Re: “Carlsbad Unified takes more steps to prepare teachers for Common Core.”
I wish CUSD would realize that it would benefit substitute teachers, as well as the regular classroom teacher, to have access to a professional development seminar. As a long time elementary substitute, I still found it a bit frustrating to learn the new teaching tools with the new technology, flex cam, etc., without having learned it in workshops, just as the teachers for whom we’re subbing learned it. Even a one-day seminar would help to give us basic information about common core standards. It’s really for everyone’s benefit — students, subs, and the regular classroom teacher.
Incumbents differ on approach to appointments
Del Mar Councilman Terry Sinnott showed he has some class when he voted against the motion to appoint him to a four-year term on Council. Sinnott said “I think the election is a validation for the candidates and the public that elected city council members are true representatives of the people.” He added, “I did not file candidate papers to be appointed to the council; I filed to be elected by the voters.” These considerations apparently played no part in Solana Beach Councilman Mike Nichols decision. His concern was the legality of appointing himself to a paid political office, which also had the consequence of preventing write-in candidates from opposing him. He further was influenced by the money that could be saved by cancelling the election.
The legal opinion rendered by City Attorney Johanna Canlas seems questionable since it was based on an interpretation by the Fair Political Practices Commission rather than by the Secretary of State, which would seem to be the appropriate person to rule on conflicts of interest. And is the $4,000 — 10,000 really too much to spend to fully implement the democratic process?
In 2008, ethical considerations caused Councilman Tom Campbell to vote against a motion granting him a four-year term. Mr. Campbell repeated his opposition to appointments in 2010 and again this year; he was supported in the latter vote by David Zito. Thus the ethical questions considered by Messrs. Sinnott, Campbell and Zito prompted them to take the high road. You decide how to characterize Mr. Nichols’ actions.
Violation of voting rights
With minimal notice to the public and a change in the usual meeting time, a special meeting was called by the Solana Beach City Council and they voted to cancel the City Council election in November. During the last six years, the City Council has cancelled three elections, which seems pretty excessive to me. I consider the right to vote as my constitutional right, and I feel violated when denied this right.
When an election is cancelled, voters lose their legal right to have a write-in candidate. This voting right should be protected by our elected officials and not defiled because it serves their self-interest. According to the Registrar of Voters, the cost of the election in Solana Beach would have been approximately $5,000 — but the City Council thought this was too high a price to pay! Deputy Mayor Heebner even said it would be a foolish expenditure of taxpayers’ money. And said they were doing it to save money for more important things. What “thing” or issue is more important than allowing our citizens their right to vote?
Even though there were two candidates running for two seats, the vote of the people is still important! Only with their ballot are citizens able to express their convictions regarding the performance of elected officials. When the elected officials are allowed to appoint themselves and continue in office, we are denied this basic opportunity.
Councilman Mike Nichols in Solana Beach was elected to office in 2006 and since that time he has twice voted to appoint himself to another term on the Council for a total of eight years. He has never had to run on his record. Additionally, it appears to be a conflict of interest for Mr. Nichols since he stands to benefit financially from his vote. He avoided paying the $750 filing fee for the election and he will continue to get his annual city salary and expenses as a Councilman. Additionally, he did not incur the expense of a campaign nor let those he will supposedly represent know his views relative to his next four-year term.
If an elected official stands to benefit financially, he is supposed to recuse himself from voting on that specific issue. Regardless of the advice of the City Attorney, Mr. Nichols should not have voted to appoint himself to another four years on the Council. If not illegal, it was certainly unethical.
We need to focus on this election code. People in elected office should not be allowed to appoint themselves to continue in office without a vote of validation from the people.