Can You Say Gerrymander?

ger·ry·man·der
ˈjerēˌmandər
verb
gerund or present participle: gerrymandering
  1. 1.
    manipulate the boundaries of (an electoral constituency) so as to favor one party or class.

 

With 3 days notice, no local press coverage and no information easily provided to the public, our Beaumont Unified School Board will vote on Tuesday to change the way they are elected. They will be making new rules that will eliminate a large number of candidates from running in the next election, including yours truly. They will have authorized their attorneys to request a waiver from the State to avoid allowing the voters to make this important decision.

The plan is to move from an at-large election to an election by wards, or as the Board wants to call them, "Trustee Areas". They will be considering three maps, maps you have to know where to look for them. Here is a link to the maps: http://bit.ly/1g9Vl5h.  They say they are doing this to avoid law suits about unfair representation but it is clear, from the three maps they are considering, that the current at-large system is working. Two of the three maps have a current Board Trustee representing each new ward.

Whether you believe Beaumont Unified needs an election by wards ot not, I don't, You have to ask yourself, Is this the way to go about it? What's the rush? Don't you think it would be more prudent to hold off implementing the new system for one election cycle. The fact that they will be adopting a map that proves the community is fairly represented right now would probably protect the district for at least one election cycle. This would give more notice to prospective candidates and eliminate any concerns, or law suits, that the Board Trustees are selecting maps and a process that benefits themselves. 

By the end of the night they will have had their public hearing that no one knows about and have approved their maps and started the process to go around the voters. They may or may not hold another public hearing later in the process but, after the decision is made this Tuesday, their will be no second guessing or turning back. I've watched their process for more than six years now and I can tell you one thing you can count on, the Beaumont Unified School Board and Administration are predictable, regardless of who is in charge.