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The race to decide who will represent northeast Oklahoma City on the Oklahoma City Public Schools’ board is heating up as Tuesday’s primary election draws near.

Incumbent Ruth Veales is seeking a third four year term as the panel’s District 5 representative. Of the 14 schools Veales represents, nearly all struggle academically.

She will face Nichell Braddy Garcia, 45, a former PTA president with a finance background, and Willie T. Kelley, 69, a retired teacher and coach who led the Douglass High School basketball team for two decades.

Candidates for two other positions on the Oklahoma City board are running unopposed. They are Mark Mann (District 4) and Jace Kirk (District 7).

Voters go to the polls Tuesday to elect candidates in 18 Oklahoma County school districts, including Edmond, Putnam City and Midwest City Del City, where terms range from three to five years.

If no candidate in a race receives more than half the votes, the two candidates with the most votes will meet in a runoff April 3.

At a recent candidate forum, Braddy Garcia and Kelley implied that Veales is out of touch with her constituency and doesn’t spend enough time visiting the schools she represents.

“I feel like if I’m a board member, it will be easier for me to connect with other parents, said Braddy Garcia, who served a year as PTA president of Martin Luther King Elementary. “A lot of the parents say they are frustrated by the inability to communicate with our board member.”

Kelley, a Spencer resident with more than four decades of teaching, coaching and counseling experience, has said District 5 is not being represented like “I think it should be.”

“The way I see it, the whole problem is collaboration,” he said. “It’s kind of like we keep secrets from one another. Right now, unless we read about in the paper, we don’t know about it.

“I think a board member’s job is to communicate with parents,
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students and the community. People don’t see her; she’s never in any buildings to talk to people.”

Reached Thursday, Veales said neither challenger is very well informed when it comes to the role of a board member.

She said board policy prevents her from visiting schools without first coordinating those visits with the superintendent’s office.

“He thought that that was a bad idea,” she said of Kelley. “They both thought a board member should be talking to the people in their community.”

Veales said she has done plenty to serve constituents over the past eight years, including coordinating community forums to address local issues of substance and serving on committees to change district volunteer and equity policies.

Those policies will help bring resources to children, teachers and parents in need, she said.

“I have the experience. I have the knowledge,” she said. “I have always been there and accessible . to help them get the help they needed.”

Kirk, 35, is assistant director of Faith Works of the Inner City, a nonprofit ministry that partners with Shidler Elementary School in the Oklahoma City district. He will succeed Ron Millican, who did not seek a third term.

Millican represents 10 schools in south Oklahoma City. Monday night will be his final school board meeting.

Mann was appointed to fill the District 4 seat vacated by Paula Lewis after Lewis was elected board chair in February 2017. He represents nine schools in south, central and north Oklahoma City.

He will serve the remaining two years of the current term.

Lonzo Ball seems to be just what the Lakers needed.

Yes, it’s only summer league, but Los Angeles is mired in a playoff drought and in much need of some excitement. Enter the No. 2 pick in the draft.

Ball has created a buzz around the Los Angeles franchise on and off the court.

He has averaged 16.3 points, 9.3 assists and 7.7 rebounds in six summer league games in Las Vegas. The California native with Showtime like flair has two triple doubles and four double digit assist games while leading the team to Monday night’s championship game. He will miss the final contest with a mild calf strain.

His absence Monday is almost throwaway line in the final chapter of Ball’s summer league story.

The 19 year old made more headlines wearing different brands of sneakers each game.

“All press is good press, technically,” Finish Line content manager and creative strategist Brandon Edler said. “Just the fact that we continue to talk about their every single move is amazing for their brand. . Maybe his dad is just on a completely different level and he’s sitting there thinking, maybe this isn’t a great way to sell the shoe, but we’ve got everybody talking about us and every time somebody’s talking about us, that’s great for Big Baller Brand.”

After wearing his own ZO2 shoes in his first two games , which sell for $495,
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Ball wore the Nike Kobe AD and a James Harden signature Adidas in the following games. It was Under Armour’s turn Saturday when Ball played in a pair from Stephen Curry’s signature line. Jordan Brand got in the mix Sunday when Ball wore the Jordan 31 low.