News

Camille Townsend to seek third term on school board

First elected in 2003, board president says experience needed for budget challenges

Palo Alto school board President Camille Townsend announced Thursday, July 26, she will seek a third term on the board in this fall's election.

Alluding to her experience, Townsend said, "The current budget challenges, ongoing building projects and exciting education possibilities all make board experience more important than ever."

Townsend's declaration came just hours after fellow incumbent Barbara Klausner announced she will not seek a second term.

Thursday's declarations leave the race so far a non-competitive field of two incumbents and one newcomer seeking three available seats.

Melissa Baten Caswell, a one-term incumbent, qualified for the ballot July 24. Newcomer Heidi Emberling, a parent educator and active volunteer, has taken out nominating papers and is actively campaigning for a board seat.

In the event of an incumbent not filing by the nomination deadline of Aug. 10, the deadline is extended to Aug. 15. The election is Nov. 6.

Townsend, a lawyer and the parent of two Palo Alto High School graduates, was first elected in 2003 and re-elected in 2007. She was board president in 2006-07 and again in the current year.

In rare split votes on the board, both Caswell and Townsend parted with the majority on the 2009 decision to adopt the Everyday Mathematics curriculum for Palo Alto elementary schools, and on a decision this past year to shift the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic calendars to an earlier school start date in order to end the first semester before the December holidays.

Comments

Posted by ABC, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 26, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Here's my slogan: Don't forget your ABCs (Anyone But Camille)! We need someone strong enough and experienced enough in business to stand up to this superintendent. He has not been honest about counseling, about A-G, about a lot of things. He strong-arms the board. These ladies cannot stand up to him. These incumbents must go. We need a strong leader with proven experience. Wynn Hausser? Ken Dauber? Where are the leaders we need?


Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 26, 2012 at 4:12 pm

So happy that Camille is running for another term. She's someone that looks at the data, not the fad of the moment, to make the best decisions for our district. We need leaders like her that see the big picture.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Not sure I agree with you Paly Parent remembering Camille and the MI fiasco. Apart from that, she hasn't been too bad.

But, we do need a change of faces. I hope we have a few candidates from which to choose.


Posted by Hat Tip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Couldn't disagree with ABC more. Not only is ABC's post sexist, it is wrong. Those claims against Dr. Skelly have been credibly refuted repeatedly on this forum.

I haven't always agreed with Camille Townsend and Melissa Baten Caswell but I still tip my hat to them for volunteering to give our students another 4 years of their lives. Their 4 years of experience will bring level-headed decision making to our schools. When the going gets tough, their ability to call on relationships (in the district, in town and in the state) that they've built will prove to be invaluable too.

Here's to hoping that everyone in our community will let those running for school board be judged by their intellect, integrity, and civility rather than, as ABC desires, their brawn.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2012 at 6:45 pm

I applause Camille for running again. Being on the board is a thankless time consuming
Job. I think if people have trouble with Skelly then they should make a stink about him and not the board.
Camille is one of the few who actually look at data and
Recognizes that Palo Alto is unique and we don't have to follow
Every fad in public education. She is also thoughtful in that she explains how she formulates her position on issues which is helpful and gives me confidence in her ability.


Posted by No-Thanks-Camille, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2012 at 9:31 am

I will not be voting for Camille Townsend because:

o) Two terms is enough—democracy depends on multiple voices, not just the voices of a special few.
o) She exemplifies view that "elites" should be in control of local government.
o) Her refusal to even discuss "illegals" in PAUSD schools during here first term.
o) She seems to be opposed to the use of technology in schools.
o) Her belief that PAUSD schools should be open to anyone who wants to enroll here.
o) Her being an extreme pro-union supporter
o) Her behind-the-scenes activities that facilitated Mandarin Immersion.
o) Her support for the use of money from secret donors to fund Mandarin Immersion.
o) Her support for Everyday Math.
o) Her lack of support for PAUSD transparency.
o) Very little paper trail for her activities.
o) Little connection with the general community.
o) Her willing acceptance of the Superintendent's "confidential memos".

Democracies are frail things to begin with. When the diversity of voices that represent all of the people are silenced by the power of the rich, the few, the religious, the oligarchies—democratic institutions wither, and disappear.

There was no election for two seats two years ago. Now, we're seeing someone claim that she should be (effectively) a permanent/professional school board trustee. With these warning signs, people should take note and be certain not to return Camille Townsend to the school board.

It's times like these that we see the clear need for "Yes/No" voting, as well as "None of the Above".


