A controversy started swirling this past weekend involving East Palo Alto City Council member Carlos Romero, who is competing with 6 other candidates to represent District 4 on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.
The District 4 seat, which covers East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, the incorporated areas of Redwood City and the unincorporated areas of North Fair Oaks and Oak Knoll, is currently held by Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson, who is an East Palo Alto resident. The supervisor’s tenure comes to an end this year and she is prevented from running again because of term limits.
In adding last minute drama to the race for the supervisor’s seat, news reports surfaced which show Romero making a statement on video in which he claimed that he had a degree from Stanford University. The statement was made during his successful 2008 campaign to become an East Palo Alto City Council member.
This week, Romero admitted making the statement about the Stanford degree during the last election and apologized for it.
He said that he was wrong in making the claim that he had the degree and he attributed his remarks to “a momentary lapse of judgment by an inexperienced politician in a public forum….” He further stated that he spent more than four years as an undergraduate at Stanford, but left the university before he had completed the graduation requirements in order to pursue his organizing work in East Palo Alto during the struggle for the city's incorporation.
You can hear what Romero says in describing his academic credentials and experience on the current Talking with Henrietta show, which is the last public forum in which the candidates for the District 4 seat appeared together. You can get more information about the show, which was taped on Thursday, May 24, 2012 by clicking here and here.
In an effort this week to completely clarify the situation and put the issue behind him, Romero issued the following statement:
"Let me state for the record that I do not have a degree from Stanford even
though I attended the University for over four years. It was not my intent to
mislead anyone. I stand by my education at Stanford and Harvard as well as by my professional, legislative and political accomplishments.
I have not claimed in written statements or other materials in this race or in my 2008 race for East Palo Alto City Council that I earned a degree at Stanford. This includes my campaign materials, ballot statements and questionnaire responses. As for the 2008 video from my run for the East Palo Alto City Council in which I stated that I earned an undergraduate degree at Stanford, I make no excuses for what I said. It was just wrong, a momentary lapse of judgment by an inexperienced politician in a public forum and I apologize.
I spent over four years pursuing a degree in International Relations and
Economics at Stanford, but because of my community organizing work in East
Palo Alto, I put off the final course work. At that time in my young adult life, I
found the incorporation of the City of East Palo Alto very compelling, a once in a lifetime opportunity to be involved in empowering a marginalized community of color. That experiential classroom rounded out my Stanford schooling.
My Harvard credentials are not under question, having studied at Harvard,
first as a Fannie Mae Fellow in a 1-month program in the Kennedy School of
Government. The second time, I was selected as a Harvard Loeb Fellow in
the Graduate School of Design, a unique opportunity that provides a year of
graduate study for ten mid-career professionals in fields related to the urban
and natural environment. I studied urban planning, land use and transportation, national housing policy and advanced real estate finance and capital markets at Harvard and MIT.
I am committed to this race until the end and to the issues I have championed
that are central to this county—our looming deficit, pension reform, my opposition to a new jail and the financial burden it will bring to taxpayers, the loss of city redevelopment agencies, among numerous others. My varied mix of education, experience, and skills, evidenced over a rich 29-year career rolling up my shirtsleeves to improve the lives of others, tells the real story of who I am and why I have chosen to run for this seat.