Opinion: Newman/Min’s SB 907 – When You Lose, Change The Rules

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By:Councilman Will O'Neill

When you lose, change the rules. That’s how democracy works in California, right?

Let me explain.

Los Angeles County’s 9.7 million residents, San Diego County’s 3.3 million residents, and Orange County’s 3.2 million residents are all represented by five-member Boards of Supervisors.

Each of those counties also have county-wide Boards of Education. San Diego County has five elected members on their Board of Education. Orange County has five elected members too.

Enter Senate Bill 907, introduced by State Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) and Dave Min (D-Irvine), which would expand ONLY Orange County’s Board of Education board from 5 to 7 members.

Hmmmm, why target only OC’s Board of Education? Could it possibly be that OC’s board is the only one that has five Republicans and no Democrats?

Of course that’s why.

The authors claim that it’s because Orange County’s population is too big for only five people, but facts undercut the claim. San Diego County has more residents, but SB 907 doesn’t target San Diego County. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors represents three times the number of residents, but SB 907 doesn’t reference LA County. OC’s Board of Supervisors currently has a 3-2 Democrat majority, but they’re not referenced in SB 907.

Will O’Neill

Only the Orange County Board of Education.

They also claims that an expanded board will result in “enhanced representation.” Ah, so it’s the save-democracy angle too? Well, let’s gut-check that too.

The authors care only if OC gets “enhanced representation,” but not San Diego County? And only OC’s Board of Education, but not its Board of Supervisors?

Their argument really crumbles once you find out about LA’s Board of Education. First, there are seven members representing 9.7 million people. Which means each LA member represents 1.38 million people.

Right now, each OC board member represents 640,000, less than half LA’s board.

But it gets worse. LA’s seven members aren’t even elected. They’re appointed by … the five-member Board of Supervisors. So much for democracy.

SB 907 is nakedly anti-democratic, introduced for the sole purpose of changing the rules because Newman’s and Min’s candidates keep losing.

Will O’Neill is a member of the Newport Beach City Council.

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