Saturday, April 25, 2015

Poway deja-vu? Kinloch, Missouri emulates our own Poway Unified School District by refusing to honor election results

One of the hallmarks of our democracy is the ability to honor election results.

That basic principle of democracy was recently violated by Poway Unified School District in a government-mandated election for school site council. Parent Chris Garnier won, but Principal Mary Jo Thomas arbitrarily overturned the election results and held a new election with new rules.

Chris Garnier

In the Chris Garnier case, the Principal Mary Jo Thomas had decided against hiring Mr. Garnier as a lunch supervisor at Painted Rock Elementary.  That decision was perfectly defensible, but the principal went too far when she overturned Mr. Garnier's election to site council.

When Ms. Thomas wants to change the rules of an election, she needs to make sure the proper steps are followed, and that the changes are made BEFORE THE ELECTION IS HELD.  If she wants to overturn the results of an election that has already taken place, she needs to ask the site council to do a thorough, transparent investigation and then take a vote.  A school site council is answerable to the public.  It's not a private, members-only, club. 

Thomas should not have behaved like the outgoing administration in Kinloch, Missouri that locked the newly-elected mayor out of city hall.

Although the mayor-elect in Kinloch, Missouri is African-American, race is not the issue in Kinloch since her opponent, Darren Small, is also black.

However, the situation in Poway is more worrisome in regard to the race issue. Chris Garnier is an African-American in an overwhelmingly white, conservative area.

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