Borcoman, a Newport Beach resident, who has been involved with the
district on policy decisions. "Given two candidates, I think people
preferred Egan, and he really did well in the voters' forums."
Egan edged out eight-year incumbent Leece 53% to 48% in the
On the Westside, Egan garnered about 1,337 votes to Leece's 1,420.
In Newport Beach, Egan received 7,879 votes to Leece's 6,410.
Leece blames her lackluster support in Newport Beach on the
teachers' union endorsement of Egan and the resources it unloaded to
publicize its endorsements.
"The money spent to put out the signs and to put the campaign
material at the schools just really sent a message to the other part
of the district that the teachers supported my opponent, and that's
somewhat deceptive because not all teachers did," Leece said.
Leece also said she was overshadowed by Egan's visibility on slate
mailers. He appeared on nine, and she was only on two.
Egan calls his victory throughout most of the district a
validation of the status quo, even though he was the challenger.
"Egan was the outsider who, paradoxically believed that the public
education glass was half full, whereas Leece was the insider who
believed the glass was half empty," Egan said. "Since the other
incumbents ... swamped their challengers, and I, with my positive
message, won, I have to conclude that, in general, the district
electorate was in a sanguine mood."
Egan admitted that the mood on the Westside is downright
pessimistic when it comes to the state of the area and theorized that
Leece tapped into that dissatisfaction with her criticism of Westside
That said, Egan emphasized his community activist credentials, but
claimed he couldn't find anything seriously wrong with the district
to harp on during his campaign.
Borcoman, who teaches school in Santa Ana, said another reason
Egan was appealing was because he billed himself as more of a
consensus-builder than Leece, who often voted against the rest of the
Being a team player will be especially critical with the draconian
budget cuts facing education in the state, Borcoman said.
"I think that in today's times, when we're going to have a lot of
severe cuts, this is the time when trustees need to pull in the
majority of people," Borcoman said. "I think Wendy put herself way
over by taking shots at the other board members. This is the time
that everyone needs to work together."
* DEIRDRE NEWMAN covers education. She may be reached at (949)
574-4221 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.