By Miriam Raftery
November 2, 2020 (El Cajon) – Stacie Hoover, a candidate running for Cajon Valley Union School District board against trustee Jim Miller, says she is considering legal action against Miller for posts on Defend East County and other sites that she contends are false, defamatory, and racially insensitive.
The Defend East County (DEC) website was shut down by Facebook this week after months of complaints that include racist, violent and defamatory content, though Facebook has not stated exactly why it deleted the site. Miller, a member of the group, posted, “I appreciate your support as my opponent is a BLM backer who was recruited to run against me by the far left.”
Elsewhere, Miller for Cajon Valley School Board posted, “My opponent and her ANTIFA backers continue to tear down my signs and we continue to replace them up to the end.”
ECM asked Hoover, a retired paralegal raising a grandson in the district, about Miller's posts. She replied,“Nobody recruited me. If he has a problem with me supporting black lives, I feel sorry for him and those families in this district and the world. I don’t have any ties to Antifa. I do not support violence or intimidation from anyone, including him. Now I know how Jill Barto feels.”
Trustee Barto filed a federal lawsuit against the district and trustees including Miller. Barto alleges her First Amendment and civil rights were violated. The district has a separate suit subsequently filed in state court accusing Barto of illegal actions after she filed her federal suit and became a whistleblower to media on issues of spending, a contract awarded to a board member’s son, other concerns. Both sides have denied wrongdoing.
The CVUSD board recently drew criticism from the NAACP, which accused the district of racial disparity including allegedly ignoring acts of bigotry and disproportionately expelling black students. “This is a civil rights issue,” stated Renita Penya with the San Diego NACCP on June 23. Hear audio of her testimony.
Hoover further criticized Miller for his involvement with the DEC. “I think it shows a lot about his insensitivity and lack of decency,” said Hoover, who likened DEC to a “mob.” She added, “I understand he did a video interview with the leader of that PAC about the election and he had his assault weapon out showing people how to use it.”
Although the DEC site has been taken down, the Twitter feed #DECsucks, a critic of DEC, captured a screenshot of Miller in his interview or conversation with DEC founder Justin Haskins, holding a large firearm.
Update: Miller has provided this statement on the DEC interview and details on the weapon shown. "I was asked to discuss the present Federal Litigation vs. the State of California on the Second Amendment. In Duncan v. Becerra the court approximately 2 years ago held that California's limit on ammunition held in a magazine to a max of 10 rounds violated the Second Amendment. That ruling has been upheld on appeal to the 9th US Circuit this year. Presently there is another case following Duncan that contends that because magazines that can hold over 10 rounds are now legal in California the laws defining an "assault weapon" that also include the 10 round limit are similarly unconstitutional. That more recent case had evidence and testimony heard before the judge the week before my interview and I was present (a full trial is set for January). So, to demonstrate what the case and law was about I brought in a firearm to demonstrate the functionality of the issues. That firearm is NOT an "assault rifle" by the way even under current California law. It was cleared (shown to be unloaded) before the interview started."
In April 2018, Miller drew fire for donning a National Rifle Association (NRA) hat during a school board hearing at which young students and others spoke out to voice concerns over gun violence after mass shootings at schools elsewhere.
When a retired teacher wrote to Trustee Miller about concerns over gun violence, he responded on behalf of San Diego Gun Owners Political Action Committee in a derisive tone, as ECM reported.
Hoover denies stealing any signs and has previously complained in an email to representative at the district that Miller signs allegedly were placed on school property. Hoover added that “my signs are constantly being stolen.”
In another social media post, Miller claimed, “My opponent was caught lying about her education on the League of Women Voter’s website, `Voter’s Edge.’
However, in an October 28 email to Miller, Voters Edge San Diego County Coordinator Julie Ann Sih advised Miller that Sih was inaccurate in an earlier assessment over use of the term “postgraduate studies” regarding an ABA-accredited paralegal course at the University of San Diego taken by Hoover.
In fact, the USD website makes clear that applicants for the program “must possess a baccalaureate degree or an associate of arts or science degree from an accredited postsecondary institution” though some exceptions are made for applicants with some college credits and documented business or legal work experience. Sih asked Miller,”Could you please delete any reference you may have posted to my opinion of this incident?”
Hoover told ECM that due to Miller’s posts, “I am considering legal action against him. Everything that he has put up, I can prove that it is a lie.”
Miller’s history of ethics controversies
This is far from the first time that Miller has been embroiled in ethical controversies.
In 2012, when he ran for Superior Court Judge, Miller had to remove several endorsements off his website that he had inaccurately claimed to have: https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/news/judicial-candidate-forced-to-pull-some-endorsements/
Removed as Judge Pro Tem
Miller was removed by the San Diego Superior Court as a judge pro tem, which he failed to disclose while running for a Superior Court Judge seat.
Although the court does not disclose its removal for taking the unusual action of removing a Judge Pro Tem, Miller had made controversial posts on his Facebook page that discussed details of cases before him on the bench, likening some defendants and plaintiffs to people appearing on the Jerry Springer show. He also criticizing a CHP and attorneys.
Legal experts told ECM such actions would violate California’s Judicial Canon of Ethics, as ECM reported.
Miller was found “lacking qualifications” by the San Diego County Bar Association after his removal from the bench.
The conservative Lincoln Club also revoked its endorsement of Miller. A press release form the organization stated that he “misrepresented the facts” when asked about the allegations in private. “Such conduct does not meet the high ethical standards that Lincoln Club members believe are required for judicial officers.”
Prior to Miller’s endorsement, Miller had filled out an extensive questionnaire on judicial qualifications. Lincoln Club the conducted interviews prior to the endorsement before the Primary election.
“In the initial questionnaire, there was no mention of him having been relieved by Judge Trentacosta,” Stirling told ECM. After the Club heard about Miller’s removal, Stirling added, “I asked him about it. He denied vehemently that he had been relieved and claimed disingenuously that he was still `pro temming’ to use his term, because he was still in El Cajon.”
Miller, who lost his judicial race, contended that he was a victim of dirty politics.
In his current race for school board, MIller touts hs endorsement by the Cajon Valley district teacher's union. But not all teacher's support their union's decision. Several have phoned ECM to voice disapproval -- and some have posted signs of their own to make their voices heard.
On his watch, the district has made some strides. A New York Times article praised CVUSD for being among the first districts in our region to reopen during the pandemic, after taking numerous health and safety precautions. The district reports 42 COVID cases since reopening September 8, according to its website. There are curently 9 active cases at 7 schools: 8 students and 1 employee.
Read bios by both Jim Miller and Stacie Hoover, as well as their responses to East County Magazine's candidate questionnaire, at https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/hoover-challenges-miller-cajon-valley....