In a sudden turn of events, Los Altos School Board candidate Vladimir Ivanovic announced he was ceasing his campaign and throwing his support to candidates Steve Taglio and Pablo Luther.
“I didn't want to be the Ralph Nader of the school district race,” Ivanovic told Patch Tuesday, referring to the third-party candidate who some say drew enough votes from Al Gore to cost him the presidency in 2000.
Ivanovic said that he didn’t want to contribute to the possible outcome of a fourth candidate winning, Amanda Burke-Aaronson, a parent with three children enrolled at Bullis Charter School and strong support from BCS board members and founders.
In a letter addressed to the local news media and candidates Luther and Taglio, Ivanovic said he believed that his continued candidacy would only serve to enhance Burke-Aaronson’s prospects, so he was instead supporting the other two.
While he liked Burke-Aaronson personally, he said he found her campaign support base presented too much of a conflict of interest for her to be an effective board member.
"I don't think a person with that close ties to a litigious opponent is the right person to be on the board," such as being able to sit in executive sessions with district lawyers, he said.
And, "by taking money from somebody you are implicitly agreeing with their views, generally," he said. "If you do have a significant difference with them you have to make it known to them and the public."
Examination of the campaign finance filings made for the Oct. 5 deadline showed that Burke-Aaronson had raised the most of any candidate— $9,916 plus loaning herself $1,000, putting her school district campaign on par with what candidates typically have raised for a Los Altos City Council race. Among the heaviest donors were Bullis Charter School supporters, including a current board member, a trusteee of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and several others.
Still, he had a realistic view of his actions.
"In the grand scheme of things my withdrawing from the race is not a big deal. Ivanovic said. "It's a big deal for me. A year from now, no one will care."
The full text of his letter is below:
Why I’m now supporting Pablo Luther and Steve Taglio for LASD Board
I think that having Amanda Burke-Aaronson, who is strongly supported by the Bullis Charter School leadership, as an LASD Board member would not be in the long-term best interests of either our schools or our children.
What most voters do not realize, is that a charter school authorized by the county is essentially a different school district. Funding is different. Accountability is different. If Amanda were able to run for the BCS board, then she might be a huge asset to this community. But, on the LASD Board, her conflict of interest is just too high for her to do her best for LASD.
So, since my continued participation in this race would only serve to enhance Ms. Burke-Aaronson's prospects, I'm now supporting Pablo Luther and Steve Taglio for LASD School Board.
Both are fair-minded people who can do the best for our community. Both committed to the issues that most matter to me. They understand that high-performing neighborhood schools not only provide a foundation for our family-friendly community, but also preserve Los Altos property values. They know we need to continue our commitment to high-value education by focusing on student achievement as well as using our public money responsibly with stable finances and great facilities. I find both Steve and Pablo to be open and involved with the community which are important qualities for resolving the many difficulties in our the district.
Regardless of the outcome of this race, I offer my services to Pablo, Steve and the rest of the LASD Board in whatever capacity they may see fit.