Menifee School Board Candidates Interviewed

I got together with the folks from Menifee Live , to produce some video interviews of the candidates running for Menifee Union school board....

I got together with the folks from Menifee Live, to produce some video interviews of the candidates running for Menifee Union school board. Five of the six candidates agreed to do the interviews, with Victor Giardinelli declining.

The goal of the video interviews was to let you see the candidates, hear them, and observe their personalities, mannerisms, body language, and anything else you can't get from reading an article. The idea is to help you get a sense of the real person behind the name. And since most of Menifee missed the Candidates Forum last week, this will let you see and hear the candidates on your own time.

Much of the work in arranging the interviews, taping, editing, and producing the videos was done by Menifee Live. I was just the guy reading off the questions.

Click on an image to start a video...

Manolito Vitug
Randall Freeman
Jerry Bowman
Phoeba Irey
Ron Ulibarri


Menifee-Union-School-District 2819823275431030655

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  1. Thank you for taking the time to do this. It is so important to understand the people who will be steering the school district.

    Great work MenifeeLive and Menifee24/7!

  2. Interviewing the candidates is very important so the voting public can get an idea as to what goals and objectives each candidate has for the District. I think this election we have a very wide diversification for selection of new board members and each voter needs to review the successes of the overall District, what's been accomplished by the existing board and exactly what a newcomer would bring to the existing Board. During these economically fearful times, I feel the successes of our Board are very positive. The selection that replaced Fred Twyman has filled the shoes successfully and ask the voters to consider this when going to the polls. Thank you. Rita Peters, Quail Valley

  3. Vote for: Irey, Vitug and Ulibarri.

    We need some fresh leadership!

  4. Anonymous - I love when someone doesn't have the mitzvah to let the voting public know who they are - it's like hiding behind a tree and arbitrarily shooting an arrow. Why are you asking the people to vote for the slate you have selected? And, what is wrong with the current board leadership? And, if you had listened to Vitug you would have been very surprized to know that he at the time of being interviewed knew nothing about unification or any of the other issues that we as a district are dealing with. Why would you want to put someone who is in the dark into a leadership position - oh that's right, you are the person hiding behind the tree. Whoops!

  5. If you are satisfied with the way the District is moving - how the current board leadership has dealt positively with overwhelming budget cuts, growth, new schools, boundary changes then please vote for the current Board members -
    Giardinelli - Irey and current new Board member Bowman. Keep our District moving forward towards a positive education for all our kids. Rita Peters

  6. Steve,thank you for posting this. Will you be interviewing Mr. Giardinelli?

  7. Rita you have confused me. Are you for Irey or against her?

  8. We asked Giardinelli and he declined.

  9. I would like to thank Rita Peters for her comments and support. I agree that the current board works very well together, allowing open and honest discussion, really listening to the opinions of the community and each other, and making decisions that are best for students. Of course I would hope that most of the community agrees and will vote for Bowman, Giardinelli, and Irey on November 4, 2008.

    Regardless of who you vote for and how you feel please take the time to listen to what each candidate has to say and VOTE!

    I would also like to take a moment to thank Menifee 24/7 and Menifee Live for teaming up to offer this opportunity to the community. This election is full of many highly charged and emotional choices to vote for which unfortunately may leave the choice for school board a slightly lower priority for some. Being able to hear and see the candidates hopefully will help the voters make a more informed choice. As has been pointed out the school district is one of the largest employers in Menifee. This is not a vote to be taken lightly and the candidates views and expertise on the issues matter. Which I believe is why the Menifee teachers after interviewing all candidates, have endorsed Bowman, Giardinelli, and Irey.

    Jerry Bowman
    MUSD Trustee

    "PUT STUDENTS FIRST" and vote Jerry Bowman for Meniffe School Board.

  10. Perhaps Menifee could be spelled correctly in your campaign speak.

  11. Sorry for the typo and thank you for the attention to detail.
    Jerry Bowman

  12. Anonymous - you were so busy correcting Mr. Bowman for spelling Menifee incorrectly that you forgot to check yourself - it's "speech" not "speak" - come on now, how petty can you be and then your correction is incorrect? And, if the other Anonymous would read with his/her eyes instead of their lips they would have seen that I support, and I repeat - I support Giardinelli, Irey and Bowman. Please re-read. The inner workings of this existing board has brought our District through some pretty rough times. Jerry Bowman enhanced the existing team and I can only see positive things resulting from the leadership of this team. Thank you. Rita Peters

  13. Ms Peters, why do you want to be mean here? Blogs like this allow anonymity to encourage honest exchange so people can disagree agreeably. If you wouldn't stoop to name calling maybe more people would be willing to sign their name without repercussion. I will also remain ANONYMOUS to sidestep your wrath since I'm not sold on your slate either. If you listened to the videos you'd see that many of the candidates have good judgment and good ideas.
    I liked that Mr Vitug had ideas about instilling character traits into our students as well as looking for ways to avoid budget crunches.
    Thanks to Steve and Menifee Live for doing this so we can be informed. I'm only sorry your position isn't open for election.

