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Decision 2014: Vancouver School Board Endorsements Rationale

VanRamblings' Vancouver Park Board Endorsements may be found here.

VanRamblings' Vancouver City Council Endorsements may be found here.

Vision Vancouver School Trustees - Staunch Defenders of Public Education

Support for public education was the criterion employed by VanRamblings in the candidate selection for Vancouver School Board Trustees.

As such, it is with a heavy heart that VanRamblings has chosen only three Vision Vancouver candidates to sit around the School Board table in the 2014 - 2018 term of office.

For, make no mistake, this past six years, the Patti Bacchus-led Vancouver School Board has emerged as our province's staunchest defenders of public education, Patti Bacchus and Mike Lombardi, in particular, emerging as two of the most important voices defending the interests of our children, their parents, and all of us who recognize that a well-educated, informed populace consisting of students who have been embued with critical thinking skills constitutes our democracy's greatest hedge against tyranny.

In Victoria, with the misnamed Liberal party we have an anti-education provincial government which, for all the world, appears to be dedicated to the dismantling of our most cherished public resource, our free, open and accessible-to-all public education system, and seem intent on replacing our public schools with privatized, Fraser Institute-endorsed charter schools.

Non-Partisan Association Dines Out on Vision Vancouver "Refusal" To Accept Donation

Witness the unfortunate and utterly misleading foofaraw surrounding the completely erroneous, Non-Partisan Association "debate" over the "refused" $500,000 donation from Chevron to our Vancouver School Board.

According to Claudia Ferris, who works on the Communications Committee with Vancouver's District Parent Advisory Committee (DPAC), on behalf of her parent board Claudia talked informally with Patti Bacchus to discuss the prospect of Chevron's proposed donation.

The district parents then sought to engage in a dialogue with Chevron. Despite several calls to Chevron, DPAC never heard back from their supposed Chevron contact, or anyone else associated with the oil giant. Imagine Patti and DPAC's surprise when they turned on the news only to discover that a representative of Chevron, having called a press conference, set about to proclaim to the world that, "The Vancouver School Board has refused Chevron's generous donation, and have given into the anti-oil politics for which the Vision Vancouver civic party is so well known!"

Vancouver School Board - Justice Not Charity, as Board "Refuses" Corporate Donation

Note should be made, too, of a concurrent Coalition of Progressive Electors Education Conference — the entire focus of the Justice Not Charity forum revolving around "the complex nature of privatization" in our public school system, where VanRamblings sat next to Patti Bacchus throughout the day, where we discussed the rising level of child poverty in our province, the failure of our British Columbia government to fund breakfast programmes for the children of wont and need, the increasing dependence on parents for fundraising, and on individual and corporate donors to fund a public education system that, for years, has been starved for funds by a provincial government seemingly intent on creating the conditions that would lead to the dismantling of our increasingly malnourished public education system.

Now, some VanRamblings' readers will read the previous paragraph as overtly "political", and it is. As a blogger, I am afforded the opportunity to be political on this blog. When it comes to the majority Vision Vancouver School Board caucus, though, Patti Bacchus and her colleagues have remained steadfast in their support of the children enrolled in the Vancouver school system, and have not ever indulged in the rhetoric of ...

"The current provincial government, our Premier and our education minister are the most reprehensible and despicable representatives of an anti-education movement anywhere in Canada."

The Vancouver School Board could, VanRamblings certainly would, but Patti Bacchus and her Vision Vancouver School Board caucus have focused on the provision of structuring a viable, open and accessible to all, public school system in Vancouver which, despite all the challenges, the provocations from Christy Clark's provincial government, the name-calling from the likes of Ken Denike and Sophia Woo, attacks from a Non-Partisan Association campaign that while supporting their School Trustees campaign for office, has called into question the integrity and honesty of the most ethical, most in support of the interests of students, and public education, Vancouver School Board in the entire 128-year history of the institution.

