News

Five bid for three seats on Palo Alto Board of Education

Priorities, experience, goals -- meet the five contenders for school board

Two incumbents and three challengers are vying for three open seats on the Palo Alto Board of Education in this November's election. Melissa Baten Caswell and Heidi Emberling are seeking re-election, while Camille Townsend has decided against running after her third term ends this fall. Whoever is elected will join at the dais software engineer Ken Dauber and financial director Terry Godfrey, both elected in 2014.

The five candidates hope to serve a district that is well-known for its high academic achievement, variety of "choice" programs, strong community support and comparatively robust resources. At the same time, the district is grappling with how to continue to innovate, close a persistent achievement gap and balance academic performance with student well-being. The new board members will also be tasked with addressing a budget deficit that, by the district's own projections, will have a multi-million-dollar impact for years to come.

View profiles of each candidate below, as well as video endorsement interviews the Palo Alto Weekly conducted with each candidate and answers from the candidates on 10 questions on current and future issues facing the school district.

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Melissa Baten Caswell

Profile: Two-term incumbent emphasizes her 'institutional knowledge'

In her own words: Where Melissa Baten Caswell stands

Endorsement interview

Jay Cabrera

Profile: Outsider candidate focuses on electoral reform, participatory democracy

In his own words: Where Jay Cabrera stands

Endorsement interview

Todd Collins

Profile: Board contender strong on fiscal prudence, data

In his own words: Where Todd Collins stands

Endorsement interview

Jennifer DiBrienza

Profile: Former teacher prioritizes student well-being, equity, innovation

In her own words: Where Jennifer DiBrienza stands

Endorsement interview

Heidi Emberling

Profile: Incumbent looks to further progress she made in first term

In her own words: Where Heidi Emberling stands

Endorsement interview

The Palo Alto Weekly has created a Storify page to capture ongoing coverage of the school-board election. To view it, go to storify.com/paloaltoweekly.

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Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Comments

36 people like this
Posted by No incumbents please
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2016 at 12:06 pm

What a puff piece for Emberling. Who wrote that? I'm glad to hear Heidi is getting a little more honest about the petty personal politics and unprofessional behavior of district staff towards vulnerable children and their families - but it doesn't change the fact that she has done nothing to right the wrong. The OCR letter was as she said, done in anger - from where I'm sitting, based on a lot of stuff that was unprofessional response to families in crisis trying to fix problems, and worse, based on incorrect gossip and personal manipulation by certain district people, that a supposed journalist shouldn't have been willing to swallow hook line and sinker and even further herself. The people at the top in the district are supposed to be above using district money, power, and personnel resources to pummel families when they think, mostly because of gossip and their imaginations, they are "under seige". (You aren't under seige now, and you've been given tons of time over what the law allows - I see retaliations getting bolder and no efforts by district people to fix problems. - you claim you want to handle things in a nicey nice way, but what it really means is you will ignore whatever it is when things "quiet down".) At least we hear now that Emberling has regrets, that's a surprisingly honest thing to say - but what has she done in all this time to understand and correct the damage that misdirected "anger" did? Nothing positive.

I couldn't be more disappointed in Emberling and regret my vote for her the first time.

There aren't many choices this time, so I'll just be voting for the three new candidates, Collins, Cabrera, and DiBrienza. Even though Cabrera says he isn't campaigning seriously, he comes across as intelligent, concerned, he went to school here through Gunn and was in special ed, and would be a reasonable fifth member. Most importantly, he seems capable of considering facts to form good judgments, something Caswell and Emberling have not displayed - making important district policy based on petty "anger". I respect the admission, but it wouldn't ring so hollow if they had actually done something about righting the wrongs.

I think Heidi has aspirations for higher office, and think a defeat this time will be good for her need to take stock. For both Melissa and Heidi, they were not good stewards of the power, and I don't see any sign that things have changed. Unfortunately, the naive senior vote in town will probably carry incumbents back, and problems will only grow to the breaking point again.


5 people like this
Posted by retired guy who follows the schools
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 7, 2016 at 12:27 pm

retired guy who follows the schools is a registered user.

[Same post repeated on multiple threads.]


6 people like this
Posted by Long time Palo Alto resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2016 at 2:55 pm

When evaluating the candidates I wonder which candidates are interested in the Palo Alto Board of Education role to truly improve Palo Alto education and which are using this position as a stepping stone to simply some other political role (most likely Palo Alto city council).

I want representation that is genuinely interested and experienced in education guiding the principles rather than politicians and number crunchers who are out of touch.


