Still no word from Pedro Garcia
February 22, 2012
By DANIEL BLACKBURN
A laudatory letter from his bosses extolling the professional virtues of Coast Unified School District Superintendent Chris Adams was sent home with students last week, further fractioning a divided community and raising — once again — the mystery of Pedro Garcia.
Adams’ three years at the district helm have been controversial. Both his wife, Julie, and his father, Larry, have received contracts and district funds for various services rendered. Some parents claim he retaliates against those who speak against him.
On letterhead bearing Adams’ name and writing that she spoke for the entire board of trustees, president Cindy Fratto insisted in the Feb. 9 dispatch that she wanted “to express our support” for Adams, praised his “tireless energy” and said he provides “strong leadership and vision.”
The one-page letter only vaguely references what Fratto called “the inferences and accusations that have swirled around our small community” about Adams and his reputed behavior.
Nowhere in the letter, noted Coast Unified parent Jude Basile, is the “Pedro letter” discussed. That was a letter-to-the-editor published in The Cambrian, the area’s local newspaper, which praised Adams profusely, congratulated him on his efforts on behalf of the local Hispanic community, and cited specific programs Adams has helped initiate.
Only one problem: No one in Cambria knows a “Pedro Garcia,” who purportedly signed the letter. And the fax that was used by The Cambrian to publish the letter originated from a Redding phone number assigned to Adams when he lived in that Northern California city. California law prohibits the writing of letters to newspapers using false names and attempting to secure publication.
“What kind of character is shown by such an attempt to falsify support from an (ethnic) group?” asked Basile. “A fake letter is sent to the local paper, with the superintendent’s name and a number they once had — and may still have — across the top of the letter. And this is ignored by the board?”
Another parent, Peggy Walker, wrote in a January 27 letter to the school board that “the board has the responsibility to address the ‘Pedro’ issue… surely it wouldn’t be too difficult to find out who the sender was. And if it was someone from the Adams family, this matter should be dealt with in the appropriate manner.”
No comment regarding an investigation has been forthcoming from Adams, the school board, or the sheriff’s department.
However, Cambria resident Lee Chamberlain asked The Cambrian’s editor, Bert Etling, “How’s the (Pedro) investigation going? When did you file a criminal report with the police?” And Etling responded in an email Tuesday: “I expect to hear more next week.”
CALIFORNIA PENAL CODE SECTION 538a:
“Every person who signs any letter addressed to a newspaper with the name of a person other than himself and sends such letter to the newspaper, or causes it to be sent to such newspaper, with intent to lead the newspaper to believe that such letter was written by the person whose name is signed thereto, is guilty of a misdemeanor.”