Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Islamophobic mailer muddles Twin Rivers school board election - Sacramento News & Review

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Islamophobic mailer muddles Twin Rivers school board election 
Charter Schools - Dividing Communities since 1991

Another scandal in the Twin Rivers Unified School District has cast an ugly pall over an upcoming special election.
Murmurs of racism have uglied up May 12’s vote, when residents of the district’s Area 5 will choose between current trustee Sonja Cameron and challenger Basim Elkarra.
Area 1 trustee Michael Baker told SN&R that his parents, who live in Cameron’s area, received something disturbing in their mailbox: a flier branding Elkarra as having ties to religious extremism and terrorism (see below).
The Clarion Project, a Washington D.C.-based organization that proposes to “challenge extremism,” seems to have produced the flier. The mailer calls Elkarra an “outsider,” accuses him of terrorist ties and shows him with women in headscarves.
Elkarra said he does work with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, but defends it as a civil rights organization.
Cameron emphatically denies any involvement in distributing the inflammatory material, saying it makes her “sick to even talk about it.”
A Denmark native, Cameron said she herself was treated poorly upon coming to the states 45 years ago, a bride of a black Air Force member. “Why would I put something like that out there?” she said.
This school-board race, however, was heating up months ago. 
Cameron was appointed by the district in December to fill the spot left vacant by Cortez Quinn, who was sentenced to jail for receiving loans and gifts from a district employee and conspiring to obstruct justice in a paternity case.
But the Democratic Party of Sacramento County promptly took issue with the appointment and successfully collected the signatures required to force a recall election.
Cameron has no campaign website, no Facebook page. And she’s sought only local endorsements. “I’m not a politician,” she said. “The school board is nonpartisan.”
Elkarra is endorsed by multiple elected officials, including many high-powered Democrats.
It’s not clear who distributed the materials in question. But why so many people are so invested in candidates who would only serve until the June 2016 election is, according to Cameron, “a puzzle worse that a Rubik’s Cube.”

Basim Elkarra for School Board 2015

Basim Elkarra for School Board 2015

Sonja Cameron.jpg
Cameron is the chief operations officer and co-founder of the Pacific Charter Institute, which serves 1,619 students. The institute operates the Heritage Peak Charter School, an independent study and home-school program, is authorized to serve TRUSD students, but operates independently from the district.[1]