22 people like this
Posted by No incumbents please
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2016 at 3:13 pm

@Long Time,
I think Heidi Emberling is most likely to be aspiring to higher office.

I think the choice here is between really poorly performing incumbents and new people. I'm willing to try the new people. The board is supposed to oversee the district, having a number cruncher couldn't hurt since the only one there now is badly outnumbered. Caswell portrays herself as being data driven, I have never seen her use data objectively and honestly, but rather in service of a personally driven agenda. Data go hand in hand with transparency, which she is definitely not helping.


7 people like this
Posted by Viewer and Reader
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Oct 10, 2016 at 12:19 pm

Viewer and Reader is a registered user.


Please watch the video for comments about the OCR beginning at 29:49.

33:26 Ms. Baten Caswell justifies the Board Resolution attacking the OCR saying the OCR released information before the investigation was over. Palo Alto Weekly responds the OCR never released anything, that the OCR did not respond to any phone requests, did not release anything, and the OCR adhered to a strict policy of only releasing information at the start and end of the investigation. Palo Alto Weekly says the only information released was released through District.

33:55 Ms. Baten Caswell responds she mis-stated, that the information wasn't released by the OCR, but that the OCR did not correct other information (presumable she means released by others).

34:00 Ms. Baten Caswell criticizes the OCR for not notifying parents of interviews of students, but Palo Alto Weekly replies that notification was the District's responsibility.

36:00 Returning to the Resolution, Palo Alto Weekly asks about ALL Board members alleging in the Resolution of evidence tampering, which was the Board accusing parents of a crime. Palo Alto Weekly says since then, the documents show there was not evidence tampering. Ms. Baten Caswell replies the Board was shown different documents. (The Board's past accusation related to it's statements the OCR had an e-mail the Board didn't posses, implying this e-mail did not exist and the OCR or parent fabricated an e-mail.) The Palo Alto Weekly replies the OCR explained that they cut and paste information, but there were no other e-mail.

Ms. Baten Caswell says the Palo Alto Weekly knows more than she does. The Palo Alto Weekly says this is all in the public record.

Ms. Baten Caswell then replies the Board never discussed the explanation, she has not read the information, if it is true it is unfortunate, an apology is owed.

Reader Comments -
It is concerning a family was accused of a crime by the Board, in public meetings. This is not the job of the Board. It is concerning the OCR was accused of releasing information by the Board if it did not, if information was released by the District or other sources.

It sounds like Palo Alto Weekly is saying the Board accused parents of making up an e-mail, and that the OCR told the Board it was just a 'cut and paste' of an email into a document. There was not a separate made up e-mail. It was the same e-mail that already existed. It is common practice in legal document to save paper to paste e-mails into a page with the material they relate. This is done for clarity, not subterfuge. I have never heard anyone argue these are different emails. I have never heard anyone say this common practice is evidence tampering or a crime.

Ms. Baten Caswell's reply that she doesn't know the OCR response, the Board never discussed the OCR's explanation. This is unimaginable. After spending $50,000 on a Resolution and accusing a parent and Federal employees of misconduct, the Board never discussed the OCR's reply? The Board had time and money to use public meetings to make accusations, but not to provide the OCR's response defending itself?

An apology is owed. Well, yes. At the very least she owes an apology to people she accused without proof.

But the problem goes further than that:

The problem is the judgment of Board members who made accusations in the first place.

The problem is their lack of complete information before charging forth attacking others at public expense.

The problem is the Board who suddenly made accusations only after they were found at fault for allowing bullying of a disabled child so extreme the child could not attend school.

The problems is the Board's judgement in the Administrators the Board listened to, the same Administrators who the OCR found at fault, the same Administrators who didn't fix the problem.

The problems is the Board's judgement in attorneys they paid to advise them.

The problems is the Board promoted the Administrators who allowed the bullying the OCR found existed, then renewed the same law firm's contract because the Administrators could not handle their new promotion without the same lawyer they were dependent upon.

The problems is the Board refused to consider community concerns about attorney performance, even after a Board member obtained and reviewed all of the e-mails with the law firm, and raised concerns about what was read.

The problem is the Board refused to listen to public concerns at Board meetings about the law firm. Instead, the Board criticized a volunteer parent volunteer group and denied them a liaison to speak to the Board about problems.

The problems is the Board ensured the Board would only receive information from the attorney who advised them to attack others and the Administrators found at fault by the OCR.

