Longtime Critic Jose Granda Enters School Board Race

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Granda-Jose-2Jose Granda, often critic of the Davis Joint Unified School District, particularly on issues of taxation, has put his proverbial money where his mouth is and becomes the fourth known candidate for the office, joining incumbent Susan Lovenburg, Nancy Peterson and other recent entry Claire Sherman.

Because incumbent Richard Harris has declined to run for a second term, the filing period remains open until August 15 and there is a rumor that a fifth candidate may enter.

Mr. Granda is an engineering professor at Sacramento State University and also a longtime resident.

“I have been a professor for 30 years and I know what it takes to motivate children and young adults to become engineers and scientists,” Mr. Granda told the Davis Enterprise in an interview yesterday. “I am sure Davis parents are on my side on that one. I would like to make a contribution to improve the quality of education that our children receive.”

While Mr. Granda professes his passion for education in an article with the Enterprise, he is most known for his opposition to the Davis parcel taxes.

As he explains it, “It is no secret that I feel the school board has not handled the finances efficiently.”

He continued: “They are running a structural deficit and that needs to be brought under control. The school board needs a fresh change, and I hope to make a contribution towards changing the culture of deficits and endless tax measures. I am up front and will state exactly what I believe, without fear of being politically incorrect.”

In the process of opposing the recent parcel tax he raised objections to the parcel tax itself, its necessity and the district’s handling of the finances.  However, he also objected to the vote-by-mail ballot, which was done, ironically enough, to preserve money for the district.

In the spring, Jose Granda filed such a deceptive ballot statement that Judge Sam McAdam was forced to strike down portions of it.

The judge ordered several sentences deleted from the ballot argument, while at the same time leaving intact some of the sentences that former Yolo County Clerk-Recorder Tony Bernhard had objected to.

The critical portion that was struck was, “This mail election is a questionable undemocratic process which significantly reduces oversight to maintain the integrity of an election. It eliminates the poll workers and observers from both sides so there is a lack of independent supervision during the opening and counting of ballots.”

Judge McAdams ruled that the notion regarding observers was demonstrably false, as well as the reference to “vote counting” which he ruled to be false and misleading.

The judge ruled that “the mail-in election does not eliminate ‘observers from both sides so there is a lack of independent supervision during opening and counting the ballots,’ ” as the opposition had contended.

Mr. Granda and Thomas Randall had also claimed, “During Measure A, 16,033 ballots were opened and counted before the polls closed.”

Judge McAdams found this to be similarly misleading.

“The evidence shows that no votes were counted and tallied prior to the close of the polls. The ballots had been entered into the computer and counted – but the votes had not been counted and tallied,” he ruled.  “No one, not even election officials, knew the results of the election until after the official close of the polls. This phrase shall be stricken from the rebuttal argument.”

At the same time, the judge rejected Mr. Bernhard’s general contention that sections of the ballot argument should be struck merely because they were off-topic and dealt with the all-mail ballot rather than the substance of the measure itself.

He restricted any interference on free speech to statements that were clearly and demonstrably false and misleading.

The judge ruled, “Granda’s argument in the ballot initiative attacking the mail-in process is his opinion and is permissible, to a certain extent. Granda is well within his right to challenge the mail-in procedure. The substance and procedure of any election are inherently relevant to each other. The voters will decide whether his opinion and argument have any merit.”

Mr. Granda last month wrote a deceptive letter to the Davis Enterprise charging that the district had misled the voters by suggesting that passage of Measure C would avoid layoffs to employees.

It was deceptive enough that the Davis Enterprise editor printed a correction, noting: “The Davis Enterprise reported on at least four occasions before the Measure C vote the news that more layoffs would be necessary to close the school district’s stubborn $3.5 million structural deficit.”

The inclusion of Jose Granda in the campaign figures to make for interesting theater, as we will have at least four candidates, some from very different viewpoints, battling for two spots alongside the parcel tax.

So far, both Nancy Peterson and incumbent Susan Lovenburg have come out in favor of the parcel tax.

We do not know a lot about Claire Sherman.

She did indicate that she believes there is too much “homogeneity” among the current board members.

She told the Enterprise last week: “There doesn’t seem to be as much discussion as I’d like to see from the board. What you need from a board is wider variance, so you get a true representation of the community as a whole. I don’t see that now.”

She did not take a position on the parcel tax but indicated “she would bring an alternative approach to the school board’s ongoing budget debate.”

“I’m a bit different than most of the other candidates who have run for the school board in recent years,” she added. “I’m not really into personal experiences. Most of the stuff I do for my career is evidence-based decision making. Give me data, give me information to make better decisions. What generally happens at school board meetings, when you get to budget issues, is you get a lot of anecdotal discussion” about the impact of budget cuts on classroom programs.

