Santa Margarita School principal convicted of DUI

September 18, 2008


Santa Margarita Elementary School Principal Melanie Karp has been sentenced to two days in the county jail and three years probation for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Commissioner Stephen B. Sefton also levied a fine of $1,726 and ordered the school official to attend alcohol abuse classes after she pled no contest to a drunk-driving charge.

Atascadero police arrested Karp April 12. Her blood alcohol was .12, one and a half times the legal limit.

Karp was slated to begin serving her sentence at the San Luis Obispo County Jail September 16 at 7 p.m. In exchange for jail time, she was admitted into the Alternative Work Program, wherein eight hours of community service substitute for 24 hours in jail.

A few years ago, parents said they witnessed Karp plow into a car in the school parking lot, park, and then head back into her office without leaving a note on the car she damaged. According to sources, Karp apologized and paid for damages after being confronted. Witnesses to that incident agreed not to inform authorities.

Karp did not return requests for comment.

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Member Opinions:

By: WiseGuy on 10/22/08

Sorry , but I consider it absurd for someone here to state that failing schools in California are mainly due to allowing the employment of teachers who have had a DUI conviction.

I also disagree with calling good teachers "lazy liberal union members that want to do nothing." In FACT, there are thousands of California teachers who are "liberal" but NOT lazy. FAR from it, in fact. Are there lazy teachers? Undoubtedly. But they span the entire political spectrum.

Teachers should be honored, and all the ridiculous insults that some people throw at teachers are despicalbe and harm our education system. Being a teacher is a tough but honorable profession. Taking cheap, unfounded pot shots at teachers serves no good purpose. It is schoolyard bullying at its worst and discourages good teaching.

Hate-mongering and scapegoating honorable teachers is not going to improve our school systems. Is that what Jesus would do? I think not.

P.S. You're NOT in Kansas anymore.

By: George on 10/21/08

Hai! I am leaving the comments as example but I am throwing in the towel for No Spin Zone, he is so out of the house.

By: George on 10/19/08

In other words

By: compassiongood4soul on 10/4/08

I have known Melanie Karp for the past 26 years of my life. She has acted as a second mother to my sister and I. I recall, as a child, cooking in the kitchen with her. I recall traveling to the snow and the beach, to soccer practice and birthday parties. I recall one specific time when she read inspirational stories aloud to a hotel room full of chatty high school girls (myself included) during an overnight soccer tournament trip and had every one of us engaged – and silent – by page 2.

I am disgusted with some of the things I have read here. Yes, everyone has the right to their own opinion; however, these malicious postings are wrong and should be stopped immediately. The personal life of Mrs. Karp, through the good times and bad, is just that – personal. NO ONE, NO ONE, NO ONE has the right to discuss anything related to her family. Every family deals with different issues that can be inspiring, beautiful, exciting, difficult, and heartbreaking. No one has the right to pass judgement on another. We are all human, and because of that fact, we all make mistakes throughout our lives. These mistakes are what mold us, change us, allow us to grow and learn and become better members of society.

Melanie has been involved with educating our youth since before I came into this world. An educator's job is stressful, oftentimes looked down upon, underpaid, emotional, and can also be the most rewarding job in the world. How do I know? Melanie Karp inspired me to become an educator. As I child, I would work in her classrooms and watch her engage her students. I would see her organizing events such as Jump for Heart. I would help her in her classroom during the HOURS and DAYS of overtime it took to run a classroom of learners as effectively and efficiently as she did. She was and still is an inspiration to me as a professional educator in a world of skeptics and critics.

I am asking everyone on this site to pause for a moment from the hussle and bussle, from the ranting and raving. Close your eyes and think of a moment in your life that you would like to take back. An embarrassing comment made, a hurtful action taken…can you think of one, two, ten? I do not pass judgement over your decisions. Yes, the law must be upheld. Yes, it is unsafe to drink and drive. I believe with every bone in my body – because I know this person, truly know her – that Melanie Karp has taken full responsibility for her actions, and that the law has done their job as well. Leave it alone, go outside, take a deep breath, look around, and enjoy the life that you have been given.

By: slacker on 10/2/08

Better the principal, then the bus driver.

It's easy to pass judgement; It's hard to show compassion.

Due to my size, 1 drink puts me over the legal limit to drive. Even though I feel fine.

Due to my size, I cannot give blood. Even though my blood type is in heavy demand.

