Greg Stratton Speaks!

Last week, I read an article describing Debbie Sandland as being “visibly perturbed” about being passed up for the nomination of school board president.  Evidently, there’s an unwritten rule among trustees that the previous year’s clerk be nominated as the current year’s board president.  Last year’s clerk was Sandland.

But protocol was broken last week when Eric Lundstrom, a first term trustee, received the majority vote.  Uh oh!  Protocol was broken?  Yikes!  And Sandland doesn’t like that at all according to last week’s article in the Acorn:

“I think it’s my turn,” she said. “It’s a natural progression.”

DiFatta agreed with her fellow board member.

“There shouldn’t be any debate,” DiFatta said. “The clerk of the board (Sandland) has done a great job, and unless she’s not interested in being president, we should move the clerk to president. I certainly hope this board doesn’t go toward the culture of previous boards that were divisive and mean-spirited.”

I love that!  Breaking away from tradition gets this old timer to utter the words “divisive” and “mean-spirited!”  Really Janice??

What really moved me was the response from former Simi Valley Mayor and former School Board Trustee Greg Stratton.  I like Mr. Stratton for several reasons that I’m not afraid to admit.  1) I bought a condo from him about 10 years ago, 2) he used to work with my father, 3) he’s a well respected member of the community and 4) he was never afraid to openly voice his concerns about the school district and our board of trustees.  He speaks openly in a letter to the Acorn this week:

Obviously their definition of “recent memory” does not go all the way back to 2004, when they broke protocol and denied me and Carla Kurachi our turns as board president and clerk. They taught Rob (Collins) well that the leadership decision is purely political. I’m sure he remembers back that far.

By the protocol, Eric (Lundstrom) should have been clerk last year. Apparently they forgot that part of it then, but now they conveniently remember the rules.

I don’t know how they each can make the statements they made without being afraid of being struck by lightning for twisting the truth.

Read his letter by clicking here.

Update: Brian Dennert discusses the issue here.

1 thought on “Greg Stratton Speaks!

  1. The Board President has two sources of power. The first is control of the agenda. There are lots of items that should be on the agenda to be discussed openly that never make it. There are many items that never see the light of day because it would be hard to support what the district is doing if the public actually knew. I saw issues simply get stalled and not return even when scheduled. If you like the status quo, don’t have any agenda items for discussion.

    Second, is the power to give direction to the staff. Never really defined, the President has three votes to get the job, and so has some very implicit authority. All superintendants learn to count to three very quickly, or they don’t survive very long. So the President has some real clout.

    It is interesting to note that this means that the board is now divisive. I found that is the word used when you don’t agree with them. There are five board members so that you can have discussions from different perspectives and try to find the best solution. Those discussions happen all the time on the City Council, and they are expected and encouraged. Not all votes are 5-0.

    Not so on the Board, where everyone has to march in lock step or be considered mean spirited. Interesting that the majority is now the divisive group. How can that be?


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