Six people are running for three seats on the Santa Clara County Board of Education, including two incumbents and some controversial challengers. First-term appointee Kathleen King is up against notoriously abrasive Cupertino Councilman Barry Chang in West Valley’s Trustee Area 2. And in Trustee Area 7, which spans South County, Claudia Rossi will defend her spot against one of her most outspoken critics, Morgan Hill Unified trustee Gino Borgioli.
Rossi’s progressive leaning and scrutiny of charter schools and the town’s local school district has often put her at odds with Borgioli, whose reactionary views have made him a divisive figure in the community—especially since screenshots of some of his old Twitter posts began making the rounds this past week.
In one tweet leading up to the presidential primary in 2016, Borgioli said he agrees with a statement from then-candidate Rand Paul to outlaw abortion. In another, he commends Arizona lawman Joe Arpaio—who was convicted of criminal contempt for continuing his policy of racial profiling despite a court order to stop—for doing a “great job.” And in a post from March 2017, the septuagenarian school board member suggests that Democratic lawmakers should be ashamed for disregarding the “victims of illegals.”
The third county school board seat on the Nov. 6 ballot spans San Jose’s East Side. Initially, it looked like Mt. Pleasant School District trustee Peter Ortiz would run unopposed for the Trustee Area 6 seat since incumbent Darcie Green plans to resign after finishing out this term.
But a surprising contender emerged at the last minute.
Kiara Kassandra, who works for San Jose Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco, filed to run at the last minute, making things more than a little awkward for Ortiz since her boss already endorsed his run.
Ortiz said Kassandra’s entry into the race surprised him, but that it might have something to do with her brother, Adan Lupercio, working for the Charter Schools Association. “I don’t want to speculate,” Ortiz said, “but maybe she saw that I was unopposed and wanted to make me work for it.”
It’s hard to say, since Kassandra didn’t return Fly’s calls and email for comment, filed no candidate statement and has no campaign website. Carrasco didn’t respond to Fly’s inquiry either. But some folks on the 18th floor at San Jose City Hall see Kassandra’s run as more of a favor than a challenge, giving Ortiz a reason to raise campaign cash and solicit endorsements to raise his political profile.
Ortiz says he highly doubts that. “That would have been very nice of her,” he says with a laugh. “But I know 100 percent that her brother doesn’t like me, and that’s more likely what this is about. Let’s just say that it’s not ideal.”