I've had a mimosa at Sunday brunch after Mass, then driven my twins home. Was I drunk? No. Could I have gotten a DUI?…probably.

Imagine being in her shoes, and how it would feel to be judged…

Let's just hope it doesn't happen again.

By: ThomasPaine on 9/25/08

Well said Wiseguy,…again.

By: ThomasPaine on 9/25/08

Government and by extension education needs to be as efficient as possible. The blame is not on education. It is in the inefficiency and corrupt bureaucracy that is being mismanaged. It is not the unions fault by a far stretch. But we need to get back to that brief period of time when education was a priority in this nation. Instead of what it was for most of our history, to roll out non critical automatons for the corporate machine.

The last thing that the powers behind the curtain want is for an educated, thinking electorate.

Throwing money blindly at the problem is not the answer and privatization will certainly only make it worse. Just ask the people in New Orleans how they feel about the Charter Schools which replaced the public schools after Katrina. Just a coincidence that they are using Neal Bush's educational curriculum. He did so well with the savings and loans don't ya know.

None of this has anything to do with Ms. Karp. But like I wrote earlier. Her fate should not be at the hands of narrow minded zealots who would scratch the letter D into her head for her to wear for the rest of her life. I wish her the best.

By: whoisjohngalt on 9/25/08

As far as funding goes, many parochial schools, yeshivas, and home schoolers educate on a shoestring budget, yet provide an education superior to many public schools. Money is not the answer to the mess that public education has become; unfortunately, more money usually just results in more bureaucracy, and doesn't get down to the classroom level where it would do some good.

By: WiseGuy on 9/25/08

Let's get serious. California's public school ranking has NOTHING to do with DUI's. Here is another attempt to hijack a thread so one person can spout off about their pet philosophy that has little or nothing to do with the original news story.

By: whoisjohngalt on 9/25/08

I agree with NoSpinZone on this one. Privatization and competition in the educational system can only be a good thing.

Why should we throw more and more good money after bad into a flawed system that is failing students? Why should parents who want a good education for their children have to pay money out of pocket to send their children to private school, and at the same time be forced to support with their taxes public schools that they don't even use?

Bottom line: the money should follow the child. The best schools will get more students, and consequently more money.

By: whoisjohngalt on 9/25/08

I really don't think that DUI policy has much to do with why Kansas schools rank higher than California. When your choices in entertainment come down to shucking corn or doing homework, education takes on a whole new lustre.

By: ThomasPaine on 9/25/08

Yes, I am sure California has fallen in educational rankings because of DUI. Kansas, not that is something to shoot for.

Or maybe it could be the woeful handling and lack of priority given to California schools. Much like the current Bush administration. Put incompetent people in charge of a system, do not fund it properly, then blame the system and cry for privatization when it fails.

By: ThomasPaine on 9/25/08

Well said Wiseguy. Compassion and forgiveness in no way endorses DUI. The people involved with this are aware of what has happened. What happens to Ms. Karp does not depend on the ravings of a vocal minority with no stake in what occurred. If the school board and or parents wish to look into firing Ms. Karp for cause then so be it. WWJD?

Firing her though would not have any effect on DUI and conversely, by retaining her and by her leading a noble and fruitful life would show others that having a DUI does not have to be a death sentence. Not my call though.

By: WiseGuy on 9/25/08

To anyone who shares the viewpoint of Worried and/or NoSpinZone I respond: I don't see what your point is other than self-righteously heaping more misery and trouble on Ms. Karp for the gross sport of it.

I think most of us here are in no position to have enough information to suggest Ms Karp be "fired" from her job. For people here to suggest otherwise seems blatantly presumptuous at the least, and disturbingly similar to a lynch mob mentality. Worse, it could very likely do more harm than good.

We have a court system that is dealing with Ms. Karp's breach. That's why our society instituted courts. They were considered a boon to the wild west, curtailing blood feuds and revenge murders, and bringing civility and stability to communities.

Ms Karp has been tried, given her sentence, and the people she works for and with know about this. Where do we go from here?

Maybe now it's time we ask ourselves what POSITIVE things can this story inspire toward making our community a healthier, happier place?

Do we need to continue to caution folks about the dangers of drinking alcohol? Absolutely. And Ms Karp's story can contribute to this, without us having to hang her in the town square or spit in her face.

