Just a Thought – Who to Vote For

While it’s been a big part of our election process for the candidates to gather endorsements, I hold off until the end of the race. At this point, there are two types of voters in Culver City; those who know exactly who they are voting for and wouldn’t change their minds for the world, and those who have some idea that there is an election about something.

The second group is large, and lots of those people will vote, they just have not been following the play-by-play. Between a dozen and twenty of them will call me up on Tuesday and ask me who they should vote for ( it never fails) so I’m posting this for them.

I used to make my mother crazy by not voting the party ticket. I was raised in a tribe of ultra- political, pro-labor feminist Chicago Irish Dems. When I would start researching candidates and going to debates, my mom was baffled. “You vote the ticket – all that homework has already been done for you.” Ours was not to reason why, ours was to show up on election day and vote Democratic. So when I would vote Independent, or Green, or even Peace&Freedom ….well, she felt it was some kind of sectarian sin. Every now and then, I would end up voting the ticket, but not until I had finished listening, questioning and considering.

Steve Levin has made a career of something I keep as a fetish – call it astronomy, the stars, space exploration – it’s a concrete example of looking at the big picture. The fact that this is his day job makes me wildly enthusiastic about having him on the board. One of the ideas I’ve heard him speak about on several occasions is opening up more space for the community to volunteer. We are so rich with talented, smart, creative people we should have more than one or two avenues for them to contribute to our students.  I think Levin will be a terrific board member.

Sue Robins asked me to speak to her AVID students two years ago about my job, and I asked “Which one?” We both laughed, because there is no woman; teacher, mother or entrepreneur, who has just one job. That she wants to add School Board Member to her list of titles is a great thing for CCUSD. Having someone who has spent time in our classrooms is a vital perspective for the board to have, and I consider it essential to vote her into office.

Some of the candidates have taken the tack of talking about how messed up our district is, what awful problems we have, and that they have the answer to these challenges. When running for office for the first time, attacking the incumbents is pretty standard form. When things really are messed up , the ‘throw the bums out’ approach can be effective. That neither Robins or Levin has spent any energy at all in slagging the opposition puts them both in a very good light. I want people who can focus up, not down.

Our district is actually in excellent shape, and a lot of that is thanks to the work of the current board.

When running as an incumbent, you get to talk about what you have accomplished rather than what you hope to do. Kathy Paspalis has some solid accomplishments to stand on. The board has, over the past four years, spent the capital improvement money that had been sitting in account for more than a decade, created a new athletic field and put in an amazing solar power array (big applause also to the sustainability committee – it could not have happened without you,) kept the huge Sacramento budget cuts to a minimum of job loss and program disruption, and functioned as a discerning and canny authority in hiring Superintendent Dave LaRose (clearly one of the best things to happen to CCUSD administration since the opening of La Ballona Elementary School.)

Kathy Paspalis is smart, creative and dedicated. While she has been known to be blunt to the point of being terse, I think she has qualities that the school board needs. Her professional background as a lawyer is something that the board really needs, and I’m willing to give her another four years.

So, it’s going to be a close race, and we may not be final for several days. But getting out the vote is essential. LPR – Like Long Playing Record – Go and vote.


The Actors' Gang


  1. If I might add a note to parents. For some reason only about 15% of us vote. This election is for the school board, the school board makes decisions that directly affect our kids and what goes on in the district. We don’t have time for minutia. Our kids have 12 short years, yes, short years. My son is in high school now, and some of the issues that existed when he started kindergarten are still there. There are new issues like up-to-date technology so our kids can take the new tests and become fully evolved internet citizens. These issues have to be dealt with now. Not in the next election cycle, or after someone leaves the board for greener pastures. We need to elect people who are ready to hit the ground running.

    That’s why I am supporting Kathy Paspalis, Sue Robins, and Steve Levin.

    Here’s the deal folks. A lot of very well-meaning people are constant voters. It is in their blood and psyche to get out and vote every election. Unfortunately the vast majority of these folks don’t know the issues like you do. Some of them vote based solely on mailers. Some vote because someone has the same nick-name, ethnicity, or they recognize the name. We thank these people for voting,

    BUT YOU HAVE A VESTED INTEREST and it is very important that YOU get out and vote. It only takes a couple of minutes. Find your polling place at lavote.net/locator/

    Do it for your kids and your community.

  2. I know this isn’t Facebook, but, I just want to “like” the above from my editor, and my fellow community member, Jamie Wallace.

  3. Thanks Judith! –and Jamie and Ruth M, and to all my supporters, volunteers, and all of the voters who took the time to get out and VOTE. it does make a difference, and I pledge to keep working hard for our kids for the next four years, as I have for the past four.

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