Misplaced Partisanship

In the recent school board elections, Louise Adler, a bright, six-year veteran on the Saddleback Valley Unified School District board of trustees, lost her bid for reelection. That may be noteworthy, but the fact that she lost is not nearly as significant as how, or why.

Adler was the victim of a political potshot taken in the form of a last-minute mailer. She was competent. She was dedicated. But she also was a Democrat. The lone Democrat on the school board. And the mailer, put out by conservative Republicans and funded in part by an officer of the prestigious Lincoln Club, was aimed at her. It urged voters to elect three Republicans. They did.

The introduction of raw partisan politics to a local school board race that is presumed to be nonpartisan is troubling, not only to members of the Democratic Party but to many Republicans, like Sen. Marian Bergeson (R-Newport Beach). They know how divisive the partisan approach can be, regardless of which political party resorts to it.

Bergeson, who chairs the Senate's Local Government Committee, said after the election that she saw problems with the intrusion of partisan politics into nonpartisan races because most local issues are not partisan. School election campaigns shouldn't be either.

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