http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2008/07/11/column


Pleasanton Weekly

Column - July 11, 2008

Column

Kernan's good news good for Pleasanton

by Jeb Bing

Longtime school board member Pat Kernan has been taking it on the chin lately in both the media and at a recent school board meeting where school activist Julie Testa asked the district to seek (and pay for) a legal opinion on whether Kernan is no longer a resident of Pleasanton and thus not qualified to stay on the board. In the Weekly's Town Square forum where Testa also has repeatedly questioned Kernan's residency status, she has had several others blog with the belief that Kernan doesn't really live in Pleasanton and giving other reasons they'd like to see him go. To Testa's credit, she's the only one so far who has made her complaint public using her actual name. Others sign in to the forum with phony names and at the school board meeting, no one came forward to join Testa in what so far has been a one-woman battle to force Kernan to resign or have him kicked off the board. That's not likely to happen.

Jim Ott, this year's board president, gave Testa all the time she needed with the TV30 cameras still rolling to explain her position. With Kernan recusing himself from the meeting, Ott read out loud a number of the statements Testa made in various Town Square forums from copies he had distributed to other board members. One by one, he diplomatically defused many of her arguments. In the end, both Ott and school Superintendent John Casey pointed out how their own investigations and those by the district's legal counsel and even the Alameda County state's attorney office showed that indeed Kernan does lease an apartment on Andrews Drive, has a driver's license and voter registration card listing that as his legal address, and that he meets all of the residency requirement for serving on the Pleasanton board of education. In the end, the board voter 4-0 not to pursue Testa's complaint any further, although she can still file her own legal complaint if she chooses.

It's a shame it came to that. In fact, it's puzzling why this small group of unidentified individuals used their blogging time so consistently to bash Kernan, who is now the longest serving school board member and is responsible for much of the progress in advanced education programs in the district as well as citywide achievements. Kernan moved to Pleasanton in 1984. He was appointed to the school board in 1996 and was first elected to a four-year term in 1997. He's been reelected by wide margins ever since. In May of 2006, Kernan and his wife Marcia, who were now empty nesters with all six children grown up and on their own, sold their home on Tanglewood Way and bought a retirement home in Camino, a small community east of Sacramento where they have vacationed frequently. At the time, Kernan was with a Sacramento-based law firm although most of his clients were in the Bay Area, including the San Jose Sharks and the San Jose Stealth, a fast-growing lacrosse organization that Kernan persuaded to make its headquarters in Pleasanton. Because he is here most of the week, he leased the Andrews Way apartment where he lives weeknights and some weekends and shares with two daughters, Kari, who works for ValleyCare Health System, and Brea, who graduated a year ago from Colorado College and just completed her internship with the Houston Astros. She is now development director for the Stealth. Kernan thought about stepping down from the school board in 2006, but friends and associates persuaded him to stay. And with good reason. Board member Gloria Fredette had recently resigned. Fellow attorney Steve Pulido announced that he would not seek reelection because of his pending appointment as a judge in the Alameda Superior Court system. Veteran board member Juanita Haugen told her colleagues that she was fighting terminal cancer and might have only a few months to live. Kernan decided to stay, but checking first with the school district's and other legal experts to make sure his apartment qualified as his legal domicile. It did and it does, giving Kernan and his passion for quality education four more years of leadership on the Pleasanton school board.

Comments

Posted by Kari, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2008 at 10:54 am

Thank you Jeb for stepping up to the plate and being the first to report in my father's defense. It was hard for my family to see how some of the people in Pleasanton, whom for most of the part haven't been around long enough to even see the accomplishments my father did for the schoolboard, would be so rash towards him and my family and questioning his integrity. My father is my hero, infact, ask any one of his children.. he is ALL of our heros. He is a man of honor, integrity and devotion to what means most to him. And one of those that means the most to him is being a member on the school board. So for those of you in Pleasanton who have a problem with my father, I am sorry. You are wasting your time and look very foolish.


Posted by Julie Testa, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jul 11, 2008 at 12:38 pm

The question of Trustee residency is a legitimate concern that deserves public scrutiny.


So much for supporting free speech or the integrity of elected office.

I am very disappointed that Jeb committed to call me concerning the Kernan residency issue but never did. Seeing his editorial I can't help being upset that he did not take the time to talk to me as he committed to doing before writing this.

Many of the things said in the editorial are wrong. There was a speaker at the meeting that supported my concerns while Pat did not have one member of the public, that was not related to him or that is a Pleasanton resident, speak for him.

Jim Ott allowed the time to present this issue because it is required by law that a member of the public be allowed time to do so. He did not defuse any of my points in fact he and John Casey were wrong on their understanding of the Quo warranto process and what they told the board. The reporter from the Times confirmed that fact in their story Web Link.
The board vote that was taken was based on the biased and wrong information given to the board. Even so three of the four agreed if there was no cost they would like a definitive answer.

Jim was also wrong in explaining how it was possible for Pat to have gotten called to jury duty in El Dorado County. If as Mr. Kernan claims he has maintained his voter registration and drivers license in Alameda County it would not seem possible to get called to jury duty in El Dorado County. Vehicle registration is not used.
Web Link

 El Dorado Superior Court, how Jurors Are Summoned: The selection of jurors is governed by the California Code of Civil Procedure. Jurors' names are selected at random from lists of registered voters and persons who have valid California drivers' licenses or identification cards.

The requirement of residency for local representation is a legitimate concern. Jim Ott was wrong to attempt to put me on the defensive by questioning my motives, Jim's questions were irrelevant and wrong.

I can't help being disappointed that our local paper does not put the public's need for accountability above a personal friendship.

I will respond with an update and facts later.