Posted by Hat Tip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2012 at 10:14 am

No thanks,

Did you read the article?

Camille had the courage to cast a rare minority vote AGAINST Everyday Math.

I suspect your litany of other complaints are not correct either.


Posted by No-Thanks-Camille, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2012 at 10:20 am

> Camille had the courage to cast a rare minority
> vote AGAINST Everyday Math.

Sorry .. you are correct. My mistake.

Most of the other complaints are likely documented somewhere in the Weekly's archive. Unfortunately, the documentation of a board member's voting records is not readily accessible. The videos of the school board meetings go back only five years, and are not readily usable, unfortunately.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 27, 2012 at 11:33 am

I hold Camille responsible for the disaster that is Mandarin Immersion/Ohlone.

Thanks to Camille, Ohone is now a school with more than 600 students, but was unable to expand its own program because of MI. The waitlist for Ohlone main is huge at this point--over 100 families.

Meanwhile, teachers and kids having issues are falling through the cracks. Even though the district pushed a huge expansion on the school and other schools, such as Duveneck, there's been no expansion of the administrative staff to run things. Problems are not being dealt with.

How bad is MI? It's been a failure in multiple directions. Families who speak Mandarin fluently consider the program inadequate--their kids aren't learning enough Mandarin. From the Ohlone perspective, the MI classes are noticeably poorly behaved with multiple discipline problems. Teacher turnover has been a huge issue--every year at least one teacher in MI has been let go.

And, yes, there's been attrition. The kids who have dropped MI are being letting into Ohlone-main classes--despite there being a long waitlist to get into those classes.

Elsewhere in the district, I see huge building projects and mega-schools, while the board ignores the need to re-open Garland and a third high school. *EVEN THOUGH* we passed a bond issue to pay for the reopening of Garland.

Indeed, the one year enrollment was under the projections was used by the board to put off reopening Garland--*even though* every other year, actual enrollment has exceeded enrollment.

And, yes, the district's administration continues to be secretive and Skelly's choices have been questionable--such as his choice for principal at Paly--who somehow decided the police-state approach was suitable for a high-achieving suburban high school.

We're a strong school district because parents here aren't going to let their kids fail. But the board has not been a good board--it's short-sighted, lacks transparency and doesn't deal with hard questions.

Camille epitomizes many of the board's problems. She should absolutely not be re-elected.


Posted by John, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 27, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Public schools are an anachronism. Educational vouchers (publicly funded schloarships) should be handed out to parents, to allow them to choose the best school for their own children. Let a hundred flowers/schools bloom! Standardized tests will be the measure to show parents if their kids are doing well, or not.

We do not need any more fights about MI/SI, etc., in Palo Alto. Free our kids (and their parents)!


Posted by Twice is enough, a resident of Terman Middle School
on Jul 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Two terms are enough for Camille. Bow out like Barbara did and let her eight-year record speak for itself. She spoke a lot and even micromanaged, but actual accomplishments are difficult to see. We need new blood, and perhaps some members who are not lawyers would be best.


Posted by Annie, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 27, 2012 at 2:07 pm

I agree with OhlonePar about Camille and the MI debacle. There is no way I will vote for her.

I do hope OhlonePar that you are not talking about the current Paly principal. Phil Winston is the best thing to happen to Paly in years. His predecessor was the one who instituted the police state.


Posted by Someone get the hook, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 27, 2012 at 3:05 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm

I have two kids in the PAUSD system and have been a Palo Alto resident for over 25 years.

Camille has been a GREAT board member, willing to think outside the box, question the administration, and go the extra miles to ensure our students are getting the best education within the constraints of the Palo Alto Process. She knows how the system works, is professional, and represents all of Palo Alto, not just the north Palo Alto "elitists".

Four more years is not forever, but wonderful to bring continuity with strong education values.

Thanks for taking the plunge for another term, Camille!


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2012 at 5:07 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Her endless, pointless rambling, and exuberant praise of mediocrity has contributed to many 2am board meetings. It scares away real candidates with the thought of working with this crowd. I hope we get another choice: someone with critical thought, succinct expression, and a skeptical view of the district staff. Someone who can make sense in 3 minutes and get on with business.

