. This is akin to attending a meeting of the Flat Earth Society, then excitedly coming back to share all the new “facts” that one has learned about the subject of geography. Gibson’s scant research and selective citing of those few experts who support her contentions actually do well to demonstrate the need to teach critical thinking in our public schools (a key Common Core objective!).


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