Six apply for Education Board vacancy

MARTINEZ, Calif. – Six people have applied to succeed Bobbi Horack as the Area 5 member of the Martinez Unified School District Board of Education, District Superintendent C.J. Cammack announced Friday.

Horack had to resign from the Board when she moved out of the area she represents. Board members must live in their voting areas. Her term ends in 2022. Area 5 is the southernmost division of the school district’s voting territory.

Applicants are Maria Anderson, Tania Brugger, Jeremie Ginelli, Dawn Polvorosa, Sara Toney and Barbara Turcios.

Cammack said each is eligible for provisional appointment to complete Horack’s four-year term.

Horack, the Area 5 incumbent, was returned automatically to the panel during the 2018 election when she was unopposed. Unlike in City Council elections, unopposed Board of Education candidate names do not appear on ballots.

The 2018 election was the school district’s first under by-area voting, enacted after it received a letter from Malibu attorney Kevin Shenkman, who accused the school district in 2017 of diluting protected groups’ voting strength through at-large elections, in violation of the California Voting Rights Act.

He also claimed the district exhibited racist attitudes, accusations denied vigorously by both the administration and members of the Board.

However, since Shenkman has not lost legal cases by those who have fought his accusations and instead have spent millions in unsuccessful battles, the District worked under the California Legislature’s 90-day protection umbrella to craft five voting areas with nearly identical population numbers.

The voting areas were adopted in before the protection period ended and Shenkman could advance his threatened legal action against the district, and were in place before the Nov. 6, 2018 election.

Cammack said application materials will be posted Monday on the school district’s website, Candidates will be interviewed during the Board of Education’s May 20 meeting, after which one of the candidates will be chosen to fill the Area 5 seat for the remainder of Horack’s term.

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