Finally, there is no rational argument that firing Ms Karp will "save lives." Such a statement, no offense, is absurdly sensational and pretty much the type of groundless, illogical, hysteria-inducing sloganeering we would expect to hear from a crazed and violent vigilante or wild-eyed, blood-thirsty mob.

Most of us in this community know we can do better than that. And we never disavow the power and insight gained from love and compassion. Thank GOD!

By: Worried on 9/25/08

WG you are wrong, as mentioned in my previous post. I am a SMES parent. I am not affiliated with any other poster on this site. I am simplying speaking about my opinions and feelings as a parent of children attending the school. I thought these postings were not to bash others, but give your own opinion regarding the matter at hand. Keep on the topic!

By: BigMoney on 9/24/08

DUI's have turned into a big money maker for law enforcement. Better to have the enforcers spend their time putting people like Guth and Yaguga in jail.

By: SMParent on 9/24/08

I didn't even know this was an issue until my dad told me about it over dinner at his place. We have two children at the school and we feel very fortunate that Ms. Karp is there to look after them. I don't know her personally but my wife does. She thinks that she is wonderful and so do the children.

By: Countdown on 9/24/08

IMHO this story had no business being reported so late after the fact. There are much bigger fish to fry than Ms. Karp.

I don't excuse DUI and I have lost a family member to DUI, but enough is enough.

All of these speculators are just that, speculating. Have a good and fruitful life Ms. Karp. I wish you well.

NSZ, today's Worst Person in the World.

By: Worried on 9/24/08

I am a parent of children at SMES, although I do not agree with some of the posts or opinions here on this site I do see this topic as newsworthy. I am not one of the parents involved in the band class issue that is being blamed for bringing this topic to light. I also find it interesting that some individuals are so angry people are talking about this, it is public record. I am simply a very concerned parent and I think some of the posts on this blog are truely missing the point. I am certainly glad "we" as parents of children at SMES are now aware of the problem. I take drunk driving very seriously, as I have lost a close innocent adolescent family member to a drunk driver. The family member I lost was robbed of life. I do not comment on topics like this unless I have proof. I have done my own research and obtained the court/police documents that state Mrs. Karp being reported as a drunk driver and hitting an object (mailboxes). Frankly, I think she is really lucky she only hit mailboxes and not an innocent child! The last time I saw mailboxes they were stationed on the curb or sidewalk where a pedestrian could very well be standing, not in the middle of the road. I think this is totally unacceptable for a high ranking public offical that is responsible for hundreds of children on a daily basis. It also irritates me that she is/was responsible for our school DARE program. As to her comments she posted, at her age she should have known better! You should never drink any amount and then drive… especially if you weigh less than 100 pounds. All I can say is she is very lucky she only hit an object, not a person! In my eyes she is no longer a good role model for the students at SMES. I also hear this is not her first offense. I was not able to find that documentation, but I did find out if a first offender completes a course the first offense can be removed from the record. It does seem odd for a first offense to actually get 2 days in jail. I am concerned that her response sounds more like excuses instead of I have a problem and will get help. Many jobs in the SLO County will fire a person upon receiving a drunk driving. One person in past posts even mentioned that happening to them.

By: Rose on 9/24/08

I would like to see this level of outrage directed towards Karen Guth and her son Joshua Yaguda. These are people who have destroyed hundreds if not thousands of lives with their greed. Shame on them. Ms Karp used poor judgement and is being held accountable, she injured no one. Guth, with her background in Criminal Justice (coincidence? I think not–do you think she learned about "Ponzi Schemes" in class??), and Yaguda took the life savings of many, including senior citizens who are losing their homes. Check the tax records to see all the property that these two paid for with investor money. She used our money to pay expenses of her "award winning" Pasolivo Olive Oil staff and her gas stations. When will they be held accountable Mr. District Attorney?

By: RealityCheck on 9/24/08

Wow NoSpinZone how much Windex do you go through to clean your GLASS HOUSE?

By: nobullyzone on 9/23/08

I am also a staff member at Santa Margarita Elementary School. I feel very fortunate to work there, as it is a great community, with wonderful students, parents and a hard-working, professional staff.

