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Contra Costa Times editorial board endorses Lawrence and Mason in MDUSD race

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, October 29th, 2012 at 11:29 am in Education, Election, Mt. Diablo school district.

Since many blog readers appear to be interested in commenting on the Times’ endorsement of Brian Lawrence and Debra Mason, I am reposting the editorial below. Please note that I am not on the editorial board and did not write this editorial. As a reporter, I do not endorse candidates.

“Contra Costa Times editorial: Lawrence and Mason for school board in Mt. Diablo Unified

© Copyright 2012, Bay Area News Group

As voters select two Mt. Diablo school trustees on Nov. 6, they should reflect on recent years of district leadership plagued by arrogance, deception, secrecy and ethical lapses.

In 2010, trustees and Superintendent Steven Lawrence misled voters about the long-term costs associated with an ill-conceived $348 million bond issue. They also promised a cap on the resulting tax rate for property owners. After voters approved the bonds, trustees reneged and exceeded the cap by 50 percent.

Meanwhile, during the election, the superintendent held private meetings with Chevron at his home. The oil giant was vying for a $66 million solar installation to be paid from the bond proceeds. The company was also treating him to drinks and he was soliciting golf discounts from the firm.

After the election, the district was headed toward awarding the contract to Chevron without competitive bidding until this newspaper started asking questions. When Chevron actually had to compete with other companies, it didn’t bother.

Then, in 2011, disenchantment with administrators at Clayton Valley High sparked the largest teacher-led conversion to a charter school in Northern California. While district officials complained about the extra cost, they ignored that they brought it on themselves by being tone-deaf to the concerns of teachers and parents. District trustees rejected the charter, but the county Office of Education overturned that decision, allowing the school to open in July.

Meanwhile, parents seeking information, as well as this newspaper, have been repeatedly stonewalled by administrators, including school district attorney Greg Rolen, who deny or delay access to public information.

This circle-the-wagon mentality must end. And that must start at the top with the removal of one of the intransigent board members, Sherry Whitmarsh, who happens to work for Chevron, sees nothing wrong with Lawrence’s cozy relationship with the firm and spearheaded early contract renewals for Lawrence and Rolen. She also tries to perpetuate the fantasy that the district is open and responsive to the public.

Whitmarsh is the only incumbent seeking re-election in the Nov. 6 election for two board seats. We urge voters to instead support Brian Lawrence of Walnut Creek (no relation to the superintendent with the same last name) and Debra Mason of Bay Point.

The fourth candidate, former principal Barbara Oaks, didn’t understand the bond program nor realize most of the money was to go for school construction. It was a stunning admission.

Lawrence and Mason understand the program. Both regularly attend school board meetings. Lawrence brings financial expertise while Mason brings the experience of 22 years as a district instructional assistant and would add much-needed geographic diversity to the board.

(A fifth candidate on the ballot, Ernie Detrinidad, dropped out of the race.)

Lawrence and Mason argue for district transparency and question the cost of the bond program. The district was antagonistic to teachers and parents during the charter school review, Lawrence says. Mason says she was appalled by how they were treated.

It’s time for responsive leadership that’s open, honest and ethical. Elect Lawrence and Mason.”

It’s my understanding that the editorial board interview conducted by Dan Borenstein will eventually be posted online at

Do you agree with the Times’ editorial board’s endorsements?

NOV. 1 UPDATE: Here is a link to video of the Times’ editorial board interview:

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

114 Responses to “Contra Costa Times editorial board endorses Lawrence and Mason in MDUSD race”

  1. g Says:

    50-50. Waiting for the video.

  2. Jim Says:

    Theresa — I know you’re not on the editorial board, and may not be at all privy to their discussions, but I was surprised by the following: “The fourth candidate, former principal Barbara Oaks, didn’t understand the bond program nor realize most of the money was to go for school construction. It was a stunning admission.”

    It seems almost impossible that a board candidate wouldn’t know this (although, admittedly, we’ve had serving board members whose ignorance in other matters was equally stunning…). Can you offer any more information on that statement from the endorsement? If true, it would seem to put Ms. Oaks completely out of consideration.

