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Editorial: Vote for vanZee to bring change to SRVUSD

Original post made on Oct 30, 2022

All three candidates have admirable strengths and would serve with dedication, but only Jesse vanZee promises to bring the independent thinking and the change this board needs. We recommend newcomer vanZee for SRVUSD Area 1.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, October 29, 2022, 10:50 AM

Comments (26)

Posted by H
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 30, 2022 at 7:27 pm

H is a registered user.

There is a clear problem with transparency and honesty in the district. It's refreshing to see a candidate like vanZee address it and a great new organization like Embarcadero/danvillesanramon[dot]com pursuing the same. There is literally no downside to voting in vanZee; while his vote is just one of five, giving the people of Alamo and Danville a voice is the right thing to do. Vote for vanZee and keep reading the great local reporting here!

Posted by Danville
a resident of Danville
on Oct 31, 2022 at 7:36 am

Danville is a registered user.

This guy hides his "banning" books agenda under "parents choice/decisions". There are laws in place to protect us as parents now. Understand the law before you react. Shocked that a newspaper that survives under freedom of speech backs this guy. VZ doesn't know what he doesn't know. He misquoted school funding and where is comes from during debates. The "change" is chaos and his huge learning curve that will impact our community and kids. Please research who he supports and who is supporting him - extreme right wing combined with religion that I want at my house not school.

Posted by loansbrad
a resident of Danville
on Oct 31, 2022 at 7:58 am

loansbrad is a registered user.

This endorsement is a significant disappointment. vanZee’s obvious far right-wing dog whistles have either been naively missed by the editorial board, or they support these policies. Neither is a good sign. By promoting the elimination of teachings on American “oppressed or oppressors,” and other similar approaches to narrowing educational diversity, vanZee would be dangerous to our schools and school system. Outside money has been flowing to similar candidates in other school districts in order to elect candidates who will promote educational curricula that hews to extremist views. Don’t let that happen here. The San Ramon Valley school district provides exceptional education for our kids. Let’s keep it that way.

Posted by Becky Bhatt
a resident of Danville
on Oct 31, 2022 at 8:23 am

Becky Bhatt is a registered user.

I am very disappointed in this endorsement. Van Zee is a candidate of the Moms for Liberty ilk. I have a paid subscription to this website but am rethinking it if this is the slant of this media. He has far right messages, donations from far right thinkers and has extreme views.

Posted by H
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 31, 2022 at 10:24 am

H is a registered user.

It’s amazing that these comments here talk about “dog whistles” yet can’t seem to name anything specific in vanZee’s stated positions. What exactly are you claiming is eliminated? None of these people can name anything specific because it doesn’t exist and they are just making up things in a desperate attempt to smear because their candidate has nothing positive to offer.

I’m a registered democrat and I voted for Joe Biden and Gavin Newsom. I will also be voting for Jesse vanZee because he represents the people of the area and not corporate or union special interests.

Anyone fear mongering that cannot offer specifics shouldn’t be taken seriously. I challenge anyone above to offer anything specific they wish to discuss. I doubt any of them are able because their claims are baseless and without any merit.

Posted by Arthur
a resident of Alamo
on Oct 31, 2022 at 11:16 am

Arthur is a registered user.

It is nice to see an unbiased and nonpolitical article about the candidates for School Board. The comments above referencing "dog whistle", "far-right", and "book-banning" are clearly incorrect and quite frankly yelling from the left. Lastly, I am democrat and the extreme parts of our party are going too far. We are voting for vanZee.

Posted by H
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 31, 2022 at 11:52 am

H is a registered user.

Arthur - We agree! Our household here voted for Joe Biden in the California primary and not the extremist Bernie Sanders for similar reasons. These extremists have no problem with making things since they have nothing of merit to add when discussing specific issues.

Posted by [email protected]
a resident of Alamo
on Oct 31, 2022 at 1:58 pm

[email protected] is a registered user.