Julie


Posted by Julie Testa, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jul 11, 2008 at 3:01 pm

The Ca. Attorney Generals Office has said that the district has a responsibility to protect the integrity of the elected office of school trustee.

The superintendent and school board members had knowledge of the sale of Pat Kernan's Pleasanton home and subsequent purchase of a replacement property in Camino Ca. before his 2006 bid for reelection. The president of the school board Jim Ott made it clear that he did not think Mr. Kernan or the district had any responsibility to disclose that information to the general public so they could challenge his reelection.

Therefore it is not surprising that PUSD and the trustees are not willing to pursue the issue but instead feel the burden should be on the public.

Below I have cited the laws that I believe show that Pat Kernan is in violation of the Ca. residency requirement. I have listed all facts that I believe to be true. I have included the points from PUSD's attorney's letter and the questions it raises.


California Education code 35107
Establishes a residency requirement
Any person, regardless of sex, who is 18 years of age or older, a citizen of the state, Must be a resident of the school districtů

California Government Code Section 244
 In determining the place of residence the following rules shall be observed: (a) It is the place where one remains when not called else where for labor or other special or temporary purpose, and to which he or she returns in seasons of repose. (b) There can only be one residence.


 As the Freiman letter makes clear Mr. Kernan keeps an apartment in Pleasanton for work purposes. Mr. Kernana's wife also stated Pat leaves for work on Monday and returns home on Friday. The apartment appears to be where he is, "called for labor or other special or temporary purpose."

 Mr. Kernan spent his convalescence after a recent medical procedure in his home in Camino. That would appear to be where he returns in a time of repose.



Government Code section 1770:
 Residence for purposes of Government Code section 1770 means domicile, a place of physical presence coupled with an intention to make that place ones permanent home; a person may only have one domicile at any given time.

 The evidence is overwhelmingly compelling that Mr. Kernan has establish Camino as his permanent home. The rented apartment shared with his adult daughters is for short term work necessity. The home he owns and shares with his wife appears more likely to be where he intends to make his permanent home, his retirement home.


Mr. Kernan has indicated that he claims a property tax exemption on his Camino home.
Election Code 2031
If a person has more than one dwelling a rebuttable presumption exists the dwelling on which he or she claims the homeowner's property tax exemption is that person's domicile.
This presumption does not apply, however, if the address listed for DMV purposes is a different residence.

It appear that Mr. Kernan may not have maintained his DMV records in Alameda County as is indicated by receiving a summons to jury duty in El Dorado County.

California Revenue And Taxation Code RTC Section 218
 (a) The homeowners' property tax exemption as authorized by subdivision (k) of Section 3 of Article XIII of the Constitution. shall be in the amount of seven thousand dollars .
 (b) The exemption does not extend to property that is a vacation or secondary home of the owner or owners.


 Only the principal residence can qualify for the homeowners exemption. If you are receiving the exemption for a home that no longer qualifies, it is your responsibility to notify your county assessor in a timely manner that your home is no longer eligible for the exemption. December 10th is the last day to terminate the homeowners' exemption without penalty; the assessor should receive notice of ineligibility by that date. (STATE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION)

 Either the Camino address is Mr. Kernan's principal residence or the State Board of Equalization would say he is not eligible for the exemption on that property.
 What address is use on Mr. Kernan's annual income tax return?

Existence of Substantial Question
of Fact or Law
 1. April 2006 the Kernan's sold their home on Tanglewood, Pleasanton, Ca.
 2. April 2006 the Kernan's subsequently purchased a home at 4515 Superior Dr, Camino, CA.
 3. Mr.Kernan has stated that the permanent residence of his wife is the Camino Ca. residence.
 4. Mr. Kernan's personal check #1083, written to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters for filing fees on Aug. 10th 2006, showed his home address as 4515 Superior Dr, Camino, CA. Re-appointed to Board November 2006.
 5. Mr. Kernan was a partner with a Sacramento law firm. In fall of 2007 he opened his own private practice in an office in Camino. He maintains an office in Camino but only a home based business license for the Pleasanton apartment.
 6. Mr. Kernan serves as a representative of Camino Ca. on the board for the El Dorado Community Foundation. Kernan's family cited his home as Camino Ca. in a public announcement.
 7. Mr. Kernan has land phone lines serving his Camino law office as well as t he Camino residence. The home phone number listed for Pat Kernan on the district website was a cell number listed in his wife's name, it has been disconnected. Only cell numbers are listed for contact purposes for Pleasanton.
 8. Mr. Kernan has been unable to attend meetings. School board agendas (5/1/08 and 6/9/08) state trustee Kernan will participate in board meeting by phone, (available by phone from 4515 Superior Drive, Camino, CA 95709,)
 9. Mr. Kernan concedes that his property tax exemption is claimed on the Camino address.
 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 Letter from Harold Freiman Attorney for PUSD dated May 14, 2008
 1. Maintains a rental address in his name within the District.
 2. Has indicated that his Pleasanton address appears on his driver's license.
 3. Has further indicated that his vehicle is registered to his Pleasanton address. Mr. Kernan's satisfaction of the DMV registration requirements evinces his intent to remain in Pleasanton. While Mr. Kernan indicated that he claims a property tax exemption on his El Dorado property, his DMV listing in Pleasanton rebuts any presumption of residency in El Dorado. (Elec. Code Sec. 2031.)
 4. Is registered to vote at his Pleasanton address, and has in fact voted in recent elections in Pleasanton. Mr. Kernan's status as a voter supports the contention that he both physically resides in Pleasanton and has the intent to remain here.
 5. Was excused from jury duty in El Dorado County earlier this year on the basis that he is a resident of Pleasanton.