  3. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Jim, According to my notes, I believe the editorial is referring to Oaks’ initial impression of the bond program, when the district first informed her about it. At that time, she said she was asked if she would support a bond that would fund solar projects, which would, in turn, provide energy cost-savings that could fund benefits and salaries.

    “Beyond that,” she said, “it was really not made clear to me that there was going to be $200 million for other projects.”

    Borenstein asked her if she thought solar was the primary purpose of the bond. She replied: “That was my impression.”

    But, earlier in the discussion, Oaks said: “This was a way of getting funding into the district, not only for solar, but for widening the Internet band, air conditioning at school sites…”

    She also said it bothered her that the board broke its promise regarding the tax rate and she suggested that perhaps the board should re-evaluate whether it really needs to spend the entire $348 million.

    So, my impression was that Oaks now understands that the bond measure is paying for construction projects, but that she didn’t appear to understand that when the district initially informed her about it. For more info on her apparent role in coming up with the CPHS list of projects, please see my comment at

  4. anon Says:

    “Responsible leadership that is open, honest, ethical” – I agree with Mason but Lawrence’s long track record of political connections with Strange, Eberhart, and Whitmarsh, campaign contributions from Matt juhl-Darlington, and other trade unions that benefit from Measure C projects are suspect. His cynical use of “Educator” on his ballot designation for political gain raises doubts about his ethics and honesty. Remember this is a guy who was handpicked by Eberhart and Strange to take Strange’s spot on the board two years ago. I would bet that had Eberhart decided to run again Lawrence would not have.
    Sorry, CCT, Lawrence does not live up to your standard of being ” open,honest, and ethical”.

  5. g Says:

    I think Anon is right. Think about being asked a very generic question like: “Would you support a bond measure to install solar that would save save millions on energy and bring income to the General Fund?” Who wouldn’t answer yes.

    Now ask it this way: “Would you support a $350 million bond that will cost future generations over a $1 billion and take up to 40 years to repay, but in the meantime, we will build solar, add a swimming pool (or two) throw away dozens of nearly new air conditioner units and replace them, and we will save many millions of dollars on energy, which, unfortunately, will still not allow us to even come close to a dollar-for-dollar break even point?

  6. g Says:

    Theresa #3: “…Oaks now understands that the bond measure is paying for construction projects, but that she didn’t appear to understand that when the district initially informed her about it….”

    That alone fully explains her comments. Early on, she, and many-many others were only asked the more “generic” question I gave as an example in my above comment.

    I think the editorial board came up short in their analysis and misinterpreted Oaks’ statements–hopefully that misinterpretation was not intentional, or due to any outside pressures.

    I fail to see anything I would call a “stunning admission” if it were put in the proper context (which I believe YOU tried to do).

    Still waiting for the video to see if this was really the only “stunning” thing said that was worth mentioning in the paper.

  7. Doctor J Says:

    Its another, WHO knew WHAT and WHEN did they KNOW it ? Perhaps someone can start a timeline. Remember that Steven Lawrence was “hired” in Nov 2009 but did not actually report for work until Feb 1, 2010. So when was Barbara Oaks asked for the first time what she would support ? Who asked it ?

  8. Anon Says:

    So teachers were holding signs in front of Diablo View today for Lawrence and Oaks. This morning was no on 32

  9. Doctor J Says:

    And where are the campaign finance statements that were due Oct 25 ?

  10. Doctor J Says: reports they are having scanning problems with candidate finance statements. Brian Lawrence filed his statement and can be viewed at the county offices or purchased ten cents a copy. Perhaps Theresa can post it.

  11. Anon Says:

    In my OPINION,

    These scanning problems are very favorable to the Whitmarsh campaign. Hmmmmm……

    Are there union workers doing the scanning?