What is happening to Mrs. Karp is unfortunate. She made a mistake, and is trying her best to make amends and get through all of this. What people don't know is how incredibly hard she works for student success. She makes sure that all students have every opportunity for a great educational experience. She is always out on the yard supervising students, which makes her accessible and keeps kids accountable. She teachers classes to ease curriculum for teachers with combination classes. Financially, she doesn't hesitate to help sixth grade students attend Camp Keep in the spring, she organizes fundraisers to help purchase supplies, and the list could go on and on. While some don't always agree with decisions that Mrs. Karp makes regarding our school and curriculum, I have never doubted her intentions to provide the best learning experience for ALL students.

The letters that some people write are vicious and unnecessary. I will not look at this "news" blog again, as it is nothing more than malicious trash written by cowardly bullies. Is this what we, as adults, want our children to emulate…mean spirited, self-righteous rantings?

By: Norske on 9/23/08

I agree WIJG. What a waste of a potentially decent site. I know that the postings of the kind from NSZ, Bootyjuice, and some others have kept me from commenting here. Probably others as well. Too bad.

As far as their seeming delight in causing others misery, there are some very sick people out there. Ms. Karp appears to be in a much healthier state of mind than those who disparage her. Good for her.

For those who wish to drag her down even further. Bad enough that it may be so. How much worse to wish it?

By: whoisjohngalt on 9/23/08


Why would any local business advertise on a site whose main purpose seems to be to seek and destroy other locals at the slightest provocation? This story belongs on a police blotter on the back page, if it should be printed at all. CalCoast, in their editorial wisdom, decided to make it front page news.

Also, I'm getting pretty sick and tired of the "anonymous sources" gag. If people aren't willing to stand behind their statements, then they shouldn't be quoted.

Then we have people like NoSpinZone who pile onto stories like this, apparently getting some sort of sick kick out of a woman's life and reputation being destroyed. I know she made a bad decision; it will probably cause her shame for a long time to come. I just don't get the delight people are taking in her exposure.

CalCoast, before you publish another story, please go and learn the difference between "cutting-edge investigative journalism" and "gotcha" gossip pieces. The central coast would benefit immeasurably thereby.

By: Countdown on 9/23/08

It is very easy to Google BAC sites and see that it is possible for 2 glasses of wine to cause a person to blow a .12. I am no fan of DUI but that's the facts.

NSZ has some very serious issues which detracts from rational interactions with others. Just ignore these sadistic and masochistic blowhards. Sadistic because they are very cruel people with no rational other than being cruel. Masochistic because they keep begging for abuse.

By: Norske on 9/23/08

Hang in there Ms. Karp. As far as these ignorant, vitriolic comments go, consider the source. Peace

By: Booty_Juice on 9/23/08

The only people who think Karp has taken responsibility are those that think shagging your cousin isn't so bad compared to your sister.

In other words, all of North County.

A 0.12 blood alchahol level is blotto, shitfaced, trashed. Saying she got there by two glasses of wine is a complete and utter lie, shows denial, as proves she is simply trying to make excuses and take evasive action.

By: Buzzard on 9/23/08

Its been 5 months since this happened. It could happen to anyone. You people sound like a bunch of vigilante's. No one gives a rats a– anymore. No zoner, get real in fact get a life. Its over.

By: yelapop on 9/23/08

To keepurheadup: You claim Karp has "admitted her wrongdoing, has apologized, and is taking every opportunity available to rectify the situation." Yet what I have heard is excuses— "Sorry, but… I only weigh 95 pounds…the DUI occurred on a Saturday…I only had two drinks over dinner…I didn't return the reporter's call because I was busy…etc." If my CHILDREN "took responsiblity" like this, I would be ashamed of them.

By: keepurheadup on 9/23/08

To: in the know

First of all, Mrs. Karp never claimed to be an angel, she admitted her wrongdoing, has apologized, and is taking every opportunity available to rectify the situation.

Second of all, her personal and family matters have absolutely nothing to do with this incident. Family issues are complex and are rarely caused by one person's actions, and are just that, FAMILY issues. Just because she's a public figure, doesn't mean you have the right to make public her private matters.

And to set the record straight, although she may have some PERSONAL problems and this is a really challenging part of her life, she is NOT an alcoholic and never has been.

By: Countdown on 9/22/08

There are many BAC calculators on the Internet which show that what Ms. Karp says may be true. Irregardless, I would much rather trust her with my children than a NSZ. We all make mistakes. Except NSZ. He is a mistake.

