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Page 6

February 2019

"City council"

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Dollars for democracy

A special election will cost the

city some $450,000, and the coun-

cil appeared reluctant to spend

that much money. In December,

residents were invited to submit

applications for the council seat

-- and 20 people did. The council

was slated to make a decision –

hold a special election or appoint

someone – at its Jan. 8 meeting.

It opted, instead, to continue the

issue for two more weeks to give

council members time to inter-

view all 20 applicants.

On Jan. 22, the heat was on.

Valencia supporters packed the

council chambers. Sprinkled

among them were some of the ap-

plicants, their friends and family,

residents who opposed Valencia,

and a small handful advocating

a special election. The meeting

was delayed for a time due to

problems with the sound system.

“We’re waiting until it’s fixed,”

Mayor Murphy explained. “We

want everyone here, and watch-

ing at home, to hear this.”

The public speakers, no mat-

ter their bent, were passionate.

“The city has a lot on the line,”

a 45-year resident said. “A spe-

cial election will give everyone a

voice.”

“I’m proud of the democratic

process taking place before our

eyes,” said a Valencia supporter.

“We are not your enemy. Betty

can compromise; she will not

steamroll your plans for the city.

Be brave enough, bold enough, to

uphold democracy.”

If every votes counts

Another resident noted that

while Valencia got 10,000 votes,

there were more people who

voted against her by voting for

someone else. “This is not an ex-

tension of November’s election,”

said another. “Choosing Valen-

cia would be ignoring the votes

the other candidates got.”

“We’ve been knocking on lots

of doors,” a Valencia canvasser

reported. “The nonpartisan con-

sensus is no special election. But

people across the board don’t

think you should pick somebody

from the back room.”

“Your primary job,” another

speaker said, “is to represent the

community. If you don’t pick

Betty, it shows you don’t care

about representing the spirit of

the city.”

“Sometimes,” said a last-

minute speaker, “being a leader

means doing the right thing.”

With the last public comment

heard, the discussion went back

to the council. Mayor Murphy

was the first to speak. He com-

plimented the skills, interest and

presentations given by the speak-

ers, but noted he had a different

perspective. “I was originally ap-

pointed to the council,” he said.

“I was proud to serve as an ap-

pointed person, but it doesn’t

ring true unless you are elected.

There are certain things you can’t

put a price on. One is the oppor-

tunity for voters to select the fifth

council member. My suggestion

is that we call for a special elec-

tion.”

A difficult choice

Mike Alvarez followed up,

saying he and Chip Monaco had

interviewed “just about every-

body” and he thought there were

three candidates who should

be considered. “We should put

them up for a council vote before

going to an election,” he said.

“$450,000 is asking too much.

Twenty great people have ap-

plied, I’d rather go that way.”

“I’ve heard every word you’ve

said,” Kim Nichols told the au-

dience. “I’m listening not just

to you, but to the community at

large. There are very strong opin-

ions that differ from yours. That

doesn’t mean that theirs or yours

are any less important. Chip and I

were elected to fill two seats. Not

three. No one can predict who

that third person would have been

if voters had three people to elect.

One speaker tonight said there

isn’t a price for democracy. We

need to ask voters one more time

who we should put in this seat to

represent you, to represent the en-

tire City of Orange.”

“This council has worked hard

to ensure a fair and transparent

process,” Monaco advised. If I

were making my own choice,

I’d pick someone that we inter-

viewed. I don’t agree the third

place vote-getter has a right to

the vacant seat. This council can

appoint anyone it wants, but in

fairness, we should have an elec-

tion.”

Alvarez, after listening to his

colleagues, said he would go the

way they wanted to go, “even if

I disagree.”

A city resolution calling for a

special election will be brought

back to the council Feb. 12. The

election will be Nov. 5. Candidate

filing deadlines won’t likely be

until July. Betty Valencia is plan-

ning to run; applicant Arianna

Barrios has announced her inten-

tion to run.

The Orange Park Association elected three board members at its an-

nual meeting, Jan. 19, at Salem Lutheran Church. The board consists

of nine members serving staggered three-year terms. Three seats are

up for election each year. Incumbent Lance Mora was reelected. Two

board members chose not to run again. Laura Thomas and Sherry

Panttaja were elected to fill those vacancies. From left, Laura Thom-

as, Jim Cathcart, retiring member Kimiya Leuteritz, Chris Flathers,

Leroy Pendray, Sherry Panttaja, Board President Don Bradley, retir-

ing member Gina Ciampaglia, Ryan Mongan and Richard Eldridge.

Lance Mora is not pictured.

Photo by Tony Richards

Canyon

filmmakers win

Canyon High film students, un-

der the direction of teacher Alex

Graham, amassed a number of

top awards for their works.

Nick Sherman won Best Com-

mercial at the Orange County

Film Festival. He received two

additional nominations, for Best

PSA and Best Independent Film.

Colette Grob won Best Sound

Design, plus a second nomination

in the same category. Anthony

Vito Lyles was nominated for

Best Short Film. Luke Fisher and

Blake Banuelos were each nomi-

nated for Best Actor.

Canyon filmmakers also earned

state and regional honors for their

films touching on mental health

awareness and suicide prevention

in the annual Directing Change

Program & Film Contest. Isaac

Resurreccion, Matthew Bachor

and Lance Hahn took third place

statewide honors in the Suicide

Prevention category. Victoria

Neller earned second place state-

wide in the Mental Health Mat-

ters category.

Canyon High filmmakers Nick Sherman, left, and Colette Grob, right,

are congratulated by media arts teacher Alex Graham for their big

wins at the 16th Annual Orange County Film Festival.

Santiago

Charter

Middle

School, founded 24 years ago and

the first charter school in Orange

County, has been recognized,

both locally and nationally, for

21st century learning, innova-

tive programs, and a personalized

education. It is one of only two

middle schools nationwide, and

one of 18 schools in the country,

to receive national 2019 Exem-

plar School recognition.

In addition, Santiago Charter

has received state and national

recognition as a 2019 Schools to

Watch, identifying it as a model

program for middle schools

across the country. Santiago

Charter received the California

Civic Learning Merit Award

in 2017 and 2018, supporting

the school’s mission to ensure

growth academically and socially

for all students.

Santiago Charter receives

national and local honors