  12. Theresa Harrington Says:

    g: I don’t think there was anything else “stunning” in the interview.
    But, the teacher evaluation discussion was interesting.
    Oaks said she has worked with about three teachers who probably shouldn’t be in that profession. She said site administrators need to let them know what is and isn’t acceptable (such as foul language).
    Mason said some teachers are bullies and that they should be held accountable for the same anti-bullying rules that must be adhered to by students. She said often, problem teachers are just transferred to another school and that it can take years of documenting before such teachers are let go.
    Lawrence said site administrators who evaluate teachers should have teaching experience themselves. He said great teachers want to work with great teachers and mentioned the PAR (Peer Assistance Review) program, which can help mentor struggling teachers.
    Whitmarsh had already left when this question was asked.

  13. Doctor J Says:

    San Diego’s National School board president Pearl Quiñones, running for re-election, is one of two school board members charged by the District Attorney’s Office with accepting bribes and failing to report meals, theater tickets and other gifts received from contractors while awarding millions of dollars in bond money to those contractors. She has pleaded not guilty to felony charges. I have asked this numerous times: has anyone got copies of Steven Lawrence’s andthe Board’s FPPC Form 700’s for the last 5 years to see what they received from Measure C supporters and contractors ? I would hope Theresa would post those for all to see. Read what kind of “perks” the contractors were “wining and dining” the Board members with ! Could that have happened in MDUSD ?

  14. Jim Says:

    @13 Dr. J — I have to say, this sort of thing is so commonplace, it is surprising that anyone ever notices. I am not being cynical. It’s just a fact in large school districts. Outright bribes are (usually) not acceptable anymore, even in places like Philadelphia, Baltimore, DC, Detroit, Miami-Dade, and New Orleans etc. where they used to be commonplace. But this kind of entertainment is still very common, and often it’s an expected perk of being a high-level school administrator. If you see criminal charges, it is usually because the alleged perpetrator somehow got onto the wrong side of someone important. Otherwise, no one ever follows up on this sort of thing.

    In my years of working with districts across the country, I saw a lot more unprofessional and unethical behavior than I ever did during my prior career working in banking in New York. School administrators know that they control an important monopoly with lots of money to spend, and they know that they are, basically, accountable to no one. We are not going to improve the ethical climate in large school districts until we change that basic situation.

  15. Anon Says:

    Many of these school bond measures are really nothing more than a license to steal for some people.

  16. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It’s interesting to compare the way districts spend their bond money. Although WCCUSD’s schools are about the same age as many in MDUSD, that district has chosen to completely rebuild schools instead of doing upgrades or improvements, the way MDUSD does. This is what gives some people the impression that MDUSD is simply putting on band-aids instead of making wholesale improvements.

    El Cerrito HS has a performing arts center that far outshines anything in MDUSD. In fact, it rivals theaters at Monte Vista and San Ramon Valley high schools in SRVUSD and at Las Lomas HS in the Acalanes District. Also, I attended a WCCUSD candidates’ forum in an elementary school multiuse room in that had wooden floors and a permanent wooden stage, with stairs leading up to it. This is the kind of stage that Sequoia MS is so desperately seeking.

    I happened to see the new Sequoia MS principal at the Common Core summit and mentioned the Sequoia stage to her. She said it is on the updated Measure C list of projects, but there is some question about whether Measure C will be able to fully fund it. So, the PFC has made it a priority and is trying to come up with matching funds. Yet, the entire cost of the stage, according to the drama teacher, is $100,000. With all the millions being spent on solar and new air conditioners to replace air conditioning systems that were already purchased by parent groups, it’s surprising that it seems to be so difficult to get a stage built at Sequoia MS.

    Meanwhile, workers are putting the final touches on an Eagle insignia that is being embossed in the center of the quad at Kennedy HS in Richmond in WCCUSD, paid for with that district’s bond measure.

  17. g Says:

    Jim: Worth reading again, and again…:

    “School administrators know that they control an important monopoly with lots of money to spend, and they know that they are, basically, accountable to no one. We are not going to improve the ethical climate in large school districts until we change that basic situation.”

    When those administrators reach county state, and even Federal levels, they give little beyond lip service to accountability at the district level.

    “Elect me–I’ve gotten a Education Bill on the floor.”

