Tuesday, April 1, 2008

AISD School Board Election

The election for the AISD School Board is on May 10. There are four positions up for election this year. Three of them are incumbents who are running unapposed. Position 3 is the only contested race. The two candidates are Jerry Garcia and Christine Brister. I found this article on the Austin Chronicle talking about the race.

Open seat candidates for Position 3 (North Central Austin):

Jerry Garcia is a stay-at-home dad who worked in the Texas Comptroller's office working on tax policy. This is very interesting as one of the major issues facing school boards is property taxes. Jerry's major issue is bilingual education.

Christine Brister is a long-time volunteer with the PTA and is a member of District Advisory Council for Lanier High School.

At the outset, Brister looks to be more polished and more qualified as a candidate. She also looks to be more of an education insider, meaning she is more likely to look for ways to generate revenue (raise taxes) and support public education (meaning the status quo).

Garcia, from a glance, looks to be the more conservative candidate (if that is possible in a May election in Austin) as he home schools his children and worked on tax policy under Strayhorn, who supported spending accountability and tax transparency while she was comptroller.

If I get the chance, I'll try to contact both of these individuals and ask them about their potential policies.

22 comments:

Freedom's Truth said...

"Jerry Garcia is a stay-at-home dad who worked in the Texas Comptroller's office working on tax policy. This is very interesting as one of the major issues facing school boards is property taxes. Jerry's major issue is bilingual education."

For or against? Makes a big difference. :-)

Freedom's Truth said...

BTW, someone who homeschools shows more commitment and probably understanding of education than most, and thus would be excellent candidates for school board.

Randy A. Samuelson said...

I don't know for sure (for or against taxes) until I get the chance to contact him.

Freedom's Truth said...

I meant it as "for or against bilingual education".
It wouldnt surprise me if there are significant numbers of kids getting miseducated in bilingual education in AISD.

MJSamuelson said...

At the outset, Garcia is very intriguing. He worked under Strayhorn at the Comptroller's office, and say what you will about her, she was a hawk on open government and accountability (esp. compared to Combs, whose office is discontinuing key portions of the "Window on State Government"). Plus, in favor of homeschooling? Sounds to me like we've got a relatively open mind.

I'll wait to hear what he has to say on taxes and taxpayer-funded lobbying before making a definite choice, but again, Garcia is very intriguing.

Anonymous said...

I know Jerry Garcia personally and you all have misrepresented what has been said in the Austin Chronicle. Considering that the Chronicle as misrepresented what Mr. Garcia said as well. Jerry Garcia is a stay home dad that is passionately dedicated to both his children and the education of his own children but more importantly all children. His concern is not biligual education but to close the communication gap that currently exists in District 3. Considering that District 3 is more than 70% non-white and where more than 40 different languages have been identified, he feels that closing this gap would be benefical to those kids as they enter middle school and then enter high school. Increasing the completion rate for AISD and primarily Lanier HS is a huge concern for Mr. Garcia. Mr. Garcia has been passionate about this community and has been involved in politics both locally and statewide for more than 15 years. Take the time to see his website at www.jerrygarcia2008.com to see what Jerry Garcia is all about.

For Mr. Garcia said...

I think Jerry Garcia would be a refreshing voice on the board. I have heard him speak and he is passionate. Unlike the opponent who seems to be a "puppet" for current AISD board. Looks like she would just be a "yes" person and not voice the concerns for District 3.

Randy A. Samuelson said...

Thanks for the info on Jerry Garcia! I'll be sure to check it out. These down ballot races are too important to not properly research the issues of the candidates.

Freedom's Truth said...

"His concern is not biligual education but to close the communication gap that currently exists in District 3."

Thanks for the clarification.

MJSamuelson said...

I'm also very thankful for the extra info on Jerry Garcia! And thanks for the clarification on what the Austin Chronicle published.

Anonymous said...

I have known Jerry Garcia for over ten years. I have first hand knowledge of his actions that have been harmful to students at Lanier, LBJ, and Anderson high schools. One of the ways to keep students in high school and to help them to be motivated to succeed and graduate is through their involvement in extracurricular activities. I belong to an orginazation that has made thousands of dollars worth of improvements to these high school baseball fields and have provided thousands to their booster funds. Now due to Jerry Garcias actions the A.I.S.D. has expelled our orginazation and the orginazation Jerry belongs to from these high school fields and thus they will no longer recieve these valuable improvements and funds. I believe this is detrimental to the students of these schools. Anyone wanting further information can contact Mel Waxler head counsel for the A.I.S.D. reguarding Jerry's actions which have been characterized as harrassment. This should give insight to the true character of Jerry Garcia and what is most important to him.

