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.