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Editorial: Dear Mr. Quinn: You need to quit

Dear Twin Rivers Unified Trustee Cortez Quinn:

At the recommendation of Superintendent Steven Martinez, five of your six colleagues on the Twin Rivers Unified School District board voted to urge that you resign. You should listen to them. They have the public’s interest, your interest, and, most importantly, the kids’ interest at heart.

We understand that you want to hang on. You are seeking a 90-day leave of absence. But leaves of absence are not designed for people in your situation. They’re for people called into active military duty or recovering from an injury or illness. You face criminal charges. They are serious. You’re accused of lying about the results of a paternity test. The mother worked for the school district.

We know that you know that elected board members who have a role in hiring, firing, promoting, demoting, disciplining and setting salaries of district staff ought to avoid sexual relationships with them.

Some people may think it’s quaint, but we teach our children that honesty is the best policy. We also try to teach boys to respect girls. You’re not providing a very good role model. The residents in North Natomas and Robla deserve representation on the board, and you cannot provide that, given your predicament.

We remember your words when you were running for office last year: “When public servants play politics, everyone loses.”

During that the campaign, you told The Sacramento Bee about how much time you spent talking with principals and teachers, and how Twin Rivers needed to focus on the children.

“I think that we should be pushing our teachers to become more creative with how they teach our children. I am in favor of classroom observations over examining test score results,” you said. We doubt teachers would want you in their classrooms.

The criminal case is only one blemish on your record. The Fair Political Practices Commission revealed that, as a school board member, you accepted personal loans from an employee of the Twin Rivers school district totaling $51,000 in 2010 and 2011. The person who is said to have given you the loans is the same woman who bore the child.

State law is clear. Elected officials may not take personal loans from employees of the government agency in which they hold office. You failed to disclose those loans on financial disclosure forms, which you signed under penalty of perjury. Again, honesty is the best policy.

Mr. Quinn, you have a constitutional right to due process and you are innocent until proven guilty. But given the charges, and your own promises when you were running for office, you ought to step down so the board can replace you and move forward with the business of educating students.

The kids deserve no less.


The Bee’s editorial board