By: JudgeNot on 9/22/08

Thank you, FairPlay, for your perspective. As an SMES parent, I'm disturbed by this public flogging of Mrs. Karp's reputation. I know some of the parents behind these screen names and think I recognize others, and I know that the call for Mrs. Karp to resign is not a reaction to this incident, but the agenda behind revealing it. I believe demeaning her has a much greater negative effect on her ability to do her job than the DUI. If you have an issue with her job performance, restrict your criticism to that. By slinging mud, you taint our school and community–and ultimately our kids–with scandal and shame, and your damage goes far deeper than the intended target of Melanie Karp. How is an explanation of what happened "justifying" it? And, no, she doesn't have to be held to any higher standard than the law dictates. That law applies to EACH of us. She's paying her debt. Some of you have set yourself up as judges, but a judge has already done that job. And I think a "smart" woman would have known that to come forward would have simply invited this viciousness to ensue earlier. I think you know it, too.

By: Countdown on 9/22/08

Well said but I think that you are preaching to the choir. You can't use reason in dealing with the unreasonable.

By: WiseGuy on 9/22/08

One particular very sick and twisted, abusive person (NoSpinZone under all his pseudonyms) and other wanna-be vigilantes, humiliators, liars and racists have pretty much ruined this website for a lot of people and have turned away readers, advertisers and investors.

Decent people don't want to be associated with that kind of hateful, low-life, mean-spirited, NON-PRODUCTIVE, community dividing muck. And thank goodness for that!

Journalism should NOT be gossip. Journalism should distance itself from gossip at every opportunity.

Reader comments should NOT be aimed at spitefully humiliating people in public. Journalism should not be a platform for heaping vengeance on people who have views you don't agree with. Journalism shouldn't be a platform for vigilantes and lynch mobs.

Much of what has been published in the comment section of this website is not healthy for our community, it is not healthy for a business.

By: LiberalPatriotInSLO on 9/22/08

NoSpinZone said: "Liberalpatriot was just added to the world's greatest oximorons!"

That's wonderful, show us your true colors! You think that a liberal can't be patriotic, can't love this country? You, sir, are dead wrong. But thank you for biting. I deliberately chose this screenname to out fascists and ignorant folks such as yourself.

I vote, I keep myself informed on the issues by reading publications from the right AND the left, and I can disagree with someone and still be respectful at the same time! Imagine that! Respect!

Well, you haven't earned one iota of my respect, NoSpinZone. Because I can't respect a fascist like you.

By: Booty_Juice on 9/22/08

The fact that she claims that "two glasses of wine" resulted in a 0.12 is clear proof that she is a bald-faced liar.

By: Booty_Juice on 9/22/08

That Karp woman sounds exactly like an old alky friend of mine who would get plastered, throw up, and blame it on the chips and dip she ate.

By: CuriousGeorgia on 9/22/08

All politics aside, I'm concerned that Ms. Karp seems to be saying she couldn't tell she was drunk when she got behind the wheel with that level of alcohol in her system. If that's true, that's very scary.

I'd like to think she would know her limits by now and always, always take a "better safe than sorry" approach. She should not have driven and she should have known that before getting into the car.

By: yelapop on 9/22/08

I'm not at all certain which parts of the article Mrs. Karp would like retracted. I thought Ms. Velie showed great restraint considering what's in the police report. I recall a number of years ago when the Tribune ran a very prominent story about a RETIRED principal who received a DUI. This is most definitely newsworthy b/c of the principal's responsibility for several hundred young children. Visitors to this site may not care for the comments, but they're simply representative of water cooler conversations – just a wider audience.

By: WiseGuy on 9/22/08

I believe this story is newsworthy, but the reporting is deeply flawed and troubling. The reporter paraphrases information from an anonymous source (once again!) about seeing the subject "plow" into another car. The word choice "plow" is subjective and loaded with negative connotations, and is very likely inaccurate or false.

The "kicking 'em when they are down" comments posted here are also troubling, but not unexpected from the uncouth and mean-spirited patrons who dominate this forum.

By: badbilly on 9/22/08

To: So Sorry,

Thank you Ms. Karp for setting the record straight. You were there, you know the facts/truth. I sympathize with your humiliation and the fact that you must read such angry, childish, and useless posts on this site from those who think that they are so much above the average human being.

We all make mistakes Ms. Karp and most learn from them. Keep the faith, move forward, and don't let this rag of a site or the imbiciles who post hateful things here deter you from doing so.

