By Mai Summer Vue
The Community United for Education Justice (CUEJ) held a press conference on Aug. 8 to announce a recall campaign of Fresno Unified School District (FUSD) Trustee Tony Vang. Vang currently serves Trustee Area 4, which is primarily the McLane High School area.
“It is sad, shameful and disappointing that we have to go down this road of recall,” said Mai Summer Vue, an organizer of the press conference. “Vang’s action is unlawful, and he has not served the parents and children in his district.”
Attended by more than 20 members of the community, the press conference was particularly notable for Vue and Eva Ruiz, who have been rivals for the presidency of the Fresno Teachers Association (FTA), standing side-by-side in their call for Vang to resign or be recalled.
In a press release submitted before the press conference, the CUEJ noted the following:
- It has been nearly three months since the Fresno Bee revealed that Vang did not live in the trustee area he represents, a violation that requires him to step down from his position.
- The evidence that Vang moved out of the McLane area seven years ago is overwhelming.
- Vang bought a $400,000 house on Goshen Avenue, which is in the Clovis Unified School District, in 2005. He purchased the house and signed bank and property records stating that this house was his primary residence.
- Neighbors have told the Fresno Bee that Vang has resided in the Goshen Avenue house with his wife and daughter for seven years.
- Vang has voted in several elections using the Goshen Avenue address.
- When Vang registered his daughter at St. Anthony’s Catholic school, he used the Goshen Avenue address.
- When Vang received a traffic ticket and had to register for traffic school, he used the Goshen Avenue address.
- When a Fresno Bee reporter visited the Goshen Avenue house during that newspaper’s initial investigation of Vang, it was Vang himself who answered the door.
The CUEJ also alleges an official cover-up by FUSD Superintendent Michael Hanson. The group contends that the FUSD, under the direction of Hanson, has spent taxpayer money and district resources putting forward an elaborate ruse that Vang still lives in the McLane area and was the victim of the nation’s foreclosure crisis. In its official account, the FUSD did not even mention that Vang had purchased the Goshen Avenue home in 2005—a residence that was not only outside his trustee area but also outside the FUSD.
Vang is being asked to step down “because he is illegally representing our community,” according to Javier Guzman, who serves on the Diversity Committee of the State First 5 Commission. “This situation cannot be tolerated by those of us who care about open and honest government.”
Rev. Floyd Harris, president of the National Network in Action, a human rights organization, says Vang “should be ashamed for illegally serving in public office since 2005. As an educator and school board trustee—note the root word trust—he should be a role model for our students, above all else. But lying and covering up are not exactly the lesson we should be teaching our children.”
The CUEJ includes the FTA and numerous citizens who have been involved on the frontlines of trying to reform the FUSD, including members of the recent Graduation Task Force. The FTA already has retained an attorney who is an expert on recall elections and is identifying a political consultant to guide the recall campaign. The intention of the group is to begin gathering signatures in September to recall Vang.
“It is now incumbent upon the citizens of Fresno to end Mr. Vang’s mockery of the law,” states Guzman.
Mai Summer Vue is an elementary school teacher in the Fresno Unified School District and an educational activist who was elected president of the Fresno Teachers Association in May of this year. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.