School board contests may see influx of ‘Mamma Bear’ candidates
Special to the Village News
“How is it that we have a majority of liberal-elected boards in a conservative town,” asked Fallbrook resident Kelly Hansen of the group 1776 Forever.
That sentiment is echoed by other local conservative groups, which have emerged in recent years, including Fallbrook Freedom Fighters and North County Patriots.
The November 8 general election is still several months away, but the leaders of these groups are recruiting candidates to support in the various campaigns in the area, including the planning boards, the hospital district and others. The filing period for candidates opened July 18 and concludes August 12.
One of the hot campaigns may be the school board races, where parents have fought against school closures and mandatory masks for COVID-19, and the threat of student vaccination requirements.
“Mamma bears are trying to make a difference,” Hansen said in a recent interview. “Mamma bears are the most fierce because we have the most skin in the game – our babies.”
The “Mamma Bear” term of a mother looking out for her children also applies to men – “Pappa Bears” – she noted.
Hanson said there are other important school board issues: “Do you want more of the same? Look at the sexual content that they want to teach our kids. Parental rights have been stripped and the government is trying to indoctrinate our kids with social agendas that only involve 3-6% of our population.”
Michael Hefner of Bonsall, one of the leaders of North County Patriots, noted that he is aware of several good candidates for November election, but they would like to help find the best conservative person for voters to elect for each local campaign.
Tara Enyeart and Lindsay Jones of Fallbrook Freedom Fighters agreed about the importance of this election. Enyeart said she is running for a spot on the Fallbrook Planning Board because the school board races in this election are not in the area where she lives.
“Ben Franklin, when asked what form of government we had created, replied: ‘A republic, if you can keep it.’ What he meant was that our representative form of government is reliant on the participation of the citizenry at the local level, throughout the land,” Enyeart said. “It was his call to action to the people to remain engaged in their government at all levels, else it is led astray by those who don't share our values.”
“It only takes a few, dedicated people, but the more involved the better the effort. Your role may be up front, or behind the scenes: All roles are important. We all have unique ways to contribute,” Enyeart said.
Hansen had similar comments and said, “We have an obligation to our children's future to open our eyes, take our heads out of the sand, step up and fight. That begins with running for a local office, including the school board.”
“We will help you run your campaign,” Hansen added. “We need leaders who will be able to determine what money to take from the government. When they send you money with a contract that has strings attached that you know are not in the best interest of our kids, fight back. Let them know that we need and want that money but not if it's at the detriment of our children!”
There are three seats open on both the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District and the Fallbrook Union High School District. Each district has five board members, and three seats elected this year. All school districts are divided into geographic areas with very similar voter populations.
The school board web pages have maps showing their areas, and the county Registrar of Voters has a feature on its web page that allows one to put in an address to determine its district and area. Candidates are elected to a four-year term with the areas not on the ballot this year voted on in 2024.
Incumbents in the Fallbrook elementary are Caron Lieber in Area 1, Susan Liebes in Area 4 , and JoAnn Lopez in Area 5. Lopez was appointed in October 2020 to fill the remainder of former board member Patty De Jong's term.
In the 2018 election, Liebes received the most votes with 22%, followed by DeJong with 20%, and Lieber with 18%. There were six candidates in the at-large election.
Lieber said she is undecided on seeking another term. Liebes and Lopez could not be reached for comment. If an incumbent decides not to seek re-election, the filing period for that area is extended an additional five days to August 17.
In the Fallbrook Union High School District, the incumbents up for election are Lita Tabish in Area 1, Elana Sterling in Area 2, and Diane Summers in Area 3.
In the 2018 election, when the board was elected district-wide rather than by areas, Summers received the most votes with 21%, followed by Tabish with 19% and Sterling with 16%. There were six candidates.
The incumbents were not reached for this story about re-election. They go through the same filing process with the ROV as new candidates. A spokesperson for ROV said a list of candidates will be posted as well as updates on its web page, but the list on the newspaper deadline didn’t include the local school board contests.
The other school districts in the area on the ballot are Bonsall Unified and Vallecitos Elementary in Rainbow.
Hansen noted that the San Diego Unified School District is bringing back mask mandates to schools. “We have the science now and this is child abuse at this point, and we all know it,” she said. “This is about control and not safety. They want to muzzle our children and stifle parental influence. We need leaders to step up and speak out.”
“We should be able to control what goes in our kids’ brains and what goes in our kids’ veins,” she added.
Hansen said she can be reached at [email protected] for more candidate information.