  14. I can't wait for Ms. Peters' seat to come up for re-election. That is a very good previous post! I predict she will not retain her seat, presuming she runs.

    We need some fresh eyes on the Board and Mr. Vitug's years in the banking industry would provide that fresh perspective in these challenging fiscal times.

    The California state budget is $103 billion annually. Of that, the California Department of Education's budget is $58 billion or 56%. That is not sustainable and is unrealistic. The 2009/2010 Budget axe will not escape the education industry nor will it escape the Menifee school district specifically. Therefore, some of the things that the candidates are talking about are unrealistic.

    The reality is this. All or some of the previous fiscal year's budget reduction proposal will come back and be on the table: all transportation (elementary and middle school), music programs, middle school counseling, and, yes, even some jobs will be at stake this time. There is no avoiding it. So, look for both union's to ratchet up their rhetoric when the Governor announces his intial budget proposal in January 2009.

    It will be a very, very tough budget year. That is why we need a creative business mind, or banker in Mr. Vitug's case, to be on the Board. Granted, he is only one vote of five but, we cannot afford to have the same prior educators on the Menifee School Board.

    Just my honest and humble opinion!

  15. In defense for myself, I don't believe I am being mean. It just amazes me as to why people would take the time to correct others when that isn't the issue. Anonymous corrected Mr. Bowman when their grammar was not proper, another Anonymous didn't take the time to read in my comment that I am truly in support of Ms. Irey. This is correct? I did not state that Mr.Vitug did not have great ideas. He was a very pleasant and intelligent man but to come to an interview and not be more aware of major issues of the District was surprizing. And I have not name called a person and I have not displayed wrath. To read Mr. Bowman's positive comments to the public and the only remark that you can make is "can you not spell Menifee right" is more than picky and a bit trite, wouldn't you say? The current Board over the past couple of years approved several programs regarding the 40 Asset and Character Building policy that has made a tremendous difference with our students. It is in place and it is working successfully. And to honest and humble opinion - we have a very qualified and competent Administration that has done an expert job of fiscal management. Menifee School District is one of the few Districts in Riverside County that survived as well as it did through these fiscally difficult times. Our budget is in constant scrutiny, our staff and Administrators will always be on the eraser end of the fiscal challenges and the Board just oversees the process. Anything else is considered micro-management and why correct something that has worked so flawlessly thus far for Menifee?
    Rita Peters PS - I will be running when my seat expires and it's exciting to see that so many people are concerned about the children of our District. We welcome each and every applicant to apply for a Board seat. Thank you.

  16. Well, I don't know Ms.Rita Peters, but reading her comments irritates me. I agree that she sounds mean on her statements. Everybody is free to endorse their selection.


  17. I agree that Mr. Vitug has good ideas about character development, but the district has been supporting programs, such as the 40 developmental assets and the Six Pillars of Character. If you are unfamiliar with these programs, they basically cover the traits that he has mentioned. I agree that having a person run for school board when they don't even know the issues that the district is facing is not the most ideal situation. I will not be voting for him. But I wonder if there is a way that he could do any financial consulting. I don't believe his banking experience alone is enough experience for being a board trustee.

    To the anonymous above that believes music should be cut... Music is one thing that should never be cut. MUSD's elementary music program sees every single third grade students at every school and currently has about 400 students involved in it's elementary band programs. All this at 8 schools (next year 9) with only 3 teachers. There are some students to which this program is vitally important. On the other side of the coin, there are some students where 3rd grade is the only contact with music, music education and learning an instrument that they will ever have. If we want well rounded students we cannot take away their arts education.

    I am a fan of this program, and proud to say that my daughter has greatly benefited from it from 3rd thru 8th grade. She is now a high school freshman and planning on making music her goal in college.

  18. I completely agree that we should not cut music! My son loves it so much - he started band in elementary school and is now in middle school. The band program at MVMS is awesome. I hope they don't make more cuts in education and take aim at music.

  19. I say we cut down on the board members and the school districts employess. Lets bring in teachers that care about our kids. Good ideas always come when we get all the information. Former teachers as Board Members from this point on should highly be scructinized. Poor lunches, limited transportation, poor teachers has been provided by our current board.

  20. If you want a bigot and hater vote for Ron Ulibarri

  21. To Rita Peters: Please leave your comments positive. Everytime you comment on here it sounds negative. You are not helping the cause to elect Irey, Giardinelli, and Bowman. Since you sound so negative to anonymous commenters, people are feeling that they may not want to support the candidates that you are supporting. I feel that you have done a good job on the board, but please leave the comments positive or don't comment any more. Let the candidated do the talking now. Sorry if it seems like I am giving you a hard time. I'm really not. I just want people to get the facts and not feel bad about commenting.

  22. I pose this question to the candidates on election eve...
    Due to budget constraints the district has been collapsing classes that are not full and spreading the students out amongst other classes, this means changing tracks even when siblings are involved. Some of the 4th and 5th grade classes in the district are at 32-35 students and there is no room to grow, all in an effort to save money.

    My question is this, do the candidates agree with this policy and is this truelly keeping cuts out of the classrooms?

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.



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