Kakishiba conflict-of-interest ruling, explained

The Oakland school board will hold a special meeting Wednesday to decide whether to accept a legal opinion of the district’s top lawyer: that board member David Kakishiba can’t wear two hats — as executive director of a nonprofit that works in Oakland schools and as a board member — and avoid the appearance of impropriety.

Although the board doesn’t vote until Wednesday it seemed clear, from their questions and comments, that they’ll do what they can to convince Kakishiba to stay.

“David, did you hear me?” Alice Spearman called out after the meeting had ended. “Don’t write nothing till Wednesday.”

In October, Kakishiba announced he’d resign from the Oakland school board because of a conflict-of-interest ruling by General Counsel Jackie Minor. Then he said he’d wait to submit a letter of resignation until the basis for the opinion was explained publicly, which it was — in great detail — tonight (more on that tomorrow).

Minor and an attorney from an outside law firm that reviewed the case stressed that they did not find evidence of wrongdoing and that it was Kakishiba’s call whether to stay or go. But they also said that amended board bylaws would not change their conclusion, as some have suggested.

The issue raises larger policy questions which I’ll address tomorrow, along with more detail about the inquiry.

Katy Murphy

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

  • Flabbergasted

    A member of the school board actually said “Don’t write nothing till Wednesday?” Oh wait, this is the birthplace of Ebonics. Never mind.

  • harlemmoon

    We’ve had the wind up. Now comes the pitch.
    Count on the board for a swing and a miss.
    David, do the right thing and go. This issue will not go away until you do.
    In the meantime, precious attention is being diverted away from the district’s terribly needy classrooms (see this week’s posting by the first-year teacher who is having a helluva time).
    Note to Alice: Grammar is your friend.