David Garcia

Comments by dgarcia

Calexico Unified School District's Similarities with Sweetwater

Dear Ms. Luzzaro Tipster or not, GCR one of the nation’s largest Latino owned law firms, was never even asked about an article you printed in the Reader. And quite frankly it has so many incorrect facts, I really need to start at the very top. If you mean the “Calexico Unified School District is beginning to look like Sweetwater Union High School District,” because they have raised their level of legal representation and counsel to a national level, you are correct. And while it is true “GCR, LLP, the attorney firm that recently was suspended by Sweetwater’s interim superintendent Ed Brand,” you printed it before it happened! How did you know? Why won’t you identify your sources and how they would know what was going to happen before it happened? If you are not going to tell your readers the names of your sources, please tell your readers the extent of your relationship with your sources and please tell us the purpose of that relationship. In fact, Bonifacio Garcia, was the District’s general counsel. That District moved away from a general counsel model at the end of July 2011. Mr. Brand has not yet explained publicly why he refuses to keep GCR on the school board panel even though the Sweetwater Union High School District never voted to “fire” GCR, again a fact you’ve failed to report Then you go on to say, “The firm used to include Bonifacio Garcia, Yuri Calderon, and Rogelio Ruiz. However, Ruiz is now suing his former partners for, among other things, “making thousands of dollars in political contributions to favored political candidates in an effort to influence government officials…,” according to court papers filed in Santa Clara County in April of 2011.” In fact, GCR maintains, false allegations are regularly made against elected officials. These allegations are often made with an ulterior motive in mind. As experienced reporters you know this is a common tactic to discredit the lead negotiator and extract a more favorable resolution to labor negotiations. We ask unbiased journalists to not allow them to distract you from the facts on both sides of the story. This former partner has taken advantage of the public mood and made allegations without merit and are opportunistic given the Sweetwater situation. Mr Ruiz, for motives of his own, has filed a frivolous and vindictive lawsuit with the sole intent of harming his former law firm, GCR, LLP. The allegations made in the lawsuit are false. Mr. Ruiz is nothing more than a disgruntled scornful ex-partner who is using the legal process to attempt to extract money from the law firm. Here’s more, GCR has always enjoyed the complete confidence of our clients and that is why our firm’s lawyers continue to serve and have served education districts for more than 20 years. We have regularly achieved outstanding success in negotiations and litigation and will always provide the most sound and professional counsel to our clients. Ultimately, we provide our clients with the opportunity to make their own choices. GCR represents the entire School District and not any individual board member. And we do not supervise our clients’ individual personal or professional activities. When a client contracts with GCR our commitment to integrity is the basis of that agreement. Our legal direction and advice has always been sound and based on the law. Counsel from GCR lawyers was never even involved in Calexico in 2004, and I don’t understand the purpose of that association. GCR’s basic ethical standards and practices maintains all public officials always report and declare all gifts, travel funds and to always appropriately and legally use public fund credit cards. We also advise all “gift limits” be adhered to and to properly reported as required by law, specifically, the Political Reform Act (Cal. Gov. Code, sec. 871 03(e)) and to adhere to the conflict of interest provisions of the Political Reform Act relating to disclosure and voting. And, for example, this was an integral part of the training provided to the Calexico Board on two separate occasions. GCR is closely involved in the communities they serve and has always enjoyed the complete confidence of our clients and that is why our firm’s lawyers continue to serve and have served education districts for more than 20 years. We support activists who understand “Attacks on Political Contributions are Attacks on Freedom of Speech,” and we have an obligation to support good candidates before they are elected and to keep good officials in office. And especially in the Latino community where there is so little money to contribute, it’s even more important that Latino lawyers and doctors, as well as other Latino leaders who have the means, to support a fair and honest voice no matter who it upsets. GCR has already spent more than a million dollars in pro bono work supporting community issues. We have regularly achieved outstanding success in negotiations and litigation and will always provide the most sound and professional counsel to our clients. If I may ever help you resist reporting false claims, and in telling both sides of an issue please call on me. And while we encourage honest, independent and meaningful journalism, we will never support unfair and biased reporting of unfounded allegations. Thank you, David Garcia Public Information Officer, GCR
— January 20, 2012 11:23 a.m.