Listening to our board members think out loud is likely a downside of the Brown Act - they have only the meetings in which to deliberate. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Time For Change Big Time, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2012 at 5:18 pm

A vote for Camille is a vote for the same old same old. We need change big time. I hope that some candidates with some new and innovative ideas come forth, candidates who are not afraid to stand up to the status quo. I was so impressed with the parent committee that came forth in the last several months that questioned the old guard. I was also impressed with what Barbara Klausner did by standing up to Skelly and asking him to do his job (as well as other good changes she supported). Alas, Barbara is leaving and we are forced to either accept the unexceptional or look elsewhere for new and vibrant leadership. Ken Dauber would be a great candidate. If he is willing, that is one person we could count on to support all the kids in the district equally. Unfortunately, I don't think that Wynn would want to run again but he certainly has his finger on the pulse of what would be some good forward direction for this district.


Posted by Hat Tip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2012 at 5:29 pm

OhlonePar,

As one of the most fervent anti-MI posters from 5 years back, your ongoing negative view of MI is not a surprise. Just note that a year or so ago the ENTIRE board was unanimous in its approval of MI after its 3 year pilot period ended after it discussed the very complaints you raised. Your focusing blame on Camille is misplaced.

Here are a few things to ponder so you don't feel Ohlone is being singled out:

Most of PAUSD's elementary schools have seen seemingly exponential growth and are impacted.

Ohlone's core program's growth has been capped for as long as I can remember, with a long waiting list that has been around for forever too.

With each year's persistent funding cuts, all schools have had to make do with less staff and resources.

As for the disgruntled MI families finding a mismatch between curriculum and learning needs, each school has unhappy parents who believe their child's needs are not being met, especially those who are being taught in English.

All the naysayers,

It's easy to criticize but IMHO the worst thing Palo Alto parents can do is attack our VOLUNTEER board members so no one will take on the job. Remember last election? Only incumbents put their name in.

Anyone who endures late night board meetings, oversees a very complex budget and manages complaining parents who publicly post untrue and nasty things about them on this forum, call them names and have lawyers watching their every move is a saint in my book.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 27, 2012 at 9:08 pm

First of all - I would like to thank ALL of our BOE for the VOLUNTEER service (OK, I think they might get paid $100 a month). For that they work countless hours, receive endless criticism and get very little thanks. Even if you don't agree with them, we need to be thankful to them for volunteering for one of the most time consuming BOE jobs in the country.

Thanks to Camille for running again. Thanks to Barbara Klausner for her service and willingness to speak out against our site-based management (which has its good points but precludes sharing best-practices in any meaningful way). Thanks to Mellissa for running again and Heidi for throwing her hat in the ring.

And to the rest of the whining people - either volunteer, support or provide constructive criticism backed with your time and effort. Don't just whine.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 27, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Annie,

No, I'm not talking about the current Paly principal. I'm glad we have someone sensible in there now.

Hat Tip,

Yep, the board caved years ago on MI--of course, they weren't going to open that can of worms again and face the possibility of a charter threat.

Nonetheless, as someone on the ground, I've seen the problems up close.

Ohlone's program was APPROVED for an expansion when MI came and nabbed that half strand. So, yes, MI cut in line. And, yes, the waitlist for Ohlone is substantially larger than it was at MI's inception.

And, yes, I objected to MI at Ohlone for that reason six years ago.

And I was right.

I also pointed out at the time that project-based learning was a poor fit for Mandarin and the Ohlone/MI mash-up wasn't conducive to good results for the immersion kids.

I was also right about that.

I also pointed out that there was going to be a lack of teachers who were both qualified to teach Mandarin and manage project-based learning.

I was also right about that.

And when someone's running for re-election, it is my duty as a citizen to speak up when I think someone in an elected position has done a poor job.

But thanks for reminding everyone that I objected to MI years ago. I think it would be great if they reviewed those threads and see just how flawed the decision-making was by the board. There we were facing huge issues with overcrowding, but the board spent, what, 25 damned meetings discussing Mandarin Immersion--a boutique program that would serve a small number of children.

And that was Camille Townsend's pet project. It's a failure--so much so that Grace Mah's been all over the place online trying to get enough kids for a single Mandarin middle-school class at any of the middle schools.

I'd appreciate the irony of it all if the kids weren't paying the price. (And, seriously, if MI were really a success don't you think Camille would be boasting about it instead of trying to pretend it doesn't exist?)

Palo Alto Mom, I don't know if you're considering my comments as whining--but I am and have always been an active school volunteer. That's why a) I know what's happened at Ohlone and b) why I care enough to post about it.

And I'd agree with Anonymous's comment that Camille is one of the reasons that the school-board meetings go on and on.

When someone's running for re-election, the only responsible thing to do is look at her record and consider why you'd want her to continue in office.

