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EDITORIAL:Good news for schools, voters

August 10, 2006

Here's some good news for Newport-Mesa voters: This fall a choice of candidates for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District board of trustees will be available.

With just a day left until the filing deadline, all but one of the districts up for election appear to be fielding competitive races. In District 2 in Costa Mesa, where board member Linda Sneen is not running for reelection, two hopefuls, Kimberly Clark and Terrence Smith, plan to run. In the Corona del Mar's District 4, board member Serene Stokes faces one opponent, Karen Yelsey. Incumbent Judy Franco, whose District 5 includes the Balboa Peninsula, faces three challengers: Sandy Asper, Loretta Zimmerman and Jack Price. The lone race right now without any competition has just that: no competition. Trustee Tom Egan from the Westside's District 7 announced this week that he was joining Sneen in not running for another term, and no one yet has decided to run to fill the open spot.

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Compared to the past three elections, the amount of candidates for the Newport-Mesa school board is astonishing — but more important, it's encouraging.

It is encouraging that so many people are interested and dedicated enough to go through the hassle of running for office.

It is encouraging that with candidates running there can be debate about how the school board is handling Newport-Mesa's public schools. Is the district handling new technology well enough? Are there ways to get the schools to perform better, especially those in Costa Mesa that are performing the most poorly?

It also is worth hoping that such debate will engage voters and get them to the polls. After all, the races can have all the candidates in the world, but if voters don't get interested, then there isn't much point to all the fuss.

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