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Let me be very clear: As an educator with some 40 years experience teaching in schools across the province, now retired, a proud member of the British Columbia Teachers' Federation, having sat on teacher contract negotiating committees, having been elected to the office of BCTF Learning and Working Conditions Chairperson, as the Assistant Director of PDP 401 / 402 — the first semester education programme at Simon Fraser University — and as someone who has taught at both the college and university levels, and as the COPE campaign Chair for Pauline Weinstein's successive victories in the 1980s, when she sat as the beloved and cantankerous Chairperson of Vancouver's School Board, I have never admired a Board of Education more than I do the Patti Bacchus-led Vancouver School Board.

Thoughout the entirety of my life I have fought for the preservation and promotion of public education as a central feature of how I have brought myself to the world, and prioritized my political activities around forwarding the cherished goals set by the British Columbia Teachers' Federation ...

  • To represent and advocate for the social and economic goals necessary to ensure a quality pluralistic public school system, through leadership and advocacy, and service;

  • To represent values and principles that reflect a democratic perspective on public education, incorporating the principles of conceptual and procedural clarity, and to work to provide a standard of professional development that incorporates a repertoire of collaboration, research, mentorship, workshops, reading, course work, peer coaching, and reflection;

  • To extend and support Aboriginal education across our province, and promote the practice of social justice to meet the needs of all students enrolled in British Columbia's public education system; and ...

  • To advocate always for a quality public education system that is free and equitable for all students, and to resist privatization and commercialization in our province's schools.

In all of my 45 years of political organizing, and nearly that long as a teacher, despite my great respect and admiration for Pauline Weinstein, and for Noel Herron (Principal at my children's elementary school when they were growing up, and later a COPE Vancouver School Board Trustee, and a true friend), in all my time as an educator and an education activist, never have I been more proud and more in awe of a defender of public education than has been the case in what I acknowledge to you today as my undying admiration and respect for Patti Bacchus, for Allan Wong, Cherie Payne, Mike Lombardi, and the entire Vision Vancouver School Board caucus.

All of Us Owe A Debt of Gratitude to the Patti Bacchus-led Vision Vancouver School Board

Vision Vancouver Board of Education Trustees: Thank you for your service to our community, to our province, to the preservation and promotion of public education, and for your service to our children for whose education you have been entrusted and for their beleaguered parents, as well, and for your support all of the dedicated educators and support staff who teach and work in the Vancouver public school system, who day-in, day-out must contend with an underfunded-by-the-province public education system.

As is the case with you, Patti, and as is the case for all the outstanding members of your Vision Vancouver Board of Education caucus who, despite all, have worked together to create the best possible educational experience for our children, securing theirs and our future, your Vision Vancouver Board is owed an expansive and warmly appreciative debt of gratitude from every citizen, in every community, across this province.

The legacy of your Board will live on through the ages, through the students whose lives you have touched, and played a pivotal role in enhancing, and for whose education you have taken on a responsibility of immeasurable proportion, for each and every boy and girl enrolled in the Vancouver public education system, working with parents and educators, you have played a critical role in shaping the minds and destinies of the boys and girls who will become the future hope of our world. Thank you.

NPA 2014 School Board Candidates: Christopher Richardsonson, Sandy Sharma, Fraser BallantyneNPA' School Board candidates Christopher Richardson, Sandy Sharma, and Fraser Ballantyne

Kirk LaPointe is running as a candidate for Mayor of Vancouver. I like him. One of Kirk's jobs is to ensure that a goodly number of his candidates running for City Council, Park Board and School Board are elected to office.

In much the same way that the NPA campaign has dined out on the secret tape revealed by Bob Mackin that suggests a pay for play / quid pro quo deal between CUPE Local 1004 — and their $102,000 donation to the Vision Vancouver campaign — and a "supposed commitment" by Vision Vancouver not to contract out union jobs, Kirk LaPointe has set as one of his many tasks to ensure the election of a goodly number of his — dare I say, not ready for prime time — Vancouver School Board candidates.

To that end, the Non-Partisan Association campaign has made a great deal about the "decision" by Patti Bacchus, and her Vision Vancouver Board of Education, to allegedly "refuse" a corporate donation from Chevron, the sordid details of which are explored above.

Truth to tell, VanRamblings is not displeased that the viciousness (one could say tenacity, but viciousness covers it so much better) with which Vision Vancouver has pursued elected office, and has been met blow-for-blow by a focused, driven, wildly inventive (& just a tad negative) campaign for office by folks associated with the Non-Partisan Association.

