Remember how I posted briefly yesterday about a candidate for the Reed Union School District who is running on an anti-Union platform? Today, he withdrew his candidacy because he’s been subject too an uncomfortable level of harassment, both in terms of anonymous phone calls and an investigation into his private life. (Keep in mind that this is a family man, with elementary school aged kids.)
The sole challenger in the Reed Union School District board race said Monday he is jettisoning his candidacy because of harassing, anonymous phone calls and an investigation into his residency.
But Marin’s registrar of voters said it’s too late to take Bob Gilles’ name off the Nov. 6 ballot. Gilles has raised a stir in the district by championing an anti-union, anti-tax platform and calling for the firing of a Bel Aire School teacher.
Gilles, 45, a maker of corporate training films, is attempting to unseat one of two incumbents whose terms are ending: Daniel Jackson, the chief financial officer of a renewable energy company; and Lisa Barry Mathews, a licensed marriage and family therapist. Jackson and Mathews were elected to the board two years ago without opposition.
Gilles said that at 2 a.m. Monday he received his third harassing phone call since Friday.
“That was a woman saying, ‘If you don’t like what’s happening to you, you can always drop out of the race and it will all go away.’ And I just went, you know what, that’s probably not a bad idea,” Gilles said. “This is way too much heat for me.”
Gilles had made his opposition to teachers’ unions – and renewal of a parcel tax benefiting the school district – the main planks in his campaign platform.
When Gilles announced his candidacy, school board member Merrill Boyce asked Tiburon police Detective Cindy Hunter to investigate whether Gilles lives in the district and is legally qualified to run. Hunter said Monday that she expects to conclude her investigation by Thursday.
“I’m waiting for a few more pieces of evidence to come in before forwarding it off to the Marin County District Attorney’s Office,” Hunter said. “They make the final decision whether there is enough evidence to serve criminal charges.” She declined to provide additional detail.
Gilles, who lists his address as 318 Neds Way in Tiburon, called the investigation a campaign “dirty trick.”
“You can launch an investigation without any evidence at all,” Gilles said. “I went to great pains to make sure I was completely, 100 percent legal before I entered the campaign. I’ve been living there since 2003.”
Gilles said he listed his address as Jones Road in Windsor on the emergency contact form for his girlfriend’s daughter last year because that’s the address of his office.
Marin County Registrar of Voters Elaine Ginnold said Gilles changed the home address on his voter registration from Novato to Tiburon in August. He subsequently filed for election.
Gilles said he had neglected to change the address on his voter registration when he moved in 2003.
As I also said in yesterday’s post, Gilles sounds too peculiar and confrontational to be an ideal standard bearer for a more conservative position. I was simply hoping that his candidacy would shake up the debate a little, and expose Marin voters to ideas that don’t seem to have occurred to them before. Given these facts, I find it very disturbing that this kind of pressure would be brought to bear on a candidate who doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning in any event.