By Miriam Raftery
October 29, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Multiple candidates in the Grossmont Union High School District Board race have complained of mailers containing false or misleading information on candidates' party endorsements or affiliations.
Below is information on which parties have endorsed candidates in the race, as well as which candidates have teachers' union backing and which seem to be running stealth campaigns--offering little or no information for voters.
A mailer purporting to be a “Democratic Voter Guide” urges voters to support Elva Salinas, a teacher, as trustee for the Grossmont Union High School District board in District 2. But the County Democratic Party did not endorse Salinas; instead, the Democratic Party endorsed Oday Yousif Jr., an SDSU student and graduate of Valhalla High School in District 2 and teacher/parent Chris Fite in District 1.
The American Federation of Teachers supports Salinas, a registered Democrat who was not endorsed by either party, and also supports Fite. Salinas’ mailer states that she has been endorsed by Democrats on the County Board of Education and Community College boards.
The county Republican party has endorsed Steve Babbitt in District 1, a minister and member of the La Mesa Spring Valley School District Board and Bible studies teacher Kevin Conover in District 2. Oddly, the Republican party did not endorse incumbent Jim Stieringer for reelection.
In addition to the candidates named above, District 1 also has Rolland Slade, a minister, and Richard Preciado, a retired teacher, running for the seat.Multiple sources have told ECM that Preciado has dropped out though his name still appears on the ballot.
According to Slade’s Facebook page, some mailers have falsely identified him as a Republican. Rev. Slade posted that his values are mostly conservative but that he is registered as a nonpartisan voter.
District 1 includes Lemon Grove, Spring Valley, and La Presa communities.
District 2 includes La Mesa, Mt. Helix, Casa de Oro, and a portion of Rancho San Diego.
This is the first year for the GUHSD to hold elections by trustee districts; in the past elections were at-large, with all voters district-wide voting for all seats on the board. The race is officially nonpartisan, though some candidates choose to seek party endorsements.
We searched the Internet, Ballotpedia, Voters Edge and other voter information sites and found campaign websites for some but not most of the candidates. Most also did not provide information to Ballotpedia or Voters Edge.
On his website, Oday Yousif, a Chaldean-American immigrant, says he wants to see the board listen to students and better address the needs of multi-cultural andmulti-lingual students.
Steve Babbitt lists endorsements by Grossmont Teachers and Supervisor Dianne Jacob on his website, touting his experience but does not discuss issues.