On December 12, the Sweetwater Union High School District board was asked to consider a resolution that would place a $500 limit on campaign contributions from individuals or committees to trustee candidates. The resolution died for lack of a motion.
In November, community member Nancy Stubbs had asked that the resolution be agendized. Stubbs pointed out that the San Diego Unified School District limits donations to $750, and the City of Chula Vista sets the limit at $300.
Last night, urging the board to consider the resolution, Stubbs told trustees, “We have a bad reputation right now. And this is a really good way to clean it up.”
Stubbs argued that the November 2010 election demonstrated the need for campaign restrictions.
“When over 70 percent of some candidates’ campaign contributions came not from the community they represent but from vendors, the perception is that the board is more responsive to the vendors than to the community. When over $150,000 total was contributed to three board candidates by vendors of the district, and coincidentally those board members won, the perception is that the vendors bought the right votes.”
Stubbs’s remarks referred to the campaigns of trustees Jim Cartmill, John McCann, and Arlie Ricasa.
Community activists and teachers who attended the meeting were stunned by the board’s refusal to act. When asked if she was surprised that trustees let the motion die, Stubbs said, “I knew they couldn’t get off the gravy train.”