 Contradiction of facts.
 El Dorado Superior Court, how Jurors Are Summoned: The selection of jurors is governed by the California Code of Civil Procedure. Jurors' names are selected at random from lists of registered voters and persons who have valid California drivers' licenses or identification cards (El Dorado Superior Court website).

 If as Mr. Kernan claims he has maintained his voter registration and drivers license in Alameda County it would not have been possible to get called to jury duty in El Dorado County.

 The Ca. DMV cannot confirm that he has maintained his records in Pleasanton. A print out from the DMV from April 2006 until today, also voter registration records may clarify this question.



Letter from Harold Freiman continued
 6. Has significant business affiliations with he Pleasanton area. Mr. Kernan has indicated that he has a business license issued by the City of Pleasanton to operate his law office.
 7. Continues to practice law in Pleasanton, based out of his residence, with over 90% of his clients located in Pleasanton and the surrounding vicinity. Mr. Kernan indicated that his Pleasanton address is not on his business card or letterhead because a local Pleasanton ordinance prohibits advertising a residential office address. (Pleasanton City Mun. Code) The fact that Mr. Kernan's legal practice is focused in this area evinces an intent to remain a resident of Pleasanton.
 8. Has a license to practice law registered with the California State Bar at the Pleasanton address.
 9. Is a member of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce.

There is no dispute that Mr. Kernan does business in Pleasanton.

 10. Conducts 100% of his business banking with Pleasanton branches of financial institutions.

 Mr. Kernan's personal check #1083, written to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters for filing fees on Aug. 10th 2006, showed his home address as 4515 Superior Dr, Camino, CA.

 11. Continues to receive medical care in Pleasanton, including for a recent surgery on April 8, 2008. While he has been recuperating and receiving treatments for that surgery out of his El Dorado County property, Mr. Kernan indicates that this is because his rental unit in Pleasanton is a walk-up without any elevator, and his surgery hampers his access.
 12. Prior to his surgery, Mr. Kernan indicated that he was spending as much as 70% of his time at the Pleasanton address, including both weekdays and weekends, and that more than half of his nights were spent at the Pleasanton address.
 13. Belongs to a church in Pleasanton.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jul 11, 2008 at 4:45 pm

Although sad to see the same arguments brought up again (& again), I appreciate the recognition of Pat's positive contribution, finally, in the Weekly. Thanks Pat - glad that you had both the drive and guts to hang-in-there through such vicious attacks.


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jul 11, 2008 at 6:19 pm

To Jeb Bing:

You wrote: "Others sign in to the forum with phony (sic) names". I take this as an insult. My name is real, and I, as do the vast majority of your posters, choose not to parade my complete identity in this blog (although a few know who I am). Can we extrapolate your comment to mean everyone who posts to your blog uses phoney (correct spelling) names because they don't reveal their identities, and therefore their opinions don't count?

The Kernan thing is probably not over with, so your declaration of victory may be premature.


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jul 11, 2008 at 8:05 pm

Hey PW folks. As you can see since I am again posting about this that Jeb has really hit a nerve with his "Others sign in to the forum with phony (sic) names".

Recall the the blog of about a week or so ago, that you all have conveniently removed, about keeping the anonymity of posters to the extent that you argued you will allow counterfeit monikers?

And now the PW editor declares people are posting with phoney names? You guys really need to explain this. How does he know the names are phoney? How can you promote the anonymity attribute and turn around and call us phoney?

Wow!!!


Posted by Ann, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2008 at 12:53 am

"It's puzzling why this small group of unidentified individuals used their blogging time so consistently to bash Kernan."

Over the past 2 months the question of Kernan's residency has had more that 2470 hits and more than 130 posts on five different threads. This is easily one of the top topics on the PW blog. Yet Jeb insults the posters and discounts their input, using words like bash to shame and discredit them.

The law may be arguable but many people see a clear violation of the intent of the residency requirement and are uncomfortable with PUSD and school Trustees that allow this to continue.

It is true that it is a shame it came to this point, Kernan should have resigned when he moved from Pleasanton. We have a wealth of capable residents that would be willing and able to serve their community if the seat was vacated.







Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Jul 12, 2008 at 2:13 am

Julie Testa is to be complimented for all the hard work she has undertaken(as well as the flack she has received from some)to bring this matter to the forefront. Due to attorney fees required should a private citizen desire to have a proper investigation undertaken(as suggested by Mr. Ott at the last PUSD Board Meeting), this matter will probably be resolved at the ballot box.

Does anyone really believe a politician would approve an indepth investigation involving one of their own(unless votes are involved, then watch the finger pointing). They can piddle away vast amounts of public funds pursuing an appeal of a lawsuit where they were "out snookered" but refuse to expend a token amount of the cost of this appeal to verify the eligibility of one of their own even when presented with clearly written California Codes.

Would be nice if a non-profit with expertise in this field would step forward as a "concerned citizen" and settle this controversy.

Per the great Yogi Berra, "It ain't over till it's over"!!!!:)

PS Mr. Bing, I'm the real Jerry from Oakhill......


Posted by ANONYMOUS for a reason, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2008 at 2:20 am

Jeb, I admit to being one of the "phony" posters on this subject! (I find both spellings in the dictionary, frank) The reason why? Because when it comes to school related issues, I know that not everyone agrees with me and I can deal with that. But I do not want my children to bear any consequences from teachers, administrators, or even other parents because of my actions. And yes, it would happen because we are human. It is extremely clear who you side with, Jeb, so if you were my child's teacher and were aware of my views, I would be concerned how that difference of opinion would affect my child.

