The queerest School Board race in Orange County

There is something fishy going on in Westminster (and that’s not a Little Saigon pun).

When I met Westminster School Board Candidate Mary Mangold last week, I was happy to hear that she reads TheLiberalOC.com, and was very open to hearing any information that she wanted to give me about her opponents and about what she called “misinformation” being distributed by the Our Children, Our Vote Coalition.

Mary is a Democrat. She’s an educator. She’s got the teacher’s union on her side. All three things make me respect her and make me really want to like her as a candidate.

But for some reason, the ethnic minority communities of Westminster aren’t in love with Mangold and her campaign. “Labor and minorities are usually allies…what’s up with Westminster?” I asked her.

“That’s a great question,” she wrote to me in an email, “and one that none of us teachers can answer. Perhaps the opposing side can provide some insight for all of us.”

So I phoned Mike Matsuda. Mike was the Democratic candidate for the 68th Assembly District back in 98, and he’s pretty knowledgeable when it comes to Vietnamese-American politics. He’s also been really involved in the Our Children, Our Vote Coalition.

Mike, who has a brain full of data, facts, and other lackluster knowledge that he’ll regurgitate whether you want to hear it or not, gave me a few reasons why the minority communities of Westminster should vote against the candidates sponsored by the Teacher’s Union:

  • Employee Benefits: The Westminster School Board is paying 507% above the state average for “Golden Handshakes” and 243% above the state average for other retirement benefits.
  • Books and Supplies: The current “regime” is spending 71% of the state average on textbooks and 17% of the state average on library books.
  • Over identification of learning disabilities in minority groups: In the WSD, Latinos make up 38% of the student body, and 58% of the learning disabled population. Special Education is complex, and there are a large number of immigrant and English Language learners in the district—making it even more complex. But Westminster should elect officials that are open to examining these discrepancies.

    The data that the Coalition has researched is obtained from the California Department of Education and can be accessed at: www.ed-data.k12.ca.us/welcome.asp. (go to Financial Reports for District).

    It looks like the Coalition’s numbers are pretty accurate, and I’d have to say that Mary and other candidates that are saying that the Coalition has manipulated the data are either pawns of special interests or too lazy to disaggregate the data in a meaningful way.

  •   4 comments for “The queerest School Board race in Orange County

    1. demmother
      November 5, 2006 at 3:44 pm

      I really hate the teacher/union bashing. It is disgraceful, but the teachers/CSEA members are not helping the situation. The school board missed the train in refusing to hire Kim Oanh. They must enjoy the drama.

      Partisan breakdown:

      Teacher’s slate: 2 Dems 1 Rep
      Our Children Our Voice Slate: 1 Dem 1 Rep 1 DTS (write in)
      Education Alliance Slate: 3 Reps

      The results will be interesting. I just hope the teacher slate and the Our Children Our Vote Coalition do not split to let the Education Alliance slate in. That is REALLY scarey.

    2. November 7, 2006 at 5:01 am

      So I phoned Mike Matsuda. Mike was the Democratic candidate for the 68th Assembly District back in 98, and he’s pretty knowledgeable when it comes to Vietnamese-American politics. He’s also been really involved in the Our Children, Our Vote Coalition.

      Matsuda is married to Susie “Xuyen,” a Vietnamese-American social worker who is involved in the community.

    3. Publius
      November 7, 2006 at 9:12 am

      Matsuda has also authored a few books for children. But I don’t see how this point or Quang’s adds any value to the original post.

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