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Four candidates in San Ramon Valley school board race so far

Original post made on Jul 25, 2014

The San Ramon Valley Unified School District has three Board of Education seats up for election this fall and so far four people have taken the first step toward entering the race.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, July 24, 2014, 5:21 PM

Comments (31)

Posted by Really???
a resident of Danville
on Jul 25, 2014 at 6:43 am

It's time for some of these people to leave... We need fresh ideas from new people. ...not that I'm not grateful for their service, but it's time to get some new people in there!

Posted by Happy parent
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 25, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Why??? Change for the sake of change isn't always a good idea.

Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 25, 2014 at 8:06 pm

If you have someone at work that is doing a good job do you say let's get rid of them and "get some one new with fresh ideas".
School issues are complex and fresh ideas aren't always good ideas.

Posted by Jerome C. Pandell
a resident of Blackhawk
on Jul 28, 2014 at 9:28 am

Thank you, everyone, for your commentary.

To me, institutions often benefit from people with new and different experience, which is what I bring to the table as a candidate for trustee.

In addition to being raised in Danville and attending San Ramon Valley schools, I now work in Walnut Creek as a construction attorney, representing small businesses engaged in architecture, engineering, and construction management. In that role, I've litigated dozens of cases involving school bonds and spending, and though our district's spending of bond dollars has proven very strategic and responsible, I believe someone with the knowledge of how that spending can go awry belongs on our school board.

When not practicing law, I serve on the U.C. Hastings College of the Law Board of Governors, a position to which I was appointed by the chancellor and dean of the law school. The role of the Board of Governors is to raise money for the law school and scholarships, and, in that capacity, I've personally raised almost $50,000.00 since 2013. Additionally, I serve on the Northwestern University Leadership Circle Board of Directors, raising more than $125,000.00 that directly benefits students and faculty at my alma mater. I hope to bring these same skill sets to my role as a trustee and advocate for our schools on the S.R.V.U.S.D. Board of Education.

Please feel free to learn more about my candidacy at and on at -- I look forward to hearing from all of you about what we can do to maintain our schools' traditions of excellence as well as where there's room to improve!

Posted by Rick Pshaw
a resident of Danville
on Jul 29, 2014 at 7:54 am


That's all I need to know.

Posted by Jerome C. Pandell
a resident of Danville
on Jul 31, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Jerome C. Pandell is a registered user.

Rick, Thanks for your comment.

Did you know that there are many San Ramon Valley Unified School District graduates who are members of IBEW Local 302, as well as a wide variety of other trades unions here in Contra Costa County?

I seek support of all people with an interest in making our schools better -- for teachers, students, and their parents and families. Naturally, that includes the many working families in our district as well.

Feel free to discuss this with me further by emailing [email protected] -- my door always remains open!

Posted by Rick Pshaw
a resident of Danville
on Aug 3, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Dear Mr. Pandell,

I was not surprised that you totally missed the meaning of my post. Try reading it the other way and load it with plenty of sarcasm.

Posted by !
a resident of Danville
on Aug 4, 2014 at 6:13 am

Ever hear of "term limits?" Think about what would happen if we left Obama in office for longer than two terms?

Posted by Local
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 4, 2014 at 6:15 am

Pandell is bought and paid for by the unions. Good to know!

Posted by !!!
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 4, 2014 at 6:18 am

Term limits is how we got the Ca state legislature. That's not working out so well.

Posted by Janet
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 22, 2014 at 8:05 pm

"Bought by the union"-----check out who the local teachers' union is supporting. The incumbents owe their existence to CTA and SERVA.

Posted by Realist
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 22, 2014 at 10:38 pm

Janet - I totally agree with you. Teachers control the district, teachers control the school board. Just look at the decisions that are made. Teachers first, district office second, then students trail behind.

It is time for a change. We need a school board that is not afraid to take a stand and not fear for their Teacher Union endorsement.

Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 22, 2014 at 11:01 pm

So vote for Ken Mintz. He didn't get the teacher union endorsement!

Posted by Janet
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 24, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Good point about Ken Mintz. He is the only one not owning the teachers' union anything, and that includes Pandell is who totally being groomed by SRVEA- which is the teachers' union. Unions take advantage of the fact that few people pay any attention to these races so they end up having boards that owe them.