Quite honestly, VanRamblings has experienced perverse joy that, finally, a well-funded political entity has come on the political scene to challenge the arrogant, almost cult-like, presumed "supremacy" of Vision Vancouver.

Vancouver School Board Chairperson Patti Bacchus, Speaking with the Media

But, not when it comes to the Patti Bacchus-led Vision Vancouver Board of Education. Politics is politics, and Patti and her colleagues have been taken aback — as has the whole discombobulated Vision Vancouver campaign team — with the effectiveness of the Non-Partisan Association targeted campaign for office. To some greater or lesser degree, several members of the Vision School Board caucus are likely to become casualties in the war of attrition that we will see come to pass this coming Saturday evening.

With the above in mind, VanRamblings has endorsed — and focused on — only three Vision Vancouver (incumbent) candidates for School Board: the incredibly principled Patti Bacchus, Cherie Payne and Allan Wong.

VanRamblings lost sleep over not endorsing Mike Lombardi — whom I've known since the 1970s when we worked together on COPE campaigns, and later as workmates at the offices of the BCTF — and I am verklempt that nowhere on the endorsement list above can be found the name of "new" Vision Vancouver School Board candidate, Joy Alexander, about whom everyone of my acquaintance is genuinely and spectacularly enthusiastic.

As I say above, this is politics, and things will be what they will be, very soon now the voice of the people will be heard, as the result of the people's will becomes clear late on Saturday evening, November 15th.

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In the 2014 Vancouver civic election, there's much pressure been placed on pundits to endorse a mixed slate, so that's what VanRamblings has done.

The Public Education Project
Gwen Giesbrecht and Jane Bouey, Public Education Project candidates for Vancouver School Board

To not vote for Jane Bouey & Gwen Giesbrecht, candidates for the nascent Public Education Project, is to say you don't give a damn about public education. All persons of conscience must vote for both Gwen and Jane.

Jane Bouey, former COPE Trustee and vice-chair of the Vancouver School Board, and absolutely beloved by Patti Bacchus — there's many the conversation I've had with Patti about Jane, and of how much Patti misses Jane's input on the Board on a vast range of issues, and of how invaluable was Jane's contribution to the Board — is a must-elect for School Board.

For VanRamblings, among the many initiatives that will come before the 2014 - 2018 Vancouver School Board, there is the implementation of the Board's new gender-variant policy. Here's an excerpt from a recent Jane Bouey post on Facebook ...

"I am deeply troubled by the Vancouver First School Trustee candidacies of Ken Denike and Sophia Woo, and their fear-based election campaign. I don't want to give them more attention, but there is a real danger, particularly if voter turn-out is low, that they could be re-elected to School Board.

In 2005, I was targeted by homophobes because of my role in the development and implementation of the Vancouver School Board's LGBTTQ+ Policy.

In 2011, I lost in my re-election bid for School Board.

I was targeted by homophobes and transphobes because I was working on early drafts of the updated Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities Policy. I lost because I am queer and proud. I will never stop standing up for LGBTTQ+ kids, and all of our children who face barriers in receiving the education that is their right.

My colleague, Gwen Giesbrecht of the Public Education Project, has been a vocal ally and stood alongside me, in this struggle.

The Vision Vancouver Board (especially Patti Bacchus and Allan Wong) have been vital and strong allies. Please take this into account when you are voting for School Board. Let your friends know — do not reward those who fan hate, or stand aside in silence.

Trustees have a duty to respect and uphold kids' legal and human right to accommodation, and to not fan fear and spread misunderstanding."

Gwen Giesbrecht, a parent & small business owner, is one of our city's true treasures, her life-long activism in support of public education and strong communities, both community driven, and in her work in the Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood where she lives — and where she serves as President of the Britannia Community Services Centre board of management, and Chair of the Britannia Secondary Parent Advisory committee — and across the city, has proved throughout a lifetime of activism of invaluable service to the larger community that is Vancouver.

