I have yet to see the Jennifer Petersen (Scottsdale City Council candidate) campaign mailer supposedly proclaiming her to be endorsed by the Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board, and including the SUSD logo across the bottom.
An inquiring citizen’s main concern:
I don’t want to have the district called into question at the moment as we are trying to get the override through.
SUSD superintendent Dr. David Peterson (no relation) was quick to respond to citizen inquiries:
As District employees we are not allowed to use our position or district resources to influence the election.
The Governing Board is not an employee, but is still held to the restriction on not using district resources. I can say that the Board has never discussed or took action as a Board to endorse any candidates or initiaves. People can support folks as private citizens, but that is not a whole Board official position…
I sent this to our legal department once I heard about it from your email. The use of the District logo was not authorized and we will be notifying that campaign committee of that.
As with candidate David Smith, I find Ms. Petersen to be pleasant and even likable. However, I do not support her for the same reasons I do not support Smith: I do not think she would accurately represent my interests and the long-term interests of Scottsdale on the city council.
If I had to guess, this gaff with the purported district ‘endorsement’ and the use of the logo was probably not a sinister act on her part, and more likely an overzealous PR flack. But if this is a mailer from Jennifer’s campaign, then it’s ultimately the candidate’s responsibility.
If it’s not from Jennifer’s campaign, then she has a grave responsibility to swiftly and strongly repudiate it…for the respectability of her campaign, AND for the integrity of the SUSD override that’s on the same ballot.
Again, not having seen the mailer I don’t know if it’s from Jennifer’s campaign or one of the dark money groups fronted by Judy Eisenhower. Regardless, I suspect Jennifer and the dark money darlings have both retained Kyle Moyer, who organized the recent ‘Yes to Scottsdale’ rally at McCormick-Stillman park that implied school district support for council candidates Petersen, Linda Milhaven, and Dennis Robbins.
Dr. Peterson was quick to investigate my request for information on that event. Saguaro High School principal Brian Corte (no known relation to city council member Virginia Korte) responded:
This was not a school event, I was not aware, no employee supervised students and no transportation was provided. Students drove themselves or were transported by parents. They were not required to attend and participation had no bearing whatsoever on grades or credit.
Students were wearing uniforms, which are loaned by the District to band members. It is possible a student may have borrowed a District instrument, however most are student-owned.
The Band Director did participate in the two songs performed prior to the event’s start. He was off duty and acting in his capacity as a private citizen, as is his right.
It is unfortunate that Scottsdale Council candidates staged and promoted this rally in such a way as to imply a more formal level of support from Saguaro. Such dishonest representation colors our political process (both city and district), and unfortunately–I believe–erodes support for the requested SUSD maintenance and operations budget override (tax increase).