The union’s previous support of the Recall Committee “was a mistake,” union president Vicki Soderberg says. Among other problems, she cites the Recall Committee’s ties to the Education Alliance, a conservative, nonprofit organization that advocates fiscal reform and is vocally anti-union; it gave a $17,000 donation to the Recall Committee in 2006.

Things escalated to an all-out war about two weeks ago, when the Recall Committee sent a mailer to absentee voters that read, “Your local teachers ask you to vote for reform in CUSD” and listed candidates Sue Palazzo, Jack Brick, Mike Winsten and Ken Maddox.

Incensed by what she says was an insinuation that the Recall candidates had union support, Soderberg issued a statement blasting the flier, called in the press and spent $72,000 in union funds for the publication of another flier, titled “Don’t be Fooled!” The union’s new flier endorses candidates Erin Kutnick, Andrea Kooiman and Stiff. “Over 2,300 Capistrano teachers have already voted for this team.”

Soderberg clarifies that a hundred union reps actually voted on endorsing those candidates—after “talking with” teachers at their respective schools about those three candidates—and overwhelmingly favored backing them.

The Recall Committee, meanwhile, says it plans to mail out its flier again, with no changes. “We never said anything about the teachers union endorsing the candidates,” says Recall Committee member Tony Beall. “We have a lot of support from local teachers; there’s no reason for us to change it.”

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