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Community's take on the county board of education public hearing


Last updated 5/6/2019 at 9:58am

The San Diego County Board of Education came to Fallbrook, Tuesday, April 23, to hold a public hearing and to get input from local residents on the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District board’s adoption of Map 103. Fallbrook can be very proud of the community members who came out to support and speak up for the community map.

The room was at capacity. They attended because they wanted the county board to know the truth – our district board refused to consider what the community believes is best for Fallbrook. Fifteen community members courageously walked up to the podium to speak up against Map 103 and for Fallbrook families and the future of Fallbrook.

They spoke up for every person in Fallbrook who strongly disagrees with the actions of our local board. They spoke up for their fellow Fallbrookians who don’t have children in the schools and might feel as if they “don’t have a dog in this fight” but will nevertheless be greatly affected by the mere fact that we are finally moving to a true representative democracy. They spoke up for every family and every child who has never had a role model on that board.

Only three people spoke in favor of Map 103 – two were current board members and one read a letter from a person who couldn’t be bothered to attend. That letter essentially said that once a person is elected, they should be able to stay on the board as long as they wish because the most important thing was to have “board stability.”

Why even bother with future elections then?

FUESD’s attorney Daniel Shinoff, the demographer Doug Johnson and the four board members that attended should be ashamed of themselves. They continued to be dismissive and disrespectful of the community during the public hearing.

Comments such as “the same 30 to 40 people attended previous meetings” was a clear indication of their lack of concern and awareness of what a public hearing to obtain input is meant to accomplish. Shinoff told outright falsehoods, stating that there was “about even split” between public opposition and support of Map 103.

There was no public support of Map 103, a fact backed up by transcripts. He also said that he “couldn’t explain” why the public wasn’t in favor of Map 103. If he had paid attention for five minutes at any public meeting, he would be able to explain.

Johnson of National Demographics Corp. tried to confuse the issue by saying that U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton was the “biggest issue” and that having an election in 2020 would “remove” a current board member. Camp Pendleton is not the protected class in this case but nevertheless, families on the base will have three board members representing them with either map. And no current board member will be removed regardless.

Of importance is that boards of the high school, fire district and healthcare district have taken a completely different attitude. Two have already adopted their maps and election sequences with 100% support from the community because of their openness, accessibility and transparency, for the sake of Fallbrook as a whole.

The county will decide on the Map 103 resolution May 8. Whatever the decision, Fallbrook can be very proud of how the community informed itself and stood up to the status quo that has violated the federal and state voting rights acts for 17 years.

Leticia Maldonado-Stamos


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