I have been involved with mental health services in our community for many years and I have seen firsthand the emotional toll that the pandemic has taken on students and teachers. Incidences of stress, anxiety and depression are at record levels across the country and in the San Ramon Valley. Michelle Petersen is the only school board candidate who has put the health and safety of students at the top of their priority list.

As a former firefighter, Michelle understands that when people are stressed and anxious, they do not function at their highest level. As a mother, Michelle is committed to ensuring that every student has the emotional support and the resources that they need to reach their full potential, and as a PTA President, she has learned how to be an effective advocate for all students.

Michelle has the experience, the compassion and the commitment to be an excellent San Ramon Valley Unified School Board Trustee. Michelle Petersen has my vote and those of many of my friends and neighbors!

Posted by H
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 31, 2022 at 2:55 pm

H is a registered user.

[email protected] - Michelle's actions are different from her words. Her actions show us that she doesn't care about the mental health of ALL students - she cares about special treatment for hers. Michelle when PTA president told everyone to think like her and support the shutdown or resign. This behavior in and of itself is not very indicative of leadership. But what's worse is while she told everyone else to basically "deal with it" Michelle was given a special deal to have her kid go back to school when no one else could. Michelle's entire deal with SRVUSD has been being a follower. She does what's she told and doesn't care what the community thinks.

Jesse vanZee on the other hand is a leader. Someone, who like the rest of us, didn't get a special deal like Michelle did to send his kids back to school while everyone else was in remote learning. he had to handle the shutdown with his five children and did so by experiencing what we all experienced.

The Trustees have voted 5-0 on every single item for the past two years. The community doesn't need nor want someone like Michelle that will continue the tend of blindly rubber stamping everything the district puts in front of the trustees. The community doesn't want someone who puts their own personal benefit ahead of the community like Michelle did with the shutdown. It's clear that Jesee vanZee will listen to and represent the community and the progressive extremists who want to push their point of view as the only valid viewpoint seem to be angry that is campaign is flourishing.

Posted by Lux Convallis
a resident of Danville
on Oct 31, 2022 at 11:05 pm

Lux Convallis is a registered user.’s assessment is correct: SRVUSD’s “board tends to disregard parent concerns way too often [while proclaiming parents as their ‘partners’]. The California High School cheer mascot debacle and the ‘uncomfortable’ girls in the San Ramon Valley High locker room are two recent examples.”

And when “parents are told they are at fault, they and their children are racists and/or anti-LGBTQ, and that the district ‘experts’ know what's best for their children, that causes division, mistrust, and anger.”

Staff personnel were caught late last year in trying to hide fourth and fifth-grade LGBTQ clubs from parents. Parent permission slips had already been eliminated. So after being exposed, SRVUSD leaders responded with parental opt-out forms (instead of the needed opt-in forms).

Unanimous SRVUSD Board votes on every major issue? They voted 4-0 in June (not 5-0 only because Board Member Ordway was missing) to extend Supt. Malloy’s contract into 2025, despite Malloy’s direct, inexcusable role just two weeks earlier in defaming the Cal High Stunt Team. Presently, Malloy’s slanderous “Cal High Racist Incident 5.23.22” posting still appears at Web Link .

Three existing and continuing SRVUSD Board members (Clark, Hurd, Ordway) have already endorsed and/or helped fund the Petersen campaign. Were Petersen to be elected, that would be 4 votes, all still thinking alike.

Outgoing Board member Mintz and continuing Board member Bratt have endorsed Jerome Pandell, whose largest dollar support has been provided by the San Ramon Valley Education Association, the local teacher union which pulls the School Board’s strings. Pandell would become the fifth vote in many more 5-0 decisions.

Jesse VanZee, president of the Montair Elementary Dads Club, is indeed the one Area 1 candidate with the “independence and backbone to question the status quo, be a voice for parents, and push back when warranted."

Posted by Danville
a resident of Danville
on Nov 1, 2022 at 7:27 pm

Danville is a registered user.

