Strange bedfellows indeed. Downright weird at times. How do these odd couplings come together in the first place? What does that dating game even look like? Beats me. One thing seems clear though: Craig Mann played hard in the small-time money, influence and county politics game. Here’s more of what I’ve learned, and it’s a little unsavory:
Craig Mann served on the Santa Clara County Board of Education from 2006 until his resignation in Aug. 2012. Prior to his tenure on SCCBOE, Mann was an East Side Union High School District trustee 1998-2006.
During May-June, 2010 Craig Mann repeatedly attacked SCCOE Superintendent Charles Weis over hiring a Chief Business Officer.
A search committee had been appointed and SCCBOE members were invited to participate in the process. Mann chose not to participate but later sent a series of angry emails to Superintendent Weis, Cc:-ing the rest of SCCBOE, other non-SCCOE people and even members of the press saying (quote):
- The “No Coloreds” sign needs to come down from the COE drinking fountain.
- “Jim Crow” employment practices must end at the Santa Clara County Office of Education and it must end now.
- OMG! I am completely freakin‘ flummoxed, stunned that you would consider her. […] My recommendation is start over! This crap further compliments the crap presented last night by HR.
- I’m baacccccccccccccccck. […] These are a mere sampling of the super-qualified candidates who just happened to be persons of the highest degrees of capacity, potential, ethics and integrity? Oh by the way, they also happen to NOT come be with a load of baggage. Yes, I’m pissed beyond all description. I’ve called you, NO response. Know this, I”m a but a phone call away from raising more hell about this with all the key influencers I know. This is not a threat, but a promise. Please decide what hill you are prepared to sacrifice it it all on.
- Please know that as but one lonely member of the Santa Clara County Board of Education I have lost complete, utter confidence in your ability to lead the district beyond your current term which (thank God expires) in 2012. Please know that I will not support the expenditure of finite taxpayer dollars on your continued employment beyond 2012, nor will I support wasting another taxpayer dollar to dismiss you before your contract expires. We got rid of your predecessor at an exorbitant expense which I regret to this very date (the dollars, not the dismissal). I am so remorseful beyond all expressible (appropriate for public consumption) emotions available to communicate to you my utter displeasure in your performance on one or more five goal areas as expressed, articulated by the Board of Education (your employer,…yes I know you have a problem with being a real employee, accountable to an employer). Again, this is only the (my) view of but one of seven (7) board members, but I think it fair that you need to know where you stand with me. My best hope is that you finish your service to the SCCBOE (your employer) in a manner that was was expected of you and that you move on quickly, either to a very quick retirement on the beach of your choice with your suft-board (motorcycle, hunting apparati) or pursue other professional endeavors that better match your abilities, capacity and temperament (attitude).
Ouch. These are unedited quotes from emails sent by Mann to Weis, and there’s more of them. You can imagine this didn’t play well with SCCBOE. There was a backlash.
On June 15, 2010, Mann issued an apology to SCCBOE and Superintendent Weis. Then in July, SCCBOE Member Leon Beauchman submitted a request to SCCBOE recommending Mann be at least warned, even censured, for ethics violations.
Politicians are famous for playing by different rules of decency and decorum (or none). Mann once wrote, upon receiving a request from an LASD parent to meet and review the SCCOE’s MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Bullis Charter School with an eye toward addressing community concerns about BCS’ obligations to English Language Learners, the LAH geo preferences, BCS board elections and other issues,
“We have bigger problems to solve than referee a fight between the 1%’ers of our county […] I’m not wasting another nanosecond on said dysfunction […] this board member will not waste any time building bridges between adults of a microcommunity (1%) that are at odds.”
Whoa. Not exactly the response you’d expect from an elected member of a government board with a legal duty to oversee the charter schools it authorizes. How could Mann so boldly disclaim his duty? Whose thumb was resting on Mann’s scales of (in)justice?
In spite of Mann’s racially charged power play drama and discord he won re-election to SCCBOE Area 6 seat in Nov. 2010 against Angie Cardozo. Apparently, in 2010 (as in 2012 for Di Salvo and Beauchman) there wasn’t much competition for a SCCBOE seat, since you’d imagine Mann’s antics would be like jet fuel in an opponent’s campaign engine.
Since Mann’s re-election was opposed by Cardozo he must have run a campaign, right? Which means he must have raised contributions, right? Who could Mann turn to for money given his very fresh tracks down the path toward SCCBOE censure? Who you gonna call when you have angry racially-charged skeletons in your closet?
Mann’s Form 460 shows that a couple months after his apology & sanction he received a $1,000 contribution from Francis La Poll, and two $500 contributions from Ken and Kristen Moore.
Which causes me to wonder:
- Were La Poll and the Moores tightly connected to Craig Mann or did they somewhat naively respond to his fundraising call?
- Did they know about the issues Mann had brought upon himself with other members of SCCBOE by inappropriately ripping into the County Superintendent?
- Was Mann’s relationship with La Poll, the Moores and other BCS donors a factor in his rather brazen disavowal of responsibility for the BCS-LASD issue?
You know how some software and online services come in an ad-supported free edition and a paid ad-free edition—for people willing to pay to escape the annoying ads? I wonder if the same is true of charters: How much does it cost for an oversight-free version of a charter to escape annoying regulations and supervision?
Recall that within a year of Mann’s Nov. 2010 re-election, the BCS charter came before SCCBOE for renewal.
Today Craig Mann is Area 3 Trustee on the Governing Board of the San Jose/Evergreen Community College District. http://www.sjeccd.edu/aboutus/board/Pages/default.aspx
On a related note, in a survey conducted Dec. 2013 by Gallup measuring the public’s judgement of professional honesty and ethics, the profession ranked “least honest” was Lobbyists, with Politicians and Lawyers not far behind. Grade School Teachers were rated second highest behind only Nurses: Honesty_and_Ethics_of_Professions_131216