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Our picks for Medford School Board

The May 21 election ballot lists nine candidates for four nonpartisan positions on the Medford School Board. One withdrew from the race too late to have his name removed from the ballot, and another is unfit for any public office. We’ll discuss the remaining candidates later.

Kevin Husted, whose name appears as a candidate for Position 4, withdrew from the race after an offensive social media post he made four years ago began circulating. In 2015 Husted posted an Instagram photo of himself flipping off the camera, with the caption, “Days like today I wish I was a pirate so I could just rape and pillage sh-- and no one would care.” The post included the hashtags #piratelife and #rapeage.

Husted issued a sincere apology, ended his campaign and stepped down from the Medford School District’s budget committee.

That leaves incumbent board member Karen Starchvick as the only candidate for the seat. She has served capably on the board since 2015, including stints as chair and vice-chair, and has a long record of community involvement. We recommend voters give her another term, and refrain from voting for Husted.

The race for Position 7 drew three candidates, including Curt Ankerberg, who has repeatedly run for a variety of public offices but has never won, for good reason.

Ankerberg is a thoroughly unpleasant individual who makes crude, profanity-laced public attacks on people he disagrees with. His voters pamphlet statement lists his occupation as “retired CPA,” but that may be in violation of an order from the Oregon Board of Accountancy, which allowed him to retire his license but told him he could not identify himself as a Certified Public Accountant or a retired CPA.

A U.S. Tax Court judge found last year that Ankerberg failed to report more than $100,000 in income and improperly claimed deductions over three tax years and upheld fines levied by the IRS, leading to the action by the Board of Accountancy. He denies any wrongdoing.

Regardless of his tax fraud problems, Ankerberg is temperamentally unsuited to working well with others, and voters should not elect him to any public office.

That leaves a choice between incumbent Lilia Caballero, seeking a second term, and challenger Ruth Moncus for Position 7. Our pick is Caballero, who brings diversity to the board and an important perspective thanks to her work as cultural outreach coordinator for the Medford Police Department. Moncus is focused primarily on charter schools — her children attend Logos Public Charter School — and opposes mandatory vaccinations, an issue of state law over which the School Board has no say.

Position 5 pits incumbent Tod Hunt, a real estate broker appointed to fill a vacancy last year, against Mindy Folsom, a parent and homemaker. Folsom is well-spoken and sincere, but seems to lack detailed knowledge of school district operations. Our choice is Hunt.

The race for Position 6 presents perhaps the toughest choice, between incumbent Jim Horner, a retired Hewlett Packard executive who has been on the School Board for two years and the district Budget Committee for four, and Glen Gann, a five-year Budget Committee member who is a journeyman HVAC installer and supervisor for Advanced Air & Metal.

Both men bring strengths to the table and both are knowledgeable about district operations. Gann brings a background in the kind of vocational training schools are increasingly emphasizing, which gives him a slight edge in our view, but either would make a capable School Board member.

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