San Diego Unified Board of Education Unanimously Calls For Kevin Beiser's Resignation
KPBS Midday Edition / April 10, 2019
At a meeting Tuesday night, the board unanimously voted to call for District B Trustee Kevin Beiser’s immediate resignation in light of allegations of the sexual harassment and assault.
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Speaker 1: 00:00 This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm worrying Cavenaugh for members of the San Diego Unified School board had voted unanimously for the fifth member of the board, Kevin Beizer to resign. Beizer has been accused by four men, one in a lawsuit and others in news reports of sexual misconduct. The school board says that even though the allegations are unproven, they undermine the public trust and distract from the real work at San Diego unified. Voting for the resolution is just about the only thing the school board trustees can do. They have no authority to remove a member and trustee. Kevin Beizer who did not attend last night's board meeting has denied the allegations. Joining me is Andrew Keatts investigative reporter for the Voice of San Diego. Andrew, welcome. Thanks for having me. The school board members have already individually called for advisors resignation. What more does this resolution do?
Speaker 2: 00:55 Well, formally it doesn't do anything really. It is a nine button nonbinding resolution as in some ways all resolutions are is right. This is a way of with the one voice saying, this is what we prefer to happen. John Lee Evans, one of the board members who led the charge to docket this item said, look, there's not much more than we can do, but we do think it is important to at least codify the fact that this is what we wish to happen. And he specifically said that Beiser his resignation as the only reasonable outcome here. And he said that, that it was impossible for him to imagine Kevin bice are coming back and serving the board and dealing with all of the issues that the school board needs to deal with as long as these allegations are out there
Speaker 1: 01:37 minus about the allegations that have surfaced against Kevin Adviser.
Speaker 2: 01:41 Sure. So one that was in a lawsuit and is from somebody named John Doe, who was a campaign aid for Mr Beiser, kind of a did consultant work for and describes a year's long situation with unwanted physical contact, unwanted sexual contact, and in some cases actual sexual acts being performed on him and sort of, uh, a culture of an abuse of power between the two of them. Another person was a aspiring politico, somebody who was running for office who was with Mr Beiser at a San Diego Democratic Party convention in Sacramento, says he was groped on his inner thigh and Crotch by Kevin Bye sir. And that later that night given by Sir sent him a text message with his hotel address and asking him to come over. And then another campaign consultant who did some work for them was picking up a check related to us political action committee when he was propositioned for what he perceives to be in a sexual situation, um, for in exchange for money. And another person was a, another aspiring political, somebody who was running for office who went to a pool party at Kevin buys his house where he said he was coerced into having an unwanted sexual fair with Mr Beiser and a third man.
Speaker 1: 02:55 Does the fact that these allegations have nothing to do with Beizer schoolboard responsibilities,
Speaker 2: 03:00 does that make a difference? The school board said no, that it does not. I think one of the school board members, so I'm like Macquarie made a point to mention that the point I got out of it was that he was saying that the school board was not legally liable in any way because this was not something that involved San Diego unified students or staff members or anything like that. But as far as what the, the s the school board said in their resolution, it's a political office and involves public trust and that this was a betrayal of the public trust. And that while he deserves a right to defend himself in the court of law, that court of law doesn't extend to an ability to serve on a public board. And that in fact his ability to serve on the public board and take care of the things that they need to do on that public board would be undermined by his distraction.
Speaker 2: 03:46 While he was defending himself in the court system, people came out to call for Beizer to resign at a protest, uh, prior to this school board's vote. And that group apparently plans to lead a recall campaign. But as I understand it, there's a lot of confusion about how that could happen. Can you explain? Yeah. So one of the quirks about the San Diego Unified School district is that it is constituted in the city of San Diego's municipal code, although it is itself a completely separate entity that hasn't, that has nothing to do with the city of San Diego's government. And so there is this weird situation where the rules of recalling a board member technically refer back to the city of San Diego's rules for recall. Although in those rules for recall, they don't specifically say anything about the school board. And so when I talked through the county registrar, uh, he said that there were some ambiguities that he hadn't quite sorted out yet in terms of how many signatures a recall initiative would need to qualify for an election.
Speaker 2: 04:46 Uh, he has since come to conclusion on that and has determined that you would need 15% of signatures of all registered voters in the entire school district, not the subdistrict that Mr Beiser represents, but the entire school district, which works out to something like 88,000 signatures. Um, so you would need to collect 88,000 signatures in about 60 days. So how long do you think given visor can remain absent from school board meetings? He wasn't there last night as I mentioned. Is there any provision at San Diego unified requiring him to be there? Yeah, so I talked to John Lee Evans School board member about this and he's referred through the governing documents for the board's bylaws in there, a code of conduct and that sort of thing. And there's nothing specifically that says after x number of absences you forgo your seat or anything like that. At the same time, I think there's a recognition that at a certain point you would have to imagine that something must happen. You can't go six months, eight months without that sub district having representation on the school board. How that happens is, again, it's very unclear, but it is something that is, that is clearly on the minds of the board members. And Mr [inaudible] has not been heard from since delivering of a very terse statement. The day of the allegations. I've been speaking with Andrew Keatts investigative reporter for the Voice of San Diego. Andrew, thank you. Thank you.