Thursday, October 30, 2008


As a parent of a young child in an SFUSD public school, I urge anyone concerned about children in San Francisco's public schools to vote for Rachel Norton for Board of Education. I have had the pleasure of serving with Rachel Norton on San Francisco Unified School District's Community Advisory Committee for Special Education for almost four years. She has common sense, integrity and is one of the smartest women I know.

The school board is in dire need of someone who understands what parents of children in special education programs face every day, and that person is Rachel Norton. Rachel Norton has been a tireless advocate, volunteering countless hours helping parents who are not fluent in English navigate the complex special education system.

This experience has taught Rachel much about what SFUSD needs to do to improve the way it serves children, parents and teachers. Having Rachel Norton on the Board of Education will be beneficial not only for children with disabilities, but also for all children in the school district.

I trust Rachel Norton to listen, to closely study the issues brought before her, and to take her position as board member very seriously. She will concentrate on what is best for the children attending SFUSD schools, and has no other political aspirations and agendas to distract her from that purpose.




  1. Rachel rocks, but it would be a mistake to think of her only as a special ed advocate.

    She is an extremely thoughtful person and committed to learning as much as possible about an issue -- through research, by listening -- before taking a position.

    I was most impressed to see her at the PPS meeting on Flynnarado. SHe wasn't there to campaign or make herself known. She was there to learn more about the issues surrounding immersion education and the assignment process.

    I trust her to take her position quite seriously. And I trust she is running out of a deep concern for our children and the state of our schools -- not as a mere stepping stone to her next political post (though I do hope she will one day run for another office, because she is that good.)

  2. So here's a question: I'm feeling like it's risky to list 4 candidates if I really want to make sure one (Rachel) or maybe 2 of them gets elected. I'd hate for my extra votes to put another candidate over the top. Am I crazy?

  3. To 5:42. You are NOT crazy. That is the best voting strategy. If there aren't 4 candidates whom you really, really want on BOE, then vote for less. Help widen the gap for the candidate(s) that you truly love.

  4. I'm supporting Rachel too, plus Jill Wynns, Emily Murase and Marigrace Cohen.

    My letter to friends (here posted on my blogs) gives a lot of detail about Jill Wynns, because I think it's so important not to lose her expertise in the intricacies of school budgeting (among other qualities). For anyone interested:

  5. 5:42 - you are not crazy, but I think your strategy is a bit risky. Say you support one candidate (Rachel, or Jill, or somebody else) and don't vote for the three other openings. What if someone whose position is diametrically opposed to your candidate ends up winning by just one vote, narrowly edging out someone whose positions were much closer to your preferred person?
    It would be better to find 4 candidates you can live with, who share at least some, if not many, of the same positions as your preferred candidate, and vote for them all.

  6. i know this was discussed on an earlier BOE thread, but can someone recap briefly the ideological group each candidate belongs to (loosely speaking -- as in green/progs, etc.).

    as with every california/bay area election, i need to narrow down my focus to the candidates i can realistically research.

  7. oh, and by the way, i talked to rachel a couple times during flynnarado and she made a great impression. i just really felt she was levelheaded and capable of crafting policy that would help ALL children and not mindlessly ideological like so many of these people.

  8. Moderates:
    Jill Wynns
    Rachel Norton
    Emily Murase
    Marigrace Cohen

    Norman Yee (swing vote between Moderate and Progressive factions on current BOE)

    Barbara "Bobbi" Lopez
    Sandra Fewer
    James Calloway

  9. Nope, cannot vote for Jill Wynns. No way, no how. The examples of her fiscal astutness on this blog have been unimpressive (very low hurdle for anyone with high school math), but her supression of Special Ed. information that would have helped countless families, makes her a dangerous BOE member. If she believes that denying family rights is an appropriate method for saving school district money then she is a lunatic. She does not know how to run a meeting or respect committee endeavors. And no, my name is NOT Katy, least you jump to any conclusions.

  10. boe follower forgot to include Jaynry Mak, who should go into a separate category called Opportunist. After a failed run for board of supervisors a couple of years ago, this woman is clearly only interested in using the school board as a stepping stone to higher office. I would put Kimberly Wicoff into that category too.

    I'm voting for Rachel, Jill and Emily. They share similar positions on many issues and will be able to work together with Hydra Mendoza to head the school board in a direction that focuses on education and what is best for our children, instead of the absurd ideological crusades the board has undertaken in the past several years. It's time to focus on getting more money for our schools and spending it in ways that will benefit all of our students and allow each child to achieve up to the maximum of his or her potential.

  11. I don't think Rachel Norton would have approved reimbursing Jane Kim for her trip to the hip-hop convention in Las Vegas, do you?

  12. OT: My conservative Republican mother urges a NO vote on Prop. 8.

    This is a message my 80-year-old mother sent to her Republican
    friends. Please feel free to forward this to anyone you like. I've also posted it as a Facebook note.