    Carefully then, through fine print and loopholes, one by one they pull the teeth out of their own legislation–to protect their constituents.

    By the time a Bill gets to a vote, it is generally unrecognizable from the original intent. That buddy system perpetuates the problems they “say” they want to solve.

    Talk about having the fox guard the hen house!

  18. g Says:

    Theresa; Perhaps, if they play their politics right, Sequoia MS parents will get lucky like Northgate. Remember all those hundreds of thousands of dollars Northgate parents raised to build/refurbish their stadium and bleachers?

    Certain people played the “right side” of politics, and suddenly–the district said we would all pay for it with bonds and lease-backs–and Northgate parents were, apparently left with a hefty bank account to do “other” things.

  19. Jim Says:

    @16 Theresa — There is a fundamental issue of finance here that many school administrators apparently fail to grasp. Bond money is borrowed for a long time — often 30 years — so it should be used to pay for projects with that kind of useful life. Smaller repairs, and investments in things with a short-term life, like computers, white boards, new doors and so on, should be done out of a maintenance reserve that is added to yearly as money is drawn from it for those things. Continually borrowing long-term for such short-term operating expenses gradually shifts the burden of today’s operating costs onto a future generation that must repay the money. And what will THEY do? Perpetuate the cycle? For how long? It’s simply not “sustainable”, to borrow a word from the “green” solar vocabulary.

    Moreover, this kind of financial mismanagement misleads everyone about what the operating expenses of our schools truly are. I don’t believe that MDUSD administrators, and many others, have any idea what it actually costs to operate our schools according to the generally accepted accounting principles used elsewhere in our society — you know…where, if you don’t follow them, you can end up in jail. It just amazes me that we give so much power to school administrators who are so mediocre, and often, frankly, deceitful. But there they are, educating our children!

  20. Clayton Mamma Says:

    Theresa, CVCHS has finally posted Governing Board meeting minutes! Thank you for nudging them. Any chance you can get them to post their standing committee meeting minutes as well?

    Unfortunately, there was no discussion in the minutes about why they were terminating their contract with ExEd. I assume all discussions were held in closed sesssion. CVCHS had to pay ExEd $27,500 to get out of the contract. Did you have any luck finding out what happened or what the reputation is of the new company? I thought ExEd was a top-notch organization and was confident they could handle the back office functions. I am puzzled and concerned about this development.

  21. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    Clayton Mamma at #20:

    have you tried asking CVCHS admin for the info?

  22. Theresa Harrington Says:

    No, with elections and Giants coverage, I haven’t had time to follow up and I didn’t really nudge them, aside from mentioning your blog comment to a parent.

    Jim: I have heard many people question the amount of money being spent on doors and door hardware, which some people said was not needed. The Measure C budget calls for an expenditure of $773,500 on exterior doors, at a unit cost of $3,250 each. In addition, it calls for an expenditure of $775,680 on door hardware, at a unit cost of $1,010 each.

    The schools that are spending the most on doors and hardware are: Oak Grove MS, which is getting 25 doors at a cost of $81,250; and Ygnacio Valley Elementary, which is getting 72 units of door hardware, at a cost of $72,720.

    g: My understanding was that Northgate was able to use some of the money it raised to leverage along with its fair share of Measure C money to build its projects. I don’t believe it’s getting more Measure C money than anyone else. But, you’re right that the Measure C helped offset the money the Northgate Pride Foundation thought it would have to raise by itself.

    What is more confusing to me is how the district allocates Prop. 55 money. MDHS decided it wanted an IHTA gourmet kitchen that is not being funded through Measure C, so the district decided to fund it with Prop. 55. Maybe Sequoia MS should ask for Prop. 55 money, if it comes up short for its stage.

