ANAHEIM, Calif. - Anaheim schools trustees have appointed to their board a man voters tossed off the school board in 2002 after he proposed billing Mexico for educating illegal immigrants.
Harald Martin, a retired police officer who served on the school board for eight years, was appointed by a 3-1 vote Thursday to an Anaheim Union High School District board spot created by the death of Trustee Denise Mansfield-Reinking.
Martin is also known for a failed proposal to turn new students over to federal authorities if they could not prove legal status. He ran for the school board in November and came in seventh out of eight candidates.
The appointment sparked sharp criticism.
Alexandria Coronado, a conservative Republican who served with Martin on the Anaheim board for four years, called Martin "evil."
"He is the biggest racist I have ever met in my life," she said.
Members of the Latino community reacted strongly.
"It's like nominating segregationist George Wallace," said Art Montes, past president of Orange County's League of United Latin American Citizens.
Martin, 52, said he wanted to be on the board again because he felt he had unfinished business in raising district standards. He said he had no intention of revisiting the proposal to bill Mexico.
"Conceptually, it has proven to be a bad idea because it's divisive," he said, adding that he had proposed billing Mexico as a symbolic measure and never expected money. But "what everyone missed in the whole jumping up and down, in the hysteria, all I was trying to do was get money for those kids in the school system."
Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com
A service of the Associated Press(AP)