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VIDEO: School board candidates speak up

Original post made on Oct 31, 2007

To familiarize voters with candidates running for Palo Alto City Council and the Palo Alto Unified School District Board of Education, Palo Alto Online is posting video interviews with each person. Visit Palo Alto Online Tuesday night for up-to-the-minute election results.

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    Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, November 5, 2007, 9:30 AM
  • Comments (24)

    Posted by Parent, a resident of Old Palo Alto
    on Oct 31, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    Thank you to Palo Alto Online and the Weekly for posting these candidate interviews. I've watched three of them so far and they are a vastly better way to get a sense for the candidates than the forums, where everyone has few seconds to respond to questions. This is a great service to the community.

    Posted by Dan, a resident of Downtown North
    on Oct 31, 2007 at 10:44 pm

    Thank you very much for uploading videos of the candidates. I based my vote entirely on the content of these videos.

    Posted by Midtown Parent, a resident of Midtown
    on Nov 1, 2007 at 7:23 am

    I too wish everyone would watch these videos. Camille's video demonstrates that the PA Weekly's editorial position is completely unsupported by the facts. Camille is thoughtful, articulate and reflective in her positions, and addresses the issues as asked (recall that the Weekly's main criticism was somehow that she refused to look back at previous issues, and instead was too focused on the future). While focusing on the future is hardly a damning criticism, the video shows that is not even a valid complaint. It is too bad these have not been available for longer.

    Posted by Gratitude, a resident of Midtown
    on Nov 1, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    Thanks so much, PA Online for posting the videos. It is fantastic for those of us who simply could not go to the Candidate Forums to have the chance to see the candidates for ourselves without the spinmeisters interpreting for us....

    Posted by Shelly, a resident of Midtown
    on Nov 2, 2007 at 8:21 am

    Another thanks for posting these videos. It allows the viewers the opportunity to see for ourselves what the candidates have to say in a more thoughtful way.

    I agree with midtown parent, your editorial pointing out Camille's weakness of not wanting to revisit the past is not reflected in these videos.

    Posted by 3 new board members, a resident of Gunn High School
    on Nov 2, 2007 at 10:00 am

    When an incumbent doesn't win the endorsement of a local paper, that is a really, really big deal. Even Senator Joe Simitian hedged on the "automatically endorse the incumbent" tradition, by supporting three OTHER candidates in addition to Townsend: Hausser, Baten-Caswell and Klausner.

    It only makes sense that Camille would make an effort to appear more reflective and thoughtful about past problems in the district after realizing that it was her lack thereof that cost her the Weekly endorsement.

    Posted by Parent, a resident of Midtown
    on Nov 2, 2007 at 10:18 am

    The Weekly's endorsements were poorly thought-out. They gave weird, non-factual reasons for opposing Townsend and no reasons for supporting those they endorsed.

    Posted by Can Any Help?, a resident of Downtown North
    on Nov 2, 2007 at 10:36 am

    I can't see the videos. I even uploaded the lastest Flash.

    Posted by Lisa, a resident of Downtown North
    on Nov 2, 2007 at 11:08 am

    The candidate videos are very helpful. Excellent idea. Thanks!

    Posted by Video Question, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
    on Nov 2, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    My understanding is that the videotaped interviews were conducted before the Weekly announced the candidates they endorsed. Weekly,
    when were the interviews done?

    Posted by Interested Observer, a resident of Midtown
    on Nov 3, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    The interviews were conducted at least a week prior to the editorial.

    Posted by Long Time Resident, a resident of Old Palo Alto
    on Nov 3, 2007 at 9:45 pm


    Please don't base you vote based solely on these videos.

    If you don't have children, or have not been keeping up with the issues in school, please ask parents how they intend to vote.

    I have been to three candidate coffee forums, and then stayed afterwards to speak directly with the candidates on issues.
    It was hard to make my decision. We have elementary school children.

    Based on their backgrounds, we feel that Klausner, Hausser, and Baten-Caswell would work best together.

    My husband (who did not keep up on the issues) came up with something different based on these videos alone. After he knew more history, he quickly changed his mind.

    Thanks for voting!

    Posted by Interested voter, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
    on Nov 3, 2007 at 9:47 pm

    Thank you all for using all three votes. None of the candidates wants you to vote for just one, and you do have three blanks to fill in. Thanks!

    Posted by don't decide on one data point, a resident of Midtown
    on Nov 4, 2007 at 6:50 am

    It is true, you have to be savvy enough to listen behind the politic-talk to understand what a few of the candidates are saying.

    Initially there were some severe and obvious differences in their answers to questions, but as time went on, and by the time these interviews happened, I noticed that the 3 not-endorsed candidates started sounding more and more like the 3 endorsed candidates, who were the "first out of the box" in talking heavily about Strategic plans and equal opportunities for all kids at all schools.

    By now, testing the way the winds blow for john and jane q. public, the 3 not-endorsed sound a lot better. The last Forum I went to, you could hardly tell the difference between the 6 of them, ...but for those who have paid attention to the various candidates over the last is clear who has the most consistent internalized vision for what our district should look like.

    Baten-Caswell, Klausner and Hausser.

    Posted by don't decide on one data point, a resident of Midtown
    on Nov 4, 2007 at 7:10 am

    Sorry, I should have said which 3 have the most consistent internalized vision THAT I AGREE WITH...

    The other 3 have a vision that is, by their own words or through agreement with each other.."gray"...I can't trust a "gray" vision.

