The Woodland Coalition for Green Schools was delighted to endorse two founding members for school board trustee:
Area 7 (royal blue, south of Gibson, Springlake area) - Shengchi Huang
See coverage of Deborah in the Sacramento Bee on September 23: “Out of Poverty and Activism, She’s a Candidate for a Better Life than Hers”
See footage of the Woodland League of Women Voters debate, September 20th.
Full coverage: coming soon.
Area 1 candidates opening statements (Deborah Bautista Zavala versus Tania Tafoya): click here to see on Facebook
Area 7 candidates opening statements (Shengchi Huang versus Rogelio Villagrana versus Magalean Martin): click here to see on Facebook
Area 7 (Springlake)
It’s been a deep honor to work with Deborah Bautista Zavala and Shengchi Huang over the last year in the coalition, and I am asking you to take a moment and call, text or write ten of your friends who may live in Area 1 or Area 7 to share this endorsement and help get out the vote. If you have some time to spare, both could use help with the final days of the campaign with making calls, distributing flyers, talking to friends. Doing a mail drop is a great way to get exercise!
At the first trustee meeting I ever attended, I heard her speak about the heat crisis in Beamer’s multipurpose room. If you saw the debate footage, you will know that she’s a powerful public speaker — because she speaks from the heart, and with an honesty and passion that are memorable. I recall another trustee meeting in which the public audience was unusually large and grandparents were left to sit on the floor. She spoke to the environmental issues that evening, but took a moment to ask why there weren’t enough chairs for the public. Let me tell you, there were plenty of chairs at the next meeting.
As for her credentials, she holds a Masters in Education, so she will be unparalleled on the board in terms of oversight and educational policy issues. For the last several years she has worked at the California State Assembly and has been promoted to Legislative Aide. Her position in Sacramento will help our district access more resources and find solutions to structural problems. The current district leadership and trustees spend a lot of time bemoaning the small size of their pie. Parents like me and Deborah have offered to write grants, raise money, seek additional state resource, but we are turned away. Deborah will change that culture because she is a problem solver. If you have followed her campaign, you cannot help but notice she has inexhaustible energy and gracefully juggles her roles as supermom, working professional, and devoted community member.
As for environmental issues, Deborah walks the walk — not just the talk. A granddaughter of farm workers, she knows from her own family the harms of pesticides and is raising her daughters with good organic food. When the carpet crisis deepened it was Deborah who fearlessly met first with the press… On every level she will be an advocate for greener schools.
Bond. The coalition is not taking a formal position on the bond and our endorsed candidates hold two different positions (Deborah for it, Shengchi against). We leave it up to you how you wish to vote. I happened to attend most of the meetings at which the planning unfolded, and I am happy to share my personal opinion about it via private communication. Whether the bond goes forward or not, from the social media debates, it’s clear there are deep doubts from the community about trust and transparency.
Shengchi is salt of the earth. A devoted father, he started attending trustees meetings because he was concerned about violations to school safety that he witnessed at Plainfield. He started reading every document (indeed, I always know when it’s Thursday night because texts pour in from Shengchi about key documents on the just-released trustee agenda).
As he delved into the documents last year, what he found was disturbing. The district had outdated safety plans, cookie cutter documents in which the maps of the schools were riddled with errors. Even after the Parkland massacre, they were not updated.
Shengchi’s attention to detail is badly needed on this board.
Last year there was a scandal about bullying, and I remember not a single trustee spoke to the mother after she spoke in public comment at the board meeting. A true Boy Scout leader, Shengchi went up to her immediately and asked how he could help and coordinated and texted with her in the days that followed.
He’s a true advocate for school safety — whether environmental health, safety from bullying, or making sure that children have access to clean water. When Plainfield’s water system went out due to coliform contamination (indicating there had be prior fecal contamination), he and other parents were told, don’t worry, it’s like camping. Kids can use the portapotties. Shengchi wondered, what about water for children with severe food allergies who must wash their hands? Per his style, he did deep research and discovered repeated anomalies in the water reports. With those in hand, he went to the press and got the situation fixed.
Shengchi has the courage to be the lonely voice in a crowd and insists upon process, transparency and respect for parents and the taxpayers who sustain the school system. Through careful reading of the Prop 39 contracts, he discovered that the district might squander $2 million dollars (money from the state that could have gone into generative savings of a solar system) on a temporary HVAC fix to Woodland High that seems to be double dipped on the bond. However you vote on the bond, please know that the questions that Shengchi has raised could help the district avoid breaking state law and having to repay this money to the California Energy Commission.
We need a sea change. Our school district can do better!
Areas 2, 3, 4, & 5 (Zendejas, Bayne, Guerrero, & Decker) will be up for election in 2020. We need committed community members to step up and run for these offices. In the last seven elections over four years, only two seats have been contested. Please think about stepping up to the call. You are the one we have been waiting for!