Posted by Jerome C. Pandell
a resident of Danville
on Sep 24, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Jerome C. Pandell is a registered user.

Janet (and anyone else),

I'd be happy to discuss my views with you any time. You can reach me via email at [email protected] -- I look forward to hearing from you!

You may be surprised that one of the key changes I want to make to how the San Ramon Valley Unified School District Governing Board runs is to videotape school board meetings and -- ideally -- stream them live online or at least provide a video archive of the meetings by subject on the agenda. I believe this would increase openness, accessibility, and transparency. Moreover, the District's had a policy in place permitting video recording of meetings dating back to when I was a student at Stone Valley Middle School in 1995. Yet, nothing's been done.

Openness and transparency is good for everyone -- including holding me accountable if I'm fortunate enough to be elected.

Posted by Janet
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 25, 2014 at 9:56 am

Great-Show your transparency by telling us what you and the other board members promised the teachers' union that Ken Mintz was not willing to do in order to get their support?

Posted by Louie
a resident of Danville
on Sep 26, 2014 at 9:21 am

Unions now serve as an employment industry unto themselves.

In the spirit of solution finding, what do the anti SERVEA folks think a 40 year old teacher with 15 years of good performance reviews should be paid?

Posted by Patty
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 26, 2014 at 10:23 am

If you're interested in getting answers from the candidates themselves, there will be a School Board Candidate Forum at Iron Horse Middle School on October 2, 7-8:30pm. Come out from behind your computers and interact live with the candidates!

Posted by Janet
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 26, 2014 at 12:44 pm

I think a 40 year old teacher, with 15 years experience, with good reviews should be paid $60,000 -$80,000. The problem is that the union contract requires that a 40 year old teacher, with 15 years experience, with BAD reviews be paid the same!

Posted by realist
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 27, 2014 at 9:22 pm

Currently the Teacher's Union dictates to the school district.The school board and the district bows to their wishes. So if the teacher's union is not endorsing Ken Mintz I would imagine it may be because he refuses to be controlled by them. That in itself gives him my vote. Maybe voters should be more suspect of those candidates endorsed by the union.

Posted by Janet
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 28, 2014 at 1:33 pm

I believe the union has supported every board member except for Ken Mintz. Their goal is to have 5-0 board who owes their existance to CTA and the small group who controls the local union. It would be interesting to know the questions the union asked each candidate.

Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 29, 2014 at 6:16 am

Way to go Ken! Don't be a union puppet. Better than that pandell guy.

Posted by Conservator
a resident of Danville
on Sep 29, 2014 at 9:27 am

Dear Resident,

I ask you the consider the following to see where you fall.

Can you and those of similar ilk hate (or if you prefer a more civilized term, abhor) unions (e.g. teachers, police, fire and in this case, electricians) but still love and support your favorite 'professional' sports franchise?

More so, if you're really true to your words as may be evidenced in the actions you take, doesn't it just make the chills go up and down your spine when you or a close family member wear the work uniforms (e.g. logo hats, jerseys with names, etc.) of all those UNION MEMBERS?

If you take a minute and think about it, those privileged to be in that bargaining unit are actually some of the most revered, cherished and oddly, beloved WORKERS this country employs (and clearly quite well, Web Link Try finding a hedge fund Czar or corporate titan in a similar marginal tax bracket that gets this much adoration for the actions they take in their field of play (i.e. boardrooms).

Perhaps, if you're a Bay Area baseball fan, it would be best to turn off the TV. BTW, most to all of the major media productions created in this country are done by, gulp, UNION MEMBERS both as talent and those behind the cameras. Best to seek a good book from a non-union shop publisher…gulp…

Posted by Janet
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 29, 2014 at 5:22 pm

The issue is not about hating teacher unions. They serve their members well, protecting them and pushing for better salaries and benefits. That is their purpose. What is not their purpose is to represent children or parents. This is why having board members owe their loyalty to the union is counter-productive to what public education needs.

Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 30, 2014 at 6:54 am

Janet is right. I love the teachers but the union is not working to make the schools better only working to protect teachers - good and BAD.

