Oct 232014
 

Dax Choksi

My last written recommendation for this election goes to Dax Choksi who is running for Fremont City Council.  This is based on his answers to the questionnaire I sent to him.  The Fremont School Board was mired in controversy earlier this year after they approved a sex education textbook that was too graphic for some puritanical parents, though it had the overwhelming support of health education teachers.  The Board voted to go back and use the previous textbook, which contained inaccurate information.

Dax is an involved parent in Fremont schools and a man with common sense.

1) What do you think is the biggest challenge facing your School District and how would you tackle it?

The following are the biggest challenges for the Fremont Unified School District:

* Facilities – our facilities are in dire need of repair and upgrade. In several schools the infrastructure is not adequate to provide an environment where students can thrive and receive education effectively. In addition to this, we have schools with huge waiting lists and this problem is persisting.

* Overcrowding – the class sizes are under pressure. This is not going to be an easy problem to solve but I would work to constantly strive to reduce the class sizes.

* Technology – We need to work to bring Fremont schools to the 21st century. Thy are currently lacking in several technology areas including computers, desktops and communication devices.

* Academics – We need to work on successful implementation of common core and ensure that there is equity in education.

2) Do you believe there are systemic problems with racial/sexual/gender-based or other discrimination in your district’s schools? How would you tackle them?

* I do not believe that there is a systemic problem with racial/sexual/gender discrimination. However, the problem could exist without a lot of people knowing about it. We need to take steps to ensure that this is prevented proactively:

* I would prevent this by continuing to enforce the existing regulations prohibiting discrimination and recommend disciplinary action against any person who is found to be violating the regulation.

* I would also seek to educate the youth about the negative impact of discrimination and how it could create a severe blow to the self-confidence of the victim of this injustice.

3) Do you support school dress codes? Specify.

We live in a democratic country thereby providing the right to people to dress as they please. However, there are certain guidelines essential in a school environment to ensure that there is no provocative dressing and the that the dressing adheres to a certain common decorum. There are existing dress code guidelines in FUSD and I would ensure that the guidelines are enforced in all the schools without exceptions.

4) What’s your position on the controversy over the health education books thought to be too risque by some?

I am strongly in favor of the textbook. I believe our first and foremost responsibility is to protect our youth. We can only do so by educating them. If we don’t educate them, we are leaving them ignorant and vulnerable to getting false/erroneous information from secondary unreliable sources. In the interest of the well being of our youth, I strongly support the book.

5) Do you believe religious texts, practices or songs should be part of the school’s curricula? If yes, please specify how.

No. Religion has no place in the school curricula. I believe in separation of church and state

Oct 222014
 

policeschoolThe following are tweets from last night’s San Leandro School Board meeting, made by parent Mia Ousley  (@Mia4Council), who is currently running for City Council District 5. The SLPD applied for a $500K COPS grant to put four resource officers in San Leandro schools. In return, the district would have to pay $1.7 million dollars, and cut programs accordingly. In addition to the people quoted below, several other parents and several teachers/counselors/nurses also spoke out against accepting the grant. The student trustee – who does not get a vote – did so as well. Only Board members Diana Prola and Ron Carey spoke in favor (but see comment below). 

Any parent who is concerned about using education money to fund police officers and/or has an opinion on what educational programs should be cut/not restored in order to pay for them, should speak out at the Nov. 18th School Board meeting and e-mail the Board.

For more information please e-mail School Board member Mike Katz-Lacabe: mkatz@slusd.us

Tweets from the School Board meeting

Evelyn Gonzalez approves of School Resource Officers, just asks for city to foot most of the bill.

Jessica Sievert – Mom of kindergardener, our work is to help change trajectory of at-risk youth so we don’t need police in schools.
Feels district is being forced to pay, district’s hand is being twisted. Feels politically inappropriate way to allocate money.
Any funding for students should not be pulled from other education resources to fund this.