Sherman told the Enterprise she would “go to the schools, go to the teachers and find out where there are ways we could be more efficient. I think it’s eye-opening when you are there yourself.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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40 thoughts on “Longtime Critic Jose Granda Enters School Board Race”

  1. Michael Harrington

    Finally, he has to put out a unified theory of how the DJUSD should conduct business and educate our kids.

    I always voted for BJ because I liked his focus in trade and vocational options. I miss him in those Board meetings.

    I went to aviation maintenance school as part of my education in a city school, and it saved and changed my life.

    Davis schools should not be so heavily weighted towards GATE and AP classes, and I am going to be looking at each candidate’s platform statements.

  2. wdf1

    Mr. Toad: [i]Did Granda ever have kids in Davis schools?[/i]

    Yes.

    [i]If so, did he ever publicly oppose parcel taxes at that time?[/i]

    He first publicly opposed Measure A. At the time, he said that he voted in favor of all other previous parcel taxes.

  3. Rifkin

    Insofar as this thread is about education, I hope no one thinks my following comments are off topic:

    JIM: [i]”There’s only one Judge Sam McAdam hereabouts.”[/i]

    Did you know that the macadamia nut gets its name ([url]http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=macadamia[/url]) from “chemist Dr. John Macadam (1827-1865), secretary of the Victoria Philosophical Institute, Australia.”

    Or that the word tarmac, which was shortened from tarmacadam, comes from John L. McAdam (1756 – 1836), a Scottish engineer and road-builder who invented the road making process which, after he was dead, evolved into what we call asphalt and what most of the rest of the English-speaking world calls tarmac?

    There is also a lower case word, macadam, which is an eponym for the road builder. It means, “the broken stone used in making a macadamized road.” To macadamize is “to pave by laying and compacting successive layers of broken stone, often with asphalt or hot tar.”

    [img]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d6/John_Loudon_McAdam.jpg[/img]

  4. Steve Hayes

    Let’s see:sad:1)a masculine presence;(2) a person who lives within his means and models that behavior for others to follow; and,(3) one who underwent the third degree to get the third degree in science/engineering. He gets my vote too!

  5. Rifkin

    [i]”Were you like this in class?”[/i]

    Fortunately for my teachers, I cut class and aced the tests without effort. Yet somehow I developed a love of language, particularly eponymous words.

  6. E Roberts Musser

    I am not able to comment on the water article – I seem to be shut out of the discussion. There seems to be some sort of technological glitch that needs to be fixed…

  7. Jim Frame

    I knew about the pavement stuff. “We” don’t call it asphalt, but some do. (Asphaltic concrete, often denoted “AC,” is the industry term with which I’m most familiar.)

    I didn’t know about the nuts.

    I do know Sam McAdam — he started the baseball team on which my son still plays — and that he doesn’t use an “s” in his last name.

    .

  8. Mr.Toad

    I thought it was odd that Sherman said she would be data driven and not swayed by emotion or anecdotes but then claims she would “go to the schools, go to the teachers and find out where there are ways we could be more efficient.”

    Isn’t that a contradiction or is she only concerned about certain kinds of anecdotes?

    As for emotion, isn’t it always going to be emotional when people are addressing the needs of their children? How is she going to deal with the emotion while staying data driven?

    It is exactly the need to be sensitive to the emotion that makes being on the school board most difficult and always makes me wonder why these people are willing to serve. Susan Lovenburg has helped govern the Davis schools through the most difficult time in its history she deserves a second term.

  9. wdf1

    Mr. T: [i]I thought it was odd that Sherman said she would be data driven and not swayed by emotion or anecdotes but then claims she would “go to the schools, go to the teachers and find out where there are ways we could be more efficient.”[/i]

    I agree. Her “data driven” comment made me wince. As it is, we don’t adequately measure what a good education is. There is more to a grade school education than scoring well on a math or English standardized test. Right now that’s the data that drives national and state education policy. I would be interested to hear her elaborate more on what kind of data she means.

  10. rusty49

    Granda has my vote too. We might be on to something here as he should have a good base of voters who voted against the last few school measures. He will be the only candidate that I would trust to be totally committed to cutting costs and trimming waste.

  11. rusty49

    How refreshing it would be to have Granda on the school board instead of the group we have now. How nice it would be to actually have a member that speaks for a big contingent in Davis that know there are many more places where costs can be cut instead of taking the easy way out and coming after homeowners for more money.

  12. Mr.Toad

    “How nice it would be to actually have a member that speaks for a big contingent in Davis that know there are many more places where costs can be cut instead of taking the easy way out and coming after homeowners for more money.”

    Such as?

