Running late, again, this week. I just have time to make a few short comments.

First, it was difficult to adequately cover both the school board candidate forum and the city council candidate forum because both were scheduled to run consecutively on the same evening. This was an inconvenient format for those who wanted to attend both forums. Some had to leave early. That said, the forums were run very efficiently and professionally. Kudos to Scott Lee who moderated the first school district forum at the Middle School. Thanks also to Bill Herrera who moderated the second school board forum, sponsored by Fillmore City Council and One Step a la Vez.

I want to note that I received a telephone call from school board candidate Lucy Rangel. Mrs. Rangel denies some of the (paraphrased) comments attributed to her in last week's Gazette. In particular, she denies stating " more and question less." I wish the entire Forum were taped, but it was not. I must rely upon notes taken at the time by our reporter, and at the same time give notice of Mrs. Rangel's objections.


Election Day is only a few weeks away. I attended both of our school board forums. With the exception of candidates Sean Morris and Mike Saviers, I've known the candidates for several years and observed their actions on the board many times. I have no serious problems with any of them, except for Tony Prado.

Observing Mr. Prado's demeanor as a board member over the years I must, emphatically, decline to endorse him for another term on the Fillmore School District Board of Directors.

Mr. Prado is a good man, but he completely lacks a sense of collegiality. He has a tendency to bully and browbeat others. His demanding (often angry) personality can be offensive to the point of being insulting. On more than one occasion, Mr. Prado has publically stated that he makes no apologies for his unfriendly behavior.

Mr. Prado has never condescended to answer candidate forum questions in the local newspaper. He is the only candidate to complain about other candidates displaying election signs around town. However, Prado fliers are to be found on windshields in parking lots. In short, Prado is a disagreeable man who tends to destroy cooperation on the board.

I warned against his candidacy the year he happened to win by a handful of votes, and I warn against his candidacy again this year for the same reasons.

The Fillmore School District Board of Directors NEEDS NEW BLOOD.

With the exception of Mr. Prado, I respect the service all present school board members have provided these past four years. But it's time for change, for new ideas and perspectives. Therefore I enthusiastically endorse and support three new candidates, Scott Beylik, Sean Morris and Mike Saviers. Each answered the forum questions clearly and with confidence. These candidates will create a thoughtful new balance on the board.


Next week the candidates will be asked to answer a novel question which pertains to commitment. Our school library is hurting badly and lacks a librarian. School board members serve without compensation, except for medical coverage. According to District records, the Board is provided approximately $55,000 per year, or $10,934.10 per member, in health benefits.

Question: Which board members (if any) would be willing to forego this insurance in order to donate the proceeds of $55,000 to the Fillmore Library? This will be one of next week's candidate questions.