OAKLAND -- Despite a fierce fight that lasted months, a judge decided Wednesday that James Harris can continue to sit on the board of the Oakland Unified School District despite his address that puts him in the Oakland City Council District 7 but also in the San Leandro school district.
Former OUSD Trustee Alice Spearman filed the motion to oust Harris from the seat she lost to him in the November 2012 election after her attempts to have his name removed the ballot were unsuccessful.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo initially sided with Harris and against Alice Spearman. But at a hearing in December, Grillo raised more questions and set another court date for Jan. 23.
Finally, on Wednesday afternoon the judge issued a final ruling saying that Spearman had failed to prove her assertions.
"Harris resides in City Council District 7, so he resides in School Director District 7, and so he is eligible to run for School Director from that District," Grillo wrote in the 12-page decision.
Harris said he expected the ruling would have been much sooner but the geography of Sheffield Village was "complicated." His children attend a private Oakland school but could go to a public one in San Leandro or Oakland.
To have someone question his eligibility and intentions was difficult, Harris said shortly after the ruling.
"That's not an easy thing to take."
But he said it made him more committed than
"I was put here to do a job," he said.
Spearman called the ruling wrong.
"He is not part of the Oakland Unified School District," she said. "You have to live within the jurisdiction."
She said she would appeal to a higher court.