    Its easy to say this but there is no substance to it. Lots of dedicated people have looked at the DJUSD budget so if you have a suggestion on how to save money put it on the table for debate.

    The choice between Lovenburg and Granda is stark. Lovenburg worked tirelessly to rally the community to dig deep to keep the schools afloat while Granda sought to undermine those efforts.

  13. Frankly

    [i]As for emotion, isn’t it always going to be emotional when people are addressing the needs of their children? How is she going to deal with the emotion while staying data driven[/i]

    Where does emotion fit into a problem-solving need, and how might it create some problems?

    See the conflict Inference Ladder

    [img]http://www.cscdc.org/miscjeff/inferenceladder.jpg[/img]

    The problem with allowing emotions to drive too much of the agenda is that it causes people to make up stories unsupported by any facts. For example, “school reform will hurt the kids!”.

    The key is to work hard to stay in the learning zone:
    [img]http://www.cscdc.org/miscjeff/conflictzone.jpg[/img]

    Unfortunately, the people employed by the education establishment – ironically – resist this learning zone. They use powerful emotives (like “protect the children”) to maintain the comfort zone… and then head straight to panic mode when anyone suggests any change outside of their narrow status quo.

    So, what can we do about this?

    I think we listen to the stakeholders and then attempt to drag everyone kicking and screaming into the learning zone… but then demonstrate leadership to make fact-based decisions… because some panic in this case is justified.

  14. Rifkin

    [i]” How nice it would be to actually have (Jose Granda who would) speak for a big contingent in Davis …”[/i]

    I don’t see how Granda wins a seat, given his views on school taxes and given the larer community’s opposite opinion on school taxes. However, if we had choice voting, a “conservative” who was the first choice of a large minority in Davis would win office. In a first past the post process, I don’t think Granda stands a chance.

  15. Frankly

    [i]”I don’t think Granda stands a chance.”[/i]

    Maybe not, but I think his chances are stonger now than they have ever been. Just him being in the race will tweak the dialog.

    Note that there were people saying the same about the two candidates in the last city council race.

    There is a growing sense that we are in crisis mode in education funding and need a drastic different approach. It will depend on how he communicates his views to the voting public, but I think he has a good chance.

  16. Frankly

    [i]I don’t think we should let emotion drive the agenda but i think it is much harder to eliminate it than Sherman makes it seem.[/i]

    I agree.

    That is why we should value and welcome an injection of leadership lacking decision-paralizing hyper-emotional sensitivity. We should only be focused on fixing problems, not just making people feel good.

    Time for the Scott Walker approach!… well, maybe a little more sensitive than that.

  17. Ryan Kelly

    I don’t trust Jose Granda to do the right thing by our children. I believe he is running solely with the intention to oppose paying additional taxes for Davis schools.

  18. eagle eye

    I believe Sherman means that on-site, direct observation allows the observor to note areas/procedures that are working well, or, need improvement.

  19. hpierce

    I will tell you that Mr Granda has excellent credentials as a referee in youth soccer (I have refereed with him in many games in AYSO, particularly the World Cup Games which are tournament games). He is consistent, has great abilities to recognize whether action is ‘fair or foul’, and has the strength of character to stand by his calls. This tells me a lot about an individual.

    I do not know enough about his views re: the issues that face the district to determine whether I will actively support or vote for him as a Board member. But I believe that he has personal integrity, even if he made some “errors”.

    He, in my opinion, should be judged on the totality of his views, not a single ballot campaign that David and he were on opposite sides of. Please listen to what he has to say, moving forward, and judge for yourselves.

    Would any of us want anything less?

  20. hpierce

    I also suspect that Mr Granda will be an advocate for students who have needs that the “average” student does not.

    His record shows he does not support what he might consider “blank checks” for DJUSD. We should hear him out, and decide whether he belongs on the Board. He should not be “dismissed” at this point. I, for one, welcome his candidacy, and I’ll decide later whether he has my vote. Unlike many, he has taken up the gauntlet of “put up or shut up”, that many citizens, and many on this bog, have not.

    Mike, if you are so strong about the 3-member fire crews, and surface water issues, be a MAN and run in 2014!

  21. Michael Harrington

    Hpierce: Ha! Why would I do that when I have so much fun blogging and don’t have to listen to dog barking complaints??

    Jeff Boone: agree with your analysis about his chances of winning. If he plays it right, he wins. There are a lot of angry taxpayers, and I can see the bullet votes for him taking him over the top. But not if he runs a stupid crazy campaign

    Also, he is a professional PR man and apparently a good coach in youth soccer. That is a big voting block

    Remember Susie Boyd? She was the only NO voter on Measure J, and won the mayorship. But she was also the Mayor of One, or sometimes half of Freeman. Susie and sue both had no backup on the CC

  22. wdf1

    hpierce: [i]He is consistent, has great abilities to recognize whether action is ‘fair or foul’, and has the strength of character to stand by his calls. This tells me a lot about an individual.[/i]

    M.H.: [i]One more thing: why does the photo have the NASA logo? The story bio says he is a former NASA guy?[/i]

    I don’t see military vets use their uniforms for publicity photos for public office. Likewise, it’s ethically questionable to use other equivalent government trappings (logos, etc.) for equivalent types of publicity photos.

