Community group wants OUSD board to slow down on D4 appointment

A letter from the Block by Block Organizing Network to OUSD Board of Education chairman David Kakishiba asking for a little more public access to the appointment process that will fill Gary Yee’s District 4 seat. The board is planning to appoint a replacement by June 12 and already closed the applications last week. Here is a list of the candidates with one change: Carlos Carmona sent me an email this weekend explaining that he was disqualified due to his “residency.”  Here is the letter:

Dear Mr. Kakishiba,

We are writing as Oakland citizens to ask you to assure that the process of filling the District 4 opening on the Board is transparent and allows for input from concerned members of the community. We appreciate that the Board wisely decided not to hold a costly election to fill a year-and-a-half vacancy. However, we believe that six people alone should not decide whom to choose without input from the electorate. We hope that you assure that the criteria for your selection are clear and that the public has opportunity to express concerns and opinions.

It is our recommendation that the Board hold at least one special meeting (a town hall, if you will) where a panel of representatives of the public have a chance to ask questions of all the candidates. Given your timeline, we hope that that meeting will be held on an evening (or weekend day) between May 29 and June 12 – the sooner the better, of course.

The people deserve to have a voice in the process of selecting someone to fill a seat that is normally an elected position.

Yours truly,

Evans Daniels

Sharon Rose

Sheryl Walton

Co-chairs, Block by Block Organizing Network


Spearman’s campaign challenges opponent’s residency

Staff PhotojournalistJames Harris - Headshot (hi-res)

FRIDAY UPDATE #2: Alice Spearman said the judge said he needed more information to determine whether Harris lived in OUSD, and that there would be a full hearing in about a month (She plans to file a motion for one). “It ain’t over,” she said. “The man lives in a part of town that is part of San Leandro Unified.”

FRIDAY UPDATE: James Harris remains a certified candidate for the District 7 seat. An email Harris sent me this afternoon read: “The judge denied Ms. Spearman’s ex parte application to decertify me as a candidate. I look forward to turning our full focus back towards mounting a vigorous campaign.”

Alice Spearman‘s re-election campaign for Oakland school board (District 7) has challenged whether James Harris, her opponent, has met the residency requirements to run in the November election.

Harris lives in Sheffield Village with an Oakland address. He pays Oakland property taxes, and is in Oakland City Council District 7. He has a kid at Burckhalter. But for a reason I don’t understand, he and his neighbors vote for San Leandro school board. There’s a hearing tomorrow morning; I’ll keep you posted.

Anyone have history on this neighborhood?

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Candidates — and endorsements — in Oakland school board races

Great Oakland Public Schools, a school reform-minded coalition of families and school employees supported by the Rogers Family Foundation and other groups, has become increasingly involved in Oakland school district policy since its founding a few years ago. Now, for the first time, its board of directors has endorsed school board candidates in the November election, through this process.

GO Public Schools announced today that it had endorsed two of the four candidates for District 3 (West Oakland): incumbent Jumoke Hinton Hodge and challenger Sheilagh Polk. The organization is also backing one of its founding members, James Harris, who is challenging incumbent Alice Spearman for the District 7 seat (East Oakland-Elmhurst).

Under the ranked-choice voting system, voters will rank up to three candidates in November.

As you can see, the District 3 and 7 races have no shortage of candidates so far. It appears to be a different story for District 1 (North Oakland) and District 5 (East Oakland-Fruitvale). Continue Reading