BTW, when I googled Kernan his law firm came up. He shows an office address in Camino with a phone and fax number. WHY? He has stated that he travels to Pleasanton to work out of an office in his apartment to service 90% of his business! It does not seem logical. I haven't read anywhere what his explanation is to that. But maybe Jim Ott will diplomatically tell me it is none of my business just as he addressed other arguments at the meeting.
And since I am unwilling to put my name on this post, I guess my questions and opinions have no merit as far as Jeb Bing and the school trustees are concerned................


Posted by That's Right - Anonymous, a resident of Mission Park
on Jul 12, 2008 at 5:52 pm

Jeb has had a bad week, in my opinion. His shameless defense of Signature in the Editorial and his attack on an involved citizen, Julie Testa, are both way off the mark. I agree with frank that PW staff has posted repeatedly here about their support for anonymous posting and then the Editor attacks those who do just that. If you don't want people to post anonymously, you have the power to change it through your software. Such hypocritical comments I have not seen from Mr. Bing before. People who run for and serve in public office should expect this scrutiny. Julie Testa and people like her are what make this Democracy great. Thank you, Julie Testa. You deserve thanks from all of Pleasanton for your hard work. I, for one, am persuaded by your arguments but I would never use my name for the same reasons cited by ANONYMOUS above.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 12, 2008 at 8:14 pm

"If you don't want people to post anonymously, you have the power to change it through your software."

Not really. But at least when someone writes "Jerry from Oakhill" or "Cholo from Livermore" I can trust that that person is really "Jerry from Oakhill" or "Cholo from Livermore" if they restricted threads to registered-only posters.

"Others sign in to the forum with phony names and at the school board meeting, no one came forward to join Testa".

There is no "signing in" since you don't have to sign in to post! But I get it. No one is joining Testa. Perhaps they don't think it is the time to do so or perhaps they don't care.


Posted by fact checker, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2008 at 8:21 pm

We apparently don't have many people willing to run or we wouldn't have so many board members who started their careers with an appointment rather than being elected. I often wonder why we didn't have a special election for the last appointment when the community lost Juanita Haugan. It was certainly questionable and probably illegal for Pulido to comment on and then vote for his own replacement. No one seemed concerned about that! Why? Because it is hard to get people who want to volunteer their time to serve, whether appointed or elected.

With all this bashing, I am sure we have a long line of people ready to run for any position in this city.


Posted by Julie Testa, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jul 12, 2008 at 11:16 pm


Stacey,

If a law is broken how many people are required to speak up to justify the enforcement of that law?

I know you have read the many posts from people that have been offended by the idea that a nonresident could have a say in whether we will pay a parcel tax.
Many parents have expressed concern for the hypocrisy of the districts Community of Character philosophy while not demonstrating the same level of integrity that is expected of our kids.
You have read the above post from a parent that expresses a concern shared by many parents about fear in being vocal about anything that may have an effect on their children.
Jeb was wrong there was a speaker at the board meeting and are you discounting the posts on this thread?

I feel there has been a significant amount of concern and support for this issue but I don't think it should be necessary. If one person asks for accountability from our officials that should be enough.


FC the appointments have been a pattern of manipulation to control who is allowed to serve on the board. A board member has told me they can do a better job of choosing a trustee than the voters can. The appointments give the advantage of the incumbency that no one wants to run against. The last time there was an open seat there were eight candidates. There is no shortage of capable Pleasanton residents eager to serve.






Posted by fact checker, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 13, 2008 at 5:56 am

Jim Ott ran unopposed in 2006.


Posted by fact checker, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 13, 2008 at 5:57 am

. . .after being appointed.


Posted by Julie, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jul 13, 2008 at 9:48 am


Exactly, Jim Ott ran unopposed in 2006, after being appointed only months earlier. There were six applicants for the appointment eager to serve. One of those was Chris Grant. If either Jim or Pat's seat was open in the 2006 election I know he would have stepped forward as would have several others. Why would anyone put themselves through a costly campaign against strong incumbents?

Pat's move had not been made public information.

The appointment incumbent advantage is why Steve Brozosky agreed to be the placeholder to ensure an open seat in this election. I respect Steve's integrity in keeping his promise even though it is hard to see him leave the board since he has been the best school board member in years. He was the only one that made sense during the budget discussions.





Posted by your facts are wack, a resident of Downtown
on Jul 13, 2008 at 1:42 pm

fact checker,

While Section 5090 talks about vacancies on school district governing boards or community college boards, this section seems to only apply to community college boards. I could not find a reference that referred to school district governing boards specifically.

CALIFORNIA CODES
EDUCATION CODE
SECTION 72203.5-72207

72203.5. A member of the governing board of a community college
district who has tendered a resignation with a deferred effective
date pursuant to Section 5090 shall, until the effective date of the
resignation, continue to have the right to exercise all powers of a
member of the governing board, except that such member shall not have
the right to vote for his or her successor in an action taken by the
board to make a provisional appointment pursuant to Section 5091.

5090. district boards are caused by any of the events specified in
Section 1770 of the Government Code, or by a failure to elect. A
vacancy resulting from resignation occurs when the written
resignation is filed with the county superintendent of schools having
jurisdiction over the district, except where a deferred effective
date is specified in the resignation so filed, in which case the
resignation shall become effective on that date. A written
resignation, whether specifying a deferred effective date or
otherwise, shall, upon being filed with the county superintendent of
schools be irrevocable.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 13, 2008 at 2:04 pm

Julie,
I am assuming you are responding to what I wrote above, "No one is joining Testa. Perhaps they don't think it is the time to do so or perhaps they don't care."

In some ways, no, I'm not discounting the posts here. This site is a good way to take the local pulse, so to speak.

In other ways, yes, I am discounting the posts here (even mine). These posts here should not replace the weight and consideration reserved to someone showing up at a public meeting or otherwise being recorded in the public record (like via mail or email). I agree with the above posters though. Jeb Bing did a poor job of explaining this and ended up sounding insulting.

