If the Bob Filner saga taught us anything, it’s that principles matter. Those who are elected to public office are there to exercise a set of principles, and among these are selflessness and honesty. Unfortunately, the Bob Filner saga overshadowed another disappointing episode in Carlsbad Unified, where one of our trustees broke the trust of her constituents, and possibly the law.
Below is a brief rundown of what has occurred in Carlsbad over the last few weeks. I have bolded the most pertinent pieces of information:
• On July 24th of this year, the Carlsbad Unified School District Board of Trustees voted 4-0-1 to approve a contract with the law firm Fagen, Friedman, and Fulfrost for $100,000 for the 2013/2014 school year.Trustee Kelli Moors voted in the affirmative to approve the contract.
• On August 5th, Trustee Kelli Moors publicly announced her resignation on the CUSD Board of Trustees to take a position with the law firm Fagen, Friedman, and Fulfrost.
• On August 7th, I sent an email to my supporters asking if they thought that the circumstances were suspicious and required further investigation.
• On August 14th, the CUSD Board of Trustees held a board meeting where Trustee Moors decided to send a goodbye address. She also addressed the questions I had raised by stating that she was “appalled by some of the negative whisper campaigns” and was “sure it’s beneath the dignity of any candidate for this board.”
• On August 19th, I sent another email, clarifying some of the details, and showing that Trustee Moors resigned a mere 12 days after voting to approve the contract with Fagen, Friedman, and Fulfrost.
• On August 22nd, the U-T Watchdog published an investigative article on the situation, and found the last piece of this sickening puzzle:
“Moors told U-T Watchdog that she had been in talks with the law firm before the July 24 meeting about accepting a position there.”
• On August 23rd, a statement was released by CUSD Board President Elisa Williamson, announcing that at the next CUSD Board Meeting, the board would RE-VOTE on the law-firm contract. What’s even more interesting is what President Williamson states she will suggest to the board at the next meeting:
“Despite the district’s long-standing relationship with the firm, on August 7th I informed the Superintendent that, at the September 11, 2013 Board meeting, I will be recommending that the District limit its use of the services of Fagen, Friedman, & Fulfrost to only those areas that staff deems critical to the District.”
• On August 23rd, the U-T Watchdog posted a follow-up article to their August 22nd report, announcing this re-vote.
People make mistakes, and many times, people are (innocently) ignorant to those mistakes. While public office elevates individuals to a higher set of standards, elected officials are not excused from human mistakes.
But, this case is different. Trustee Moors has to either admit ignorance to the law or complete, unfiltered selfishness. Even after her violations were brought to light, the only thing she could manage to do was attack my candidacy. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time she has conflicted with campaign finance laws. In 2000, Trustee Moors ran into trouble with the FPPC for not filing her semi-annual campaign reports, and while she raised only $700 that election cycle, she was fined $1,000 for ignoring constant FPPC requests and failing to file her reports in a timely manner.
If you look to the comments on both U-T Watchdog articles, you’ll see a trend: people believe Trustee Moors broke the trust of her constituents.
Because of that resonating message, I have met with advisors and decided to move forward with filing an FPPC complaint against Trustee Moors, as I feel that not only did she break the law (ignorantly or maliciously), but she decided not to admit her fault, but instead launch an attack on my character and my efforts to get to the truth.
In order to ensure that the people of Carlsbad understand what’s going on in their school district, I am posting this. Carlsbad Unified’s leadership needs an attitude change. Situations like this should not arise, and I hope that’s a message everybody can agree with.