A tempest is brewing in the Alum Rock Union School District over replacing trustee Darcie Green, who hopped over to the Santa Clara County Board of Education on Nov. 7.
Before she turned in her resignation, her Alum Rock colleagues set a time line for replacing her, leaving just a two-week window for applications.
Why the rush? Could it be that the board's political complexion will change in December, when parent activist Karen Martinez replaces five-term incumbent Esau Herrera? Outraged parents with People Acting in Community Together plan to lobby the board, probably to no avail, on Monday to let its successor board name Green's replacement. That would be more democratic, they argue, and would still fall within the 60-day window allowed by state law for filling a vacancy. And of course the new trustee then wouldn't be named by a Herrera-Dolores Marquez-Andres Quintero triumvirate.
Herrera, who as board president fast-tracked the Green-replacement process, said the board was doing exactly what it did when it replaced trustee Scott Pham in August -- although Pham's sudden resignation was effective the day he turned it in, not three weeks later as in Green's case.
Herrera, an attorney, says Green effectively became a county board trustee on Oct. 17, the day that board chose her, and not when she was sworn in on Nov. 7. "You cannot hold two offices at the same time," he said.
As for losing his bid for a sixth term in Alum Rock, Herrera said he was surprised by the election's outcome. But, he said, "that's democracy. I'm very proud of my years of service and proud of my accomplishments, and extremely humbled by the great number of calls received afterward noting all those accomplishments."
For the record, Herrera said there is indeed a way for him to seek to fill Green's seat himself, "but I'm not applying."
In other election fallout, losing candidate Leland Lowe is reportedly looking into filing a complaint with the state Fair Political Practices Commission about Marquez campaigning on Alum Rock campuses. Marquez told IA she was invited and mostly responded to kids' complaints about cafeteria food. But parents claim that Marquez and Herrera fliers were being handed out on campuses.
Judge Navarro gets a new gig at his own request
In L.A., some people call it "freeway justice" -- that's when someone who works in the criminal justice system is exiled by an irritated boss and moved into a less impressive position.
Despite the appearances, that's not what happened to Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Rene Navarro.
Navarro, you may recall, was the judge who in a rare sign of public discord recently emailed all 83 of his fellow judges to complain about an upcoming reorganization of the courts, which advocates say will move felony cases through the system faster.
Now he's been reassigned by the incoming presiding judge, Brian Walsh, from the Early Resolution Calendar, where by all accounts he has done a superb job of getting attorneys to agree on settlements, to a new gig in the same Hall of Justice building.
Starting next year, he'll be managing the much less glamorous, lower-profile Violation of Probation calendar. But it's at his own request.
Under the new system, Judges Sharon Chatman, Phil Pennypacker, Daniel Nishigaya and Hector Ramon will assume the new role of felony case managers to handle virtually every stage of a case except the trial.
The goal is to shorten the time a case travels through court, ensure each appearance is as meaningful as possible (because the judge will be familiar with the case) and equalize caseloads.
Board candidate gets N.Y. Mayor Bloomberg's attention
One other significant piece of news from Election Day: David Neighbors, a Berryessa resident, lost his campaign for the Santa Clara County Board of Education to the controversial Anna Song. But there was one welcome piece of news in his mailbox near the end of the race. Neighbors' campaign received a $10,000 personal check from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, part of a wave of pro-charter schools money coming Neighbors' way.
Song, you may remember, opposed granting permission to Rocketship Education to open 20 new charter schools.
Bloomberg spent upward of $9 million of his own money -- OK, tip money for the New York City mayor -- to support candidates who shared his views on gun control and education reform. Neighbors' reaction?
"I was really flattered that Mayor Bloomberg would even recognize my campaign," Neighbors told us.
What does it mean for his future? You could argue that Neighbors has received a benediction. He's well-situated for another run at the county Board of Education, or the San Jose council seat of Kansen Chu four years from now. A footnote for the political junkies: Neighbors is registered as decline-to-state. And he is half-Latino.
Ugly doings continue after Herrera council victory
San Jose City Councilwoman Rose Herrera may have beaten the over-the-top campaign against her re-election by unions furious over pension reforms she supported. But the Herrera-hate in District 8 hasn't let up. She and her husband returned from a trip last weekend to find a suspicious package in their mailbox addressed to "Councilwoman Rose Herrera." She called the cops, who referred the matter to the postal inspector.
A source told us it appeared to be "feces and who knows what else."
"We opened it enough to know there was something in there that shouldn't be sent in the mail," Herrera said, declining to elaborate. "I viewed it as threatening."
Meanwhile, the finger-pointing in union-land over the failed anti-Herrera campaign continues.
Last week we told you about an internal challenge to San Jose Police Officers' Association President Jim Unland from one Jonathan Baker, who argued to fellow officers that the current leadership isn't fighting City Hall effectively enough after a string of losses on binding arbitration, pensions and Herrera, among others.
"Have we been so successful that we shouldn't change the leadership?" Baker asks in the SJPOA's current newsletter.
Unland declined to comment to IA, but unloaded a response in a "membership alert" blasting foes real (Baker) and imagined (us).
"I don't believe for an instant that Jon has any idea how big, complex and difficult this job has become," Unland wrote, defending the consultants Baker said the SJPOA should fire -- "no one worked harder" -- and chalking up Herrera's victory to her incumbent advantage.
Internal Affairs is an offbeat look at state and local politics. This week's items were written by Sharon Noguchi, Tracey Kaplan, Scott Herhold, John Woolfolk and Paul Rogers. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 408-975-9346.