The greatest problem of all is the Board created an "Us vs. Them" school district, ensuring students, parents, the disabled, bullied children felt unsafe. The Board created a District where anyone who brought information the Board did not want to hear was bad and subject to accusations at public meetings.

The Board did not protect students.



2 people like this
Posted by Viewer and Reader
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Oct 10, 2016 at 12:38 pm

Viewer and Reader is a registered user.

It is unfortunate the number of times incumbents say they asked the Superintendent for information, but didn't get it.

At Board meetings, Board members often state 'I asked for this information for this meeting, but did not get it' or "I was told I would be given this information at this meeting, but it is not here.'

This is insubordination. How can this continue?



14 people like this
Posted by Viewer and Reader
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Oct 10, 2016 at 1:00 pm

Viewer and Reader is a registered user.

Palo Alto Weekly Editor, Can you please clarify? Ms. Baten Caswell's Recording: at 37:46 discusses the principal concerned with making sexual harassing comments. Ms. Baten Caswell says he was placed in a classroom with another adult so he was "overseen by an adult at all times." Please correct if wrong because it has been a while since the Palo Alto Weekly reporting of this. Wasn't he placed in a Special Education classroom with an aide?

If so, an aide cannot ever oversee a certificated teacher. A teacher is always the boss of the classroom. An aide who reports or complains about a teacher faces fear of retribution.

Ms. Baten Caswell said the teacher had a right to a job. That may be true. But if concerns existed about the teacher's language or conduct, a Special Education classroom is not the right place for them. Special Education students often do not understand appropriate language related to intimacy, touch and boundaries. Special Education students need to be taught these subjects by trained experts.

The Board approves all teacher hiring and placements, including teaching assignments and school assignments. This is one of their most basic responsibilities as a Board. If what Ms. Baten Caswell says is accurate, the Board should never have accepted this as an appropriate assignment for the teacher.


9 people like this
Posted by Town Square Moderator
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 10, 2016 at 1:46 pm

Town Square Moderator is a registered user.

@Viewer and Reader:

You are correct. Former Paly principal Phil Winston was assigned to teach a special ed class at Jordan to which an aide was also assigned. The district has never indicated that Winston was supervised by a certificated teacher or anyone else who was in the classroom.

For readers interested in further background on Winston

Web Link

Web Link


12 people like this
Posted by Viewer and Reader
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Oct 10, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Viewer and Reader is a registered user.

Palo Alto Weekly Editor: On Heidi Emberling's interview at 52:30, the Palo Alto Weekly says the accusations against the principal/teacher were substantiated before he was assigned to the Special Education classroom. That is surprising. Knowingly assigning a teacher with a substantiated personal history of inappropriate language into a Special Education class is unimaginable. Can you confirm this?


14 people like this
Posted by No incumbents please
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 11, 2016 at 8:51 am

@Viewer and Reader,
Wow, you have hit the nail on the head. The only thing I would add is that all of the behavior of board members like Caswell and Emberling to fight rather than fix caused an environment in which the same employees felt empowered to repeatedly retaliate against families, including the children in school. There is a seething pain among many families represented by the group you mentioned, which will come out again if the district does not take stock and responsibility. The district wants to teach our kids to learn from mistakes? It starts here. (It starts with district people even being willing to learn ABOUT their mistakes, not imagine conspiracies around every corner. School districts are made up of real people who will have problems to solve. Grinding those people into the dirt with unlimited resources should not be tolerated, much less rewarded as it still is here.)


1 person likes this
Posted by Viewer and Reader
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Oct 11, 2016 at 2:16 pm

Viewer and Reader is a registered user.

Given the budget deficit, Administrators need to receive additional written performance evaluations now. This is common practice in a restructuring or budget cutting environment. Although they may have received evaluations the past Spring, a lot of issues performances issues have emerged since then that need to be documented. The needs of the District are different.

The Boards of other large organizations have an Executive Compensation Committees. These are Board level committees to evaluate and recommend compensation and benefits for senior Executives and Administrators. They meet regularly, consult with compensation experts, attorneys, conduct comparative studies to other employers in the same field.

A regular committee would not have allowed "me to" raises and salary increases retroactive to a year ago, much less back pay raises for employees who already received a large salary increase for a past promotion. A committee would have regularly reviewed independent information, and not waited for the Administrators to be asked for it. A committee would not have let the "me too" policy go on for several years, or let the public be mislead telling them a senior administrator would not receive the "me too" raises because they are on a separate contract, when the "me to" raise was written into their contracts.