Removed because it is inaccurate / false

Posted by H
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Nov 1, 2022 at 8:07 pm

H is a registered user.

Danville - your whole post is factually inaccurate. vanZee has loaned his campaign $500 but has raised over $50,000 from individuals and none of it from a single special interest or political group. Jesse vanZee has broad support from Joe Biden voting democrats like me and people from all walks of life. His message is clear - people matter more than special interests. We want politics out of this non partisan race and out of schools. The people of Alamo and Danville are eager and ready to have their voices matter again. That is why vanZee has such overwhelming support.

Posted by H
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Nov 2, 2022 at 12:34 pm

H is a registered user.

There is a worrying trend of Petersen supporters just making up things to attack other candidates. Combine this with them also clearly removing signs and it’s a terrible look. At least vanZee and Pandell are campaigning honestly on their own merits and are t stopping to spreading misinformation or censoring political speech.

Posted by H
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Nov 2, 2022 at 12:39 pm

H is a registered user.

This publication also just endorsed Democrats across the board for state and national positions - Bauer-Kahan and Kumagai for State Assembly, Swalwell and DeSaulnier for Congress and Jesse vanZee for school board! Just more demonstration of vanZee broad appeal to mainstream democrats that are tired of extremist politics in school!

Posted by A
a resident of Danville
on Nov 3, 2022 at 11:03 am

A is a registered user.

After reading the posts above, some questions still need answers from candidate Van Zee:
Does he support prayer in public schools?
What experience does he possess as a business development "executive" (which I assume means sales and alliances) that qualifies as as experience in fiscal management of an entity like a school district - particularly an entity with a >$800M balance sheet?
Can the candidate please explain why he thinks the solution to the District's financial challenges are solved by "increased enrollment" and if so, where would the increased enrollment come from
- keeping in mind Danville's population has declined slightly over the last few years?

Posted by H
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Nov 3, 2022 at 11:58 am

H is a registered user.

A - 1) Prayer in pubic school is dictated by federal law. I'm sure his stance is the same as just about everyone else in California - that politics and religion are for the home.

2) Sales and M&A are all about budgets.

3) More enrollment = more money. That seems like a real simple and non controversial equation. If more kids that are homeschooled or going to private decide to go to SRVUSD that would be MORE MONEY for SRVUSD.

Posted by MO
a resident of Danville
on Nov 3, 2022 at 1:40 pm

MO is a registered user.

Anyone who hasn’t been to a school board meeting lately may not be fully informed about what is going on there. At the last meeting we were treated to a lengthy and excruciating reading of the equity policy. As I have previously posted here, equity is not equality. It does not promote excellence; it promotes outcomes. No one can be encouraged or allowed to rise above the the low bar that is set. And there is so much more that does not raise up young minds to be critical thinkers ready to succeed in life, but in fact produces groupthink.
All board members agreed to the equity policy as one mind. There was no evidence of original thought.
We are overdue for more and better policies for our children by diversifying this school board. Enough of this one-sided control of what happens to our children. Voting for VanZee.

Posted by Lux Convallis
a resident of Danville
on Nov 4, 2022 at 11:31 pm

Lux Convallis is a registered user.

To understand the current SRVUSD Board’s lockstep approach to school governance, readers should view relevant portions of June 7’s Board meeting: Web Link .

Two weeks earlier, Supt. John Malloy had defamed the Cal High Stunt Team, with his “Cal High Racist Incident 5.23.22” posting, Web Link .

Malloy had run with what turned out to be a fabricated “mannequin-head” social media post, allegedly by a parent whose daughter hadn’t made the Stunt Team.

Most of the June 7 meeting’s large audience was angry about Malloy’s behavior, and expected explanation and an apology. Instead, they heard long-winded deflection and (literally) one of those “I apologize that you feel that way”) non-apologies.

After a few formalities, and at the 5-minute mark, Board president Ken Mintz tried to move audience complaints about Malloy’s false “Racist Incident” characterization from “Public Comment” to later in the meeting, when Malloy anticipated leveraging the situation to promote hiring 15 “Equity Liaisons” (costing $1.8 million annually).