  23. wdf1

    hpierce: [i]He, in my opinion, should be judged on the totality of his views, not a single ballot campaign that David and he were on opposite sides of.[/i]

    Although it is a noble position you suggest, the reality is that he has committed to lead the campaign to oppose Measure E in the November election. That is the position that voters will continue most to associate with Granda.

  24. Don Shor

    I’m sure David will profile him, but here’s a quick bio of Alan Fernandes:
    Alan Fernandes: [url]http://zev.lacounty.gov/news/inside-county-government/our-new-man-in-sacramento[/url]

  25. medwoman

    [quote]He, in my opinion, should be judged on the totality of his views, not a single ballot campaign that David and he were on opposite sides of. Please listen to what he has to say, moving forward, and judge for yourselves.
    [/quote]

  26. medwoman

    Sorry all, I seem to be having difficulty all the way around posting. Let me try again.

    [quote]He, in my opinion, should be judged on the totality of his views, not a single ballot campaign that David and he were on opposite sides of. Please listen to what he has to say, moving forward, and judge for yourselves.
    [/quote]

    I am in total agreement with this statement. However it is not that we don’t have any preliminary information about Mr. Granda and, with regard to this issue, it does not seem to me particularly favorable.

    hpierce has made the statement that “he is consistent, has great abilities to recognize whether an action is “fair or foul”, and has the the strength of character to stand by his calls. It would seem to me that these are indeed virtues if they are coupled with the ability to apply these principles to one’s own actions as well as to the actions of others.
    I think we have some evidence from his standing behind his erroneous ballot statement despite a differing legal interpretation, that applying to himself the principles that he expects of others may not be his strong suit. I have no problem with this lack of introspection in a private citizen who has every right to express their opinion
    regardless of bias. I find it somewhat troubling in a public official.

    It will be interesting to hear what he has to say in terms of proposals rather than just general disparaging comments about the existing system and officials. In the end, I agree with hpierce. Let’s hear what he has to say
    before making up our minds, either pro or con.

  27. medwoman

    Jeff quoted, and then responded:

    [quoteI don’t think we should let emotion drive the agenda but i think it is much harder to eliminate it than Sherman makes it seem.

    I agree.

    That is why we should value and welcome an injection of leadership lacking decision-paralizing hyper-emotional sensitivity. We should only be focused on fixing problems, not just making people feel good.
    ][/quote]

    I found this very a very interesting comment when juxtaposed with the comment about “a lot of angry taxpayers” and Jeff’s comment ” There is a growing sense that we are in a crisis mode in education funding”.
    To me, anger is just as much of an emotion as is sensitivity. And “fear” which is usually what is being referenced when we use the word “crisis” is also an emotion. I do not think that the “sensitivity” crowd has an more dependence on emotional appeal than do the “angry” or “fearful” contingent who do not want to finance the schools at higher levels. If we are going to deal with these issues unemotionally ( highly unlikely in my opinion) then both sides are going to have to leave their emotions at the door and talk actual numbers.

  28. David M. Greenwald

    [quote]He, in my opinion, should be judged on the totality of his views, not a single ballot campaign that David and he were on opposite sides of. Please listen to what he has to say, moving forward, and judge for yourselves. [/quote]

    I agree with this point as well. I’m not necessarily opposed to supporting someone opposed to the parcel tax. I actually believe there are good reasons not to support the parcel tax – believe it or not. However, my concern with him at least at this point is (A) he doesn’t seem to have a good grasp of school financing and (B) he continues to make the same arguments even when they were shot down by the judge as false and misleading.

    That said, I think it is a good thing he has entered the race. I actually agree with Ms. Sherman that there is too much homogeneity of thought on the school board now.

  29. wdf1

    Davis Eneterprise, 8/12/12: Fernandes joins crowded Davis school board contest ([url]http://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/schools-news/fernandes-joins-crowded-davis-school-board-contest/[/url])

  30. medwoman


    “I find it somewhat troubling in a public official.”

    “Yes. But at the time, he was not a public official, but a private citizen.”

    Agreed, and that is part of why I believe it best to judge on the totality of his ideas and proposals. However, I do believe that how one conducts oneself as a private citizen is a reflection of one’s intrinsic values and thus will likely be predictive of how they will perform in the public arena.

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