Tue, Jun 28 2011 04:00 PM Posted By: Carlos R. Davalos
Thankfully Sweetwater Union High School District board president and veteran John McCann came home alive and in one piece from his tour in Iraq last year.
Now I know how.
The man who would be mayor (or councilman redux) of Chula Vista can duck and cover like no one's business. It's a skill he must have mastered while in basic training or remembered from his school days and earthquake drills.
It's also a skill he has generously employed these last few weeks as he dodged one verbal blast after another.
As president of the school board, McCann was the figurehead most often criticized for his role in allowing Superintendent Jesus Gandara to have his way with district money the way a San Diego cop has his way with a drug addled hooker jonesing for a fix.
I inherited these problems, he'd remind hecklers and catcallers who mercilessly booed him during boisterous board meetings.
The district was broken long before he was elected to help fix it, he would add.
His colleagues on the board were around long enough to know what kind of man they had hired to lead the district.
Years ago, when they had their first chance to put Gandara on a short leash with a choke chain after it was revealed he had lied about interviewing for a Texas gig, they instead extended his contract.
Either they turned a blind eye to Gandara's shortcomings and flaws or they were willfully stupid.
So yeah, McCann was coming to a party populated by clowns. But just because Bozo and Ronald McDonald were serving punch, that doesn't mean President McCann had to drink from his sippy cup.
But he did.
When board member Bertha Lopez publicly demanded Gandara be placed on administrative leave, McCann criticized her for grandstanding and politicizing a mess she had a hand in creating.
If he was trying to look like a reformer, McCann instead came across as the defender of a man who had long agp lost the confidence of the people he was supposed to be leading.
In attacking Lopez, he appeared to be out of touch, vindictive and petty. Not necessarily the image you want to project if you want to be a mayor or council member.
And despite the fact that the people got their way and Gandara was ousted, voters in the next election cycle may remember how McCann behaved during his first big test as a leader. How he'll duck and cover from that remains to be seen.
© 2009 The Star-News