Gwen Giesbrecht, Public Education Project candidate for Vancouver School Board

In her work with Britannia, Gwen has worked toward the creation of an integrated model for community service delivery, and works closely in partnership with the Vancouver School Board, the Vancouver Public Library and the City of Vancouver. Working across the city, Gwen is a past chairperson of the Vancouver District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC), the COPE Education Committee, and was a co-founder of the Justice Not Charity education forum, featured above in today's VanRamblings' post.

Having voted a Vancouver citizen returns home in the rain

On this upcoming Saturday, November 15th, most of those who intend to vote will go to the voting stations in their neighbourhood.

While walking, riding your bike, or driving to your local polling station, ask yourself, "What kind of world do I want to create for my children, for my family, for my neighbours, my friends, my colleagues and myself? Do I want a world of where all are provided an equal opportunity for love and acceptance, and if that is so, for whom do I cast my ballot?"

Reading Jane's discourse above, any person of principle is left with no other option than to cast their ballot, and place a checkmark beside the names of Jane Bouey, Gwen Giesbrecht, Patti Bacchus and Allan Wong — for there is the rock solid guarantee that in this too often confusing world that a vote for Jane, Gwen, Patti and Allan is a vote for a better world, a fairer and more just world, a more inclusive world where every boy and girl enrolled in the Vancouver school system will be afforded an equal opportunity to live the dream they dream for themselves to lead a productive, fulfilling life where love and acceptance for each and every one is the mantle they will carry throughout their lives. Vote Bacchus, Bouey, Giesbrecht, and Wong.

NPA candidates for School Board stand with Kirk LaPointe

Were the above true of all the Non-Partisan Association candidates for office; it's not. Make no mistake, there are no homophobes or transphobes in the NPA campaign for office. Rather, outside of the outstanding NPA candidacies of Christopher Richardson, Stacy Robertson and Fraser Ballantyne, the Non-Partisan Association candidates are weak tea, indeed.

Now, VanRamblings likes, nay adores, NPA candidate for School Board, Sandy Sharma. The Straight writes about Sandy yesterday, "a progressive parent activist for many years and is well-versed in education issues, including the board's financial affairs." Sad to say, such has not been VanRamblings experience. In respect of Sandy's run for office, even her running mates have been concerned over Sandy's focus on cutting out contract-negotiated Professional Days, and shortening the Christmas and spring breaks — when the former is unchangeable, and the latter is, although to some extent within the Board's purview, provincially-mandated.

[Update: In response to the paragraph above, Sandy Sharma writes to say that she feels that the construction of her commentary, as written above, is "both misleading and inaccurate." Ms. Sharma is clear that it is not Professional Days to which she refers — and insists that she has always been "a proponent of Professional Days, and the very important role they play in furthering the goals of a vibrant public education system."

2014 NPA School Board Candidate, Sandy Sharma

Rather, says Ms. Sharma, it is "District Days" to which she refers — a few years back, the Vision Vancouver School Board, to save money, extended Spring Break by 3 - 5 days, and closed schools on other days in the calendar school year, lengthening the school day for students in order that provincially-mandated hours / days of education would be met. Sandy Sharma believes that Vision Vancouver policy is the wrong way to go.

Sandy Sharma believes, and it is NPA policy she had a role in drafting, that to close schools for so many days each school year is wrong, and that an NPA School Board would look for cost savings elsewhere, restoring full school days, in support of the interests of children, and their beleaguered parents, whose pocketbooks are already strained, and who must arrange for childcare during the Vision Vancouver-imposed "District Closure" days.]

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Me, I want a vocal advocate for public education. Even given the above, VanRamblings would not be concerned, and perhaps might experience some degree of joy for Sandy were she to be elected to School Board.

Were VanRamblings able to say that about NPA School Trustree Penny Noble's candidacy — a walking disaster if we ever saw one. Migawd!

2014 Mayoral Debate, at SFU Harbour Centre

Last week, when returning from the Mayoral debate at SFU Harbour Centre, sitting in Christopher Richardson's comfy SUV as he transported Penny to her car at the Vancouver Lawn Tennis & Badminton Club (don't ask), we got to talking about the amount of time electeds often put into their jobs.

For instance, on School Board, I know that Patti Bacchus and Mike Lombardi often put in 40 - 60 hour weeks — they're dedicated, there's a job to be done, they're passionate defenders of the public education system, the media come calling and there they are out front of the VSB offices, or out front of their homes, answering the question of the day.

