ONE VIEW: A parable in three acts

By Gordon Clanton
North Coastal columnist
A young basketball coach took his first job at a small college. Moving into his office, he found on his desk three sealed envelopes and a note from his predecessor that read: “If things go badly, open one envelope at the end of each season.”

The first season was a disaster, so the young coach opened the first envelope and found a note that read: “Blame me.”

So the coach blamed his predecessor: “How could anyone be expected to win with the team I inherited?” His critics were sympathetic, and he was not fired.

The second season was not much better, so the coach opened the second envelope and found a note that read: “Blame the alumni.”

So the coach blamed the alumni: “How could anyone be expected to win with so little support?” His critics were persuaded, and he was not fired.

The third season also ended badly. Seeking solace, the coach opened the third envelope and found a note that read: “Prepare three envelopes.”

After three bad years, it’s time for the Del Mar Union School District board majority to prepare three envelopes.

Like a moth to a flame, I am again drawn to comment on the dysfunctional board. As with a gory roadside accident, I cannot look away. Like Lot’s wife, I must look back.

In 2006, dissident board member Annette Easton teamed with Katherine White and Steven McDowell to win control of the board. In 2008, the new majority fired the superintendent, Tom Bishop, at a buyout cost of about $285,000. In March 2010, the board fired the superintendent they hired, Sharon McClain — settlement pending. It’s hard to put a price on the damage done to the reputation of the district.

Critics say the district is in chaos. The board micromanages district affairs, drives away some of its best people and dithers on key strategic decisions. Public board meetings are tedious and interminable. After campaigning on a promise of “transparency,” the board majority has done much of its business in secret.

Knowing Del Mar and Carmel Valley as I do, I am confident that able candidates will step up to recapture the board for the community. The filing period for the November election runs from July 12 to Aug. 6, plus five more days if none of the incumbents seeks re-election.

Gordon Clanton teaches sociology at San Diego State University. He welcomes comments at

Related posts:

  1. Can Rodriguez restore the board?
  2. Attorneys for former Superintendent McClain send letter to school board
  3. What has posterity ever done for me?
  4. Candidate filing period for county, state elections open
  5. Trustees’ View: Redirecting your federal stimulus could help schools

Short URL:

Posted by admin on Jul 15, 2010. Filed under Archives, Columns, Editorial Columns, One View. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply



Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6



  • La Jolla Library welcomes new chief Shaun Briley
    For La Jolla Riford Library’s new head librarian, Shaun Briley, books have been a part of his life and career, in some form or another, every step of the way. […]
  • Tangerine trees, marmalade skies for Beatles-inspired Patrons of the Prado gala in Balboa Park, San Diego
    “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was the theme of the Patrons of the Prado gala on July 12, 2014 in Balboa Park, San Diego. Beatles-inspired music came from Wayne Foster Entertainment. Sandy Redman and Jeanne Jones served as event chairs. 2014’s beneficiaries are the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, San Diego Museum of Art and The Old Globe Theatre. […]
  • La Jolla’s Best Bets for events July 31- Aug. 7
    Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) offers a crash course in starting a photography collection 6 p.m. Thursday Aug. 7. at the Ligne Roset Showroom, 7726 Girard Ave. MOPA assistant curator Chantel Paul and director of jdc Fine Art Jennifer DeCarlo will share professional insights. […]




  • Rancho Santa Fe resident’s Gen 7 wines earn top honors
    Rancho Santa Fe resident Tim Bacino’s Gen 7 Wines is on a hot streak, his varietals winning several awards this summer in California wine competitions. […]
  • Torrey Pines High School baseball alum Taylor Murphy excelling in pro ball
    It was during a breakout senior year at Torrey Pines High that Taylor Murphy first popped up on the radar of professional scouts. Shortly after graduation, Murphy was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 40th round of the June 2011 amateur draft. He declined, honoring a commitment to the University of the Pacific. Three years later, Murphy got another sho […]
  • Why Hire a Licensed Landscape Professional?
    By Steve Jacobs, Nature Designs The old saying – “if something seems to good to be true, it probable is” – is quite fitting when it comes to hiring a contractor for your home or yard construction project. While it is smart to shop around, get quotes, etc., don’t fall into the trap of trusting […]