By: Newsome on 9/21/08

Bravo Principal Karp for helping set the record striaght. And thanks, Fairplay, for bringing up a possible reason for the timliness of the relevation. You'd a thunk a crackerjack reporter like Velie would have found room to put that part into the story.

By: Insomniac on 9/21/08

Ms. Karp needs to be fired immediately. She is a poor role model for her students.

We don't want them growing up to be like NoSpinZone/Jerry Dagna!

By: Countdown on 9/21/08

NSZ. You're much more ill than I thought at first. You poison everything you touch. Get help.

At least Ms. Karp has a chance at leading a decent life. I don't think that a person who suffers from what is wrong with you has much chance at getting better.

No excuse for drunk driving. Even less excuse to persecute people like you seem to enjoy.

By: M.A.D.D. on 9/21/08

It would have been nice to see "THE PRINCIPAL" accept responsibility for her actions without trying to justify them. Why blame the messenger? I believe there really is more to this story… A smart woman would have come forth with this to our tight community and assured us that this would never happen again. Shouldn't an individual with responsibility of more than 250 children be held to a higher standard? Shouldn't we as parents with children at the school DEMAND that higher standard? If this lady was respected, this community would be rallying around her with their support. But when there is one mistake after another and a trail of angry parents, MAYBE IT"S TIME TO RETIRE AND RECOVER!!!!

By: FairPlay on 9/21/08

I am a teacher at Santa Margarita. Mrs. Karp is starting her sixth year at our site. We have a professional relationship, and for the half-decade I've worked with her, she has been nothing but professional. She cares about our students and would never put them in danger. Of the eight principals I have worked for, Melanie Karp is the hardest working. She exhibits an attention to detail that is often lacking in district administration. I think it's very unfair to bring her personal or family life into this.

I question the timeliness of the revelation of her arrest. We are lucky to have a group of highly involved, concerned parents at our school. Parents are our partners in the education of their children. Parents can use their power in a positive way or a negative one. Recently, a group of parents was rightfully upset about a managerial decision that was made by Mrs. Karp without their input. This had to do with scheduling, and the problem was created about 10 years ago by a superintendent who made some drastic changes without the input of the teachers or parents in this district. I suspect it was a parent who was disgruntled about this decision who decided to report the incident to this "news" site, and I question that parent's motivation.

I trust our criminal justice system. It meted out a punishment to fit the crime, and Mrs. Karp is paying her dues. The punishment wasn't supposed to include public humiliation. Gossip isn't a crime, but in this case it appears to have done more damage than the DUI. This forum feels a lot like cyber-vigilanteism to me, if there is such a thing….

To the adults involved, I would like to pose this question: You may be smarter than a 5th grader, but are you as nice as one? I'm proud to say the children of Santa Margarita School have a much stronger sense of Fair Play than some of the grown-ups.

By: InTheKnow on 9/21/08

To truthbeknown

Do you remember the 1st story on Goossens? People worried that Goosens was being picked on. We all know how that turned out.

Karp is not the angel she claims to be. Members of her family will not allow her around their children, due to her drinking problem. She is a habitual liar that always places the blame on others. Two glasses of wine does equal a .12 alcohol level.

By: Truthbeknown on 9/21/08

To sosorry. We are all human, and I never met a human who did not make a mistake. The important thing to take from this is to learn from it, which I'm sure you will.

You are right that this should story should never have been posted. This blog seems to be more about tearing people down than anything else. Not to mention most of the posters are just trying to bash each other all the time. I'm not sure why I decided to join this group . . .perhaps it's a mistake I made?

By: sosorry on 9/21/08

This is Melanie Karp, principal of Santa Margarita Elementary herself. First of all, I had asked the reporter to do a retraction but she has chosen not to so I am responding myself to the facts. Yes, I am guilty as charged and of course, I am so sorry for what I have done. I have never been so humilitated in my life. I accept responsibility for my actions and am doing everything asked to rectify the situation. I'd like to set the record straight. The incident happened during the weekend. I had two glasses of wine while dining with a friend. I weigh 95 lbs. I now know that I can't drink two glasses and get behind the wheel. I have learned my lesson and will never do that again. The reporter called me at school and she did not get a call back because she did not identify herself and I was busy doing what I am supposed to be doing: cafeteria duty, bus duty, teaching a class and after school when she accused me of not calling her back, I had a meeting at the district office. I am a first time offender: I was able to do 16 hours of community service in lieu of jail time. Also, the incident with the parked car happened on the street. I backed into the car behind me while leaving for a meeting. It belonged to a teacher. I let the teacher know what I had done and we handled the situation. I try to do a good job at SMES and will continue to do a good job there if people who read this trash allow me to!