The head of HR in PAUSD did not know who the contractors are. The Board needs regular reports on this, and how these people are (who work in place of employees and certificated staff) chosen to work as contractors, their vetting and background checks, and how school and parent satisfaction with their work is determined. Anyone can work as a Behaviorist, trained or not.

In future, something Administrators and Board members need to do is communicate changes more clearly and with adequate notice to the public. This is written into some Administrator's jobs, but they are not doing it. Instead, the Board insults those who question or disagree with their surprise policy changes. Although I have nothing against a communications position, it is not getting the strategic work done, probably because the policy makers are not setting the policy message and establishing a communication strategy. This is not the same as writing press releases, visiting schools or putting lots of things on a web site. It is not the same as publishing newsletters of meetings already recorded and view-able by the public. It is most definitely not continually quoting and repeating lines fed to you by a lawyer in advance, like a robot. The District had a goal a couple years back of anticipating and dealing with issues, but any progress made in that is long gone. It's stunning how completely off the mark the Board and District Management have been in understanding when communications is needed, and their inabilility to deal respectfully with questions and doubts when they fail to provide it.


5 people like this
Posted by Viewer and Reader
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Oct 12, 2016 at 10:00 pm

Viewer and Reader is a registered user.

After watching all the videos, it is hard to know what to do.

1. Ms. Baten Caswell - This incumbent's complaint that the OCR did not follow "their stated policies" is ironic, given the great degree of non-compliance the California State CDE Audit found in PAUSD's Special Education. (This was withheld from families until all of the violations were corrected. Hence Dr. Wade reported the audit results were 100%. She didn't say that was correcting the violations the CDE found and required be corrected, monitoring her work for a year until she did it.) If PAUSD parents lobbied and wrote resolutions and accused Board members of evidence tampering every time PAUSD violated their own policies, Board members would not last long.

2. Ms. Emberling - This incumbent does not seem to understand she is treated well by Special Education because she is on the Board. Her protest that she will advocate for her son when she has to is not a reason to vote for her. Her child is on an IDP, she does not really know what happens to kids on real full IEPs. It is always uncomfortable she used her son so publicly to get elected, then attacked families of disabled and accused them of perjury. Plus, she protests a lot, but has done virtually nothing to make Special Education better.

Ms. Emberling - (continued) - She says she has not heard of problems about homework, so either she is intimidating or people are afraid to talk to her. Actually, that is true. She is a Board member. Staff do not like it when other staff or parents speak to her. From families' perspectives, she hasn't really helped many people and again, accused quite a few families and groups of perjury and being disorganized (when quite the opposite is true - she only listens to Dr. Wade who wants to cut off her sources of free information). As Board President, she regularly cuts of minorities, women, special education families. She talks a lot about how much she cares, but sweet talk and constant smiles are quite adversarial when not followed by action. It is clear she does what she is told by Dr. Wade and her lawyer, and by Dr. McGee. She has no clue of the employee, law firm, Superintendent weaknesses and problems because she hired and promoted them. She has no idea how much they cater to her, knowing she is an easy mark. Disagree on policy issue? She can always be counted on by District staff to blame families or Board members of being anti-teacher, anti-something.

3. Both Incumbents - Along with Ms. Baten Caswell, above, Emberling can be counted on to delay, not get staff to provide information during the delay, and then complain they must vote because there were too many delays. Just tired of their lack of factual knowledge and ability to analyze and question data, then blame and attack anyone who does. This is followed by a desire to rush policies they want, like full day kindergarten, ready or not. With such a rush, it has to turn out costing more than forecast.

4. Mr. Collins - Watch the two incumbents, then watch his interview. Night and day better candidate. His approach to the budget is fundamentally different, more mature, more knowledge and fact based than the incumbents emotion and talk-a-lot based approach. He is what I thought school board members would be like automatically. My slight concern is he has had a charmed existence with his Special Education child, and does not know how bad it is here. In campaign materials he says his son is at the Morgan Center, and if he was placed there by PAUSD, he is fortunate indeed. If the District suggested this, he is lucky because it means his child showed problems the District could not deny, which made the District believe they had two choices: 1) let the child continue to fail in PAUSD Special Education as they do for most children, giving parents rosy reports of meeting goals and improving or 2) sue Mr. Collins. Since he wasn't sued, 1) is more likely. He just may never know what children and families really suffer. In talking to him, he does seem to grasp how screwed up the District is on behaviorists, hiring anyone for the job, no ethical standards or guidelines, the nightmare insults families face from psychologists and speech language therapists in PAUSD because "they are the experts," and parents "just want to make their kid fail, we see he/him differently," or "you just want free services to stop child from biting/kicking/hitting teachers and peers, child is 100% improved from our completely non-scientific, non data based Volunteer Parent or Project Cornerstone story book." This is not to mention problems with Police Officers "School Resource Officers" handling minority and autistic children (yes, little children) on campuses. He seems willing to believe families who tell him, though, unlike Emberling and Baten-Caswell who spent the last 4 years ignoring or insulting families. Their constituent relations and response is horrible.

