Keith Coleman won the SMMUSD school board election, beating incumbent Maria Leon Vasquez by 6 percent. 

Yes, you read that right. What I didn’t say was that Keith won it in Malibu. In Santa Monica, he lost the election to Maria by 7 percent. Santa Monica overwhelmingly preferred one candidate, Malibu overwhelmingly preferred a different candidate. Santa Monica’s candidate got the job. Why? Because 86 percent of the voters live in Santa Monica. If 86 percent of the voters lived in Malibu, it’d be Keith being sworn in next week.

It gets worse. Even if every single registered voter in Malibu had voted for Keith, he’d have gotten just half the votes Maria got. And worse still, even if every registered voter in Malibu had voted for Keith and only Keith (all possible Malibu votes going to Keith and no Malibu votes going to other candidates), Keith would still have lost with 25 percent fewer votes than Maria.

Malibu has no electoral power in SMMUSD. We can’t vote candidates in. We can’t vote them out.

Electoral power matters. It’s how we hold our elected officials accountable. It’s the most important of the “checks and balances.” It’s what ensures that our school board members remember the will of the people. That they make our priorities their priorities. That they make our vision their vision and our problems their problems.

Imagine a world in which your TV is hooked to your neighbor’s remote control. You watch what they want to watch when they want to watch it. You can’t watch the shows you want unless they want to watch them, too. Every day. Forever. That’s Malibu in SMMUSD. 

Please understand this: We need and deserve our remote control back.

Craig Foster

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