"If one person asks for accountability from our officials that should be enough."

Certainly, but in most cases reality doesn't reflect that desire! When people show up en masse, the response is a lot more swift.

PS: Jeb, how do you know that a post here by "Julie Testa" is indeed written by Julie Testa?!


Posted by A friend of Ben, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 14, 2008 at 8:08 am

I was shocked by Mr. Bing's editorial this past week. Has he never heard of the use of a pseudonym? Our colorful American past is filled with examples of writers using the protection of a pseudonym in order to speak freely. A great example is Benjamin Franklin. Franklin used the pen names Richard Saunders, Father Abraham and most famously, Poor Richard (Poor Richard's Almanack).

Thanks Julie Testa. As Franklin (as Poor Richard) stated: "Want of care does us more damage than want of knowledge."

Very few people posting to blogs anywhere in the world ever use their real name. For Mr. Bing to connect the use of a pseudonym with a lack of honesty or cowardice is simply simple minded thinking.

Source: Web Link


Posted by D.M. Krebs, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jul 14, 2008 at 8:23 am

Kernan's house in Camino has been characterized several time in the PW as a "retirement home". How can it be a retirement home when Kernan is a working attorney?

Nice that one of Kernan's clients is the San Jose Stealth and his daughter Brea is the Development Director for, surprise, the San Jose Stealth (I'm sure she was the most qualified candidate).

Integrity matters – we want leaders with integrity.


Posted by Meribeth D., a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2008 at 1:12 am

It is very clear that Jeb wants to make this issue look like one person's concern solely. So much so, that he is not even reporting correctly. Jeb wrote that only Julie Testa spoke to the board about this matter stating, "she's the only one so far who has made her complaint public using her actual name." He doesn't want to give any credence to the blog postings but also ignored another resident who came out to speak publicly. You see, while it was a difficult thing to do and certainly not something I enjoyed doing, I also addressed the board of trustees that night! I even used my real name and no disguises to boot!
Pat's past service to this community nor his seniority on the board should be reasons to ignore the spirit of the law. The fact that Pat sought legal advice 2 years ago before filing for re-election indicates to me that there was sufficient question about the intent of the 2 residences.
I told the board that I thought the significant changes in job and residence status should have been made public at the time before the filing period was over. Jim Ott responded later in the meeting that he didn't believe there was any obligation to have done so and went on to joke about it. I would still disagree with him because we are talking about an elected official.
Marcia Kernan, Pat's wife who is no longer a Pleasanton resident, also spoke at the meeting. Interestingly, she defended Pat by saying he leaves the house in Camino on Monday to come to Pleasanton to work and she doesn't see him again until Friday. Julie Testa posted above that California Government Code Section 244 states: In determining the place of residence the following rules shall be observed: (a) It is the place where one remains when not called else where for labor or other special or temporary purpose, and to which he or she returns in seasons of repose. (b) There can only be one residence.
It sure sounds like Pat comes to Pleasanton for labor and returns to Camino for the weekend of repose. Wouldn't that make Camino his home?
But the trustees did not appear to look at any of the contradictory facts that Julie Testa presented nor seem to want answers to any of the additional questions raised. Instead, they referred to the opinion written in May by Harold Freiman, the esteemed attorney for PUSD as being all that was needed.

Here is what I shared with the board the night of the discussion.
---------------------------------------
My primary concern has to do with our Community of Character traits. Our school district and city tout these traits. We hang signs. We honor individuals who show exemplary behavior. And of course, we hope to impart important lessons to our children as part of their education.
But the reality that I see & hear from other parents is that many people feel these actions are often times just lip service. When a situation gets uncomfortable, we tend to look away. Is that what is being done in this scenario? Pat has served this community for many years but is he entitled to continue doing so based on that fact?
I have read Pat's comments in the local news as well as what is outlined in the attorney's letter. I have also done a little internet research of my own and have more questions. For instance, if 90% of Pat's clients are here why open an office for the law practice in Camino? After the sale of the Pleasanton house in 2006, why was the landline phone disconnected rather than transferred to the apartment? A cell number is the only phone number listed for Pleasanton purposes yet the Camino house and office are serviced by 3 landlines. If Camino is NOT his residence, why would he serve on the El Dorado Community Foundation board?
I think that information should have been made public 2 years ago prior to the filing deadline for the election in Nov. 06. I consider myself to be a fairly involved member of this community and yet I knew nothing about changes in Pat's employment or residence.
The Pleasanton Weekly on Aug. 18, 2006 reported that the filing deadline had been one week earlier. The article included the following statement, "Kernan is a partner with the law firm Riegls, Campos and Kenyon based in Sacramento. Although this takes him out of the Bay Area 2 or 3 times a week, Kernan said it does not impede his ability to serve on the board." I recall thinking what an extraordinarily long commute that would be even if just 2-3 times a week! And for someone who had worked in the Pleasanton area for many years, that seemed like an enormous change in lifestyle.
What the public was not aware of was the sale of his house here in Pleasanton. Had that knowledge been out, I can't help but think that there would have been more questions from the community. And perhaps that election year would have been a bit different.
This should not be a matter of merely satisfying the legal technicalities which we can continue to debate. If you want to truly be a Community of Character however; then please consider the true spirit of the law. To do otherwise is simply hypocritical.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 15, 2008 at 6:53 am

Hi Meribeth,

Thanks for posting!

BTW, the Community of Character thing IS lip service! I've never thought otherwise. Instead of actually practicing, the ideals becomes packaged up into neat little slogans that people can whip out and show off, like a gym membership card without actually going to a gym.


