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Questions About Contributions to Kyra Mungia’s District 6 School Board Campaign

District 6 school board candidate Kyra Mungia’s opponents in District 6, Valarie Bachelor and Joel Velasquez, are allied with the movement against school closings and are critical of charter school expansion in Oakland. The Oakland Post asked Mungia several questions about these issues, including why she failed to disclose a $1,000 contribution she received from Gonzales immediately after Gonzales formally announced she was resigning from the Board.

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Kyra Mungia is running for the District 6 seat on the Oakland Board of Education. (Photo: kyraforoaklandstudents.com)
Kyra Mungia is running for the District 6 seat on the Oakland Board of Education. (Photo: kyraforoaklandstudents.com)

By Ken Epstein | Post News Group

The Oakland Post recently received a copy of an ethics complaint filed with the Oakland Ethics Commission about the funding of District 6 school board candidate Kyra Mungia, including whether she failed to report two campaign contributions as legally required.

In addition, some public-school advocates are raising concerns about contributions she received from local charter school leaders and an Independent Expenditure of nearly $50,000 from a Political Action Committee (PAC) controlled by former Mayor and Governor Jerry Brown, a long-time supporter of charter schools and school privatization.

Mungia, a former Oakland teacher, works as Mayor Libby Schaaf’s deputy director of education. Mungia was appointed in June to the board to fill the remaining months of the term of District 6 Boardmember Shanthi Gonzales, who resigned before completing her term.

Mungia’s position in the mayor’s office is funded by the Oakland Public Education Fund, often associated with corporate privatizers and charter schools.

Mungia’s opponents in District 6, Valarie Bachelor and Joel Velasquez, are allied with the movement against school closings and are critical of charter school expansion in Oakland.

The Oakland Post asked Mungia several questions about these issues, including why she failed to disclose a $1,000 contribution she received from Gonzales immediately after Gonzales formally announced she was resigning from the Board.

According to Board President Gary Yee, Gonzales, a strong backer of school closings, “stayed on [in Oakland] for an extra month so we could prepare for this process” of appointing a new school board member, during which time Mungia filed her original papers allowing her to run in November.

Gonzales then resigned on May 2 and contributed to Mungia’s campaign on May 3. Ultimately, Mungia was appointed by the board to fill the last six months of Gonzales’ term. Some view this as a political ploy to give Mungia a leg up in the November race by allowing her to run as an incumbent.

Gonzales also contributed campaign email lists to Mungia, which is an in-kind donation and legally also must be reported as a contribution.

In her reply, Mungia wrote, “My campaign did receive a contribution check for $1,000 from Shanthi Gonzalez’s campaign committee, Gonzales for School Board 2018, in May 2022. However, because the contribution amount was over the limit, we didn’t deposit the check.”

Her response does not completely resolve potential issues. First, if the check from Gonzales came from her campaign account, it is legally permissible up to $1,800. Second, if she has not cashed it but still has not returned it, it is possible that she should have disclosed the contribution because reporting requirements are based on receipt of contributions, not when they are deposited in the bank.

Further, Mungia did not explain why she failed to report the in-kind contribution of Gonzales’ email addresses.

The Public Ethics Commission complaint filed by an Oakland resident also alleged that some email addresses contributed by Gonzales to Mungia’s campaign did not come from Gonzales’ campaign contacts but from residents who contacted her only in her capacity as a school board director. The use of those emails in an election campaign is not permitted.

In reply Mungia wrote, “I did receive some email addresses from Shanthi Gonzales, which she forwarded to me from her personal email address and many of which I already had. I understood these emails to belong to friends and personal contacts that she had acquired over time.”

She continued, “I had no reason to believe, and did not believe, that Ms. Gonzales obtained these email addresses in connection with her official position as an elected official. Moreover, I still do not know that to be the case.”

During her campaign, Mungia has been publicly critical of charter schools and the impact of the high number of charters in the school district, but she has received the financial backing of charter school leaders.

Her campaign is also backed by an Independent Expenditure of $51,200 by Jerry Brown’s PAC, United Teachers of Oakland Supporting Resnick and Mungia.

Mungia’s reply to the Post is as follows:

“My commitment is to quality education for all of our students … I am proud that I have more than 250 individual donors and the only PAC money my campaign has accepted is from labor unions.

“If individuals want to support me, then I’m of the belief that that is because they know my focus is on quality education. Receiving dollars or support does not equate to a mutual endorsement.”

She continued: “As far as Independent Expenditures go, as I imagine you know, Independent Expenditures are not made in cooperation or consultation with candidates, so I do not have control or say over what is put out in that regard.  I did not know that Jerry Brown would be creating a PAC to support me – I’ve never met or talked to Jerry Brown.

While Mungia may not know Jerry Brown, her boss, Libby Schaaf, is a close political ally of the former Oakland mayor.

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Activism

Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

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To enlarge your view of this issue, use the slider, magnifying glass icon or full page icon in the lower right corner of the browser window.

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ICAC Invites Community to Benefit from Safe Car Park Program

The Interfaith Council of Alameda County (ICAC) will hold a meeting to announce a faith-based expansion of overnight safe car parking for unhoused families on Thursday, June 13, 2024, from 1-2 p.m. at Williams Chapel Baptist Church located at 1410 10th Avenue in Oakland. The ICAC President, Rev. Ken Chambers, announced that Williams Chapel, pastored by Rev. Kenneth Anderson, and members of ICAC, has also planned to open an overnight safe car parking program and day center to provide unhoused neighbors and families with wrap-around services.

