Councilwoman O’Neill Asks Council Candidate Kumar to Stop Distributing Flyers Criticizing Hardy and Wilcox High School

By Teresa O’Neill

During the past ten days, there has been a discussion in the community about comments made by Council candidate Srinivasan Sambathkumar (known to most of us as Sam Kumar) during the City’s candidate forum and in a flyer received by some residents of District 3.  

I don’t agree with Sam’s comments on the teaching effectiveness of his opponent, Karen Hardy.  I have asked Sam to not distribute flyers that hold Ms. Hardy responsible for the overall score of Wilcox High School on an eleventh-grade state math assessment that also has a quote from me.  I don’t want anyone to think that I agree with this criticism of Ms. Hardy. I believe the consensus opinion (including mine) is that Ms. Hardy is an excellent teacher who goes the extra distance to help her students. It is my understanding that Sam completely stopped the distribution of the flyer.  

While I don’t agree with Sam on this issue involving Ms. Hardy, I do believe he is sincere in his concern for all Santa Clara students and their families.  We had a long and passionate discussion on this topic. I won’t bore you with the details of various forms of assessments that purport to tell us how much our students are learning.    His recounting to me of his interactions with District 3 residents and their concerns for their students has led me to consider a lot in the past week what should we as a community be doing to more effectively help our students and all schools.  

Rather than focusing on criticizing individual teachers, especially one with Ms. Hardy’s reputation of achieving excellent student outcomes, we can have serious community conversations on what more our school districts, non-profit organizations, and city governments can and must do to help with creating educational opportunities and a quality of life that fosters learning for everyone.  

The roles of the school district and the city are distinct and defined, but can the city help with more library and recreation programs?  Can non-profits add before- and after-school supplemental learning opportunities? What should our school districts do to provide effective, richer learning experiences for students?  Can we all work together to lower the cost of housing and the impacts of traffic to moderate stress and improve quality of life for families and all of us?

My sincere hope is that candidates Sambathkumar and Hardy will be leaders in this discussion regardless of the outcome of the November election.  I look forward to hearing their proposals.


  1. Sam – I’m tempted to ask why you think Karen Hardy is to blame for math test scores from Wilcox, but seeings how you lied about it in the first place, maybe I should ask why you lied? Yuo made my choice for District 3 much easier – Vote NO on Sam Kumar!

    • The Santa Clara County voter file has more than 850,000 registered voters… Zero are named “Jack Harkness.” There is a fictional character by this name on Doctor Who.

      There are 11 registered voters with the last name Harkness in Santa Clara County, zero of whom are registered to vote in the City of Santa Clara.

      Since this is a discussion about math, let’s add that up. Hmmm. Zero. That number multiplied by anything still equals zero.

      So, I proudly post this under the fictional name Hack Jarkness. A hack is an amateur journalist or an amateur politician. Your frequent commenter Jack Harkness is both. Robert, will you aspire to real journalism or more promotion of lying hacks?

    • Wow Hack Jarkness. I feel so honored you spent so much time researching me. The thing you didn’t bother to look for about moi is that my parents are still live in Santa Clara and are pretty darn disguested with how things are going there. I an expat currently in a role where I could be seriously get a good spanking for posting on a blog like this. But Every.Single.Time I talk with my parents, they complain and compalin about this “news” blog and how the city is being run into the ground.

      And asking Robert to aspire to “real journalism” is pretty laughable. He hasn’t been a “real journalist” for years. He was a bit when he worked for the Weekly, but *ALL* of his articles on the 49ers were gushing about them and them coming to Santa Clara and about the fine stadium.

      Find something else better to do Hack.

  2. Karen wants kudos for Wilcox having a slightly better math test pass rate than Santa Clara High.

    There’s a Shania Twain song relevant to this conversation titled “That don’t impress me much.”

    In football Wilcox does not compare itself to Santa Clara High, instead choosing to set the aim of its football team to that of Bay Area powerhouse football schools. Why not do the same in mathematics? This is needed especially for the many District 3 kids who are falling through the cracks.

    – Srinivasan Sambathkumar

  3. Part of the pledge candidates made in order to have the city pay half of the cost of their ballot statement was no negative campaigning. Either my opponent did not sign this or his word of honor is meaningless. I have refrained from personal comments and tried to steer the conversation to issues, facts and past actions. I was hurt that my opponent chose to denigrate Wilcox High School and its students when it is the highest achieving High School in the school district and Wilcox’s average score on the state math test is 10 percent higher than the state average.

    Karen Hardy

  4. I too offered a quote in support of Sam Kumar’s campaign. The quote was also included in the piece that was sent out to residents of District 3 along with statements about Karen Hardy and math scores.

    Mr. Kumar had talked to me about homework centers which I understand could address needs of working families. However, there were far more important low hanging fruit issues that could have been focused on as well.

    In the end, I do not condone negative campaigning and would not have approved my quote to be used along with the negative statements made on the mail piece. I do not feel the attacks were warranted.

Leave a Reply