I don't want her making decisions that affect the future of our children. I don't trust her judgment. That good enough for you? Or am I supposed to grovel because Camille's an entitled matron who volunteers her time? (Give me a break.)


Posted by persuaded, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 28, 2012 at 1:12 am

I have opposed some of Camille Townsend's opinions, and I have supported others, but I have also come to respect how hard she has worked for our district. Even when I disagree, I recognize that she comes to her decisions from careful consideration. (I know *I* wouldn't want to do the job!) I will be voting for her even though I did not in the last election.


Posted by VotingforCamille, a resident of University South
on Jul 28, 2012 at 8:19 am

OhlonePar,

If you are going to base your vote on a single issue, then so be it.

But since MI passed 5 years ago, Camille and Melissa have spent 1,000s of hours working on other matters affecting students at ALL of our schools that have had far more serious consequences than what you claim ails Ohlone because of MI.

Have you supported or disdained Camille and Melissa's record on those, notably the two the article mentions - their votes against Everyday Math and the new calendar?

Ohlone STAR math scores are among the lowest in the district and so it has completely abandoned Everyday Math. Didn't C & M's insights and dislike of that very controversial and hugely expensive math program, which is still being taught to all elementary students other than Ohlone's despite their dislike of it too, align with the needs and interests of your and the entire PAUSD community?

Are you pleased with the new calendar that has parents K-12 screaming for lots of different reasons - but most notably the lack of any mitigations on high school workload that was supposed to accompany it since students' fall free time has been taken away to fit a semester's worth of school days in before Christmas? This impact without mitigations is what Camille and Melissa worried about.

The three other board members wished upon stars that it will all work out but, knowing that it might not, hid under the word "pilot" caring little about the harm inflicted if the pilot turned out not to turn out so well. (Sounds a bit like how MI was set up doesn't it?)

Melissa and Camille stood alone in their disdain for running an experiment on our community that to them so clearly put 1,000s of kids' health and happiness at risk.

Camille and Melissa's ability to think about students first may have not been enough to persuade other board members to change their course on these two issues, but they stood tall and tried.

That is what is called character and concern, two huge guiding principals that I will refer to when I vote this November.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 28, 2012 at 9:48 am

NO-Thanks-Camille
Have you ever personally reached out to Camille? I Have actually found that all of the board members (and even Skelly) are willing to talk about issues with pausd parents. I have approached them all about various issues and concerns and have found them to be willing to have thooughtful conversations with me. I think perhaps my non-confrontational manner might help. Who wants to be yellled at? We are all adults who should be able to recognize that different opinions and positions are in fact what makes a democracy WORK. Perhaps you state that Camille is not open to the community and haven't ever tried (in a polite way) to reach out? I question this since you also proclaimed she voted for EDM when in fact she didn't. Check the facts and only speak from experience please.


Posted by Agree, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 28, 2012 at 11:48 am

My experience is the same as above - I have found all the Board members have been happy to engage in thoughtful, informed discussions simply in respond to an email. Usually I find out things I didn't know that change my thinking; occasionally I think I have changed theirs. Agree that non-confrontational approach works far better.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm

VotingforCamille,

It's hardly a single issue--I've listed more than one--poor management of time, an unwillingess/inability to deal with bigger issues in a timely, thoughtful manner.

I have no problem with Melissa Baten-Caswell--so she'll get my vote.

As for Everyday Math--that is not the issue with Ohlone's math scores. Some teachers never adapted it. Some teachers taught both it and their other math materials. Ohlone's under a lot of pressure from growth, running a problematic new program and (during the last couple of years) construction. Teachers who need help are not getting mentored, which means kids have been falling through the cracks more than they did previously. I don't blame the current principal for this--he is overworked and overwhelmed. That said, I know Ohlone kids who do high-school level math--the school has a big range.

I'd say you sound more like a single-issue voter than me. You're giving Camille a pass because of her EDM vote I'm looking at someone who wasted a lot of time and money with a pet project and who hasn't shown good judgment. EDM, unlike MI, was actually selected by a group of educators.

And while the math curriculum will change--MI and gigantic schools are ongoing problems for which I don't see easy fixes.

It is shameful how poorly the board has dealt with growth in this city. So is the lack of transparency in the Churchill bureaucracy.