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Chambers said, "ICAC's goal is to just serve Oakland by helping to make the community surrounding 10th Avenue and International Boulevard both welcoming and safe."
Chambers said, "ICAC's goal is to just serve Oakland by helping to make the community surrounding 10th Avenue and International Boulevard both welcoming and safe."

by Post Staff

The Interfaith Council of Alameda County (ICAC) will hold a meeting to announce a faith-based expansion of overnight safe car parking for unhoused families on Thursday, June 13, 2024, from 1-2 p.m. at Williams Chapel Baptist Church located at 1410 10th Avenue in Oakland.

The ICAC President, Rev. Ken Chambers, announced that Williams Chapel, pastored by Rev. Kenneth Anderson, and members of ICAC, has also planned to open an overnight safe car parking program and day center to provide unhoused neighbors and families with wrap-around services.

Rev. Chambers said additional support for the program will also come from Bishop Bob Jackson, Pastor of Acts Full Gospel Church and Pastor Phyllis Scott, head of the Oakland Police Chaplaincy Program.

Chambers said, “ICAC’s goal is to just serve Oakland by helping to make the community surrounding 10th Avenue and International Boulevard both welcoming and safe.”

David Longhurst, a member of Oakland Temple LDS Church and an ICAC board member, said

“We can make the city of Oakland safer, one block at a time, by connecting our community and neighbors.”

Chambers said ICAC has a $450,000 grant commitment from the City of Oakland and a $2.5M grant request has been presented to Nate Miley, President of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors President Nate Miley to cover and expand ICAC’s Safe Car Park Program located at West Side Missionary Baptist Church to additional locations including Center Street Baptist Church, Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church, Corinthians Baptist Church, Allen Temple Baptist Church, Acts Full Gospel Church, and other congregations.

Dr. Ken Chambers said he and ICAC are assisting congregations on how to receive a one-time $5,000 grant. “ICAC has plans for several tiny homes with kitchens, living space and bathrooms that we hope will become available this fall in partnership with the State, County and City of Oakland.”

Chambers is appealing to the public to help with transitioning the unhoused populations into tiny homes or affordable housing. “If you or anyone you know is living out of a car and needs a safe place to park overnight, visit interfaithAC.org, call 510-239-6681, or stop by the ICAC hub at 732 Willow Street, Oakland, CA 94607 between the hours of 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.”

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Calif. Leaders Discuss Foster Care Reform Strategies for Black and Brown Youth

Before becoming a nationally recognized social justice leader and a member of California’s Mandated Reporting Taskforce, Shane Harris spent 13 years as a foster care youth after he lost both of his parents. As President of the national civil rights organization, People’s Association of Justice Advocates (PAJA), he’s aiming to solve some of the toughest challenges Black and Brown children in the foster care system face.

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Shane Harris, PAJA President and member of the California Mandated Reporting Taskforce (center) with Hafsa Kaka, Senior Advisor on Homelessness to Governor Gavin Newsom and Dr. Janet Kelly, Founder & Director of Sanctuary of Hope LA (far right) (Lila Brown CBM)
Shane Harris, PAJA President and member of the California Mandated Reporting Taskforce (center) with Hafsa Kaka, Senior Advisor on Homelessness to Governor Gavin Newsom and Dr. Janet Kelly, Founder & Director of Sanctuary of Hope LA (far right) (Lila Brown CBM)

By Lila Brown, California Black Media  

 Before becoming a nationally recognized social justice leader and a member of California’s Mandated Reporting Taskforce, Shane Harris spent 13 years as a foster care youth after he lost both of his parents. As President of the national civil rights organization, People’s Association of Justice Advocates (PAJA), he’s aiming to solve some of the toughest challenges Black and Brown children in the foster care system face.

During National Foster Care Month in May, Harris visited the Sanctuary of Hope in Los Angeles to host a roundtable meeting with current and former foster youth, many of whom, like Harris, have beat the odds and become successful professionals.

According to the federal government’s Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, there are nearly 370,000 American children and youth in foster care.

Nationally, Black children are overrepresented in foster care. According to datacenter.kidscount.org, Black children represented 14% of the total child population in the United States. However, they represented 23% of all children in foster care. Harris pointed out that one out of every four foster youth go homeless upon exiting foster care in California. Across the state, there are nearly 65,000 children in foster care, he added. Of the 65,000 children in foster care across California, 14,000 of them are Black American.

Harris also announced a new effort already underway to push for the removal of the term “case” in L.A. County when referring to foster youth during the roundtable which featured Hafsa Kaka, Senior Advisor to Gov. Gavin Newsom and Janet Kelly, the Founder and Director of Sanctuary of Hope. The session focused on solving problems foster youth face.

Sharing personal stories, insights, and various visions for policy changes, the participants discussed numerous solutions and addressed specific concerns about ongoing challenges with the foster care system.

One top priority was how to close the foster care to homelessness pipeline for the disproportionate number of Black and Brown children in LA County’s and the state’s foster care system.

“When you see the direct connection between the disproportionate rates of Black children in foster care and the disproportionate rates of Black people in the general homeless population, there is a very clear connection there in which our foster youth are coming out of care,” stated Harris during opening remarks.

Kaka said the governor has been intentional about making sure that foster children are homeless prioritized as the state addresses homelessness.

“This is a critical moment for foster care,” said Kaka. “The systems that are working together are looking at leveraging federal, state and local funds.”

Harris said he has already begun efforts in San Diego County to drop the word “case” when referring to homeless youth.

“We are asking for a 90-day public input period, in which the county CEO and leadership can facilitate discussions with the community on replacement terminology. There’s plenty of ideas,” Harris elaborated.

Kelly said a majority of the youth who go through the Sanctuary of Hope program are young people who have experienced some form of housing instability or housing crisis.

“The goal of the work that we do is really centered around helping young people leave here with leadership skills and other forms of what we call protective factors in order for them to continue on with their stabilization journey and become loving, caring and active citizens in this world,” Kelly said.

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