Some audience members rebelled, however, insisting on not waiting to have their say. A series of initial comments ensued, including those of parents whose daughters had been affected.

At 51 minutes, Malloy began a 15-minute, mindless filibuster about what he called the “valid experience” of the Cal High girls, to be muddled (he apparently hoped) by “other voices and perspectives.”

At 1:10, Malloy and his staff took 45 minutes to introduce their “Equity Liaisons” scheme. More 3-minute public comments followed for nearly 50 minutes, including remarks by Stunt Team members. Malloy, after promising brevity, returned with another 5 minutes of empty rationalization.

Then, after some extended further misdirection by Board members about Malloy’s twisted “Racist” allegations, the Board voted 5-0 (per usual) to adopt his Equity Liaisons scheme.

Posted by Deanna Blount
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Nov 5, 2022 at 10:59 am

Deanna Blount is a registered user.

What a difference two counties/cities make.

In Palo Alto, a school board candidate sharing Van Zee's views on public education is being ostracized as a bigot.

In Danville/San Ramon the same viewpoint is being heralded.

Posted by Lux Convallis
a resident of Danville
on Nov 5, 2022 at 4:37 pm

Lux Convallis is a registered user.

Searching out Mr. vanZee’s campaign website, Web Link , I see that he advocates Transparency/Parental Involvement, a Focus on Core Academics, Safe Schools, and Financial Stability. To me, those are worthy, common-sense objectives, deserving of voter support.

Looking next to find Palo Alto school-board candidates, I see four of them, vying for two positions. The one “being ostracized as a bigot” appears to be Ingrid Campos. From her own online postings and from stories about her, I get the sense that Campos is highly concerned about the focus and the age-appropriateness of some books being selected for classroom use in Palo Alto. I have the same concerns here, and I hope that vanZee does as well.

One of the books especially criticized by Campos is “Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You,” with what Campos considers its push on teaching “Critical Race Theory.” From one of the SRVUSD Board-meeting videos, I recall that same book having been blasted here, but adopted as a textbook anyway.

I’ve now been pointed by a friend to Web Link , where the book is among those denounced as an example of “SRVUSD's Vile, Overtly Racist ‘Anti-Racism’ Programs.”

That internet page alleges some very unsuitable details in the book, given what’s reported as its selection for 7th graders, and offers a link to a more “detailed, extended examination of this book.” I haven’t read the book myself, but if its contents are as alleged, it represents the worst kind of one-sided, debased propaganda.

I believe that when the book was adopted, it was on another 5-0 school-board vote. Again, assuming an accurate characterization: our kids deserve and need better, more responsible Board governance. Given support and/or funding of vanZee’s opponents by existing Board members, it’s clear that electing either of those opponents would leave us with an unchallenged perpetuation of current problems.

Posted by NickV
a resident of Danville
on Nov 7, 2022 at 1:15 pm

NickV is a registered user.

I work with local law enforcement and fire; serve on the board of a local non-profit that serves public schools speaking to issues germane to their lives; I've coached in the district for a number of years; substitute teach and was a teacher earlier in my life. I deal directly with families in our community who have lost students to suicide. I've personally known Jesse VanZee for 16 years and can wholeheartedly confirm that he his man of character, integrity and honesty. He is smart, articulate and will keep our district on the road to excellence.

Posted by Belinda Montgomery
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Nov 8, 2022 at 8:02 am

Belinda Montgomery is a registered user.

Repressive censorship of LGBTQ culture and Critical Race Theory will only serve to minimalize the comprehensive education of our children and their ability to accept the real world for what it is.

The SRVUSD should be doing everything in its power to present our children with a broad educational format that highlights everything that was wrong (as well as right) in our nation's history.

The Palo Alto school district curriculum as a whole disdains racism and tries to promote unity through the acceptance of all peoples. This migjt explain why Ms. Campis will most likely not get elected.

