Election Night 2015 had notable victories for me, throughout the country and even in the South Bay.
Just not in Torrance.
Rick Marshall and Clint Paulson jumped in to ensure that the two incumbents for Torrance School Board actually faced a challenge to their seats. This election was a necessity for a number of reasons, including:
1. The safety of TUSD students.
2. Integrity of the lease-lease back contracts.
3. Accountability for the Measures T and U bonds
4. Ending Common Core and restoring higher standards for Torrance schools.
School Board candidate Clint Paulson issued the following statement:
Dear Torrance Residents,
I feel just about as terrible tonight as I recall ever feeling. Yeah, I'm sad that I lost the School Board election, but what has me really feeling down is I feel like I completely wasted your time by choosing to run. I'm sorry. I really am. If I could go back in time knowing the outcome tonight and choose differently I would. People won't believe me when I say this, but I really didn't want to run. I ended up doing so because nobody else was running to challenge the incumbents and in my heart of hearts I felt strongly that the issues I raised needed to be raised if we are ever to have the type of schools in Torrance that I want for my kids and the community. My intent was not to run a negative campaign as I've been accused of but to let people know what things I saw that needed to be fixed. I sincerely thought more people, once they heard about these issues, would view them in the same way I do. I was completely wrong.
Whether someone wants to or not, Paulson's decision to run was important. Don Lee and Terry Ragins inherited their seats in 2011, since no one bothered to challenge them. Accountability is a necessity in our local government, and nothing ensures this than challenges to the incumbents, win or lose.
I congratulate Don Lee and Terry Ragins on winning another term. I wholeheartedly believe they are good people and I respect them a great deal for their longstanding service to our community. I also congratulate G Rick Marshall. I admire him for not giving up and working so hard, often behind the scenes, on behalf of our community.
One has to admire Paulson's plain-spoken respect for others.
I continue to have my concerns for our schools and our kids future, but I respect the will of the people and accept the message I received tonight that many of those concerns are not shared by the Torrance community.
Even so, to all those that voted for me and that did share my concerns. I say thank you. I am honored by your support.
What transpired on Election Night revealed the will of the majority of voters who cast a ballot. There we find a larger part of the problem. Out of nearly 150,000 residents, only 83,000 are registered to vote, and of that number only 10,000 actually voted. Wow.
Whatever happened to participatory democracy? Most people either do not care or believe that their vote cannot make a difference. Just awful, because that sentiment is simply not true. I spoke with residents who had decided not to vote, so unhappy were they with the choices on the ballot. Individual residents were unhappy with the incumbents, and yet they did not like the two challengers, either.
Whether people despise "The Torrance Way" or not, the fact remains that voters are more likely to turn out for people they know, trust, and like. When walking precincts, I met people who recoiled at the name "Rick Marshall". Yet he garnered more votes than Clint, who had invested resources in door handles and door-knockers.
And about voting and casting ballots. . .
I spoke to three different people in the city of Torrance during and after the election, and they had not even received their ballots to vote! One young man, who is knowledgeable on a host of issues, admitted to me that he did not even KNOW there was a school board race. Are you kidding me?!
Information, impact, and outreach are essential for these local races, and concerned citizens need to work harder on these issues.