Camille's ability to smile and shake hands doesn't change that.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 28, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Ms. Townsend has made major contributions, but with due respect, I think it's time for a change. The school board needs a fresh outlook and also working method. The endless droning comments and questions are too much for most of us (to participate in, much less follow to any extent). The meetings need to be "bearable" in order to attract more qualified candidates.
I think the charter school threat - mentioned above as a reason why the Board cooperated with the Mandarin Immersion demanders, is interesting because Bullis Charter in Los Altos Elementary District is causing a lot of ongoing issues for that district, from what I read just this week in the newspaper. Nonetheless, I oppose the Mandarin Immersion as a specialty program for the privileged few, when the district ought to make policy for the benefit of the entire distrit.


Posted by Elem mom, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 28, 2012 at 3:55 pm

To those of you wishing for new candidates for the school board:

It's not going to happen. Not based on how our curreny volunteers are vilified in this town. These online comments are enough to turn off most people interested in volunteering their time and contributing their ideas for our schools.

Until Palo Alto online posters recognize this, and learn to express appreciation for our current volunteers (yes, even when and especially when you disagree with their positions), you won't see diversity of candidates willing to subject themselves to this town.


Posted by Three terms? , a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 28, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Elem mom I disagree. Whether or not people run for a public office has nothing to do with this online forum. Only about 10 people all using false names even participate or read this. But even if it was more than that the kind of people who want to hold public office would I hope have both thicker skins and higher motives than to be treated nicely and receive appreciation. We need leaders who want I lead and who have public value. We need leaders who want to apply appropriate management and accountability principles and who want to make decisions based on data not on empty praise. Furthermore and most important we need district level leaders willing to challenge the anachronistic site based practices that prevent our students from ever having the benefits of being in a unified school district. Finally we need board members o can stand up to staff when need be. Staff work for the board and it is about time the board realized it. No one who has these goals or qualities is going to be deterred by some mean gossip or commentary from the anonpua peanut gallery.

We need more candidates or there will be no election and no discussion of the issues.


Posted by No-Thanks-Camille, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 28, 2012 at 6:46 pm

> Have you ever personally reached out to Camille?

And for what reason would I want to do that? There are probably 35,000 households in the PAUSD, all of which need information. Is Ms. Townsend going to respond to inquires from all of them? And why isn't that information generally available on the PAUSD web-site? The PAUSD does provide email for the Board of Trustees, which I do use, on occasion, to make a point about something the Board is about to vote on, or is considering in a study session. To that extent, I believe I have "reached out" to Ms. Townsend in her official capacity as a Trustee.

> Who wants to be yellled at?

I agree, and I personally have never confronted any elected official other than on paper. Yes, others do become hostile. From watching the PAUSD for a long time, I can only add that it's amazing that more people don't "melt", based on the comments, and decisions, of the school board. However, they are our duly-elected representatives, and we must live with their decisions, or recall them, replacing them with people who are more likely to vote a different way. (It's a shame that there is not a complete history of the "Math Wars" of the mid-1990s somewhere on video.)

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff].

> you also proclaimed she voted for EDM when in fact she didn't.

I listed her EDM vote incorrectly, and admitted it as soon as it was pointed out. Did you not read my apology towards the top of this thread? (Just a too-early-in-the-morning posting.)

However, you do bring up a good point. And that is—where would someone go to find Townsend's vote on EDM, or any other vote during her long, eight-year, tenure? Perhaps if the vote were recent, it might be in one of the archived packets for the last year. But the District does not archive back eight years on-line, even though the amount of disc space to do so would be trivial. So, how does a voter come to know the voting record of this, or any, candidate?

This leads towards my points about Townsend's not being a big supporter of technology use in the schools, nor does she seem to be particularly interested in increased transparency of PAUSD operations. It is a bloody shame that the voters can not go to the PAUSD web-site and find, readily, a downloadable list of votes before the Board, as well as the votes cast by each Trustee. This would be a trivial bit of web-coding to put together and populate. Yet, here we are in 2012, with little likelihood that such information will be available to the voters in our lifetime.
---

If one were to try to characterize the comments, it's clear that one group seems to want to see Townsend as a "person", and the other group expects results from her, not personality. It's hard not to believe that the people looking for results are men, and the ones who don't seem interested in results are probably women. The men, no doubt, work in the real world of the Silicon Valley, and the women are more likely not to have this result-oriented background that is necessary for companies to not only survive, but prosper.

My comments here are intended to be objective, although clearly my personal opinion. It's unfortunate that all of the points that I have listed (and this is but a short list) might not resonate with people who have only recently moved into the PAUSD jurisdiction, or who have not been paying attention to the PAUSD affairs. However, I aver that the comments as posted, have been drawn from experience, and are my personal reasons for not voting for Townsend. The comments are not intended to be personal, or in any way demeaning.


