October 5, 2001

San Diego Unified School District Trustees Threatened With Shooting

By Daniel L. Muñoz

In an e-mail that Sue Braun sent on September 26 to Ron Ottinger and others, Sue Braun issued a threat against Fran Zimmerman and John de Beck:

" John and Frances get so outrageous that they upset the rest of the board members including me. . . The only idea I have is to shoot the both of them. I was thinking of a way to get them both with one bullet..."!

This e-mail is on record in the district's computer system, as is Ottinger's response.


Fran Zimmerman (center) chatting with a group of students. File Photo.

The case is now being investigated by the San Diego Police Department's Criminal Investigation Unit. Mr. de Beck's response: "I'm calling for (Sue Braun's) resignation because a person capable of expressing those thoughts is not somone who should be guiding our public schools."

It is no secret that the San Diego Unified School District has been embroiled in controversy ever since Alan Bersin was hired as Superintendent with the aid of the San Diego establishment. Since then, the school district has been embroiled in controversy. Matters worsened when elections came up for Ron Ottinger, Edward Lopez, and Frances O'Neill-Zimmerman. All three were endorsed and supported by the same consortium of individuals, businessmen, organizations and influentials that were the power brokers behind Alan Bersin. It didn't take Zimmerman long to realize that she was expected to support what Bersin wanted done. Ottinger, Lopez and Sue Braun, whose term expires in 2002, joined the group making a 3-2 split. John de Beck, whose term also expires in 2002, adamantly opposed Bersin's programs as did Zimmerman. Bersin, with three votes on the board, rode roughshod over the school district making enemies everywhere.

Lately, frustration on the board has surfaced. As opposition from the parents, administrators, teachers, and the public grew, Zimmerman and de Beck increased the pressure on the trustees, attempting to get them to fulfill their duty and educate our 143,000 students. Sue Braun, President of the Board of Trustees, finally couldn't control the board meetings any longer. She initiated meetings with Ottinger and Lopez to discuss public policy as to what should be done about Zimmerman and de Beck. By doing this, she violated the Brown Act.

La Prensa San Diego believes that the San Diego Unified School District should immediately be taken over by the State until a thorough investigation is made.

At times like these, with school shootings, terrorist attacks, and high anxiety levels, threats like the one made by Sue Braun must be taken very seriously. Immediate action must be taken for the safety of our school system.

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