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Trustee Barnett Endorsement Crosses Party Lines

by Michael Higham, published

barnett endorsement

San Diego Unified School Board Trustee Scott Barnett announced his support for mayoral candidate Bob Filner on October 10. He is a known Republican and is crossing party lines to support what he believes is best for San Diego schools. Candidate Filner now has the endorsement of all five sitting board members of the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD).

Although both the school board and mayoral position are nonpartisan offices, partisan politics are part of the process. Candidate Filner, who is currently a Democratic congressman, is facing Republican-backed Councilmember Carl DeMaio for San Diego Mayor. Trustee Scott Barnett was backed by the Republican party in his race for school board in 2010.

The Barnett endorsement for candidate Filner was the last of the five school board members. He was reluctant to get involved in the mayoral race, but stated he is unsatisfied with DeMaio's education plan. The San Diego Daily Transcript quotes Barnett stating:

As a parent, as a school board member and as a taxpayer, as a Republican, I believe the candidacy of Carl DeMaio is a clear and present danger to the citizens of San Diego.

The Union Tribune quoted DeMaio campaign spokesperson K.C. Forbes showing the mayoral candidate's support for education. Forbes says, "Carl DeMaio has supported $5.7 million for after school programs since taking office," as a city council member. Forbes also said that he is unhappy with the tone of the Filner campaign and "attack-style brand of politics."

Candidate Filner's education plan outlines eight points for creating a collaborative approach for youth development. It aims to create a central office that coordinates job opportunities, academic programs, and recreational activities. Each city actor (government, schools, and businesses) would have a role in his plan. Candidate DeMaio establishes three goals in his education plan. It focuses on school safety, after school programs, and creating a liaison between schools and the mayor's office.

Scott Barnett is a proponent Proposition Z, which is a $2.8 billion bond measure, on the ballot this year. The measure is for SDUSD infrastructure, sustainability and technology upgrades. A determining factor in the Barnett endorsement was Filner's support for the measure. Barnett stated that DeMaio, "has no position on Prop Z, a school bond to fix our schools and ensure kids have 21st century technology."

Scott Barnett is the Vice President of the SDUSD Board of Education. He is also the former CEO of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association. Barnett has a strong financial background and owns his own consulting firm. He served as Chairman for the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee during the districts implementation of Proposition MM. Proposition MM was a voter approved $1.5 billion bond measure for the district in 1998.

Trustee Scott Barnett views education as a nonpartisan issue. By endorsing candidate Bob Filner for his education plan, Barnett is looking past party labels for what he believes is best for San Diego's youth.

The other sitting SDUSD Board members are: Dr. John Lee Evans, Kevin Beiser, Shelia Jackson, and Richard Barrera.

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