There are 4 candidates running for 2 seats on the West Contra Costa Unified School District Board of Education. One aspect of the campaign process is garnering endorsements from various organizations and the main local paper. Here is the current scorecard:
The El Cerrito Democratic Club has been the only active party club in the district. (A new one in Hercules is starting up.) It combines a candidate Q&A forum with a members-only ballot at the end.
The Central Labor Council is the county version of the AFL-CIO. They send out a questionnaire and then interview and endorse candidates.
The county Democratic Party has an elected Central Committee. Candidates fill out and submit a short questionnaire. A subcommittee interviews candidates. Then, this subcommittee recommends candidates to the full committee.
The teachers union also sends out a questionnaire first. (The answers are distributed to all teachers.) The union executive board interviews candidates and passes on a recommendation to the general council of representatives from all of the schools. At the general meeting, the candidates get to make a brief pitch to the whole assembly before a ballot is taken.
“Local 1” is the union for most of the non-teacher employees in WCCUSD. Their board interviews candidates and decides who to endorse.
The Contra Costa Times is the local paper that pays the most attention to WCCUSD. They interview the candidates before deciding. This time they are posting the video of the interview in the endorsement editorial.
This post was originally published on September 19th, but was updated and republished once the Contra Costa Times endorsed.
The first of two pre-election campaign finance filings has occured. Here are the results for these four West Contra Costa Unified School District candidates for two available seats:
Here are some graphs comparing donations, remaining cash balances, and donation sources as of Sept. 30 with a table following at the end. “Construction Interests” as a category includes organizations (companies, unions, and trade associations) and individuals. “Individuals” and “Organizations” refer to individuals and organizations that aren’t construction-related. Donations under $100 aren’t itemized and are just reported as a single aggregate number in each report.
| ||Total Donations||Construction Interests||Organzations||Indivduals||Under $100||Cash Balance
I’m now the secretary of the West Contra Costa Unified School District Citizens Bond Oversight Committee. How did this happen?
At the last committee meeting (on August 15th), as an aside, the chair, Robert Studdiford, stated that there would be elections for officers at the next meeting. He gave no other information. I assumed this meant the usual roll-over of the current officers.
Leading up to this September 26th meeting, there was no information available to the committee as a whole about whether the current officers would continue. No clue in the agenda. It just said “Officer Elections.”
When we had our meeting, the chair said we were supposed to have voted on officers awhile before, but it just hadn’t worked out. Then it turned out he wasn’t running for re-election this time. Whatever the explanation, it was a surprise. Kris Hunt nominated me for chair. Then, Mr. Studdiford, the chair, nominated Joseph Gallia, the Construction Trades Council representative.
Without any further discussion, we moved to a vote and Robert’s hand-picked successor was duly elected 6-4. I ended up as secretary, because nobody else wanted the job. (Or, maybe the hand-picked person didn’t make it to the meeting.)
The bright side is Robert is no longer chair. However, here’s what concerns me about this:
- There was no discussion about the contested presidential election, just steamrollering to a vote. When there was a contest for secretary last time, we had a discussion. Making up the rules at the moment of their application is not right. I would have liked to hear what Mr. Gallia would do as chair and to have been able to say what I would do as chair.
- The most bizarre aspect of this is related to the fact that Robert is running for school board. Joseph is a business agent for Ironworkers Union Local 378. This union has endorsed Robert as a candidate (and presumably given him money). So, Robert installed an official of a union supporting him for school board as his replacement as chair of our oversight committee.
Update: It turns out that since I last checked his endorsements page, Robert has updated it. Now, there is no longer a listing for the Ironworkers Union. If this page was from his 2008 run, it seems pretty weird that a campaign would not replace the page till now. (Here’s the Google archive link of the last version of the page and a screen cap I took of the archived page–in case the link gets overwritten.)
Today is an important milestone in the November election. This is when campaigns have to file a report of their income and expenses up to September 30th. Hopefully, all the reports will be online by Monday. That would make Monday a triple holiday: Columbus Day, Follow the Money Day, and Beginning of Vote-by-Mail Day. Here’s the link for Contra Costa County:
Campaign Contribution Search
The biggest thing to watch is For the Children of West County, the PAC that bankrolls bond and parcel tax campaigns with money from construction interests, all marshaled together by Charles Ramsey. Here are some direct links to known WCCUSD PACs and candidates:
I’ll report on what I find from Follow the Money Day after it happens.
Note: There’s one more pre-election filing deadline on the 25th.