5. Ms. Jennifer DiBrienza - Long Winded, but that is politicians. Hope she is not as scattered and dismissive as she can come across. She doesn't understand the facts or data that well, but it may be good to at least have someone who will warn the Board of the teacher's perspective, such as slamming full day kindergarten on teachers too quickly will bring union problems. As a Board Member, truly supporting teachers means only voting for realistic, achievable, affordable measures.

6. Mr. Jay Cabrera - Unfortunately the Palo Alto Weekly did not ask him as many Board Policy questions, but spent much of the interview pressuring him about why he has run for so many different offices and lost. Palo Alto Weekly's Editorial Board did not give him a fair shake. He did not have the opportunity to answer the same policy questions the other candidates did. I wish I could sense if he has ever actually ran anything, will he show up for meetings, will he do the work, will he do the reading? Can he run a committee? Does he understand a lot of this is drudge work, reading and analyzing dull details to make an informed decision, even if you are not interested in the topic?

So I am torn. We need fresh voices and a much, much kinder and more adult and professional Board than we have with the incumbents. Give me a boring Board of Education. I am ready for it.

But if I don't vote for incumbents and am not sure about all the candidates, what to do?

Is it better to only vote for 2? Then incumbents may be elected by a lower %, and may know they need to change to get back public support. On the other hand, doesn't that increase the chances a bad incumbent wins?

Or is it better to vote for 3 candidates, even if I am not sure if they can do the job?

Does a write in candidate stand any chance?

Can we vote for the gentleman who dropped out? Is his name on the ballot? Could he possibly win?


1 person likes this
Posted by You can vote for two
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 12, 2016 at 10:13 pm

Voting for "up to three" means you can just vote for DiBrienza and Collins if you like. Using all your votes is not required.


10 people like this
Posted by Bullet vote
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 12, 2016 at 10:54 pm

Actually, you can vote for one, called bullet voting. Reading what you wrote, you really want Collins to win and will be disappointed if he doesn't. So vote for him only, and don't find his opponents any vote. Otherwise you could easily be cancelling out your own vote by giving one vote to Collins and one to someone else will could beat him.


3 people like this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 13, 2016 at 5:33 pm

Srinivasan Subramanian, although he announced he dropped out the race, is still on the ballot that I received. I will vote for Todd & Srinivasan.

The incumbents, Heidi & Melissa failed to solve the budget deficit, and neither one is getting my vote.


Like this comment
Posted by Special Education Review Overdue
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Oct 13, 2016 at 9:08 pm

Special Education Review Overdue is a registered user.

Superintendent McGee:
Please have the Special Education Review posted on the PAUSD web site by 10/17/2016. The Superintendent's report of 9/30/2016 said it will be completed after two weeks, which is October 14 or October 17. Web Link

Superintendent McGee:
Please do not wait until after the election to release this. It has been over 16 months since you promoted staff without posting the positions to outside competition with virtually no public notice. Parents were promised it was all "okay" because there would be a Special Education Review.

Please do not delay while you wait for a Board Presentation or teacher trainings to be scheduled. It has taken so long to get a report, we cannot be confident you will get a Board presentation or trainings scheduled any time soon. We don't know your consultant's recommendations will be accepted by the Board or public, so already planning trainings is a waste of public money. We don't want to be in the situation of the last few years telling families Co-Teaching trainings will magically cure all disabled students.

Please provide the report and let the Board set action, including changing staff, choosing a policy, and allocating funds for policy to include teacher trainings of a coherent, effective, measurable, evidenced based policy.

Candidates have run on platforms they will have this study.

It is unfair to withhold this report from the public until after the elections.

Just provide the report.

New Board Members:
Going Forward, please look at the District's management of contracts, vendors, research studies, and trainers. Please instruct Administrators of basic good contract management practices such as due dates, deliverables, and measures that deliverables were met. No magic needed. Please examine why we such lack basic management skills over our children's limited but precious resources.