Why can't SRVUSD also be on the leading edge as a liberal public education system that promotes equality for and acceptance of all?

Dr. Malloy has his hands full trying to steer SRVUSD policy into the 21st century.

Posted by Tom Burgess
a resident of Blackhawk
on Nov 8, 2022 at 8:19 am

Tom Burgess is a registered user.

It is important that our children know the full story of America, its attributes and the historical blemishes.

Critical Race Theory simply explains that America achieved much of its success through the exploitation and subjugation of others.

LGBTQ lifestyles are now a mainstream part of America and literary suppression of its advocacies and culture should not be suppressed by those who feel threatened by it.

Posted by Mike Arata
a resident of Danville
on Nov 9, 2022 at 12:11 am

Mike Arata is a registered user.

It’s interesting to see (false) previous claims that “SRVUSD doesn’t teach Critical Race Theory” (CRT) now becoming attempts instead to rationalize that teaching — i.e., the indoctrination occurring here with materials and lessons which are themselves overtly racist.

This publication has itself carried informative CRT discussions (articles plus comments) since June, after Supt. Malloy defamed the Cal High Stunt Team in “Cal High Racist Incident 5.23.22,” beginning with Web Link

Even Brookings Institution liberal William Galston recognizes CRT’s essential problems, having studied the subject. (See Web Link ):

* CRT denies the possibility of objectivity.

* CRT makes race the center of focus.

* CRT’s founders identified with Black Power movements much more than with those who’ve worked for integration.

* CRT is an explicitly left-wing movement inspired by Italian neo-Marxist, Antonio Gramsci.

* CRT fundamentally critiques the civil-rights movement and the liberal ideology it reflects.

* CRT rejects the principle of equality of opportunity.

“Repressive censorship of LGBTQ culture” and “LGBTQ lifestyles”? The legitimate question is about explicitness and age appropriateness, issues discussed at length in these pages — including SRVUSD’s “queering the classroom” efforts (described as such by SRVUSD’s own personnel). Again, see this publication’s articles and follow-up comments, e.g. Web Link . See also: Web Link .

Posted by Scott Hale
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 9, 2022 at 4:08 pm

Scott Hale is a registered user.

>>“SRVUSD doesn’t teach Critical Race Theory”

Please provide school and class info that backs up you 'opinion' that CRT is taught SRVUSD.


Posted by Mike Arata
a resident of Danville
on Nov 9, 2022 at 9:59 pm

Mike Arata is a registered user.

As in “The Emperor’s New Clothes”: none so blind as those who WILL not see.

Regarding SRVUSD’s teaching of Critical Race Theory (a term they try mostly to avoid): begin with extensive substantiation already articulated at Web Link — including specified use of “Critical Race Theory: An Introduction” in what is now the “Interdisciplinary Ethnic Studies” course (updated title).

The textbook itself defines the “CRT movement” as "a collection of activists and scholars interested in studying and transforming the relationship among race, racism, and power.”

Next, check SRVUSD’s high school course catalog: Web Link . At page 50 (page 69 of 71 in the pdf stack): Interdisciplinary Ethnic Studies “examines the complexities of power, privilege, and agency in history and modern-day sociopolitical systems, through the lenses of race, ethnicity, gender, class, ability, and religion...” etc. This course is presented in ALL the District’s high schools.

So the “Justice and Community” courses (Course Catalog, pages 1 and 3, or 21 and 23 in PDF stack) act as precursors to “Interdisciplinary Ethnic Studies.”

In the 9th grade course, “…Students will be encouraged to think through multiple lenses and question assumptions made in our texts while examining the underlying social and power structures that exist in our society.” The 11th grade version is likewise “designed to approach literature through lenses of justice, marginalization, equity, and power.”

Both of the “Justice and Community” courses are listed for California High School, where the Stunt Team was slandered by Supt. Malloy in “Cal High Racist Incident 5.23.22” ( Web Link ).

See also Web Link for additional corroboration.

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