Posted by Dignity & Grace, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 15, 2008 at 9:13 am

Meribeth,

Thank you for speaking before our school board. I expect a posted correction by Mr. Bing and I expect to see that correction printed in the next edition of the PW.

Mr. Kernan, in your heart of hearts, you DO know what the right thing to do is. However, it seems that you are so intoxicated by your local political power that you are completely blind to reality. Very sad, like a professional athlete that doesn't know when to leave the game.

Will someone remind us when Mr. Kernan is up for re-election again? Will good members of our community who actually live in here stand up and run against him?


Posted by Phony Name, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2008 at 9:32 am


Well said Meribeth!

I hope the Pleasanton Weekly will make an appropriate response in print.






Posted by Marcia Kernan, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2008 at 11:02 am

To you few who are posting on this blog, especially D M Krebs, please know that my daughter, Brea, called me this morning crying. She saw the post and was hurt by it...alot.
You all write of integrity and character. I ask, is picking on other people's children your definition of these two traits? I also ask, is there joy in hurting other people's children, regardless of their age? Would you want this for your own child(ren)?
Go ahead and pick on Pat or me, but please, leave our children out of this.
Meanwhile, please know that we (our children included) are all praying for you in hopes you will find peace in your hearts and your minds. Life is too short to be so negative.
May God bless you all.


Posted by Matthew, a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2008 at 11:30 am


Ouch..... using God as a weapon.....



Posted by Really?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2008 at 11:39 am

Is the previous post really from Marcia Kernan? Her line "life is too short to be so negative" does not sound like her at all. You only have to read her letters to the editors where she has personally blasted people. She did not go after the issue but directly attacked people. She has done this time and time again. I have never read letters to the editors that had more venom in them than those written by Marcia Kernan.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 15, 2008 at 11:47 am

Well, one does have to ask what does Brea have to do with Pat Kernan's residency issue? Are people honestly willing to demonize these people while pontificating from behind the Community of Character slogans and the relative safety of this anonymous blog. And then only 2 people show up to the school board meeting? Whether or not that post is really written by Marcia Kernan or not or whether Brea really was crying or not, it was right to call out D.M. Krebs.


Posted by Ron, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2008 at 12:17 pm


It was Jeb's editorial that brought up Brea's position with the Stealth and her fathers relationship with them as well. Brea's position did not seem relevant to the residency issue other than to deflect from the fact that Kernan is a nonresident trustee. The editorial made Brea's position relevant to this thread and the poster only said what many of us thought when reading the editorial.
Marcia Kernan has no room to throw stones she has made some of the most vicious personal attacks in Pleasanton's history.
The Kernan's have good kids and while they are all adults it is unfortunate that editorial brought them into the discussion.


Posted by Martin, a resident of California Somerset
on Jul 15, 2008 at 1:34 pm

It looks like Mr. Bing will need to add another correction to his story. I just went to the San Jose Stealth web site. Brea Kernan is listed as a Community Relations Assistant, not the Development Director. The rolls are completely different, one has major organizational responsibility, the other is a junior public relations role.

Keep in mind that Brea Kernan is an adult. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kernan, but to speak of her as a child is clearly disingenuous. Her business information is posted on the internet, available for anyone in the world to see. By accepting a position with an organization her father represents, she had to know there would be talk of "inside dealing".


Posted by Enrique, a resident of Walnut Hills
on Jul 15, 2008 at 2:36 pm

Caveat: I am using a psuedonym here only because I am in a position where I come into regular contact with District leadership, am part of a school organization and have children in the district. Last thing I need, is retaliation, which I doubt would happen, but one cannot be too careful.

From the time I first read about the issue of Pat Kernan's residency issue to now, my feelings on this matter have not changed, though I have read both sides of the story. It seems that the issue in question cannot solely be measured in terms of legality. If it was, we could go on and on fighting over past judicial decisions and specific legalese that could be argued for or against by either side.

Many on this blog have stated that this has become an issue of character and I completely agree. Leaders set an example for everyone else, and if someone fights for something with the backing of a lawyer instead of doing what is right, then our kids will sense that is what is normal. I am afraid that in Pleasanton, this may already be the case.

I ask to those that may know: would a child wanting to go to school in Pleasanton be able to use the same rationale as Mr. Kernan? And I wonder if Mr. Kernan and his wife were out of state and came across a group of travellers and were asked "where do you live?", is there any logical reason they would respond with Pleasanton?

There are times when things that are legal are not necessary right. For example, automobiles have to yield to me if I am crossing a street outside a crosswalk. Are what cars have to follow the rule of law? Yes. Is what I am doing wrong? Yes.

Pat Kernan may hide behind the rule of law, but he should set the right example and allow someone who rides in Pleasanton full-time take his seat.

I am sure Mr. Kernan has done much for the school district, and I applaud him for all the work that he has done. The district has been successful as a result of his tremendous service. However, it is time for him to step down and allow another to take his place.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 15, 2008 at 3:18 pm

Enrique,

I thought that was a very good post. One thing that bothers me though is when you (or anyone else) write, "someone fights for something with the backing of a lawyer instead of doing what is right". I always have to ask who gets to decide what is right?


Posted by Jimmy, a resident of Dublin
on Jul 15, 2008 at 3:59 pm

I think all you people are being absolutely foolish!

Pat knows where he lives and who his clients are. Why isn't his word enough? He is doing a service for you and your children and doing a pretty damn good job at it too! Being a product of the DUSD, You should feel privelaged to have a man with so much integrity and dedication be able to serve on your board for your children!


Posted by Enrique, a resident of Walnut Hills
on Jul 15, 2008 at 4:53 pm

Stacey,

Very good point. My version of what may be right or wrong may completely differ from what you believe. As a result, then all we have is the rule of law. I do not wish to impart my thinking upon anyone, though it is my feeling that many of us get away with doing something that is "not right" though it may be legal.

