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Tim Myers: Joe Messina’s chances on the Hart board

Myers' Musings

Posted: July 25, 2009 6:03 p.m.
Updated: July 26, 2009 4:55 a.m.
After several weeks of examination and analysis, most statisticians agree the incumbent administration and currently ruling clerics determined the outcome of the Iranian presidential election before the actual counting of the votes.

Too bad, because up until now, Iran enjoyed a boisterous partial democracy in the case of presidential elections, even though the ruling clerics still continued to hold absolute power in most important areas and shamelessly vetted and approved candidates for high office.

Not so in our little corner of the world, where all the pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place to conclusively doom the fourth candidacy of Joe Messina for the William S. Hart Union School District school board election, and to show that competitive democracy works in the Hart school district about the way it currently works in Iran.

You will recall that in a previous column, I detailed how Messina, whom I actually support, fell victim three times to the power of SCV incumbency, coming in last in the two-person at-large race in 2003, fourth in the three-person at-large race in 2005, and third in the two-person at-large race of 2007.

Guess what? He will now for sure come in fourth in the three-seat race of 2009.

One will recall I categorically stated that Messina possessed no serious chance against the current incumbents, primarily because he lost to the same incumbents in 2005, coming in fourth in the race and finishing behind the third to pass the post by 2,692 votes, or roughly 10 percent, of the total votes cast - an almost insurmountable deficit.

Whisperings for some time indicated that two of the three incumbents, Patricia Hanrion and Dennis King, who both won reelection in 2005 easily despite the taint of cost overruns and no high school in Castaic, would not seek another term.

One was left to wonder if the Republican machine so active in local politics would allow Messina to run for at least one of these open seats without a serious Republican competitor. Recently, we found out the powers that be decided they would once again deny Messina his much-sought-after school board seat.

Earlier, when Hanrion announced she would not seek reelection, she endorsed Suzan Solomon, an experienced Newhall School District board member, to replace her.

When King announced he would not seek another term, he endorsed Newhall board member Bob Jensen -his business partner - Suzan Solomon and the incumbent Paul Strickland.

Why does this doom Messina's candidacy again? While The Signal called Jensen and Solomon newcomers, they actually stand in the status of quasi-incumbents.

Since the Newhall School District occupies a portion of the Hart district, they bring the voters along with them who voted for them already.

Second, and again with the raw numbers, with the endorsements of the incumbents they can count on the votes received by them in 2005, which should place them comfortably in office.

Third, and perhaps most substantively, Messina cannot run against their incumbency since no one can hold Solomon and Jensen responsible for the foibles of the Hart district, since they did not serve in any capacity.

Fourth, and one can demonstrate this factually, as poorly managed as one might allege the Hart district to be, that is how well managed the Newhall district is.

The Newhall district maneuvered through a grievous facilities problem starting in 1996 that required year-round school, controversial boundary changes and ended with the construction of three new schools and the rehab of all others without breaking the financial bank.

All the while, the Newhall district delivered truly top-notch academic results, winning top kudos in all its demographic peer groups.

It seems I just talked myself into voting for Jensen and Solomon. Their positive Newhall district karma alone might move the Hart district in the right direction.

Now, Messina will raise a fair amount of money and obtain the endorsement of many "B" and "C" list local Republicans who simply love the fact he stood up to his ears in the controversial Mayor's Prayer Breakfast, but of course this pretty much assures he cannot obtain many left-of-center votes and will instead struggle to peel off an insufficient number of Republican votes.

But at least if he sees it all the way through, we get the appearance of a competitive election.

Tim Myers is a Valencia resident and CPA who thinks numbers hold the key to everything. His column represents his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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