As November 8th — Election Day — draws near, there has been very little attention given to what has been a sleepy IUSD School Board race. Maybe it’s time for us to wake up!
The current five-member School Board has been a big disappointment, frequently displaying ignorance, indifference, and even incompetence — especially regarding issues of health and safety that should be the foremost priority in any school district. Worse, the Board has been demeaning and disrespectful toward citizens who raise profound questions on issues like school security and the site-wide toxic contamination at Portola High School.
With three seats “up” and with one of those “open” — thanks to the long-overdue resignation of Board member Mike Parham — maybe one or two fresh faces can make it onto the Board.
Allow me to introduce to you Mark Newgent, a retired Army captain and security specialist whose military career involved creating important safety and security plans. In his public testimony at IUSD meetings, Captain Newgent has shown that he has the knowledge and the determination needed to address long-neglected issues of school security — and to deal with the Portola High School toxic contamination fiasco that is jeopardizing the health and safety of hundreds of students, teachers and school staff.
A second School Board candidate you might consider is Naz Hamid, a tax and audit specialist, who has managed to earn a number of impressive endorsements, including support from the Irvine Teachers Association, the Democratic Party of Orange County, and the Orange County Labor Federation.