School Board Member Finally Has to Run, Labor Won’t Be United

Education UNVEILING THE UNSEEN

School Board Member Finally Has a Challenger, Labor Won’t Be United

Richard Barrera has been elected to the San Diego Unified School District Board of Education three times and never faced an opponent. That won’t be the case in 2020.

Richard Barrera
San Diego Unified Trustee Richard Barrera / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

This post initially appeared in the June 15 Politics Report. Get the Politics Report delivered to your inbox.

Richard Barrera has been elected to the San Diego Unified School District Board of Education three times and never faced an opponent. That won’t be the case in 2020. Teacher Patrick MacFarland announced he is running for the seat. In June 2018, MacFarland lost a race for Chula Vista City Council in the district that ultimately went to Jill Galvez.

MacFarland was one of four men to accuse another school board member, Kevin Beiser, of sexual assault or harassment.

The Labor Council could see some interesting internal debate about this one. On the one hand, Barrera will undoubtedly have the support of the teachers union, the San Diego Education Association. And Barrera used to run the Labor Council. On the other hand, he then became a top leader in the United Food and Commercial Workers union, which had a bitter split with the Labor Council.

Now the UFCW is back in the Labor Council after an insurgent group ousted both Barrera and longtime leader Mickey Kasparian. The new leader of UFCW, Todd Walters, has been a fierce critic of Barrera and could make it hard for the Labor Council to support the incumbent.

In 2016, our Mario Koran did a fascinating profile of Barrera.

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