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Kakishiba isn’t stepping down quite yet

In mid-October, Oakland school board member and East Bay Asian Youth Center Executive Director David Kakishiba announced he would resign from his post at the end of the month because of a conflict-of-interest ruling by the district’s new general counsel, Jackie Minor.

Well, it’s Nov. 2, and Kakishiba hasn’t left. He says he is respecting the requests he has received from other board members and his constituents to see if a “legal remedy” could be reached that would let him serve on the board within certain parameters.

“I’m prepared to resign, but not one single person has said, `Get the hell out of here,’” Kakishiba told me today.

At 6 p.m. Nov. 12, the school board will hold a special meeting on the subject. Kakishiba said his colleagues don’t know the legal basis for Minor’s opinion — in part, because Kakishiba, himself, doesn’t even have a copy of the document – and that they are concerned about the broader policy implications of the ruling. (Kakishiba says he doesn’t plan to weigh in on the discussion, and that he might not even attend the special meeting. “I don’t really have an opinion about it,” he said.)

“We want to get it all out in the public,” said board member Gary Yee.

Yee also said he hoped the board would find a way to keep Kakishiba on the board, legally. “I think most people who are aware of the situation know that this is not the best time to go looking for a replacement,” he said.

Do you agree?

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • harlemmoon

    So, let me get this right: A conflict-of-interest ruling has made it explicitly clear that Kakishiba should step down from his Board of Education post.

    Now, however, he’s standing pat because no one has said “Get the hell out of here”?

    So, in this mans head, it takes not a ruling (by the district’s attorney, no less) but a profanity-laced directive from some random person before Kakishiba responds accordingly?

    There you have it, my friends. The personification of the rank arrogance (and ignorance) that continues to demonize and destruct the district.

  • Katy Murphy

    Interesting point, though that’s not exactly how I’d characterize the situation.

    What I heard from Kakishiba is that a number of people were asking him to hold on while the general counsel explains the ruling — which differs from the opinions of two previous attorneys — and the board explores its implications and looks for a legal solution (which could mean amending its bylaws).

  • cranky teacher

    The larger issue is why is it so hard to find decent school board members? If I remember correctly, Kakishiba orginally landed on the board by running unopposed.

    Does the job pay anything? If not, maybe it should, something significant. Pretty damn important job, and shouldn’t just be a stepping stone for political climbers with lucrative day jobs.

  • harlemmoon

    I see, Katy.

    Still, perhaps Kakishiba should at least consider stepping “aside” until the matter is cleared and his “limbo” doesn’t become more of a distraction that it already is.

    Cranky, the board is paid a stipend (I don’t know how much it is, however). And I couldn’t agree with you more that OUSD desperately needs higher quality representation.

  • Katy Murphy

    Oakland school board members earn $750 per month, which (if paid in July, during the board recess) comes to $9,000 a year.

    But the board members were stripped of their salaries, along with their voting powers, when the state took over in 2003. The money wasn’t reinstated until 2007 or 2008, I believe.

    A job with no pay and no power… not much of draw, as it turned out.

    On the other hand, now that the board has real responsibility — and the need to cut tens of millions from the budget — the job might be even less enticing. Or not. Who knows?

  • http://yahoo.com teacherspet

    This looks bad. The Board’s general counsel issued a conflict-of-interest opinion because the organization Director Kakishiba leads and is employed by contracts with the District. (Director Kakishiba’s organization, by the way, receives over $3.5 million a year from government contracts. See http://www.ebayc.org/accountability) Rather than respecting the ruling, the Board plans a special meeting to change its by-laws and allow Director Kakishiba to remain on the Board. In the meantime, Director Kakishiba is, according to the Board’s own general counsel, breaking the law by remaining in office. Now that the Board has real power, it’s hard to believe that there will not be qualified candidates for Board seats.

  • harlemmoon

    Teacherspet, you nailed it.
    The Board, in its infinite wisdom, continues to flaunt the law, logic and just about any other sensible guidelines it deems fit.
    Let’s count the days before this issue heats up and further detracts from what should be the real purpose of the panel.
    Additionally, this is a great civics lesson for all the students following this sad saga. It could be titled: Flipping off the law with one paw while clinging to the public trough with the other.

  • Arismom

    By the Way, board members also get health insurance . That is the best deal yet.