The 7 Minute Voting Decision – Local Elections 2012 – Web Site Reviews

Type in you street address and zip code. Hit the Find button.
Written by lalahpolitico

Fastest for Ballot Measure Decisions – California

Patch just ran an article with good advice on where to go for Ballot Measure info. I recently visited and tested out, and  The one that will let you speed through the ballot measure decision process is It presents a clean, simple page for each measure – Why Yes, Why No in a few sentences. If you want to delve deeper you can. But if you are delving, also include Ballotpedia and SmartVoter.

Most Comprehensive for City and County Election Decisions –

But when it comes to local elections 2012 – here I mean city and county level elections – the best game in town is, a website produced by the League of Women Voters.  This year they released a good-looking mobile ready version called, but in my testing it didn’t work for the local elections, only state and national ones. So I’m going to skip and give you a tour of how you can use all the wonderful resources on

Fastest for LASD and Los Altos City  Council Decisions –

The site has built a couple of nonpartisan candidate comparison matrices based on watching hours and hours of forums, so you don’t have to. They are called un-endorsement matrixes, because they don’t presume to know which candidates represent your tastes, values and affiliations.  For example if you like an old-fashioned downtown, you’ll find out who is likely to deliver on that.  Or on the other hand, if you want a stimulating more entertaining downtown, you’ll find out who is likely to deliver on that.

One  un-endorsement matrix is for the four LASD Board candidates. The other is for the six Los Altos City Council Candidates. Yes there are real differences among the candidates. Spend 10 minutes, and you’ll be ready to decide who are the right candidates for you.

Tutorial on

Find Your Personal Ballot & Polling Place

Go to and type in you address and zip code per the below. Let’s give it the address of Los Altos City Hall.

Type in you street address and zip code. Click the Find button.













Here’s Your Ballot

You will get YOUR ballot, customized for your legal address. If you live in the Cupertino Union School district or the City of Mountain View, your ballot will look different of course. Here are you races.

The Interesting part is on the right side – your local elections.


















Pick a Race

Let’s pick the one on the top right – the Santa Clara County Board of Education Trustee Area 1. Click on the red arrow that says MORE…  In the left column, you can drill down on each candidate one by one. In the right column you can find  VIDEOS of the candidate statements and of any public  forums that were held.

Here will be the list of all Candidates in the Race – For SCCBoE #1 it is just two candidates. On the Right Hand side are some links to videos about this race. On the left, you can drill down into each candidate


















Drill Down on Each Candidate

For example, let’s click on MORE… for candidate Dave Cortright…in order to go to his main page. On the right hand side are links to a video of  his 2 minute candidate statement, his web site, an endorsement list, and some written Q&A. As a user, you can quickly see, he has family connections to teachers and is supportive of and supported by teacher unions. Mr. Cortright says his issue is controlling charter schools, which are typically staffed by non-union teachers.

The green circles show links to additional info. A 2 minute video. His website. The blue stars link to additional pages of info.


Use the video of the candidate statement. Visit the Candidate Web Site.

If you don’t have enough info to decide between Cortright and his competitor, Grace Mah you should do the drill down.  The video of the candidate statement and candidate website are a good start.

View Selected Excerpts of a Forum Video

If you still need more info,  go back to the previous page, and view parts of the video of the forum where all the candidates talked about a broad set of issues.  Most videos have a list of question asked and a time card to let you  jump to the question you care about.

 Open in a new window…The Cortright – Mah Forum Video Sept. 30

Q1. Please describe County Board interactions with local school boards and services the county provides to their local districts?

Q2. How would you evaluate and prioritize “achievement gap” when making a decision on a charter school?

Q3. With the trend to more school choice, what do you consider the role of public schools?

Q4. Many individuals must work together bringing varying and sometimes opposing viewpoints. Can you give an example of how you managed this in the past?

Q5. The association for charter authorizers help authorizing agencies learn how to better scrutinize charter applications and charter renewals for quality and propriety. Would you support this training for all Santa Clara County Board of Education members so they can do a better job a reviewing charter applications and renewals?

Q6. Would you consider consolidating the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Whisman District which both feed into the Los Altos Mountain View High School District?

Q7. What do you as an Area #1 trustee propose to help achieve San Jose 2020? [sic an achievement gap narrowing initiative]

Q8. How would help each of the districts in the county use social media to increase 2-way communication between a district and their parent and larger community?

[ both candidates misheard the question, and spoke about use of social media in the classroom]

Q9.. Can you describe your experiences helping in the community?

Q 10. Can you describe 3 other initiatives – other than the charter school – that you would wish to promote as a school board member?

Q. 11 As you know, the Los Altos and Los Altos Hills communities are torn over the current situation between Bullis Charter School and Los Altos School District. What do you see as the role of the SCCBoE in resolving this?

Cortright on County role… helping find facilities….helping with mediation
Mah on County role… can only oversee BCS…Bullis had practices, but has changed…Facilities? Board has no property…Mediation? Our attempt came along way, collapsed in last stretch….Healing at Los Altos Methodist…

 Open in a new window…The Forum Video Sept. 30

That’s It – Give a try now






About the author


Norma Schroder is an economics & market researcher by trade and ardent independent journalist, photographer and videographer by avocation. Enthralled by the growth of the tech industry over the decades, she became fascinated with the business of local politics only in the past several years.