The Star-News


Laugh until you cry and laugh again

Sat, May 05 2012 12:00 PM Posted By: Carlos R. Davalos

It’s comical, baby! Funny in an uncomfortably awkward dark-comedy sort of way. It’s made for TV, this story of a bunch of school officials and the parents who love to hate them.

The latest episode has board member John McCann filing a temporary restraining order against parent, activist and pissed-off citizen Stewart Payne.

McCann, a former Chula Vista councilman and veteran of the Iraq war, thinks Payne is going to hurt him. The Sweetwater Union High School board member says the father of two  threatened to knock him out after a recent board meeting when all McCann wanted to do was shake hands.

That was the same night Payne and other parents announced they were ready to start collecting signatures to oust McCann and his colleagues Arlie Ricasa and Jim Cartmill. The general consensus among recall supporters is that the trio is inept and has to go.

All this while Ricasa, board member Pearl Quinones and former superintendent Jesus Gandara and another ex-board member, Greg Sandoval, face corruption charges by a district attorney running for mayor in a different city.

Are you keeping track? This show has more twists and turns then a Rocky Mountain road.

Anyway, these days McCann is about as popular as a gassy fat man stuck in a crowded elevator during a heatwave. And Payne is as shy as a crotch-sniffing mastiff. His palpable disdain for McCann rivals that of Tommy Lasorda for Kurt Bevacqua.

Why McCann would approach Payne at all is beyond me. Was he baiting him? Trying to ask if they could be Facebook buddies? Who knows? And, at this point, who cares? This is golden. Adults behaving this way is the kind of melodramatic entertainment you have to pay to watch.

In his declaration McCann states that in the past Payne has called him names like “stupid” and “Howdy Doody.” To be fair, I’ve heard Payne ask McCann if he was stupid, but that was the night McCann was videotaping members of the public during a school board meeting.

Elsewhere in his declaration McCann states a pastor told him Payne remarked “he would kick John McCann’s ass.” Yet one more reason McCann is scared of Payne and wants to keep him away.

McCann told a reporter the district has to pay for the safety of its board members, hence the security guards at the meeting.

If he’s that fearful maybe he should take a page out of former mayor Steve Padilla’s playbook and hire a bodyguard.

While McCann eventually raised a stink about the cost to taxpayers, maybe this episode has given him a new perspective. Maybe Padilla was on to something.

That twisted reversal would be hilarious if not for one thing:  It’s all just so damn sad.


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