Posted by Wow, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 28, 2012 at 6:52 pm

"If one were to try to characterize the comments, it's clear that one group seems to want to see Townsend as a "person", and the other group expects results from her, not personality. It's hard not to believe that the people looking for results are men, and the ones who don't seem interested in results are probably women. The men, no doubt, work in the real world of the Silicon Valley, and the women are more likely not to have this result-oriented background that is necessary for companies to not only survive, but prosper."

Wow, that is definitely the most sexist remark I have ever seen on any responsible forum. You should be ashamed of yourself (and I'm one of those results-oriented guys you mention).


Posted by Truth hurts, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 28, 2012 at 7:12 pm

I have to agree with no thanks. But its not really about gender its about nonworking women versus working people. As long as the school board is the final step in a PTA career its meetings will continue to be more like staff appreciation lunches than board meetings. Townsend fits that description unfortunately.


Posted by Elem mom, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 28, 2012 at 7:45 pm

To encourage candidates for school board, we don't need to give "empty praise."

But more competent, intelligent people will be inclined to help out if they knew their character, and their intentions, won't be trashed by those who disagree with their views.

The best progress is made when people feel comfortable throwing a wide variety of ideas without fear of vilification.

If you're unhappy with Ms Townsend, I suggest thanking her for her time and commitment to her community. That's not "empty praise" - that's appropriate recognition of her volunteer time.

If you want change, devote your writings to the change you want rather than personal attacks.

Only with such gracious treatment of current volunteers will you encourage others (who may have ideas you like better) to step forward.

And why should we require our volunteers to have "thick skin" while teaching our children how to live by the Golden Rule? Isn't it better to model the behavior we expect of our kids?


Posted by common sense, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 28, 2012 at 9:21 pm

From my viewpoint, a better discussion would be centered around what challenges we see for the school district in the coming 5-10 years, and what sort of evolution we want to see in how our district operates. Only then can we figure out how someone like Camille fits into our goals. And quit frankly, I would expect someone who's been an incumbent for 8 years to be able to articulate these issues.


Posted by wow, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 29, 2012 at 7:48 am

N-T-C,

Consider that the conspiracies you mention (N-T-C: "behind-the-scenes activities" "secret donors" "illegals" "elites") don't actually exist. It is easy to draw bold conclusions from inadequate evidence and then blast accusations. Many outrageous accusations are made on this forum all the time. All based on this one proof: "Trust me. I know".

Consider also that being yelled at "on paper" is no more pleasant or polite than in person (N-T-C: "I personally have never confronted any elected official other than on paper").

What most are calling for here is perfectly reasonable: (i) a rational, INFORMED and POLITE discussion about candidates so that (ii) more good people will to run for a school board seat.

Until that happens, consider us lucky that our incumbents want to continue on, well aware of the now seemingly inevitable mud-slinging they will face from special interest groups (this time, unfortunately for Camille, the anti-MI people).

--

Also incorrect btw is your statement that board members' voting records are not available (N-T-C: "District does not archive back eight years on-line").

Found this in just 30 seconds tooling around the district's website:

Web Link
Web Link

These are the minutes from each school board meeting going back NINE years, which include how board members voted.


Posted by parent, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 29, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I'm a little behind in my local news reading, but the flames in this thread are disappointing... and they're not even about me. I just posted the attached to the Klausner thread, but I think it applies here as well.

>Interesting to hear this news. While I found Klausner's opinions interesting to listen to, I >sometimes found it puzzling when her votes seemed to contradict her opinion. That said, >anyone who serves on this school board deserves a big "thank you."
>
>I also applaud Townsend for running again. I have appreciated her being open to consider all >angles and arguments of any particular issue and her efforts to articulate her reasoning. While >the board meetings can be eternally long when each member repeats identical points (and esp. >the gushing thanks for people doing what they were hired to do), I guess some of it might be >necessary for things to be on the record.


Posted by David Pepperdine, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 6, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Couldn't disagree with Hat Tip more.


Posted by No vote from me, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm

I will not be voting for Camille. She fawns over staff and never asks the hard questions when they are needed. She was elected by the smallest margin last time when her opponent was sick with pneumonia. We need a good alternative.

I am really disappointed to see that Klausner won't be running again. She is SMART and always well prepared with good questions and comments. I think she contributes a lot to the BOE and I would love to see her continue. I am very sorry to see her not returning. She has gained a lot of knowledge and confidence in her first term. It would be wonderful to have her stay.

Ms. Klausner, please reconsider!


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