At Park Board, although NPA Park Board Commissioner John Coupar is reluctant to reveal the number of hours he puts into his work as a Park Board Commissioner (he's such a humble man), a 40+ hour a week is not uncommon for John, as is the case for fellow NPA Park Board Commissioner, and current NPA candidate for Council, Melissa De Genova.

While Christopher was transporting Penny and I over the Burrard Street bridge, the subject of committees at School Board came up, and a concern that had been expressed to me by one of the Vision Vancouver school trustees that Fraser Ballantyne didn't like committee meetings, and never turned up for them, even the ones he was supposed to be chairing. There are six standing committees at School Board: Education and Student Services, Planning and Facilities, Finance & Legal, Personnel & Staff Services, Management Co-ordinating, and Education & Student Services.

As you might well imagine, it is at the committee level where the lion's share of the Board's work occurs, all the planning, development of policy, co-ordinating, resolution of personnel issues, etc. The VSB committees play a pivotal role at the Board, they're time-consuming but productive, and all the Board members (save Fraser Ballantyne, apparently) attend.

Interjecting in the discussion Christopher Richardson and I were having about committees, and the certainty he felt that Fraser Ballantyne's contribution to the Vancouver School Board, and certainly to the Non-Partisan Association School Board campaign, was without compare — who am I to disbelieve Christopher, I trust Christopher on every single word I have ever heard from him, and we talk together frequently and at length, usually when he's riding his bike, and comes roaring up, at which point we engage in gregarious discourse — Penny Noble had his to say ...

"Committees. We don't need no damn committees. They're time-consuming, they're useless. The first thing I'll do when elected to office is cancel all of those committees. I'm going to shake up School Board when I'm elected. Forty hours a week! I've got better things to do with my time than spend 40 hours a week at the School Board offices. I'll spend ten, and no more!"

Gosh, one wonders if Penny is aware that School Board Trustees are also liaisons with the at least a dozen schools to which they're assigned?

Probably not.

Penny exits Christopher's vehicle, as Christopher rolls his eyes, assuring me that "we'll take it slow and easy, get our feet, get a feel for things, meet people, talk with everyone we can, attend committee meetings, find out what the priorities are, and work together with the other electeds, one of whom I would imagine and hope would be Patti Bacchus, with whom I'm really looking forward to working with should I be given the opportunity."

Vision Vancouver School Board Chairperson Patti Bacchus, and NPA School Board candidate, Christopher Richardson, at the Pride FestivalPatti Bacchus and NPA School Board candidate, Christopher Richardson, at Pride 2014

VanRamblings asks a question to which the answer is clear, but tests Christopher Richardson (it's a good question to ask of any potential School Board Trustee candidate): First order of business upon being elected, Christopher? The answer, "With the resignation of Superintendent Steve Cardwell, who's taking on the job as a Professor, teaching and a Director of Executive Educational leadership, at the University of British Columbia, the search for and appointment of a new Vancouver School Board Superintendent would have to a first priority for the incoming Board."

You pass, Christopher. Like I knew you would.

As VSB Superintendent Steve Cardwell told The Courier's Cheryl Rossi ...

The Vancouver School Board oversees 92 elementary schools, 18 high schools, seven adult education centres and the largest distance education school in the province. Vancouver schools serve some of the most affluent neighbourhoods in Canada and some of the poorest. Fourteen per cent of students participate in a school meal programme.

We have 55,000 students. We've got over 100,000 parents that have a real stake in our education system and fewer than 40 per cent voted. They need to exercise their democratic right to vote and have influence on our education system by voting for school trustees and voting for the city, for the mayor and council, as well, as part of this, and when provincial elections come around, of course, for them, too."

I know that Christopher Richardson has ridden his bike to every school in the district, introducing himself to the administration at each of those schools, and as many teachers as he could, not to get votes — although, he's good at that — but to get a feel for the depth and breadth of the Vancouver school district, and to hear from administrators, teachers — and when he runs across them, the parents — concerns that each would like to see addressed in this next term of the Vancouver School Board.

