By Miriam Raftery
October 4, 2016 (El Cajon) – Five candidates are running for two open seats on the Cajon Valley Union School District board, according to the Registrar of Voters site. One of them, Jim P. Miller, ran for Superior Court Judge in 2016 and had his Lincoln Club endorsement revoked after it was exposed that he failed to disclose that he had been removed as a Judge Pro Tem by the Superior Court.
The Court did not disclose reasons for his removal, however an East County Magazine investigation reported that Miller had left remarks on his Facebook page about parties before him in cases, which appeared to violate California’s judicial canon of ethics. Miller denied these actions until ECM posted screenshots of his remarks insulting attorneys and parties in current cases before him.
Miller reacted to revelations of his removal as a Pro Tem Judge by stating, “I believe someone is playing gamesmanship with me in an election year.” His opponent at the time, Robert Amador, is also a Republican who was later endorsed by the Lincoln Club.
According to Lincoln Club’s chair of judicial candidates evaluation committee, Miller was asked about his removal when the Club learned about it after endorsing him. “He denied vehemently that he had been relieved and claimed disingenuously that he was still `pro temming’ to use his term,” Miller told ECM in 2012.
A bipartisan group of retired judges, attorneys and law enforcement officials took the unusual step of holding a press conference to affirm their view that Miller was unqualified.
A Voice of San Diego investigation found that Miller also listed endorsements from prominent political leaders who denied endorsing him. According to Voice of San Diego, it could verify only one supporter continued to back Miller after the scandals broke: Anton Ewing, an accountant convicted of felony stalking and racketeering charges. Miller claimed he had other endorsements he didn’t post online.
San Diego Free Press referred to Miller’s fall from grace as a “sordid saga” in its headline.
In the current school board race, the Lincoln Club has not endorsed Miller, but did endorse another Republican candidate in the race—a highly unusual move with two seats open. The Republican Party has, however, endorsed Miller for school board despite his checkered ethical history.
La Mesa Council member Kristine Alessio stands by her endorsement of Miller. " I've known him since he was a kid. I was aware of the imbroglio surrounding his candidacy for judge a few years back,"she told ECM in an e-mail."Having known him for so many years, he was a friend of my sister in high school, I also know that he'd be a good school board member and cares a lot about kids, is a good Dad and is a smart cookie."
Other prominent East County elected officials listed on Miller's endorsement page include Congressman Duncan Hunter, State Senate Joel Anderson, Assemblyman Brian Jones,Supervisor Dianne Jacob, La Mesa Councilmember Bill Baber, El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells, and Cajon Valley Union School Board members Justin Slagle,Jill Barto and Jo Medina-Alegria.
On his website, www.millerforschoolboard.org, Miller states he is a “concerned parent” with a daughter in the school district. He cites his law degree, experience in his law firm of 20 years and in building a successful East County NFL sports agency as qualifications, but does not mention the controversies over his short-lived tenure as a judge pro-tem.