Original post made
on Jul 11, 2008
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.
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posted Friday, July 11, 2008, 12:00 AM
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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.