As for leaving Mr. Kernan alone. Granted, we all accept the fact that he has been an asset to the educational community here in Pleasanton, but there are many other stakeholders here in town that are ready, willing and able to play a role in this drama we call "The Pleasanton Board of Education".


Posted by Bob Phillips, a resident of Country Fair
on Jul 15, 2008 at 6:15 pm

Enrique, or, whoever you are, you are right on The Mark.

Jimmy, you see results and don't see how the results are achieved. Chew on this for a minute: What good is it to win when you have cheated to "achieve" it?


Posted by annonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2008 at 6:23 pm

Oh please let me serve for almost no monetary gain but plenty of abuse. WHY would someone like Pat Kernan serve if it was not for the good of the school community. Why take this kind of abuse. and where are these people who want to run???????


Posted by Marjorie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2008 at 11:16 pm

A dry (very dry, as in tedious) listing of the facts by Julie Testa, (who I don't know, I have nothing to do with any of this), is called a 'vicious attack' and 'abuse.'
That makes me suspicious.
If a child in a Pleasanton school broke a rule, and the rules and facts of the situation were tediously explained by the principal, and the child's parents called this recitation 'abusive' and a 'vicious attack'. I'd have to wonder about the parents.
So I'm wondering about all these good ol' boys and observing how lathered up they're getting.
You gotta admit, Ms. Testa has got c*j*nes.

I don't know Julie, but I gotta say, for taking you all on that woman's got cojones.


Posted by Kevin, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2008 at 11:58 pm

Wow, we live in a community with one of the best school districts in the country and all you guys can do is complain about it and one of its members. Instead of the complaints why not be thankful that your children are able to get such a great education in this beautiful town. With the economy the way it is and all the budget cuts that are occuring with education why not leave this school board, which has done an amazing job, alone and let them concentrate on more important things. Such as how to deal with the loss of some state funds. I went through Pleasanton schools from Kindergarten through 12th grade and I couldn't have asked for a better education. I feel so lucky and priviledged to have gone to such wonderful schools and this school board has much to thank for that. Mr. Kernan is one of the most honest and honorable men I have ever met. He is a kind man who will do anything for you and expect nothing in return. He has nothing but good intentions and your child's education on his mind everytime he makes a decision on the board. You should all feel lucky to have that caliber of man sitting on your school board. So before you leave another negative comment about Mr. Kernan and this school board think about what he and the board have done for your children and their education.


Posted by Kari Kernan, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2008 at 12:06 am

So this is what you guys came up with? Attaking my family. Does it make you feel like a bigger person now? Can you go to bed feeling satisfied with yourselves? With everythiing going on in the world, THIS is what you spend your days doing? I feel sorry for you. And yes, like my mother said, God Bless you and your soul.


Posted by Sue, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jul 16, 2008 at 8:32 am


No one person gets credit for the success of Pleasanton or our schools. Many could site critsisms of Mr. Kernan's role as a trustee but that is not what this issue is about. Some give credit for the 12 years served, some would say serving too long is why we have a problem with loss of perspective and cronyism.

It is clear Mr. Kernan is well cared for by his family. But this issue is not about someone's father or husband it is about a public elected position that the public has an interest in and responsibility for.

I do not need anyones sanctimonious blessing.






Posted by Pat, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2008 at 1:07 pm

Kevin, you're so right. We are BAD, BAD people. Ungrateful! Selfish! We need to go to our rooms NOW and think about it! We will not come out until we are grateful! Grateful for how wonderful everybody is, and for all we've received in this wonderful place, the most wonderful place of all, O Pleasanton! You are GOOD, Kevin, Good! You don't complain, O might one! We will never assert ourselves again, I promise!


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jul 16, 2008 at 2:32 pm

Is kari a crybaby or what? Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezy...save us from our sins!

Where do you born kari, or is irak boink!

give it a rest...


Posted by Diane, a resident of Parkside
on Jul 16, 2008 at 5:24 pm

I guess I do not understand the defense arguments here. I paraphrase, "He has spent so much time serving us in the past so lets look past his current potential illegalities."

With that argument, President Nixon would have been able to finish his term as president.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jul 16, 2008 at 5:29 pm

Pray tell, how could have Nixon completed his term, Hitler's face was stitched under his!

Boo hoo hoo kari...spare me!


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jul 16, 2008 at 8:20 pm

Pat, you have executed the advice of the Duchess quite effectively. It has served you well. I recently offered it to Cholo in his run for the Presidency.

"Be what you would seem to be -- or, if you'd like it put more simply -- Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise." A resident of Pleasanton!


Posted by Chris, a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 16, 2008 at 8:33 pm

Diane, well said! The only thing I would add to that defense is, "And besides, he is a really nice guy."

Community of Character. HA! What a joke that is.


Posted by Scott Downey, a resident of Downtown
on Jul 16, 2008 at 8:52 pm

Maybe Kevin is actually Pat Kernan?


Posted by John, a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Jul 17, 2008 at 11:44 am

All the rules, codes, procedures, laws, etc. that people have bothered to devise and put in place are for the benefit of the community, Pleasanton. Those that believe we should adhere to them are insulted and patronized. Kernan's boys are rallying around because they might need his (and all the others) support one day when their questionable conduct is exposed. All this 'support' is self-serving.


Posted by Blake, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Jul 17, 2008 at 12:32 pm



It appears to me that he was asked to stay on the board because he was a vote that could be counted on to support a parcel tax.

Some of the board members seem uncomfortable but are not willing to step up.





