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Our View: 2011 election endorsement roundup

Posted: November 4, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 4, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Our editorials in the last few weeks have given our stances on the Newhall School District bond measure and the elections for the William S. Hart Union High School District board and the Santa Clarita Community College District board of trustees. We review our positions and endorsements below.


Measure E: Yes

This 25-year, $60 million bond, paid for through property taxes, is for repairs and upgrades for the 10 schools in the Newhall School District, including energy-efficiency improvements and installing science labs. It’s not a new tax, but rather a 25-year extension of 1999’s Measure K, which expires in 2025.

This is a good idea for a number of reasons.

It keeps our award-winning schools competitive with modern technology, including high-speed Internet and wireless service, and structural improvements, such as new roofing, replacing worn-out portable classrooms with permanent structures and renovating multipurpose rooms for large events.

When our schools are of high quality, it helps keep property values high and attracts businesses to relocate to the area – both of which improve our local economy and quality of life.

Come Tuesday, a “Yes” vote on Measure E is a vote for the future of our children, the future of our schools and the future of the Santa Clarita Valley.


Hart board: Gloria Mercado-Fortine and Steve Sturgeon

Gloria Mercado-Fortine and Steve Sturgeon have knowledge and experience on the board, which has seen improvements over the last few years by adding more spending oversight and making due with less in the face of massive budget cuts.

Mercado-Fortine has served the board for three terms, weathering the last year with dignity and aplomb as fellow board members had her investigated for a possible conflict of interest, for which she was exonerated.

An educator herself, Mercado-Fortine demonstrated both the strength of her understanding of educational issues and the breadth of her understanding of district issues during a recent debate.

Sturgeon is a local businessman who has also served the district for three terms. During the debate, he showed a detailed grasp of the district’s relationships with its unions — and noted the district’s strength in the face of state budget cuts is largely due to those positive relationships.

He also demonstrated a breadth and depth of understanding of other district issues.

With many district issues still unresolved and the strong leadership demonstrated by both incumbents, returning them to office would best serve the children, parents and taxpayers of the William S. Hart Union High School District.


Community College District Board of Trustees: Scott Wilk and Bruce Fortine

Seat 4 Incumbent Bruce Fortine is a founding member of the college’s board. He has been involved in virtually all major decisions that the college has made in the past 40 years and helped establish a fiscally prudent policy and long-range vision for the college. We see no reason to change such a successful formula.

Fortine’s length of service to the college is remarkable and his connections to the community make him a strong voice for the college.

In Seat 5, we endorse Scott Wilk, who is looking for his second term on the board.

Although we are endorsing Wilk as the more qualified of the two candidates for Seat 5 because of his fiscally conservative position, his commitment and his knowledge of the college and community, we hope that this seat is not being treated as a fallback position in Wilk’s bid for a state Assembly seat in 2012; because now is not the time for major changes or disruptions to a winning formula at our community college.

In the absence of knowing what Wilk’s future definitively holds, we cannot speculate and at this time can only endorse him based on his track record to date with COC.



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