Tuesday, December 23, 2008

East Side Union High School District...the Shirakawa/Garcia shenanigans continue...

Imagine for a moment that the Governor of NY is appointing someone to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat. (Shouldn't be hard to imagine...) Then imagine the appointed person, say Caroline Kennedy, has to run for office in 2 years (2010). Again, not too hard to imagine. But imagine that she (sadly) loses that election.

Following me so far? Stay with me...I have a point:

In the same hypothetical election where Kennedy failed to defend her appointed seat, imagine that the OTHER Senator from NY moves onto a different office (or dies) and the OTHER Senate seat becomes vacant.

Do you think that the Governor of NY would re-appoint Kennedy who just failed to defend a seat that was given to her? No way...

And yet, this is exactly what the East Side Union High School District Board of Directors is likely to do in January if voices of reason (like ours) don't make a stink. (See, there is a point...)

Watch Dog has covered the East Side Union High School District (ESUHSD) before, so let's review a bit for newcomers...
  • When Craig Mann was elected in 2006 to the County Board of Education, his ESUHSD Board seat became vacant...and was filled by Eddie Garcia (with strong support from Board Member George Shirakawa, Jr.) who was appointed to this vacant seat...
  • This November 4th, ESUHSD Board Member George Shirakawa, Jr. was elected to the Board of Supervisors... (even though he jokingly referred to himself a "corrupt lobbyist"...)
  • On that same fateful Tuesday in November, appointed ESUHSD Board Member Eddie Garcia failed to convince voters that he is worthy of the seat to which he was appointed... Garcia came in third place in a four-person race (for two open seats). Garcia received 14,000 votes fewer than the second place finisher...Eddie Garcia lost his bid to return to the Board.
  • At the first opportunity in November, Shirakawa (winding down his reign/service on the ESUHSD Board) tried to get Garcia appointed as his replacement rather than opening up the process fully to applicants as defined by Board guidelines...and as followed by every other elected body. (Even this decidedly undemocratic body went through a public process...)
  • Relatedly, on December 5th, Supervisor-elect Shirakawa's staffing decisions became public through a variety of news sources, including San Jose Revealed. (Watch Dog pointed out the inherent conflicts of interest for both Xavier Campos and Eddie Garcia -- who will both be collecting government checks thanks to Shirakawa's new title.)
  • After finally agreeing to accept applications, the Board convened a Community Advisory Committee to interview and narrow the field from 14 to 3, 4, or 5. The Community Advisory Committee met last week to hold private discussions (in apparent violation of State law) and came up with a short list of possible appointees: Eddie Garcia (gee, really?), Barbara Boone, and William (not Wayne) Gretsky.
Now the good stuff...

Eddie Garcia is trying to make the case publicly that he deserves the seat, even though the voters have spoken...

Garcia sent this email last week to supporters...Remember, Eddie was appointed to this position already, lost an election to this position by 14,000 votes, and is looking to get reappointed to the same position.

(Recall that we started this post with this analogy: Caroline Kennedy losing a Senate election after being appointed to the Senate, only to be appointed a second time to post that she (obviously) cannot defend...)

Just as it wouldn't happen in NY, or California, or anywhere...it shouldn't happen in San Jose...even if George Shirakawa, Jr. wants it too...

On to Eddie's (unedited) email. (Note that there is no mention that he will be going to work for Shirakawa in a few weeks and that there is a typo/misspelling in the last sentence...)


December 20, 2009

Dear Friends and Supporters,

With your encouragement and support, I entered the appointment process to replace George Shirakawa on the the East Side Union High School District Board of Trustees. I was one of 14 candidates who applied for the appointment.

On Thursday, a Community Advisory Committee of 14 community members appointed by the Board of Trustees completed two days of candidate interviews and voted to recommend three finalists to the Board of Trustees. I'm proud and honored to share with you that 13 of the 14 committee members voted to recommend me to the Board. No other candidate received a majority of the committee's support. The two other finalists combined didn't receive as many votes. This further validates your support and the over 45,000 voters who supported our campaign on Election Day.

Of the three finalists, I'm the only candidate who has: (1) served on the Board, (2) made a full commitment to the students of the district by running for election, (3) earned the support and trust of a broad and diverse coalition of community leaders and over 45,000 district voters, (4) been associated with the district as a student, employee, AND board member, (5) broad experience as corporate executive, educational employee, AND community leader.

With my broad set of experiences and from the results of the Community Advisory process, it is clear that I'm the most qualified candidate among the finalists. As we enter the political phase of the process - public interviews with the Board of Trustees - I will share my values, ideas, and vision for the district: focusing on the student achievement gap, providing students, teachers, and employees with the tools for success, and demanding fiscal and governing integrity and accountability for the district.

As I also hope to continue demonstrating strong community support, I need your help with two efforts: (1) please continue sending e-mails to each Board member expressing support for my appointment, and (2) show your support by attending the January 8 public interviews - the meeting begins at 6:00 PM and it is the only item on the agenda. The Board will make the appointment that evening.

Thanks again for everything. We're almost there! Despite the challenging budget crisis, with your help and support, I truly believe that the East Side Union High District's best days are stil to come.

With Gratitude,



Anonymous said...

East Side sounds like an interesting place. Watch Dog, thanks for following this story.

Dale Warner said...

The Berryessa elementary & middle school district (a feeder district into East Side) was rudely interrupted when it recently attempted to pick a replacement board member for Kansen Chu's board seat by flipping a coin.

Community members took care of that bit of nonsense by filing a petition for the seat being filled by election which happened in an entirely orderly and low cost way.

It was interesting how many people took a hostile interest in the petition/election process and supported the coin toss selection process. They ranged from Jude Barry to Jack Van Zandt (then with San Jose Inside) to many others who resided outside the Berryessa school district.

Note to those who interfered -- it is a felony to interfere in a petition drive under California law.