By: Countdown on 9/21/08

NSZ. Ever hear of prescription medication. Look up the statistics you blow hard. Looking forward to meeting you.

While alcoholics make up the majority of DUI by alcohol arrests, many people are either moderate or infrequent consumers of alcohol. No excuses for driving impaired. Just the facts. But with a name like NSZ the facts are the least of your concerns. For your own health, do as others have suggested and get help. Must be difficult being so alone.

By: Countdown on 9/20/08

The sentence should probably be a little more severe but not so much as to be a hindrance to rehabilitation. Not all DUI have a problem with alcohol. Those who do need more help than the classes the County provides. DUI are responsible for far to many accidents and death. 2nd timers need some serious intervention. Some jail and maximum community service and rehab. IMO

As far as NSZ crazy spin on education just look at how the voucher and private school system is working in New Orleans. What a mess. Of course they are using Neal's curriculum. Nice business after costing us taxpayers billions in his very own Savings and Loan scandal.

By: Truthbeknown on 9/20/08

Cal Coast News said: "WHAT WE WILL DO will continue to focus on truly important stories — stories with a public interest. By investigating unsavory business and government practices, we will stimulate positive change."

I just registered for this new rag, but not sure why. Where is the "cutting edge reporting" the keepers of the blog keep boasting about??? I can read this kind of nonsense in the National Enquirer.

By: Cindy on 9/19/08

I think the sentence is very "stiff" for a first time offense. The law used to be a .10 and was later reduced to a .08 because the fines bring in "big revenues". The principal appears to have had 1 drink too many. The first offense should be a wake up call with a fine and a point on your DMV (unless the person was obviously intoxicated beyond being able to drive). It's easy to have one drink too many without realizing it while still being able to drive safely.

By: JorgeEstrada on 9/19/08

Years ago I enjoyed having a cold beer while driving my old pick-up to Pozo, telling lies with the guys and solving world problems. With that truth and knowing I could have gone to jail too, I've got to join Club Mirror and look at what is to be learned. In my opinion, we need to help while we can to save lives not destroy them. I remember the day when my school principle took a paddle to me and even with that, I'd rather see her working in the garden ( Santa Margarita Commuinty Foresty ) to expose a better lesson for all, and maybe recrute constructive help. Help is a lifetime friend.

By: Newsome on 9/19/08

I don't think I could drink enough to make working with kids and their whining parents palatable.

That said, I think this is "un news" and pandering to people's need to have a scandal in their midst.

I feel sorry for Karp with this spotlight trained on her.

By: bobfromsanluis on 9/19/08

I don't think her sentence is too "stiff"; personally, I think DUI , any and every DUI should be a felony, period. A lot of good people have made some very poor judgements about how much they have had to drink and then decide they are okay to drive; the fact that someone has had "a few" drinks and still think they are okay to drive shows how badly their judgement has been impaired. Jail time for the first offense? Should be at least a week, minimum, no exceptions. Haven't we had enough innocent drivers and passengers killed because someone thought they were "okay" to drive while under the influence? As to the Principal's character; if she has had other incidents before and has not gotten treatment to help herself, she may pose a danger to the public at large, and perhaps she should be brought up for a review of her performance. If she is really dedicated to her job and wants to continue, maybe she should consider giving up driving all together, concentrate on doing her job as well as she can, get help for a potential drinking problem and perhaps the community would be willing to give her a second chance at doing a good job.

By: JudgeNot on 9/19/08

Such sarcasm! If you check, the arrest date is a Saturday, and we know she wasn't coming from her workday around the students. This story doesn't indicate she's done anything to jeopardize students, or that drinking interferes with her job (though it does call her character into question). It sounds like these posters might have an axe to grind….

By: MightyMustang on 9/19/08

First offenders don't usually get jail time. What else has this outstanding citizen done to earn a sentence like this? Golden handshake!

By: M.A.D.D. on 9/18/08

Ain't that a shame for a church going woman. I wonder what her 3 year old grandson thinks of that!!! Or his parents for that matter!!!!!

By: Booty_Juice on 9/18/08

Seems like a pretty stiff sentence for a first offense. Since she sounds like a professional drinker, maybe this aint her first rodeo.