Posted by Conservator
a resident of Danville
on Sep 30, 2014 at 10:06 am

Very true statement "…unions. They serve their members well, protecting them and pushing for better salaries and benefits." Regardless of what unions contributed to American society, good, bad and perhaps sometimes ugly, over the last 125 years or so, most that comment to the negative perspective feel that these types of workplace organizations have run their beneficial course. The prevailing opinion is that their time is done and should just go away.

The reason I highlight the overwhelming support afforded to our nation's most revered workplace bargaining units is that we as a society can wholeheartedly embrace what UNIONIZATION brought to professional sports, so long as they play their game and win on 'Sundays', but see evil when the individual that educates your child on Monday or fixes your home's electrical problem on Tuesday shows up to work. To further the oddity of this poor societal metaphor, when the on-field talent in the beloved UNION fails miserably (0-4), we celebrate the termination of the management for their failure (e.g. Oakland Raiders). How often in corporate life today does senior leadership fall on a sword while ensuring that their subordinates can carry-on when business outcomes do not meet expectations?

So, if you see UNIONS as perpetuating many of society's ills and negative aspects and choose to vilify the organization's at large and those that may be supported by them, then just be consistent. If UNIONS are bad in one aspect of your life (i.e. your schools, etc.), then they surely must be bad in the other aspects of your life (e.g. your tailgate party on Sunday). Start by removing the work uniforms (jerseys) in one's closet, turn off the 'big game' later tonight and so forth. You will surely feel enabled by the consistency and truthfulness to the message you so dearly want to convey to yourself, your neighbors and any other old-timer that takes the time to respond to these posts.

I for one, in honor of one of Alamo's most famous residents (the late, great Curt Flood), will be watching our Local Oakland 2014 punch the clock and go to work tonight. Go A's!

Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 30, 2014 at 10:25 am

I don't put all unions in the same basket. I certainly don't put professional sports unions in the same category as mine workers or carpenters. Public sector unios have a unique place in they can greatly influence the governing organization they work for. Public employees, teachers, policemen and firefighters all have strong unions that are politically active and they work hard to affect the outcome of elections. Private sector unions don't have that opportunity.

Posted by Conservator
a resident of Danville
on Sep 30, 2014 at 11:39 am

"Private sector unions don't have that opportunity (sic to influence elections)"….

Do you actually believe that the NFL Players Association had zero / nil / no influence on the financial commitment from the City of Santa Clara to the palace that the 49er's recently opened? Do you think that the traffic it induces might have some influence on government discussion and decision? Can you, in good conscience, not appreciate the pressure put upon the elected officials in the City of Oakland and the County of Alameda to find a way to maintain two professional franchises in the facility off I-880? Any awareness of kind of influence the mayor of Sacramento, a former and respected NBA All-Star point guard, had and received to maintain the basketball franchise in the state's capital - using monies from the entrepreneur who founded the 24 Hr workout franchise? Do you think that the NBA Player's Association might have had some influence on the recent billion dollar plus sale of a certain Los Angeles based basketball team for the callous and vile actions of it's now former owner?

Please call a spade, a spade. When the description UNION is applied, it's a badge of honor for the Boys of Summer as well as Sundays but it's a Scarlet Letter for those that educate our children on Mondays.

Posted by Janet
a resident of San Ramon
on Oct 3, 2014 at 3:25 pm

This has nothing to do with the NFL or their unions. The core question is whether you believe having the teachers' unions financially support and endorse local school board candidates is a good thing or not? What do you believe they want in return for their support and will it be best for students and their parents, or the teachers? This is the fundamental issue that we face with the upcoming school board election. If Ken Mintz loses the union will have all five board members owing them and they will collect at some point.

Posted by Conservator
a resident of Danville
on Oct 3, 2014 at 4:03 pm

I believe I've been quite clear as to the point I've been making…

If you or those of your ilk hate or despise the very concept or existence of a organized bargaining unit, then just be consistent and turn off big game. Actually, the SF Local 2014 is on the clock right now. This is a very simple discussion. Just be consistent...

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Green Valley Elementary School

on Mar 1, 2017 at 7:18 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

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