  23. Jim Says:

    @23 Theresa — To be fair to MDUSD, commercial doors are expensive, and they get a lot of hard use in schools. They also often look like hell in the local schools that I visit. IMHO, that tends to foster a decrepit and chaotic first impression for students and visitors at a school. The “haunted house” entrance doors to one of my neighborhood schools — dented, chipped and clouded glass, smeared with four tones of paint patches, screeching like banshees when you pried them open — reminded me of the doors to a school I used to walk past in Harlem, when I lived in NY. (That school was plain scary, and I always stepped a bit faster when I had to walk by that place.) Those MDUSD doors were a constant reminder that even though we live in a great neighborhood, with great neighbors and kids, our schools are third-rate, by any national comparison.

    That said, they shouldn’t be using 30-year money to replace doors and door handles. Remember, if your kids are still living here in 2040 (and mine would like to, if it weren’t for the schools), they will still be paying for those doors.

  24. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Since I am also helping to cover tax measures in other districts, I was just reading through the voter pamphlet for Antioch’s bond measure. It states: “State law requires the district’s chief fiscal officer to annually file with the district Board of Trustees a report that states the amount of proceeds generated from the sale of bonds, the amount expended for improvements and the status of the improvements to be funded with bond proceeds.”

    I assume this law applies to MDUSD’s Measure C, as well. But, I don’t recall any reports by Bryan Richards to the board about this. I recall presentations by Pete Pedersen and the Bond Oversight Committee. Has Richards been complying with this state requirement?

  25. Doctor J Says:

    CoCo election scanner “still down” — someone will have to pay ten cents a copy in Martinez and post the financial statements of candidates. No plans to fix the scanner before the election — how convenient for the candidates and how inconvenient for the voters !

  26. g Says:

    Theresa #22: Theresa, as I recall, after a long hard try, Northgate Pride had managed to save enough for the new bleachers. The district came in and hired the Texas company on a full cost lease/leaseback arrangement at district expense.

    Now suddenly, even though just two years ago Pedersen assured neighbors there was NO swimming pool money, or any plans in the foreseeable future to build a pool, what are they doing? Pool!

    I have no problem with them getting anything they can. When students work hard they deserve the perks!

    As for Prop 55—that is ‘supposed to’ be used as ‘matching funds’ per project, but you will never be able to break it out under current accounting methods.

    Think of the many approvals the board has voted on that said the item would be charged specifically to one or the other Measure Cs –or Prop 55; then later, look at Warrants and see those items charged partially or entirely to a different budget.

    Pedersen runs the entire facilities budget; Richards plugs in the numbers he’s given. I suspect he isn’t even allowed to have an eraser in the room.

  27. Anon Says:

    Dr J #25,

    In my OPINION the Whtimarsh campaign or rather the high roller backing of the Whitmarsh campaign is what is leading to the “slow down” in getting the scanner back up and running.

  28. Anon Says:

    G: Au contraire, Northgate Pride was trying to raise the bleacher funds within a few years. In the meantime Northgate was paying to rent bleachers-a wasteful annual expense and not enough seats to accommodate all visitors. Fortuitously as Theresa explained the district provided funds, the same amount to each of the high schools, and Northgate voted to fast track the bleachers and then the pool. The only advantage is that Northgate had plans ready to go. Kindly do not speculate when you do not have correct information.

  29. Doctor J Says:

    Its not a pool; its an aquatic center at Northgate ! Is this article inaccurate ? Is that the same amount of Meas C money all other schools got ?

  30. Theresa Harrington Says:

    g: I defer to anon regarding Northgate.

    Regarding Prop. 55, the point I’m making is that the funds don’t appear to be “matching” anything. Why does MDHS get projects fully funded by Prop. 55, while Sequoia MS can’t even get a stage that was its Number 2 Measure C priority fully funded? (Even though the cost is $100,000 and the district set aside nearly $300,000 for unspecified improvements at the site.) If the district can’t follow through on the funding promised in the Measure C budget, why isn’t it offering Prop. 55 funding to help pay for the stage, instead of asking the Sequoia PFC to come up with matching funds?

  31. anon Says:

    As a member of one of the District’s Parent Groups, I am tired of being the District’s ATM. Enough already. We are paying salaries, buying supplies, and doing the work some employees just don’t want to do. Now they want us to match funds to upgrade facilities? I am not a SMS parent, just using the matching funds for the stage as an example.

