In the Vanguard’s Monday Morning Thoughts piece we took exception to school board candidate Jose Granda’s unprovoked attack on fellow candidates Barbara Archer and Madhavi Sunder.
At the end of the of the article, we noted, “We have often criticized Jose Granda for his lack of fiscal understanding. But he has consistently accused the school district of fiscal mismanagement and has written, ‘I have excellent qualifications in education and fiscal responsibility.’”
He wrote, “The School Board has not been fiscally responsible to the taxpayers. It has wasted money and run the budget into a deficit. It cannot manage the 76 million dollar budget of the district. That needs to change.”
But is Mr. Granda the candidate to do that? While he accuses the school district of fiscal mismanagement, the Vanguard has learned that he owes more than $3200 in back taxes on two properties that are owned in his name in Davis.
Earlier we had reported he had not filed a 460 form for the Fair Political Practices Commission.
Mr. Granda wrote a response that was sent late on Monday night – and the Vanguard published it, per its policies.
In it, Mr. Granda writes, “In our lovely town there are those who call themselves ‘liberals,’ ‘progressives,’ but contrary to what those words convey, they are the most intolerant people if you disagree with them. That seems to be the case with some of your readers. I am surprised that Mr. David Greenwald will go down the same wrong path.”
He then writes, “For the record, I have filed my campaign Form 460 and contrary to what he says, I do not owe back taxes.”
It is very unfortunate that Mr. Granda has decided to go with this approach. The Vanguard did not randomly decide to publish these claims. In late September and early October, the Vanguard was tipped off that Mr. Granda owed back taxes on his properties in Davis.
Upon receiving that information, the Vanguard looked up Mr. Granda’s properties and determined on the Yolo County Assessor’s website that Mr. Granda owed about $3200 on two properties in his name.
I took screenshots of these properties, and, while the Vanguard would normally redact the addresses, given that Mr. Granda has denied these claims, we have no choice but to publish them for full disclosure.
At that time, we decided that, given the relatively small amount of money at issue, there really was not a story here – other than perhaps to illustrate that Mr. Granda’s claim that the school district’s failure to manage its money was a bit of the pot calling the kettle black.
When Mr. Granda decided to go negative on two of his opponents, that seemed the appropriate time to call him out on this.
The real story here is not the $3700 (we did make an error, he owed $3700, not $3200) that he owed, but rather his claim: “For the record, I have filed my campaign Form 460 and contrary to what he says, I do not owe back taxes.”
On Tuesday, following his charge that the Vanguard had its information incorrect, I called the County Assessor’s Office. I would learn that, in fact, Mr. Granda was correct, he did not owe back taxes. However, I would also learn that the reason he did not owe back taxes is that on Monday, October 27, he paid the amount he owed on both properties.
So, when the Vanguard reported that Mr. Granda owed back taxes, he, in fact, owed back taxes. It was only after the disclosure came to light that Mr. Granda paid his taxes.
Mr. Granda, of course, did not acknowledge this. He acted as though the Vanguard erred. This is, of course, blatant dishonesty. What Mr. Granda could have said is that he had not realized he was in arrears on his taxes and that, once he realized he was, he immediately paid it off. That would have been an acknowledgement of error and a correction.
Had he done that, this would have been a non-story. Instead, he implied the Vanguard was in error when he stated, “for the record” and “contrary to what he says.” This is not only dishonesty but a futile and sloppy attempt to cover up his own transgressions.
This is a man who wishes to be in public office.
Of course, the story is not done yet. Next, the Vanguard called the County Elections Office to find out if he filed the Form 460 to disclose his campaign finance statements. Sure enough, he had. Once again on Monday, October 27 AFTER the Vanguard published its story.
Mr. Granda has raised a total of $2652, including $1972.50 this reporting period. $1752 of that is from the candidate himself and another $4600 from Imelda Granda, with $100 contributions from John Smith and James Stevens, and $50 donations from Carolyn Pfanner and John Voss.
The Election’s Office told the Vanguard that he signed a waiver acknowledging that the report was turned in late.
Under normal circumstances, it would not be a big deal for a candidate to file a Form 460 four days after the due date. The problem here is that Mr. Granda did not state that he had filed the form late, or that, at the time of publication, the Vanguard was correct. Instead, he tried to suggest in his column that we were in error.
This is from the guy who is running on a platform that the school district has mismanaged the taxpayer money and that only he can oversee their finances and hold them accountable.
—David M. Greenwald reporting