Posted by Fiscal Responsibility, a resident of Avignon
on Jul 17, 2008 at 12:47 pm

Where can we find a full, current accounting of all compensation for Pleasanton public school administrators and other public employees? A recent CA Supreme Court ruling upheald our right to know all salaries of all employees, by name. If I'm not mistaken, the case was brought to court by the Contra Costa Times.

When discussing a parcel tax or any other tax increases, we need to know what our current liabilities are and see if there are opportunities to trim costs. Look at the private sector - any quality business is now looking at all costs and cutting costs as needed. This is something all government agencies are loathe to do.


Posted by Taxpayer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2008 at 1:57 pm


There have been several threads where this has been discussed. Too bad it does not make it to print for more people to see.

I will never vote for a school board member that is endorsed by the teachers union.

From past threads:


Web Link

That is all public information and through the public information act the district has to give this to anybody who asks.
Looking at this year's budget (anybody can go to the district office and ask for a copy of the budget, might even be online), the superintendent budgets $13,000 for travel, $1660 for meals, $7000 for office supplies. For superintendent communications, which includes the public information officer, travel, office supplies and such is $175,150.

Found 2007 budget at
Web Link

A quick look shows the budget was $147MM, $85MM in salaries and $15 MM in benefits (the benefits ratio to salaries appears to far exceed that which is paid in the private sector ((about 10 percent or less)), another earmark of government paying themselves excessive benefits).

The board packet with this years salary and contract for the superindentent is at Web Link . It is item 15.
In addition to the salary of $227,000 per year he receives some pretty good benefits:

10 holidays per year (more if another state holiday occurs on a weekend)

24 days of vacation per year (5 weeks)

$5,000 per year for life insurance

$10,000 per year into a tax sheltered annuity

$1,000 per month as a transportation allowance for use of his personal vehicle

Once retired receives taxpayer paid medical, dental and vision insurance for himself and his spouse until he reaches 65.
Also got 200K interest free loan to purchase a home.





Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jul 17, 2008 at 2:07 pm

Lipstick and Lipservice are the same thing!

Now meditate and wait for something strange to happen.

Crybabies...


Posted by Lorieanne, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 21, 2008 at 2:49 am

Note to Pat and Marcia:
You could do your family a huge service by gracefully stepping away. Ms. Testa offered to back away from this matter if you would- but YOU made the decision to stick it out. Logic is on her side and it does not appear that the public is with you.
Pray for your own insight instead of ours.


Posted by logical, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2008 at 10:42 am

Lorieanne,
Speak for yourself, and yourself only. Most of the public is NOT on Julie's side. Infact, many people, inlcuding myself, are tired of hearing about it. It's the same argument over and over. Get on with your lives.


Posted by Don, a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 21, 2008 at 11:13 am


It is not about sides, residency is a law to insure local representation.

Pat Kernan is responsible for this issue continuing, it will not be resolved until he resigns.

If you are tired of hearing about it tell him so in an email when you ask him to resign.






Posted by Steve, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2008 at 12:42 pm

Someone is breaking the law, someone else in pointing that out, and a bystander's reaction is "it's the same argument over and over." That's interesting, so if I'm ever a juror in a trial, I can walk out before deliberations are over because I want to get on with my life, and I don't want to hear the same arguments over and over. We can all get out of jury duty with this rationale.


Posted by White, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jul 27, 2008 at 2:19 pm

I am astonished at the school board for NOT requesting the resignation of a member who is using a loophole to obstruct the truth of their residency.
Residency is not a gray area as this board is making it out to be, but a sense of loyalty and friendship can cloud good judgement.
I don't doubt Pat has good intentions, but if the rules are being bent or misconsstrued or are not clearly understood, then there is question and when there is question, the cracks in integrity and character can follow.
It would be a great disservice if the reputation of the Pleasanton School Board were tarnished because of misguided intentions.
I agree that this is NOT about sides, but about residency.
I wish Pat a speedy recovery at his new HOME in Camino and urge him to consider the negative view and tension this situation is creating in Pleasanton.


Posted by God Squad, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2008 at 11:39 am

Marcia Kernan...

God Bless All of you who write on this Forum. God has graciously provided this forum so that we could all use our faith in him to bash one another, even in His name. He is Great, and so is this blog. God has blessed your daughter with a wonderful God-Given job through the God-Given benefit of nepotism. God allowed your husband to become the Stealth's lawyer, and which allowed God to grant your daughter a job.
May God bless that your daughter will find the faith and wisdom to know that if she can't stand the heat...stay out of the kitchen.
Above all, God Bless you and have a Blessed day!


Posted by Doo Doo, a resident of Valley Trails
on Jul 31, 2008 at 5:42 pm

How come I never saw this topic on the Town Square Forum?? Was it being hidden???


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 31, 2008 at 6:03 pm

Doo Doo,
Use this link to view all Town Square postings sorted by newest first.
Web Link=


Posted by Julie, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jul 31, 2008 at 7:16 pm


The Pleasanton Weekly is selective about the forums that are allowed on the Home Page "TOP POSTS".

The topics with the most views and comments are not the ones that make the Home Page.
All of the non-resident trustee threads have been active threads but none have ever made the home page. The many discussions about the parcel tax were always the top posts but only one once made the home page. Topics that have been posted by the editor with one or no posts are there instead.


Posted by Doo Doo, a resident of Valley Trails
on Aug 1, 2008 at 9:53 am

Thank you Stacey, thats a great page link...and thank you too Julie, Its good to know who the newspaper is WITH before I follow blindly...


Posted by Julie, a resident of Foothill High School
on Aug 1, 2008 at 11:56 am


DD, my comment was not directed as much at you as a challenge to the PW.
I should have been direct.

PW this has been one of the TOP POST for a couple of weeks.
If you call the column on the home page "TOP POSTS" please show the top posts.

Julie Testa