    In the meantime, we are often treated like an inconvenient nuisance when we need a little help, or ask to use district facilities.

  32. Theresa Harrington Says:

    This is in sharp contrast to what I’m hearing is happening at CVCHS. There, parents are being welcomed with open arms and thanked profusely for their help. Although they may be pumping money and volunteer hours into the school, they feel like they are part of the school community, instead of an inconvenient nuisance.

    MDUSD is a little behind-the-times when it comes to viewing its facilities as community assets. Other districts, such as Oakland and WCCUSD, view their campuses as community centers integral to the neighborhoods they serve. In fact, they are adding services such as dental and health clinics to encourage families to come to the schools and view them as resources.

    As has been pointed out in the past, MDUSD leaders often talk the talk, but fail to walk the walk. They talk about wanting to build community partnerships, but seem to find it difficult to do this. The latest traffic accident outside Mt. Diablo Elementary is a good example. Although Linda Mayo has said the district should strengthen communications with city leaders to develop Safe Routes to Schools to improve pedestrian and bike access to campuses, district leaders spurned Clayton Councilmen David Shuey and Joe Medrano when they reached out an olive branch after the CVCHS approval. If the district had accepted that olive branch, it could have been discussing the traffic problems outside Mt. Diablo Elementary with the Clayton Police Chief, City Manager and Mayor — instead of reading in the newspaper about its students being hit.

    The WCCUSD board doesn’t just talk about reaching out to cities. It actually does it. Each board member is assigned as a liaison to one of its cities and regularly attends City Council meetings. But, the only time MDUSD board members attend City Council meetings is when they want something — such as school crossing guards.

    Ongoing communication between cities and district officials would help to build community trust in the district. CVCHS has put that into practice, but MDUSD doesn’t seem to have the will to follow through on this stated goal. Which reminds me, I wonder when the board will see any action items related to putting the recently adopted strategic plan into practice.

  33. Mka Says:

    I take offense to the derogatory comment about Ms. Oaks. Ms. Oaks may have been caught off guard about the bonds however, she was an excellent special ed teacher, VP and Principal @ College Park. I think she can bring so much more to the table than Mason. Barbara would be familiar with ed codes, laws, school and classroom procedures,regulations, management. Ms. Mason was an instructional aide. Can’t even compare. Vote for Barbara Oaks!

  34. Anon Says:


  35. Doctor J Says:

    @Mka — You can vote for both ! Please tell me why Barbara Oaks did not file her campaign finance statement due Oct 25 ?

  36. Doctor J Says:

    @TH “sharp contrast” — Nicely done. As far as “action items” to put the Strategic Plan into “practice” ? ROTFLMAO. Steven Lawrence will probably hire a consultant for that; its beyond his job skillset.

  37. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I was surprised when I attended the Common Core Standards workshop put on by the COE and heard that the Martinez district doesn’t hire outside consultants for staff development. Instead, it sends its curriculum specialist and principals to trainings, then expects them to provide staff development to teachers.
    Although this seemed to be MDUSD’s plan when it created the SASS coaching positions, it’s unclear whether MDUSD has actually put this into practice. Instead, it seems that MDUSD brings in lots of consultants to train teachers in things the SASS coaches and principals should already know how to do.

  38. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Please note that I have just added a Nov. 1 update to this blog post with a link to the video of the editorial board interview with the MDUSD candidates.

  39. Anon Says:

    TH #30,

    You are missing one important point that drives home why Northgate gets all the goodies and Sequioa gets screwed.

    McMorris did the dirty work on Lawrence’s anti-CVCHS campaign. He is simply being “Paid-Off”. In my opinion he should be fired.

  40. Question Says:

    Theresa: You note that you hear at CVCHS that “parents are being welcomed with open arms and thanked profusely for their help. Although they may be pumping money and volunteer hours into the school, they feel like they are part of the school community, instead of an inconvenient nuisance.” Are you saying CVCHS parents were treated poorly before — not being welcomed, not being thanked? I am trying to figure out what specific rules, regulations, etc. changed that may have facilitated this culture shift (if a shift really exists). I know MDUSD has a volunteer activity approval form, required by Local 1 (I think), which seems ridiculous. I am not sure of the history behind that. I am assume CVCHS has a more streamlined process for a project, campus clean-up, etc.

