NEGATIVE MAILERS TARGET ALPINE SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATE

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By Miriam Raftery

October 24, 2014 (Alpine) – A negative campaign mailer  targeting Alpine School Board candidate Lou Russo (photo, left) was funded by the Public Safety PAC based in San Carlos.  Russo is, in fact, endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police in San Diego County. 

Among those contributing major funds to the Public Safety PAC is local Diamond dealer, CK Diamonds who is owned by Charles “Chuck” Kaderabek. Kaderabek withdrew his nomination from the Alpine Planning Group after Russo exposed Kaderabek’s string of tax liens, tax delinquencies and lapsed law license.

The Public Safety PAC has also been exposed as being behind mailers targeting La Mesa City Council candidate Mary England, who has the endorsement of La Mesa’s police, fire and public safety unions.

Public Safety PAC also has major funding from prominent GOP candidates and development interests, according to the Fair Political Practices Commission. Guy McWhirter, an opponent of England, has admitted funneling money to the Public Safety PAC to pay for the negative mailers in La Mesa.

in Alpine, a second mailer sent anonymously that is similar in style to the the Public Safety PAC's hit piece was also sent to voters. It lists 115 names of Alpine residents as endorsers of other candidates, however some of those individuals have said the endorsement claims are false, Steve Hunyar reported in a commentary posted at SD Rostra.

The mailer that is attributed to the Public Safety PAC claims that Russo's contract was not renewed at two schools where he previously taught.  ECM has asked Russo for a response but has not received one. 

Below is an endorsement letter for Russo provided by the Fraternal Order of Police.

DATE: October 5, 2014

TO: Louis Russo

FROM: Kevin McQuillen, Lodge #10 President

SUBJECT: Endorsement

Mr. Russo,

We, the law enforcement officers of San Diego County Lodge #10 of the Fraternal Order Police, do hereby endorse your candidacy in the 2014 election for The Alpine Unified School District Board.

Your exemplary record of service within the Alpine community is a testament to your commitment to public safety and service to the community. Your voluntary outreach to the Alpine School District and coordination with the Sheriff’s Department to enhance school safety is commendable. As a private citizen, you promoted and fostered safety for the children and campuses. And as a candidate for the district position, you insisted that safety on campuses was priority number one. We concur that campus safety is the fundamental element required to facilitate a productive learning environment. We believe your dedication to improving school safety is essential in a governing school board member. We trust that your leadership and integrity will continue to ensure that citizens of Alpine will be well served by your dedication to the task of providing safe schools.

For these reasons, San Diego Lodge #10 of the Fraternal Order of Police is proud to endorse Louis Russo for the Alpine Unified School District Board seat in 2014.

For further information about San Diego Lodge #10, its members, or our endorsement, please contact Kevin McQuillen (President of Lodge #10) via e-mail at kmcrsd@cox.net.

Respectfully submitted,

Kevin McQuillen, Lodge #10

President and State Trustee

Jeff Duckworth, Lodge #10

Vice President"

 

Comments

Russo School Safety Platform

I have lived in Alpine since 1992, and have been deeply involved in our Local Alpine schools, and I respect ECM, and Miriam Raftery, I hope to seek clarity; Mr. Russo's "SAFE" Alpine School Board Candidate platform calls for armed security guards on each Alpine School campus. This is certainly over-reaching. Driving out of my driveway and onto a freeway is potentially dangerous. Sadly, bad things can and will happen. Like the recent Seattle, WA school shooting. Some potential bad risks we accept, actuarial studies determine the likelihood of an undesired bad risk occurring. If the statistical odds of a bad event, like a school shooting, is acceptably low, it is a risk that is accepted. Armed guards aren't merited at Alpine's schools. Driving on a freeway going to school is far more dangerous than being on the school grounds. A strong reason to attend (Mr. Russo did not attend these) the Alpine Hearings on Unification. Building a local Alpine HS, this fits perfectly into a "SAFE" schools platform. Re: the other mailed piece referred to... this "Three Strikes" mailer I received in my mailbox, I was not a sponsor, nor a contributor to it. This mailer specifically questioned Mr. Russo's two - two years stints as a teacher in two different high schools; at two different HS Districts. I too wonder about this, having visited Mr. Russo's Linkedin profile; Mr. Russo now has been presented a "golden opportunity" to lay these questions posed to rest, by publicly answering the questions they raise. Mr. Russo's Campaign FB page asks us to look at his Linkedin page and profile, where he states he has 10 years of public teaching experience. It is evident that Mr. Russo has 2 years at Central HS, and two years at a Sweetwater District HS. 2 + 2 = 4 years total teaching , not 10 years classroom teaching experience. What is the truth? As for the mailer sent out endorsing several Alpine Planning Group, and AUSD Candidates; my name, Bill Weaver, was on that flyer. I do endorse those listed candidates. I authorized my name be used. The PAC responsible I know nothing about, I did not research the sponsor, I agreed with the listed candidates and when I was asked to lend my name, I said yes, I do not support Mr. Lou Russo, I question his truthfulness and his platform. I testified at the three San Diego Office of Education Hearings on Alpine Unification, in favor. Repeating; Mr. Russo wasn't present at these hearings, nor was Mr. Russo present at last weeks Alpine Unification Community Forum held at Alpine Elementary School. In my opinion, School "Safety" interested school board candidates should be present and at these important Alpine school hearings and forums!

1 question for Mr. Russo

I have lived in Alpine in the past and I now live in El Centro. Lou Russo has been forwarding links to these articles today and his emails got forwarded down to me in the Imperial Valley. That is how I came across this article. I assume that Ms Raftery penned this article at Mr. Russo's request. Isn't reporting supposed to be impartial? Ms. Raftery has exposed the PAC that paid for the mailer and one of it's financial contributors. Isn't it fair game now to ask Mr. Russo to respond to the statements in the mailer? It was all in reference to his job history as a teacher, relevant information for a school board candidate... right? So Mr. Russo, or Hano as you like to post on ECM, will you answer 1 question? Were you non-reelected (a fancy term for fired) by Central Union High School District after 2 years as a high school teacher? Simple yes or no question. Or I would be happy to hear your explanation if you prefer.

Jim H...

We did not pen the article on Russo's request; he knew nothing about it. Our story arose out of our investigation into the La Mesa hit pieces and researcher into the funder. There were questions being raised in La Mesa blogs as to why the diamond dealer was donating to the PAC that ran negative mailers about Mary England in LM. Our story sought to clarify that his donation likely was meant to target Russo, not England, due toe the past history between him and Russo. I have emailed Russo to ask about the details on his job history and will publish the response once received. The false information alluded to in the other story referred to the endorsements claimed that several citizens said they didn't make for some other candidates,