    My take on Prop. 8... it is uncharitable and unkind. See my story below. Nan Paget

    Dear Republican friends,

    My church, the Swedenborgian Church in San Francisco, has undoubtedly
    married more people in the last 90 years than any other Bay Area
    church, as we have been open to marry couples who did not have a
    church of their own, or who came from different religious backgrounds.
    Perhaps you have been to a wedding there, or even were married in our
    church. My parents were married there in 1926. I was married there in
    1951, my brother in 1952. I became a member in 1958.

    We have performed civil unions since 1991. I was on the church
    committee and voted for it. Many people married there become church
    members. Those have included some gay couples, some of whom have
    become active members of the church, some who have been trained and
    ordained as ministers. This has never created a problem or harmed our
    church community. Everybody gets along and we have many active
    members, also a children's program .

    In my choir also (where I have sung for 50 years) I join with both gay
    and married/straight people to create harmony. In my national church,
    a new minister is Rick Tafel, who created and was the first
    president of the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay Republican group.

    When Mayor Newsom announced the opening of same-sex marriage in
    February 2004, I received an email (forwarded by my daughter, who knew
    this couple from co-op pre-school). The email described
    the happiness of this couple, who stood in line in the rain with their
    children for six hours to get married at City Hall.

    It is evident there is a real hunger for these long-time couples to
    regularize and bless their relationships. I hope we will never go back
    to the bad old days when the only social life possible for gay people
    was in bars, which were subject to raids where people were arrested
    for what they were.

    Marriage is the most conservative of institutions, and the healthiest,
    it seems to me. I would not wish to bar anyone from joining in it.

    It was a Swedenborgian poet, Edwin Markham, who wrote in 1915:

    "He drew a circle that kept me out:
    Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout!
    But Love and I had the wit to win:
    We drew a circle that took him in."

    Please do not write discrimination into our state constitution.

    I understand if you are a Catholic or Mormon you have no choice. But
    my church teaches me to draw a circle that takes them in.

    Sincerely, Nan Paget

  13. Not-Katy, it's a pretty damning slam on the rest of the BOE to describe understanding school financing as a low hurdle to anyone with high school math. As another parent has written, most of them sit slack-jawed when SFUSD staff are discussing budget issues.

    Actually, school finance is unbelievably complicated. Nobody else in the history of school activism has ever claimed it was simple.

  14. Listening to Sr. Dad’s Special Education forum, the two other candidates on the panel (Omar Khalif and Marigrace Cohen) were so impressed with what Rachel Norton had to say that they both said they wanted to serve with Rachel on the BOE. I say when your opposition endorses you, that is high praise.

  15. And when Omar was asked about school financing at the candidates' forum at Lincoln, he said he would turn to Jill Wynns for her expertise.

  16. Rachel, Norman, Sandra, and Emily for BoE.
    And please everyone a bid No vote on Prop 8, one of the most hate filled, venomously run shameful proposistions to ever be proposed. A big No on Prop 4 as well, another ill conceived prop that will result in ruined lives and possibly death for many teenage girls.

  17. Off topic - SF voters, please vote NO on K, which would prevent police from prosecuting prostitution crimes or getting funding to do so. This will NOT decriminalize prostitution, only the state can do that. Therefore, there would be no oversight or regulation of prostitution - no requirements for health tests of prostitues, etc. Do you want a house of prostitution moving in next door to you (already a problem in the Sunset) with the police unable to do anything about it? Do you want funding for investigating sex trafficking cut? In theory, decriminalizing prostitution may have some merit, but this proposition will not do that. It is ill thought out and written. Vote NO on K.

  18. Ugh, that Bobbi Lopez, progressive is on the Board.

    Looks like alot of people voted along party lines/ideology, probably not even parents in the school system!

    Rachel Norton may just squeak in. I'm so disappointed Murase did not make it in.

    Lopez - was she even at any of the forums?

    Sandra Fewer is in too... so looks like Progressives replaced Progressives.
    Ok, so not much changed, but can it get worse than we have now??

    At least Sanchez DID NOT make it to the Board of Supes.

  19. The result must be sweet for Katy: Rachel Norton squeaked through with a 4th place finish, edging out Jill Wynns. Yes, Lopez will likely be a disaster for middle-class parents but no worse than the departing Sanchez. We'll have to see about Fewer. Overall, the new composition of the BOE seems similar to what it has been.

  20. It's so strange that so many people say "Tell us who the so-called-progressives are so we can make sure they don't get elected," and "I used to vote the Bay Guardian's recommendations, but now that I know more I can't imagine what I was thinking." Yet Bobbi Lopez's surprise showing makes it clear that the Green Party recommendations (Lopez and Fewer) and the Bay Guardian's so-called Clean Slate carry a lot of weight. Fewer, Yee and Norton are no surprise.

    To me Lopez is an unknown quantity, but she did attend the candidate forums and was informed and articulate. I am wary of those carrying the Mar-Sanchez banner, however.

  21. I saw many more 20-something voters (some newly registered and using provisional ballots) at my polling place this time around. I would guess that many of them don't keep up with BOE politics and relied on a source such as the Bay Guardian's "Clean Slate" for their BOE picks. Hopefully these votes will be cancelled out by the as-yet-uncounted absentee ballots (typically from more conservative voters).

  22. ^^Thanks!!