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Dissecting The Election

POSTED November 24, 2009 2:49 p.m.

Dear Editor,

Oakdale Leader reporter, Dawn Henley, filed an outstanding report on the front page of the November 18, 2009 edition describing closeness and final election results of the races of the OID (Oakdale Irrigation District) and the OJUSD (Oakdale Joint Unified School District). Water and Schools, little is of more urgency; it was reported precisely and concisely including clarity in explanation of SAN JOAQUIN County votes in these two elections.

Today’s students have a right (in my opinion) to have all of the involved political interactivity and the accompanying math described by their parents and teachers. Using the data given us from Dawn Henley, we can easily (just an example) calculate the percentage of cast votes difference by which Diane Gilbert defeated, say, Rick Jones. Remember, parents? When we were students teacher taught us when calculating percentage to “divide the big number into the little number.”

So, in the case of Rick and Diane, the formula using the two votes as factors is: (2330/2655) -1 = 12.24 percent. Diane in this case got 12 percent more votes than Rick.

These numbers are not only interesting after the election, but may be treated to logical decisions by candidates before … before … the election. Which is why teachers and parents should teach these things to students regarding the priceless right to vote, and how to vote and how to run for office. There is a masterpiece already written for OJUSD teachers to use in their instruction. The Henley article, of course.

As soon as November 4, 2009 the Oakdale Leader realized the impending closeness of these elections and kept a running report going in their ON LINE edition of latest elections office returns. This continued until the November 16 final official returns from Lee Lundrigan. As all this was happening a daily edition newspaper in Modesto bemoaned the “terrible low voter turnout,” however, the Oakdale Leader seemed to find that intelligent people vote in these elections where their vote means so much; true.

Teachers, continuing on with political teaching to students, should have an honest and candid discussion of the dark meaning to a news report type of opinion foisted on our newspaper in their October 14, 2009 edition, page 11. It was done by OJUSD Superintendent Fred Rich. It is a “report to the public” type of thing which actually seems to have been written after all three incumbents had a discussion with him, telling him to write a newspaper item as his unbiased (!) report endorsing them. If this happened, it violates California law and is certainly open to District Attorney and FPPC (state Fair Practices Political Commission) subpoenas to testify under oath.

In that October 14th article, our schools superintendent proclaimed “In these tough economic times Oakdale has not had to cut programs, teachers, or staff.” And, what does schools superintendent Fred Rich have to say in this week’s (Nov. 18th) edition, the exact opposite. “Due to budget cuts at the Oakdale Joint Unified School District, we have trimmed bus routes and extended walking distances so more students are required to walk rather than ride a bus to school.”

There is, indeed, much to teach and our teachers should do that remembering all the while their very strong freedom of speech protections.

To return to where this began “Thank you. Thank you, Dawn Henley for the election race information so thoroughly given to us.”

Larry Kay

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