Now that term limits have been imposed on the board at the San Diego Unified School District, incumbents there are looking around for their next gig. First to declare for higher office is Kevin Beiser, a math teacher who filed January 17 to run for city council next year.
Beiser, seeking the Seventh District seat of termed-out Republican Scott Sherman, is the second to jump into the race, facing off against ex-teacher and gun control proponent Wendy Wheatcroft, who started the San Diego Gun Violence Prevention Coalition.
Beiser is a fundraising powerhouse who has tapped some of San Diego's wealthiest developers and builders for his school board races, including once-imprisoned super-lawyer Bill Lerach, who threw a December 2013 at his La Jolla Farms estate featuring Alan Viterbi, son of Qualcomm co-founder Andrew Viterbi, Democratic congressman Scott Peters, ex-Jerry Sanders aide Jim Waring, and Qualcomm billionaire Irwin Jacobs.
A June 2017 Beiser fundraiser was headlined by Assembly Democrat and former city councilman Todd Gloria, now a 2020 candidate for mayor. Other politicos on the sponsor list included Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, City Attorney Mara Elliott, along with then-councilwoman Myrtle Cole, who lost her re-election bid to insurgent Democrat Monica Montgomery last year.
In 2015, Beiser helped raise campaign money for fellow school board Democrat Marne Foster on a birthday fundraiser host committee that included Gonzalez, state Sen. Toni Atkins, and Congressman Juan Vargas. Foster was forced to quit the board just months later in February 2016 as part of a plea deal with the District Attorney for accepting gifts over legal limits.
The resignation marked the finale of a scandal involving Foster's special favors to her son, including a fundraiser on his behalf allegedly backed by district vendors.
Last May the San Diego Police Officers Association spent $7000 on an independent direct mail campaign on behalf of Beiser's reelection. He turned back challenger, charter school founder Tom Keliinoi, in November 2018 with 70 percent of the vote.
Other contributors to Beiser's 2018 reelection bid included ex-city manager and San Diego State University Mission Valley development proponents Jack and Ally McGrory ($1500 each); Manpower owner Phil Blair ($1000) and his partner Mel Katz ($1500); school builder Yehudi Gaffen and wife Pam ($1500 each); and Mission Valley developer Tom Sudberry ($1500).