Effort to Recall Andrea Merida Underway

There’s really no reason that a freshman member of the Denver School Board should be getting as much publicity as Andrea Merida has received in the last year. But then again, there’s really no reason that a Denver School Board member should have made so many pointless, and avoidable, mistakes in less than one year.

So it is that the large Denver newspaper is reporting that a recall effort has begun to remove Merida from the Denver School Board. We can’t say we’re surprised at this; we wrote in late July that her political career was probably coming to an end sooner than she expected. As we said after it was revealed that Merida had been working for the Andrew Romanoff campaign in a paid position, at the same time that she was openly attacking Sen. Michael Bennet (who was the former Denver Schools Superintendent):

Merida seems to think it is an important point that she endorsed Romanoff before she was hired by his campaign, which, of course, is completely irrelevant. And her defiant “to suggest that my work on the Denver Board of Education is for sale” statement misses the point that it was her own nondisclosure that brought up the question in the first place.

The fact that she was a paid staffer for the campaign trying to bring down the former head of Denver Public Schools, and did not disclose this, all the while politicizing the DPS board’s policymaking in ways that directly sought to benefit the campaign she was employed by, provokes grave questions about Andrea Merida’s fitness to serve in any capacity. The fact that Merida barely seems to understand why it was wrong in the first place only makes those questions grow louder.

Once the petition language is certified, supporters of the recall (led by community activist Jose Silva) have 60 days to collect 4,032 signatures from registered voters living in Merida’s District 2 (which is Southwest Denver, South of 6th Ave. and West of I-25), which is not really an onerous task. If sufficient signatures are gathered, a two-part ballot would be presented to voters; one question would be to approve the recall, with the second question a choice between a new group of candidates.

Merida has stumbled over her own feet literally from day one on the School Board, and we’d be surprised if she’s still on the Board this time next year.

At Least She’s Not Your School Board Member…Oh, Crap

Great way to introduce yourself to your fellow board members. As The Denver Post reports:

Newly elected board member Andrea Merida caused immediate controversy when she refused to wait until after the reform vote to be sworn in with two others.

Instead, Merida went to a district court judge hours before the board meeting, armed with certified results from the Nov. 3 election, and took her oath.

“I hated to do this,” Merida said. “But the people have spoken very clearly. I wanted to make sure they had a voice.”

Minutes before the board meeting began at 4:30 p.m., Merida showed an affidavit signed by a judge and demanded to take her seat.

“We have had a really disappointing situation transpiring today,” board President Theresa Peña said in the boardroom that was filled to capacity. “One of our new colleagues was sworn in today at noon. She is now a sitting board member. Michelle Moss will not be able to finish out her term. Michelle, I am incredibly sorry.”

Moss tearfully left the dais.

“I find it to be one of the most disrespectful, underhanded political maneuvers that I have ever seen in my life,” Moss said in the hallway as Merida voted. “Denver is in serious trouble. It’s a clear indication that they will stop reform and do whatever it takes. It’s a sad day in Denver.”

John Kechriotis, a DPS attorney, said Merida was acting in accordance with the law.

“Certainly, it was not a professional move to make, but it was within her rights,” he said.

Merida’s “no” votes didn’t halt the reforms, which went through with minor changes.

Getting a court order to be seated early and not even allowing your predecessor to finish out her final day on the board, as tradition has long held? Andrea Merida couldn’t have been more inappropriate and disrespectful if she had showed up in a “Fuck Denver” t-shirt. And all of this was for what? At the end of the night, her vote didn’t even make a difference.