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Friday, May 6, 2005

Won't you please, please help me

I must confess, I don't know what to do with the election ballot that's sitting on my desk. For those of you not from Oregon, all voting out here, even by dead people, is done by mail. And on the ballot, due a week from Tuesday, are six races, all contested, for positions on various education-related public boards.

These are folks who want to take a turn presiding over the steady dismantling of Oregon's once-proud public school system. You can debate why it's happening, but there's no denying that trend.

Anyway, I'm inspired by Barry over at Alas, a Blog, who earlier in the week "asked the blog" for help, and got it. He was looking for ideas to round out a cartoon he was drawing, and he got some amusing ones from his dedicated readers.

My predicament is nowhere near as much fun, of course. But if any knowledgeable folk would like to enlighten me as to whom to vote for in these races, and why, I'm all ears:

Multnomah Education Service District Position 2: Sonja-Jean Harju, Sy Kornbrodt, Jim Davis, George Shepard. My early reaction: Kornbrodt and Davis are these, shall we say, offbeat characters who always have their pictures in the voter's pamphlet, aren't they? So they're out. And I've got a definite bias against folks with hyphenated names, particularly first names.

Multnomah Education Service District Position 3: Harry Ainsworth, John Sweeney.

Portland Community College: George Hendrix, Jim D. Harper, Richard F. LaMountain. My early reaction: Any relation to Jimi? Again, name trouble with LaMountain.

Portland School Board, Zone 4: Steve Buel, Sheryl J. Butler, Steve Kayles, Juanita V. Johnson, Dan Ryan, Charles McGee, III. My early reaction: I see a lot of Buel lawn signs. Between Juanita and LaMountain, I feel like I'm trapped in a Donovan song.

Portland School Board, Zone 5: Sonja Henning, Cy Nisenfeld, Steve Gunther, Jim Christiansen.

Portland School Board, Zone 6: Trudy Sargent, William J. McCloskey.

Thanks in advance for your help, folks.

Comments (9)

You can't blame a person for a hyphenated first name. That goes to the parents. The hyphenated last name....now THAT'S annoying.

The League of Women Voters of Portland did a Voters' Guide for the Portland school board races. You can find it at their web site (www.lwvpdx.org).

Portland Community College:

Go with Jim Harper. I worked with him for 4 years when he was on the board of a non-profit that I worked for. He is consistently one of the best people I have ever met and would be an asset to PCC.

I've heard nothing but good things about Sonja Henning from people I know and trust - people who have kids and skin in the game, no less (although I've not met her personally.)

For what it's worth...

I'm not denying the trend, but please don't think that there aren't good things still happening in the public schools. There are still great schools, students, and teachers.

Case in point from Tuesday's Oregonian: "Students from Portland's Grant High School placed second in a national constitutional law competition Monday, fielding questions on the Bill of Rights, U.S. history and Supreme Court rulings."

I know from personal experience that there are still great things happening in the Portland Public Schools. We can stem the tide if the funding and administration turn around.

I'm going with the Willi Week. I hate to delegate my job as a citizen, but studying for Contracts has priority right now.

I had a similar conundrum. Except for the one easy one- Sonja Henning is personable, reasonable, incredibly intelligent, and always able to focus on the end issue. And I have met her.

For the others, I read the voters pamphlet that came with. You can tell so much about people by how they represent themselves. I figured it like having resumes come across my desk; are they coherent, capable of running a spellchecker, etc.?

This is how I figured it- Steve Buel, because he has experience as a teacher and is well written. Although it was close between him and Dan Ryan (the other well written one.)

Trudy Sargent, because the other candidate sounded a bit out there, and she was endorsed by some people I respect.

And rounding it out with Sonja Henning in Zone 5(and the other folks in her district in no way sound qualified per the pamphlet; they sound a bit out there.)

I skipped MESD because none of them sounded good to me.

PCC I went with Jim Harper as he seemed to have a lot of experience.

I tried to be conscientious about my voting. *sigh*

I thought that I read that some of those folk think the the schools should teach crationism. Anyone know which ones?


I once meet Charles McGee and was amazed by his dedication to PPS. Although his age seems like a drawback, in some ways I wonder if a student right out of the district may offer tremendous insight.

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