Christopher Richardson is, quite simply, one of the best people I know — I am over-the-moon about Christopher's candidacy for School Board.

Patti Bacchus has told me that she would look forward to working with Christopher — a progressive of the first order, who was enthusiastically endorsed by The Straight yesterday, and several other School Board candidates running for other parties have said the same thing about Stacy Robertson, with affection expressed for Fraser Ballantyne, as well.

Penny Noble? NPA candidate for School Board? In a word: disaster.

VanRamblings' 2014 Vancouver Civic Election School Board Endorsements

So, VanRamblings has signed off on the NPA's Christopher Richardson and Stacy Robertson's candidacies for School Board, and feel quite assured that Fraser Ballantyne — who we think is a lock to be re-elected, and of whom it has been said, was the most eloquent speaker at the School Board table when the gender-variant policy was passed, and who played a central role in the expulsion of Ken Denike and Sophia Woo from the NPA caucus.

There are two remaining candidates VanRamblings has endorsed for School Board. And spectacular candidates they are — it's worth reading on.

Green Party of Vancouver candidate for School Board, Mischa Oak
Mischa Oak, Green Party of Vancouver, School Board candidate

Mischa has emerged as the hardest-working candidate running with any party, for any civic office in the 2014 Vancouver civic election. VanRamblings is over-the-moon about Mischa's candidacy (as we are for his Green Party Council-mate candidate, Pete Fry, about whom we'll write tomorrow).

Having worked on dozens of political campaigns over the years, VanRamblings has established a criterion for success.

Mischa meets that criterion in spades.

Spencer Chandra-Herbert, sitting member of the BC Legislature for Vancouver West-EndSpencer Chandra-Herbert, and friend. Member of the BC Legislature for Vancouver West-End

A story. In the 2005 COPE campaign, at the tender age of 24, Spencer Chandra-Herbert first ran for political office, as a Park Board candidate. Everyone in the campaign office hated him, his fellow candidates, the campaign team, everyone. Everyone that is except the voters, and me — I loved Spencer, and the energy he brought to his campaign for office.

Spencer was the only candidate with his own website — which drove all the other candidates nuts. Spencer posted to his fairly rudimentary website everyday. Facebook was a new-fangled social media tool — Spencer had a Facebook account, to which he posted several times a day (remember now, this is just months after Mark Zuckerberg had taken Facebook live).

Spencer didn't sleep, he was everywhere all the time, nattily dressed, with his every present chapeau, a big grin, a hand outreached to shake yours, looking right at you, deep into your soul. Spencer remembered the name of every person he met, and not just their names, but some detail about them, their family, or an event of consequence that had occurred in their lives. I am often surprised when I run across Spencer, not having seen him for a year or 18-months, that he comes up to me, shaking my hand, saying, "Ray, it's so good to see you. How have you been?" And you know, he means it, he wants to hear about you, what's going on in your life.

The secret to political success, and to getting elected, and re-elected again and again? Spencer Chandra-Herbert has written the book.

Mischa Oak? Mischa is writing a new chapter in that book.

Here's how you can determine the worth of most candidates on the campaign trail: their energy, their enthusiasm, their ability to get outside of themselves and give themselves over to you, their genuineness and kindness, their dedication to the office for which they are running, and the research they've done and continue to in the run for office.

Enthusiasm and commitment before the election, looking you in the eye, actually caring about you as a person, a well-researched platform of substance, and boundless energy tempered with gravitas, those are the constituent elements of not only a successful candidacy, but a guarantee to voters that they're about to elect someone who's on their side.

There are a few candidates like that in this election: Pete Fry, Adriane Carr, Catherine Evans, Trevor Loke, Keith Higgins, Gayle Gavin, Diana Day, Audrey Siegl, Rob McDowell, John Coupar, Erin Shum, Massimo Rossetti.

I'll tell you what, though, based on energy, commitment, a tireless dedication to the task at hand, a candidate who if he were elected to School Board would cause Patti and Cherie and Allan (and Mike), Jane and Gwen, Christopher and Stacy (and Fraser, too) to become becalmed, that's Mischa Oak — one of the best new candidates for Vancouver School Board in the current civic election, along with COPE's Diana Day (who is written about below) and Ilana Schecter, and Vision Vancouver's Joy Alexander.

