In Oakland, recall is in the air.
As some citizens collect signatures to recall Mayor Jean Quan, another group named Concerned Parents and Community Coalition is trying to oust five of the seven Oakland school board directors. It’s targeting those who voted `yes’ on the proposal this fall to close elementary schools: Jody London, David Kakishiba, Jumoke Hinton Hodge, Gary Yee, and Chris Dobbins.
The school board meets tonight, and members of the coalition planned to march to the district office from nearby Laney College at 4 p.m. and present the directors with intent to gather signatures for a recall. Our photographer went out there around 4:30 p.m. and found about six people, not counting reporters.
(7:15 p.m. UPDATE: More supporters have packed the board room. Board President Jody London turned off the mic after Joel Velasquez, of Concerned Parents, went over the time limit. London later called a recess as he continued to speak, with the help of supporters, in Occupy “mic-check” fashion. People then began chanting “Stop closing schools!” and “Recall!”)
The closures of Lakeview, Lazear, Marshall, Maxwell Park and Santa Fe elementary schools were the impetus behind this effort. Joel Velasquez, a Lakeview dad, was listed as the contact on a news release that was sent out this morning from Yasmin Anwar. Anwar, a Kaiser Elementary School mom, was one of many parents who fought to keep Kaiser open after it appeared on a list of schools under “possible closure consideration.” She brings some communications know-how to the coalition, as she works in UC Berkeley’s media relations department.
Velasquez told me that the people he had spoken to about the issue feel that the elected officials “are disconnected from the community.”
I’m still learning about the recall process, but here’s what I gather so far: First, a small amount of signatures need to be collected in each of the five districts. Once those signatures and the language of the proposed ballot measure are certified, its proponents go about collecting a larger amount of signatures (for a mayoral recall election, it’s 10 percent of registered voters, or 19,811, in 160 calendar days — not sure about the school board members) to qualify the measure for a future ballot. Meanwhile, pro-recall supporters put forth their own candidates.
Hinton Hodge and London are up for re-election anyway in 2012; so are their colleagues who voted against the closures, Alice Spearman and Noel Gallo.
Would you support a recall campaign?
Here’s the news release that went out today:
Dec. 14, 2011
Members of the Concerned Parents and Community Coalition will present hundreds of signatures to launch a recall effort against the five Oakland Unified School District board members who voted to close Lakeview, Lazear, Marshall, Maxwell Park and Santa Fe elementary schools.
The “Intent to Recall” petitions will be presented at today’s OUSD board meeting. The meeting will be preceded by a march for education from Laney College to OUSD headquarters.
Today, Wednesday, Dec. 14. The rally and march will begin at 4 p.m.
The school board meeting will begin at 5 p.m.
Laney College quad, 900 Fallon Street
OUSD boardroom, 1025 2nd Avenue
The OUSD board members who voted to close five schools are Jody London (District 1), David Kakishiba (District 2), Jumoke Hinton Hodge (District 3), Gary Yee (District 4) and Christopher Dobbins (District 6). London, Hodge and Dobbins are up for reelection in 2012.
The OUSD plans to shutter at least 20 schools by 2014. The district is in the process of redrawing neighborhood school attendance boundaries to accommodate the relocation of thousands of students due to school closures.