    You have to stand for something, or you will fall for anything.

    None of the 3 have been able to categorically state they prefer a district that has the same great educational opportunities for all kids at every school, stating that the issue is not "black and white".

    I disagree. If you don't support working toward that vision, you will fall for the next distraction which gives super enriched by lottery to a few, or great facilities for one school and not another, or takes anonymous donations toward a program or facility which isn't "next" on the priority list.

    To acknowledge that there are inequities and differences between all schools, regardless of the effort to keep everything equal opportunity is one thing..this is simply realistic, and demands that we strive to keep inequities at bay as much as we can.

    However, to state that this is normal and conclude that therefore to work toward equal opportunity is unrealistic is scary. I want people who strongly support equal opportunity for all subject matter for EVERY kid in our district, and who want to work toward it, not embrace inequities in the name of "school choice".

    The 3 not endorsed honestly believe ( at least, through their words up to a couple months ago when they were still open about this) that there was some sort of moral parity between Special Education and immersion programs, because they are both "for a few kids", or between AP programs/after school competitive sport programs and elementary school immersion programs, because they both "don't accept everyone". They tried to make these cases equal to justify their beliefs. They couldn't see that Special Ed is for every kid who needs it, not for those who "win" it, and that competitive sports and HIGH SCHOOL classes are just that..competitive..not like for those who "win" the lottery at age 5 for an education.

    If you agree that Special Ed, AP, and Sports Teams are ok to use to justify having kids win an elementary school education, then vote for 3 not endorsed. If you don't, vote for the 3 endorsed, Baten-Caswell, Klausner and Hausser.

    Posted by Interested Observer, a resident of Midtown
    on Nov 4, 2007 at 9:33 am

    It is amazing how defensive the "don't decide on" discussion is.
    With the interviews present, you are now saying ignore them them.

    You have to admit the likelihood that these videos were the best the editors could do to support their position. Yet, they strongly show that their editorial position had a thin foundation to stand on. This is perhaps why the videos were delayed as long as possible - they show who is prepared, that questions were answered, and that the facts strongly indicate that picking three inexperienced board members is taking a big risk, especially when all the emotion behind that pick is focused on a single narrow issue that motivates them.

    Posted by of course! see the videos!, a resident of Midtown
    on Nov 4, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    Oh no, not defensive at all..I wrote the "don't use one data point" in order to help people get the rest of the story..but if you use the videos as your only point of reference, that is fine! You will still conclude the same as the Editors just on the videos alone, but you will have more strength of conviction IF YOU ARE AWARE OF THE HISTORY and what was left unsaid in the videos.

    It is certainly better than using their ( the candidates') written materials, which tell almost nothing about any of them, their visions, their thought processes, their presentations, etc. Mainly they just state their backgrounds, with a few having a bit about Strategic Planning...

    Posted by of course! see the videos!, a resident of Midtown
    on Nov 4, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    By the way, saying that picking 3 "inexperienced" candidates for Board is risky is a nice spin, clearly written by someone who is trying to cover what the experience WAS for one of the Candidates..who refuses to state what the biggest accomplishments were.

    Frankly, I don't vote for political "experience", in fact, I prefer no political experience at all, preferring real-life experience with the consequences of political decisions, knowledge, the ability to think, and a vision I agree with.

    If we always voted for political experience as a primary determinant, then we would vote people back in for the rest of their lives regardless of their decisions and outcomes..oh yes, that is right, we don't have term limits on most posts and so we already do that and look where it gets us.

    Posted by Interested Observer, a resident of Midtown
    on Nov 4, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    Convoluted logic, I must say.

    Watch the videos, be educated, make your decisions.

    Posted by curious, a resident of St. Claire Gardens
    on Nov 5, 2007 at 6:38 am

    I have been watching you two ( Looks like just two writers)...and I have to say, Interested are looking like someone who will always vote for an incumbent regardless of what their actions were..are you sure that is what you want to promote?

    Posted by Eyes opened, a resident of Midtown
    on Nov 5, 2007 at 10:54 am

    Wow, what an eye-opener. Check these videos out if you haven't already, especially if like me you have not been able to meet the candidates in person.

    Shelley and Parent are right, Camille comes over as thoughtful and articulate in her interview despite the odd comments on these threads. She is focused on the future and simply passionate about contributing to our district.

    The district needs someone with her steady hand, experience, boundless energy and reflective approach to issues. Go Camille!

    Posted by video personna vs facts, a resident of Charleston Meadows
    on Nov 5, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    Sure, watch the videos if you don't have enough information on which to base your decision. But watching a 30-minute video of an incumbent is a waste of time. Better use of that 30 minutes is to review her voting record. If you're happy with how the board spent their meetings, if you're pleased with the way they handled the management crisis, if you feel they're adequately addressing priorities such as crowded schools, then by all means vote for the incumbent. Otherwise, it's time for 3 new board members.

    Video clips don't expose incumbents the way their voting records and past performance do.

    Posted by good try, a resident of Midtown
    on Nov 5, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    Dear Eyes Opened:

    You are trying to imply that your first exposure to the candidates was through these videos??

    Right, and I also believe you aren't working for and/or closely known to at least ONE of the candidates..

    Posted by Tyler Hanley, online editor of Palo Alto Online
    on Nov 5, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    Tyler Hanley is a registered user.

    With election day upon us, we're going to lock the election forums, including this one. When the polls close, we will welcome your continued discussion on the election and what the results will mean for the community. Remember to vote!

    If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

    Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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