The baseball analogy in reference to last night’s “Toes to the Stove” candidate forum is appropriate for me because I felt like a Dodger fan: I came late and left early.


Actually, I missed the pizza party but was there for the start of the forum and had to leave after an hour for personal reasons.

What I witnessed was no less than inspiring. The four candidates who took the time to attend were all at the top of their game. We heard new ideas and positions…

From Dr. Gina Nick (Area 4): Start getting student input and start increasing financial oversight. Gee, what a concept.

From Ashley Anderson (Area 7), there were thoughts on a stronger community alliance to support Costa Mesa’s Westside schools. Yes!

Michelle Barto (Area 5) noted that the district’s safety plan “doesn’t mesh with what is happening.” Too true. She gets it – the current trustees do not.

And Michelle Murphy (Area 2) pointed out the woeful shortage of key questioning of proposals by the current trustees. You know it as “rubber stamping.”

Even the panelists were on point: Colleen Barney spoke clearly and directly on school safety when she stated that “We have to define what safety is.” Amen. That is the first step that must be taken and it should have been taken a long time ago.

But it wasn’t, which is why we need new trustees.

Watching these four candidates was nothing less than inspiring and all four deserve your vote.

Here are links to more information on each of the four candidates:





OBTW, all of them agreed on term limits for trustees – no more than 12 years. Trustee Karen Yelsey (Area 4) supported a 12-year limit but she changed her mind this year and wants you to make it 16 for her. Sorry… No credibility, no vote.

It’s time to elect these four candidates, each of whom understands and embraces the concepts of accountability, transparency, and fiscal responsibility.

These four candidates will provide new ideas and new leadership.

Voting starts next week with the mailing of absentee/vote-by-mail ballots. Cast your vote for one of these four in your Area and tell your friends, family, and co-workers to do the same.

Steve Smith