  41. Anon Says:

    Anon#39: Go back and study how to read English: all the high schools got the same amount. And if you study History: you would learn that it was Linda L, not McMorris, who fought the district to get any Measure C money for any of the high schools, including wherever students go after Sequoia. You’re wasting your time and energy attacking Northgate, instead you should study Economics: how does Pedersen plan to pay for a brand spanking new Bay Point school ?

  42. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Question: Yes, that’s my understanding regarding the culture shift. Also, you’re right that parents were prevented from doing certain sorts of volunteer work that was considered to be union work. Now, parents can paint walls and do other projects they previously weren’t able to do.
    However, I don’t think all parents felt unwelcome or that they were never thanked before. My impression is that the change is sort of like floodgates being opened — kind of like they felt stifled before and now there are less obstacles.
    Also, there was a change of leadership at the school during the last year before it converted. It was my understanding that Sue Brothers and her team attempted to address some of the issues that had been festering under the previous administration. I know there were parents who were pleased with Brothers’ “can do” attitude and said she was responsive to their concerns.

    Anons: To my knowledge, there is no evidence that Northgate is getting anything it doesn’t deserve. And you are right that it was Linda Mayo who asked the board to fast-track improvements at the high schools. She appeared to realize that taxpayers wanted to see upgrades to their children’s classrooms before they graduated, instead of waiting for years while the district sped ahead on its first priority — solar panels.

  43. Anon Says:

    You got the wrong Linda… wasn’t Mayo.

  44. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Linda L. may have pushed for it behind the scenes, but I remember Linda Mayo speaking in support of the idea when it came before the board. Obviously, if it didn’t have board support, it wouldn’t have been approved. Thanks for explaining the origin. I don’t recall Linda L. publicly taking credit for that.

  45. Anon Says:

    Linda L. didn’t take credit for it because her ego isn’t an issue, it’s getting things done that interest her. I would trade Linda L for Linda M on the board in a minute. At least Linda L. stands for something. Mayo has just been a “me, too” with Eberhart and Whitmarsh the last two years. Right after this election you will start hearing more demands for her recall or resignation.

  46. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Rumor on the street is that the RECALL MAYO and DENNLER campaign is already lining up volunteers to gather signatures.

  47. Doctor J Says:

    Brian Lawrence has now removed from the public Facebook page his occupation of “politician” but still refuses to reveal his 721 Facebook friends. His Oct 25 campaign financial statement remains unkown since CoCoVote’s scanner continues to be “down”.

  48. Brian Lawrence Says:

    “Doctor” J,

    I have no clue what you are talking about. I have a Facebook page for my candidacy at:

    It states: “Politician, Candidate for the Mt. Diablo School Board”. I’ve never removed that listing and it is appearing there now, when I look at the page.

    I hand-delivered my campaign financial statement to the Registrar’s office on the due date. I have no idea why their scanner is broken. Perhaps you can use a finger printing kit to figure it out.

    After that, perhaps you can tackle some other big mysteries such as:

    – Who is Debra Mason friends with on MySpace?
    – Why hasn’t Barbara Oakes revealed her Christmas card list?
    – When will Sherry Whitmarsh turn over every person listed in her phone book?
    – Why aren’t any of the candidates revealing who they have friended on Friendster?
    – Do we know, really know, that all of the candidates were not born in Kenya?

  49. Doctor J Says:

    Brian, now it shows again as “politician”. I am not blaming you for the scanner issue. Go ahead and post your financial statement for the public to view it. I like what you say, but show us your “facebook friends” ! Be open and transparent as you advocate. Walk the walk, just don’t talk the talk.

  50. g Says:

    Oh, yeah! Now THAT is the personality we want to have up there in the big swivel chair; making decisions about the children’s future! He’ll fit nicely into the impression left by Eberhart.


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