The Star-News

Keep Payne away

Thu, May 03 2012 12:54 PM Posted By: Allison K. Sampité

Sweetwater Union High School District board member John McCann recently filed a temporary restraining order against a parent and community activist.

The order, filed April 24 in the San Diego Superior Courthouse in South Bay, grants a 100-yard restraining order against Stewart Payne except at school board meetings.

“It’s about my safety,” McCann said.

The order states that Payne cannot harass, threaten, attack, telephone, stalk or destroy the personal property of McCann. It also says Payne, who is a gun owner, must surrender any firearms.

McCann’s request to keep Payne away from him at school board meetings was denied.

“It’s an attempt by an elected official to deny me my right to the first amendment,” Payne  said. “None of this is personal for me against John McCann or any of the board members. John McCann is choosing to make this personal.”

McCann said that’s not the case.

“I respect everybody’s first amendments and welcome everyone to peacefully express their opinions,” he said.

The order follows an incident that occurred following the end of a district board meeting last month, during which McCann called the police and reported that Payne allegedly threatened him saying, “I’m gonna knock you out.”

“He clenched his fist to hit me and a security guard stepped in between us,” McCann said in an interview last month.

McCann also stated that three sworn testimonies from security guards Jorge Sanchez and Juan Lopez, hired by the district for board meetings and San Ysidro teacher’s union member Jimmy Delgado support his version of events.

“They corroborated that Mr. Payne made physical threats against me,” he said.

Payne said the version of the story given by McCann and the witnesses is nowhere close to the truth and said the court order is a tactic to keep him from attending school board meetings.

Payne declined to comment on whether he has plans to retain an attorney however he did make a statement.

“I’m not just gonna lay down and let this guy get a restraining order on me based on lies,” Payne said. “John McCann was the aggressor.”

Payne maintains his innocence.

“I’ve never threatened anyone on that board or anyone else at those meetings and I’ve been going to those meetings for close to five years,” he said.

McCann retained Randall Winet from the law firm Winet, Patrick & Weaver and requested the court have Payne pay $2,400 in legal fees.

However, if that does not happen, McCann said the district is required to pay for the safety of board members.

“I’m happy with the courts favorable decision and I just want to continue to my job as board member in a safe environment,” he said.

A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, May 9 in the South Bay Courthouse.

Documents for the resquested temporary restarining order can be viewed by clicking on the links below:

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Documents outlining John McCann's request for a TRO can be viewed by clicking on the links below:

McCann 1

McCann 2

McCann 3

McCann 4

Documents detailing Juan Lopez' declaration can be viewed by clicking on the links below:

Lopez 1

Lopez 2

Documents detailing Jorge Sanchez' declaration and report can be viewed by clicking on the links below:

Sanchez 1

Sanchez 2

Sanchez report 1

Sanchez report 2

Documents detailing Jorge Sanchez' declaration and report can be viewed by clicking on the links below:

Delgado 1

© 2009 The Star-News