Patti and company would know that with Mischa Oak at the School Board table they'd have an advocate for public education who would not only be their equal, but whose boundless energy would generate a newfound enthusiasm at the Board table going forward, to accomplish, to work together and, even if just a little, transform our city into a fairer, more just place for us all, that's Mischa Oak, that's his contribution, that's why you have to place a checkmark beside his name when you mark your ballot.

Janet Fraser, Green Party of Vancouver candidate for School Board

Now, Green Party of Vancouver campaign manager Jacquie Miller would have my head if I didn't write about Janet Fraser: born in the UK, attended the University of Bristol, achieved B.Sc. and a Ph.D. degrees, both in Chemistry, moved to Vancouver in 1993 where she met and married her husband Gregg, has three lovely children, lives in Marpole, has long been a Canadian citizen, has worked as a scientist and project manager in the pharmaceutical biotech industry, and is currently the PAC Co-Chair at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Elementary School, and over the last 10 years has been the Co-Chair or Chair at Laurier or Laurier Annex.

Janet Fraser co-founded Marpole Matters, and played an integral role in the development of the contentious but ultimately successful, Marpole Plan. Janet's two daughters play hockey, and she's a Hockey Canada Safety Person with the Vancouver Angels, not to mention when the season is appropriate a soccer team parent and a baseball assistant coach (haven't all parents of school-age children been there? Thirty years ago for me, when Jude and Megan were making their way through elementary school).

You know how VanRamblings is just a bit over-the-moon with the candidacies of Vision Vancouver's Patti Bacchus, Allan Wong and Cherie Payne (and Mike Lombardi, too!), the Public Education Project's Jane Bouey and Gwen Giesbrecht, and the NPA's Christopher Richardson and Stacy Robertson (and Fraser Ballantyne, too!), the Greens' campaign manager — whose word we would trust on anything, our burgeoning political 'relationship' the best thing about Campaign 2014 for VanRamblings, well, Jacquie Miller is just as over-the-moon about Janet Fraser as VanRamblings is for the candidates mentioned above. Jacquie Miller thinks that soccer mom, brilliant scientist, the candidate for School Board who has identified as her core value that of sustainability — of the school community, the student family, and the school infrastructure and processes — is great! VanRamblings is now as impressed as Jacquie. Add Janet Fraser as one of the viable options for School Board. You have our word on it!

Coalition of Progressive Electors' (COPE) candidate, Diana DayDiana Day, Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) candidate for School Board

VanRamblings has saved the best for last, Diana Day, flat out one of my favourite candidates on the campaign trail, who is on leave from the Vancouver DPAC Board, knows School Board issues backwards and forwards and inside out, who's passion for social justice issues will complement that of the candidates we mentioned above, while adding an even stronger voice to the conversation, and long an advocate for culturally safe learning environments for vulnerable youth.

Diana Day is an Oneida First Nations woman who believes in creating environments free from bullying, has dedicated her life to sharing and learning about Indigenous culture and intends to bring that into our schools — should she be elected — a will to combat negative stereotypes, and a dedication to working against racism, in our city and in our schools; that's Diana Day as an elected member of the Vancouver School Board.

See, I told you that VanRamblings was saving the best for last.

A single parent of two amazing teenagers, she says, who works full-time as a leader in Aboriginal health with Vancouver Coastal Health, and as a community education volunteer — Diana Day is, quite simply, one of the strongest candidates for School Board in the 2014 Vancouver civic election, a must-elect as far as VanRamblings is concerned, a necessary vote, an important vote, and an important voice who will speak for and on behalf of vulnerable aboriginal youth in our city; in the current municipal election, Diana is a transformative candidate for Vancouver School Board and, did we say, a must-elect, because Diana Day is certainly that, and more.

On Remembrance Day, Diana celebrated a birthday with family and friends. On Saturday, let's give Diana Day, and all of us, a late and welcome birthday present: Vancouver voters, vote Diana Day for Vancouver School Board, and make our city and our world a better place for you, for me, and for the children enrolled throughout the Vancouver public school system.



Posted by Raymond Tomlin at November 13, 2014 9:22 PM in Decision 2014

   

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