SF Chronicle Columnist Chip Johnson and The ANG Newspaper Group is calling for Oakland School Board Member Chirs Dobbins to step down. Here's the story, but I'm not using Chip's column here as to read his account makes the matter sound as if they were having regular sex. There's no proof of that kind of relationship, but it doesn't look good, that's for sure.
I have to admit that much of this seems like people wanting to engage in gossip. BUT, Chris should have had better judgement than to take up the kind of association that's being reported. But I only met him once, during a rally to save the Oakland A's.
It's too bad all around because Chris seemed to be totally into his position on the school board. On second thought, maybe too much so.
Here's another account...
Oakland school board member Chris Dobbins went on several dates with a 17-year-old girl, sent her inappropriate text messages and e-mail, and had several late night rendezvous at secluded venues, an internal investigation found. Those findings by a special three-member committee of the Oakland Unified School District board prompted a majority of his board colleagues Wednesday to urge the 35-year-old Dobbins to resign. The board's vote was 5-2, with two members absent. In addition to calling for his resignation, the board's resolution censured Dobbins and removed him from all board committees, appointments and external assignments. Dobbins, who declined to be interviewed by the committee investigating the allegations, said Thursday that he will not quit. His attorney, Ted Stalcup, said his client - "a teacher, an Eagle Scout and the parish president of his church" - was simply a mentor and friend to the girl, and that all of their meetings were within that context. "His ability to spin public (perception) is in question," he said, "but the propriety of his actions is impeccable." The committee report cites past conversations between Dobbins and the school district's attorney, Deborah Cooksey. It also quotes e-mail and text messages between Dobbins and the girl, as well as information furnished by a friend of the girl, a school district employee, a consultant for the district and a student engagement specialist. The investigation was launched after the employee informed a school attorney of the alleged misconduct. Board members Noel Gallo, Alice Spearman and Gregory Hodge comprised the committee. Gallo and Spearman have been outspoken critics of Dobbins since the allegations surfaced earlier this summer. Oakland police investigators said they looked into the matter last month but found no evidence of illegal conduct by Dobbins. The school board report found that Dobbins drove the girl in his car late at night, at least twice in June and July, to secluded spots at the Berkeley Marina and in Strawberry Canyon. According to the report, the girl told two people that she and Dobbins hugged and kissed at the Marina, and that she later said she was, "willing to 'risk everything to be with him,' or words to that effect." Dobbins previously acknowledged to district officials that he had a conversation at the Marina "about her sex life and other things of a personal nature, including his relationship with his girlfriend," and said he kissed her on the cheek and hugged her outside of the car. He denied kissing her in the car. The next day, the report says, the girl wrote in an e-mail to him, "What happened last night, even if it wasn't meant to be, definitely confirmed my feeling. ... I understand you have a girlfriend ... You made it clearly that we can't be together." In a subsequent e-mail, she wrote, "How is this going to get you in trouble if nobody else will find out?" Two days later, the report says, Dobbins sent a communication to the girl in which he wrote: "Hello my Dearest [Student's name], (that sounds cheesy, but I mean it) ... I just wish our situations were different. I read your e-mail this morning and I was thinking about it all day. I just have to say that I have to listen to my head and not to my heart ... when the opportunity presented itself I got scared because I am too old to be trying to get at you. In addition it is unethical to do so. ... I have some songs I would like to play for you but that would just get me in further trouble." The report also cites another communication in which Dobbins wrote: "Hi Baby, I miss you." Dobbins' lawyer said the communications between the two were taken out of context and should not have been available to the committee in the first place. He said Dobbins handed over e-mails from his private Yahoo account at the request of school attorney Cooksey, who assured him that they were protected under client-attorney privilege. Dobbins plans to file an ethical complaint against Cooksey with the State Bar, Stalcup said. He also objected to Gallo and Spearman being on the committee, likening it to putting a biased person on a jury. "If he had retained counsel before he gave her those e-mails, he never would have handed them over," he said. "The report took a lot of things out of context and spun them deliberately toward the political end of removing Mr. Dobbins from the board." Stalcup said Dobbins no longer has any contact with the girl and that he now knows he should have been more forceful in cutting off their friendship when it became clear she had feelings for him.