The war over the SF Board of Education ramped up Monday as Mayor London Breed proposed a charter amendment that would limit the power of the board, and the recall movement is suing to halt a negative endorsement by the local Democratic Party.
The recall the San Francisco School Board election is coming up on February 15, and as such, you will get the standard voter guide explaining the issues on the ballot and listing some endorsements. And in the next one, you may see an endorsement to vote against the recall from the San Francisco Democratic party, also known as the Democratic County Central Committee, also known as the SF DCCC.
NEW: @recallsfboe files suit to remove a paid ballot argument by the SF Democratic County Central Committee *opposing* the recall from the Feb 15th voter guide.— Guy Marzorati (@GuyMarzorati) December 13, 2021
The suit claims @SFDemocrats never took an endorsement vote on the three separate recall petitions. pic.twitter.com/DtCtLLFdA2
But the key word there is “may.” The folks behind the recall campaign sued the SF Board of Elections in a San Francisco Superior Court on Monday, demanding that they halt the printing of the voter guides. The recall folks claim that “a ‘false and misleading’ ballot argument submitted by the San Francisco Democratic Party” needs to be “‘deleted or amended’ in order to avoid misleading the voters.”
The issue seems to be semantics. The SF Democratic Party passed a resolution in May (before Gavin Newsom trounced the effort to recall him) saying that “the Democratic County Central Committee opposes the current recall efforts.” That blanket resolution formally opposed the Newsom recall effort, the attempt to recall district attorney Chesa Boudin, and the effort to recall school board members Alison Collins, Gabriela Lopez, and Faauuga Moliga.
But the recall crowd argues that was “a non-binding resolution last May that did not follow the party’s official endorsement rules.”
“At the time, the school board recall had not yet qualified for the ballot, so the regular endorsement procedure didn’t apply,” the recall advocates say in a release. “The local party’s early endorsement procedure was not followed either.”
The Alice LGBTQ Dem Club expresses its concerns with the San Francisco Democratic Party’s recent move to submit a ballot statement opposing the school board recalls on the basis of a non-binding resolution--previously passed in the context of Governor Newsom’s recall. (1/4)— Alice B Toklas LGBTQ Democratic Club (@alicelgbtdems) December 13, 2021
There is some support for the “Stop the Presses” lawsuit among the Democratic flank. The Alice B. Toklas LGBTQ Democratic Club released a statement after the lawsuit dropped expressing its “concerns with the San Francisco Democratic Party’s recent move to submit a ballot statement opposing the school board recalls on the basis of a non-binding resolution--previously passed in the context of Governor Newsom’s recall.”
It frankly seems unlikely that the paper voter guide is going to change anyone’s minds on the school board recall, I’d imagine everyone’s already got their mind made up on this. And whether the SF Democratic voted on this before or after the Gavin recall election seems immaterial. But suing the local Department of Elections to stop voter guides from going out is a tactic I admit I have not seen before!
Meanwhile, also on Monday, Mayor London Breed announced a proposed ballot initiative that would create a new city agency to oversee all city departments dealing with children and families, and adding new oversight to the school board at the same time.
Called the Children's Agency, the new agency — which will require a charter amendment that will go before voters in June if the Board of Supervisors approves it — would oversee both the Department of Early Childhood and the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF), and it would base city funding to schools on the behavior of and efficiency of the school board.
"The school board has often focused on the wrong thing at the expense of the big picture,” Breed said at a press conference, per the Chronicle. “I know as a result of this, people have been frustrated and lost faith."
Breed added, "We have to get away from the system of 10 agencies serving families," and said that the proposed agency was "about good government and accountability."
Image: @recallsfboe via Twitter