Anonymous said...

I have been to both the debates and Mr. Garcia doesn't answer any of the questions and constantly drops names of people he's suppose to know. He sounds like a wantabe political hack only interested in self aggrandizement. Has anyone investigated his background beyond what he's published?

Anonymous said...

Saying that Jerry Garcia "worked under Strayhorn" is like saying that someone in manufacturing at Dell works under Michael Dell. He was way too low to have had anything to do with the comptroller's sunshine policies, or any policies for that matter.

If you want a real story on his ability to be a good board member, just check into why he lost his job in the comptroller's office. As anyone around state employment knows, it is very difficult to get fired from one of these jobs. He managed to.

I didn't realize that Jerry now homeschools his children, but isn't homeschooling an indictment on the public school system? Wouldn't electing Jerry be akin to putting a Pepsi drinker on the board of Coke?

Anonymous said...

I am a little confused about something. It says on here that Jerry Garcia homeschools his kids. Well, I have kids that are in school with Jerry's. He has two kids at Brykerwoods Elementary and one at Burnett Middle School.

Who claimed that he homeschooled his kids? Probably Jerry, since my encounters with him have shown him to be less than honest about his life.

I guess the reason he would allow this untruth to stick (assuming it really wasn't him that started it) is because it lends more credibility to being a "stay at home dad." I think most of us would call that unemployed if there are no kids in the house to take care of during the day, but I doubt he wants to call attention to how he lost his job with the state. As someone else here mentioned, those jobs are difficult to lose.

As a concerned neighbor of Jerry's, I must advise people to vote for Christine Brister - at least she's shown some involvement in education before running for this board position.

Anonymous said...

I am not surprised to see people talking about Jerry Garcia having trouble with being truthful, and another person calling him a name-dropper. I work for the city of Austin and had a run in with Jerry last year. While Jerry was brow-beating me, he tried to bully me by saying that he was the nephew of Gus Garcia (former mayor). I guess he thought that would curry him some favor with my office.

Anyway, I was wondering, if Gus Garcia is his uncle, why is Gus not endorsing Jerry in this campaign?

Anonymous said...

I have been friends with Jerry and his family for many years and worked with him at the Comprollers office. His the most ethical most straight shooter I have meet. To set the record straight, Jerry Garcia was never fired from the Comptroller's office but elected to leave to be home with his children which he and his wife worked towards for many years. If this were a stay home mom there would be no question. He wants to be there 24/7 for his kids which his wife fully supports. Do your research. As far as working under Strayhorn...Jerry worked in HR where he did all the executive office hiring for Strayhorn under her direct direction. Do your research. Not once did Jerry Garcia ever say that he "home schooled" his children. That was taken out of context in this blog. He has always said that he has a son at Burnet Middle and 2 sons at Bryker Woods Elem. Do the research. As far as being related to Gus Garcia. If you want to check out the family tree on his "mothers" side of the family, ask people from Laredo, Texas. Will more than happy to give you his mother's phone number. He never said that he was related to Gus Garcia from the Garcia side of the family but from the mom's side of his family. Do the research. Unfortunately, it is slanderous comments like this that bring a bad name to politics. As far as involvement in a league losing baseballs fields and having AISD kids suffer. Lets be truthful, when coaches are pocketing money and not putting the money towards the kids...who is suffering when the league allowed it to happen. It is the unethical issue on both the baseball league and the coaches that is in question. People do your research.

Anonymous said...

How can it be slander when you confirm that Gus Garcia is his relative. Still why doesn't Gus endorse Jerry?

Anonymous said...

AISD athletic facilities are maintained not just by tax dollars but by organizations that use these facilities, like soccer clubs, basketball leagues, tennis clubs and baseball leagues. These organizations pay money and volunteer time to help maintain and improve AISD facilities, often at the most economically disadvantaged schools. To make a blanket statement questioning the honesty and integrity of AISD coaches is irresponsible. I think you owe these men and women an apology.

Randy A. Samuelson said...

I sent Jerry an e-mail asking him for a bio and some very pointed questions concerning tax policy, education policy, and his vision for the AISD Board. He has not answered my e-mail yet.

His website says that he has been a Democrat Precinct Chair in Travis County for many years and he is proud of the Democrats he has helped to elect.

Anonymous said...

Did you send Christine Brister the questions? And has she responded yet?

Anonymous said...

I've heard rumors that Jerry has a DWI conviction on his record. Can any one confirm this?

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