Cynthia Chandler — Letter from district said Bancroft so deficient that parents have right to transfer out of district, so why spend money on police rather than on getting resources needed in classrooms and for teachers.

Liz Torres – 3 kids in 3rd, 6th, and 12th grade. We need safety and resources in schools, not more police.
$1.69 million should go to programs that uplift and inspire our children and prevent violence, not react to it.
Policing campuses is wrong direction and is misuse of our funds. After-school programs are what we need more of, what helps kids.

[School Board Trustee] Mike Katz-Lacabe – We have 1.8 nurses for 8800 students, this will prevent us from restoring cuts made in the past.
Doesn’t want to establish a precedent for the district funding SROs, outstanding Cathy Pickard notwithstanding.
Yet to see data showing SROs increase safety. Anecdotes are not evidence.
How many of our students get arrested instead of receiving school discipline  and what is their racial make-up? We (the school board) should NOT approve this grant.

[Mia Ousley's]  own statement — do not accept this grant because: (1) $$ needed for counselors, after-school programs, supplies, etc. – not police
(2) Hiring police to do job of counselors is harmful to students, and expensive to district.
(3) $1.7 million over 4 years is $106,250/year/officer . . . seems we’re paying MOST of their cost, not just some.
(4) Police shouldn’t help run student groups or after school programs, as the grant requires.
(5) Adding police to schools sends message that we expect kids to get into trouble.
(6) District should instead be teaching non-violent communication, implementing restorative justice, and hiring trained counselors.
And finally (7) It’s shameful this issue didn’t come before parents BEFORE SLPD applied for grant & BEFORE City Council voted on it.

Motion tabled ’til Nov. 18 meeting. Board President [Lance James] wants to give supporters a chance for public input to counter tonight’s public speakers.
Trustee Diana Prola only one to vote NO on tabling, saying “We need to have the cojones to vote the way we think.”
My opponent for City Council [Corina Lopez] was the only Trustee not to speak on the issue at all; perhaps she didn’t want to say anything controversial?

Oct 202014
 
Tweets from Last Mayor & City Council Candidate Forum

The Hayward Demos held a candidate forum for San Leandro Mayoral and City Council candidates on Thursday, Oct. 17th.  All candidates, except for Leah Hall, were present. They answered questions from the audience.  The following are tweets from the forum sent by Mike Katz-Lacabe.  Because Mike is a candidate for District 1, he was unable to tweet during that part of the forum.   DISTRICT 3 San Leandro Dist. 3 candidates Victor Aguilar & Allen Schoenfeld against armored assault vehicle. Lee Thomas wants more info and justification. Lee Thomas disagreed with warrant-less searches of houses includes in chickens/bees ordinance. Aguilar & Schoenfeld [Continue Reading]

Oct 192014
 
San Leandro City Council D3 Candidate Victor Aguilar Answers Questions

In order to better get to know the candidates for San Leandro offices, I sent out a questionnaire with questions provided by San Leandro residents and relevant to San Leandro. These are Victor Aguilar’s answers. PERSONAL INFORMATION 1- Do you have a website, Facebook Smart Voter page with more information about you and your platform? My Facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/victoraguilarforsanleandrocitycouncil 2- What is your political philosophy? My political philosophy is to protect our environment, provide quality public safety, support a strong positive relationship between the City, and schools, place San Leandro on a substantial foundation for fiscal [Continue Reading]

Oct 122014
 
Your Voting Guide to State, Alameda & San Leandro Measures

State Propositions Prop 1: NO Prop 1 is a bond measure that would raise billions to be spent on water infrastructure. Over 2 billion would be use to build dams, which has negative environmental consequences. The bond would be pay back from the state’s general fund, rather than by imposing fees to the agricultural businesses that will mostly benefit from this measure. Here is a useful and simple independent analysis of the bill. Prop 2: NO Prop 2 requires that 1.5% of general fund revenues be put into reserves. Half the money would go to pay off debt, and the other to be [Continue Reading]