Silicon Valley Super Rich Foundation San Francisco School Board revokes election for progressives

On Tuesday, San Francisco voters will decide whether to remove three radical board members in an unprecedented recall election triggered in part by the district’s slow reopening during COVID-19 and the deficit. $125 million budget.

But some parents and educators are calling the effort a power grab by billionaires and right-wing investors in Silicon Valley, some of whom favor charter schools or oppose them. Post-vaccination mask. mission. The campaign, which began early last year with two organizers appearing on the conservative fire brand and Glenn Beck’s radio programtargeted board members Gabriela López, Faauuga Moliga and Alison Collins.

“Everybody who follows this campaign knows that billionaires are trying to buy up public education,” Frank Lara, executive vice president of United Educators of San Francisco, said during an anti-collective hearing. anise advertisement on social networks.

“We know what this campaign is about — this campaign, based solely on campaign donations, is about privatizing public schools in San Francisco,” Lara adds in the video ending with slogan: “Voice of voters, not billionaire’s money. ”

Brandee Marckmann, the mother of a 4th grader who will vote “no” in the recall election, told The Daily Beast she was shocked when she began to follow the money trail associated with the drive, this will tax costs 3 million dollars.

“My school has sold a lot of cakes to raise funds for the PTA,” says Marckmann. “I guess I’m really skeptical when billionaires try to get in and overturn the results of democratic elections.”

“School boards in San Francisco should not be for sale,” she added.

“Money is not why we will win this. The reason we won this is that the school board has failed on many levels.”

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Collins said that voters should know who is behind the recall and what is at stake. “When I ran for office in 2018, I raised $40,000 with a $500 per person cap,” Collins said on Monday. “But this recall doesn’t have the same campaign finance limits as regular elections.”

Collins added: “All the parents and educators who are fighting the recall are volunteers. “We are fighting against a machine that is well funded by paid political consultants who even if the recall doesn’t win they will still win because they are making hundreds of thousands of dollars. la.”

Follow Chronicles of San Francisco, organizers supporting the recall have raised more than $1.9 million since last February, while the opposition has only raised $86,000 – $47,000 of which is for Moliga’s fight. to hold office. (Local TV station KQED consider the costs of the recall campaign in context: “38 candidates who ran for school board in San Francisco across four elections, from 2016 to 2020, spent a total of 1 .05 million dollars.”)

Campaign financial filings reveal the recall effort has raised a total of nearly $400,000 from billionaire Arthur Rock, an early investor in Intel and Apple; $74,500 from former PayPal COO and millionaire David Sackseveryone sponsor California Governor Gavin Newsom’s failed recall election; and $25,099 from venture capitalist Garry Tan.

Records show Rock donated $49,500 to “School Board Members Lopez, Collins, & Moliga” and $350,000 to “Concerned Parents Advocating Recall of Collins, Lopez and Moliga.” (Tan has donated a total of $5,000 to the group that later.) Rock, 95, has also poured cash into school board races in Oakland, Los Angeles and beyond for years, supporting the causes. candidate in favor of charter schools. He also sponsors the National Coalition for Charter Schools.

Since last year, the “Concerned Parents” committee has received $468,800 from the PAC Neighborhood for A Better San Francisco Advocacy, whose key contributors include the billionaire school choice advocate. William OberndorfJohn Pritzker, Steven Merrill and Michael Mortiz.

“Parents with Concern” was founded in November by Todd David, a local political agent who runs the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition. “Between the two committees there were more than 1,700 individual donations,” David recently told News about the Court. “It’s a huge group of people who are financially supporting the recall.”

Last February, Autumn Looijen and Siva Raj launched the first recall group. In an interview with The Daily Beast, the pair downplayed the power of billionaire funds.

“We haven’t even talked to Arthur Rock, who is our biggest funder,” Looijen said, adding that some observers “think a lot of this is space travel organizations.” made by billionaires, but we’re really the opposite.”

“We started with so much support from the community that we received hundreds of small donations to start this work,” she said.

“Basically, what is at stake is the future of our children,” Raj said. “We’ve got a school board that’s basically not focused on their main job, which is educating children.” San Francisco has the longest COVID school closures compared to other major cities, he said.

Looijen said that parents who have lived through the pandemic and the “crazy long Zoom school” likely won’t care if well-intentioned donors fund the recall effort. “Actually, from what I see on Twitter,” Looijen said, “the people who are supporting us are like: “Billionaires want to help us. So great! Bring them in. ‘”

“Money isn’t why we’re going to win this,” added Raj, who moved to San Francisco in December 2020 and enrolled his two children in school. “The reason we won this is that the school board has failed on so many levels.”

Board members facing recall will be able to run for re-election in November. If voters fail to see them, Mayor London Breed will appoint their replacement. “We could save all this money if we held a general election,” says Marckmann.

Marckmann said she believes the recall will “disqualify” voters by allowing Breed to appoint board replacements. “As a parent, I should have a say, community members should have a say instead of our mayor,” she said.

“San Francisco school boards should not be for sale.”

Critics of the school board, however, are not offended simply for the lack of in-person classes throughout 2021. They point to other controversies within the board, including its decision to replace the admissions process. based on merit for the city’s prestigious Lowell School. High school with a lottery, and vote for retirement schools named after historical figures linked to racism and oppression — before changing course to face a lawsuit by former pupil.

Last March, Collins filed an $87 million lawsuit against the school district after she was fired from her position as vice chair of the board in 2016. tweets including racist stereotypes about Asians. A judge dismiss her case the following August, saying it didn’t help.

Collins and López posted on Twitter about the power interests pumping money into the battle.

“The listeners want you to believe that the roughly $2 million they have raised is a sign of support for their cause. I beg to be different, “Collins Written on Sunday. “When you have this much money, throwing a few hundred thousand in one place or another for political or financial gain, is a huge drop.”

For his part, Moliga said he knows some recall opponents have described the recall campaign as “a right-wing effort and a power struggle” but he hasn’t made that argument with other parties. voters.

“My argument is simply that I am a high-performing legislator with a high record who has improved learning and health services for students and families, reduced financial problems, and more. and take actions that will increase enrollment rates in the coming years,” Moliga said in an email. “Additionally, my voting record is sound and I have not taken any action that would warrant immediate removal.”

However, he suggested that some recall proponents may have an incentive to remove some board members. He noted that the school district is one of the city’s major land owners.

“Much of this property is land which is very attractive to developers and those driving the privatization of education,” said Moliga. “San Francisco voters will never elect candidates who support these values, so they may see this recall as a solution to achieving their agenda. Whatever their motives, people should be curious.”

For Collins, the recall battle reflects the “culture war rhetoric” being held at school boards across the country, as school districts face conflict over how race is taught in schools. learn.

“I think the amount is too big [in the recall effort] related to the fact that we are a very progressive city and school board, and this is an attack on that kind of progress,” Collins said.

“What can happen here in San Francisco can happen anywhere.” Silicon Valley Super Rich Foundation San Francisco School Board revokes election for progressives

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

Related Articles

Back to top button