Like this comment
Posted by Rumor mill
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 13, 2016 at 9:18 pm

The rumor I heard the final special ed report is coming Nov 1. I also heard that is not much more than the preliminary report, which would be seriously disappointing.

If true, it reflects badly on the incumbents and on McGee and Wade. This consulting study was held out as a big deal that would help get to the District to a better place. Instead, it seems like we may have waited 18 months to get a shallow report promoting the consultant's pet idea (UDL), with almost no real data or insight into how the district is doing or what they should do. And we paid big bucks for this. Accountability anybody?


2 people like this
Posted by Marc Vincenti
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 13, 2016 at 11:19 pm

Marc Vincenti is a registered user.

In Todd Collins' profile, I like the way he talks. It's refreshing to hear someone so deeply interested in our schools speaking in such calm, healing tones:

"You need a good process to get to a good outcome, particularly in a public agency like this...because we want the community and all the stakeholders to buy into what comes out of those committees.

"I think as a result of that process, people became uncomfortable working with each other, which is very unfortunate in a community as small and tightly knit as ours.

"One of my very very strong beliefs is that we're all on the same side of the table here... Anything that makes people feel uncomfortable, like they don't want to participate, probably should have been done differently."

Well said, Mr. Collins!


2 people like this
Posted by No Incumbents Please
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2016 at 1:36 am

@Viewer and Reader,

I am voting for Collins, DiBrienza, and Subramanian. I know I said above that I would vote for Cabrera, but I learned since that Subramanian's name is still on the ballot, so I will vote for him instead.

I think your analysis is spot on.

The Weekly has endorsed voting only for Collins and DiBrienza, so that the third vote does not go to one of the incumbents since Cabrera is not a serious candidate, and they - and you - make a very good case for how important it is that the newcomers win.

These multiple-spot elections are really tricky. Let's say there are four candidates for three spots, but two of the candidates are really strong and two are not-so-good incumbents. Incumbents traditionally have an advantage, and they have networks of friends, etc, so they will already get a certain amount of the vote. If the people who support the two really strong new candidates vote for them, but also figure they shouldn't waste their last vote and choose among the two not-so-good incumbents, then the not-so-good incumbent they just voted for could eke out one of the better candidates they chose.

If there are several votes one can cast, the best thing to do is to only vote for the people you are absolutely certain of, because the other votes are basically voting for someone you don't have strong feelings about, AGAINST the others you do. If there is a very polarized election - taking another example - and there are two candidates preferred by one side, and two candidates preerred by the other, and one pretty weak candidate, if there are three slots and each side votes for their two plus the weak candidate, the weak candidate will end up with the most votes and seem like they are very popular.

In this case, I don't think it's ok to do one of the following if you support Collins and DiBrienza:

1) Vote only for Collins and DiBrienza, as the Weekly endorsed

2) Vote for Collins, DiBrienza, and Cabrera, because unlike in my example above, Cabrera won't win against Collins and DiBrienza, he's not going to be chosen by people who would vote for the incumbents, so he won't be the weak candidate who overtakes anyone. But if he got on the board, he seems to be the kind of person who would be incorruptible and might actually make for better transparency.

3) Vote for Collins, DiBrienza, and Subramanian. Subramanian may have stepped down in order not to split the vote, feeling that Collins was the better candidate, and wanting to ensure someone like him got on the board. I can understand that sentiment. However, since Subramanian withdrew, it's pretty unlikely he'll get more votes than either Collins and DiBrienza, and the chance of him unseating an incumbent is hard not to hope for. So, that's what I will do.


3 people like this
Posted by No incumbents please
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2016 at 1:38 am

I'm not sure what happened there. I *meant*:

In this case, I DO think it's ok to do one of the following if you support Collins and DiBrienza:

1) Vote only for Collins and DiBrienza, as the Weekly endorsed

2) Vote for Collins, DiBrienza, and Cabrera, because unlike in my example above, Cabrera won't win against Collins and DiBrienza, he's not going to be chosen by people who would vote for the incumbents, so he won't be the weak candidate who overtakes anyone. But if he got on the board, he seems to be the kind of person who would be incorruptible and might actually make for better transparency.

3) Vote for Collins, DiBrienza, and Subramanian. Subramanian may have stepped down in order not to split the vote, feeling that Collins was the better candidate, and wanting to ensure someone like him got on the board. I can understand that sentiment. However, since Subramanian withdrew, it's pretty unlikely he'll get more votes than either Collins and DiBrienza, and the chance of him unseating an incumbent is hard not to hope for. So, that's what I will do.


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

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