San Francisco Votes on Recall of Three School Board Members


Tuesday marks Election Day in San Francisco for the recall of three school board members by irate parents who are angry at the local school district over the interminable closures of the coronavirus pandemic, which lasted longer than in other cities.

As Breitbart News reported earlier this month, San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) board members Alison Collins, Gabriela López, and Faauuga Moliga are facing recall — and the recall campaign has outraised the incumbents.

At one point last year, public outrage at the school closures was so great that the city sued its own school district. And while anger stirred at the closures, the board focused on ideological priorities, such as renaming 44 schools — even those named for presidents such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, who were said to be relics of a white supremacist history.

Even in deep-blue San Francisco, that was too far. The Associated Press noted:

The recall effort stemmed from frustration felt by parents who say the board wasted its time on matters unrelated to the coronavirus instead of focusing on reopening San Francisco public schools. Most of the city’s 115 schools that serve 50,0000 students were closed for over a year, from March 2020 to August 2021, even as nearby districts eventually reopened classrooms and private schools across the city held in-person classes.

“Sadly our school board’s priorities have often been severely misplaced,” Mayor London Breed said in her endorsement of the recall effort. “San Francisco’s public school parents aren’t just voicing normal, commonplace frustrations.”

Organizers say they would recall all seven board members if they could, but only three have served long enough to face a challenge.

Many Asian parents were already angered by the board’s efforts to end merit-based admissions at the elite Lowell High School, where Asian students are the majority.

Politico added Tuesday:

San Francisco’s high cost of living and chronic struggles with homelessness and crime have long made it an easy target for conservatives everywhere. But this revolt from within is different — a stark warning that public officials can veer too far left even for proudly progressive voters to tolerate. The school board’s actions crystallized for many residents a failure of governance in an unswervingly Democratic city, tapping into broader angst about its quality of life.

Incredulous parents watched last year as the seven-member board spent hours worked to rename schools and discard merit-based admissions policies at a storied high school, citing equity concerns, as classrooms sat empty of students. Then board member Alison Collins, one of the recall targets, sued the cash-strapped district for $87 million, claiming the district violated her free-speech rights when she was reprimanded for old tweets accusing Asian-Americans of “using white supremacist thinking to get ahead.” A federal judge tossed the case.

Some San Franciscans grew angry enough to launch a recall drive that gained the support of deep-pocketed allies and prominent Democratic officials, vastly outraising the school board’s defenders. Affluent technology industry players like former PayPal executive David Sacks and other wealthy donors, including charter school proponent and billionaire investor Arthur Rock, have opened their wallets to buoy the effort.

A San Francisco teachers union and labor allies backing the school board members have not kept pace, with opponents outraising them ten-to-one.

Many recall advertisements have targeted the Chinese-American community, a significant minority in the city, SFist reported:

A current campaign to recall three members of the San Francisco Unified School District board is courting this vital demographic by investing in television ads in Mandarin and Cantonese. The ads emphasize issues many people in the Chinese American community care about most: a controversial tweet from one of the targeted school board members, as well as changes to the merit-based admissions policy at Lowell High School.

Recall campaign videos have appeared in both Mandarin and Cantonese, as well as English and Spanish:

Mail-in voting has been going on for weeks, and Tuesday marks the end of that process, as well as an opportunity for traditional in-person voting. Turnout has been low, suggesting that only those most motivated to vote — presumably, for recall — are doing so.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, We Told You So!: The First 100 Days of Joe Biden’s Radical Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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