Diane Blum

Freelance Writer

"Candidate Forum"
posted 2012 in the Evergreen Times
Engaged Evergreen
The District 8 Community Round Table (D8CRT) held its Candidates’ Forum on October 4th at Grace Church. Nearly 150 attendees came to gather more information about candidates running for available seats in 4 different political races impacting Evergreen residents. The four races include positions within the Evergreen Elementary School District, the East Side Union High School District, the 27th District State Assembly and the San Jose City Council/District 8.
The following is a brief overview of the themes presented relating to each race. Transcriptions of much of the candidates’ discussion points have also been included in this issue.
The Evergreen Elementary School District (EESD) Board election is looking to elect two Governing Board Members from a roster of three candidates; all who were present and spoke at the forum: Bonnie Mace, Vince Songcayawon (Incumbent), and Balaji Ventkatraman. All spoke of the need to prioritize resolving the district’s budget, finalize teacher contracts, continue to work on closing the achievement gap and focus on improving school safety. Additionally, the candidates all spoke of the importance of increasing community and parent engagement as part of the EESD Board’s goals.
The East Side Union High School District (ESUHSD) Board election is looking to elect two Governing Board Members from a roster of four candidates, three of who were present and spoke at the forum. Magdalena Carrasco, Thelma Boac and Lan Nguyen (Incumbent) spoke, with the key themes being dealing with and stabilizing the school district’s budget for some 24,000 high school students, narrowing the achievement gap through parent involvement and community partnerships, continuing a focus on student safety and working to ensure that the ESUHSD curriculum adequately prepares students for graduation. There were some interesting points made about the challenges relating to addressing the curriculum needs for high vs. low achievers. How do our highly diverse student populations, with very different academic needs, get the curriculum they deserve, especially during a time of fiscal crisis? The importance of middle-school feeder schools was discussed as one key factor in student readiness for high school. All mentioned that if Propositions 30 or 38 does not pass that it is incredibly scary to think of the cuts that will need to occur given things are already cut to the bone.
In the 27th District State Assembly race, two candidates are running for State Assembly member, and the Republican candidate attended and spoke at the forum. Roger Lasson discussed the challenges of dealing with California’s financial issues, especially relating to the state’s dismal ranking as 47th in education. His top priorities are to address fiscal and pension reform, unemployment and the need for California to be more business friendly.
In the final race, that of the San Jose City Council District 8, both candidates running for Councilmember District 8 attended and spoke. Rose Herrera (Incumbent) said her top short-term priorities were implementing Measure B and dealing with the budget deficit, getting pension costs under control while providing incentives to retain and attract police; jobs; and bringing back community services. Jimmy Nguyen indicated his top short-term priorities were public safety, crime and graffiti. Both candidates indicated that they are reluctantly supporting Proposition 30, given the draconian cuts that would occur without additional school and public safety funding.
The D8CRT Board would like to thank Grace Church for their generosity in hosting the Candidates’ Forum. The transcripts of individual candidates are included.
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