At the 2/14/17 CUSD Board meeting, a community member delivered the remarks below during the public comments section. What transpired, thereafter, was remarkable. Anjali Kausar, Board President, lost her composure and control of the meeting. First, she rudely interrupted the speaker for mispronouncing her name. Then Ms. Kausar didn’t let the speaker finish and abruptly interjected, “I’m going to ask you to stop. I know I’m going to divert from what we have done in the past, but I’m going to respond to what you just said.” The crowd erupted in boos because the Board is not, by law, allowed to respond to public comments for items not on the agenda.
After an exchange with the public, an emotional Anjali Kausar stopped the meeting and left the room to pull herself together. Board member Soma McCandless followed obediently like a puppy dog.
This was simply one instance of many bizarre moments at the 2/14/17 Board meeting, as reported by the Mercury news in Cupertino School Leaders Pour Fuel on Fire. Quoted in the article: “It was one of the most bizarre meetings I’ve ever been to,” said Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone, 40-year veteran of public office, who attended Tuesday’s meeting. “Anjali cuts people off. She speaks angrily to parents. It’s a very hostile environment.”
Community Member’s Public Comments Re: Anjali Kausar’s Conflict of Interest
Many parents and community members have lost trust and confidence in the ability of Anjali Kausar to fulfill her duties to the citizens of CUSD due to an apparent conflict of interest. First, I wish to dispel any notion that this issue is related to Ms. Kausar’s support of Measure D in the recent election. It is not.
Elected officials are required to disclose their financial interests in order for the public to be informed of any potential bias or conflicts in loyalty. In this case, Ms. Kausar has failed to disclose her investment and income interests throughout her tenure on the CUSD Board of Trustees. Instead of recusing herself from participating in governmental decisions where she had known conflicts of interest, Ms. Kausar presumably placed her self-interests above those of CUSD students.
Pursuant to the Political Reform Act, public officials must file annual conflict of interest disclosure statements, reporting sources of income, investments, and other economic interests. In 2009, during her first year serving on the CUSD Board, Ms. Kausar reported that she owned shares of stock in Apple, Inc. with a fair market value between $10,001 – $100,000. In the subsequent 5 years, from 2010-2015, Ms. Kausar did not report the same investment interest. But then when she filed in March 2016, she once again reported her ownership of Apple stock. It is questionable how Ms. Kausar “forgot” that she owned stock in Apple for 5 years …. only to “remember” in 2016 that she still owned it.
Anjali Kausar has served as the Executive Director of the Cupertino Chamber of Commerce since September 2013 and currently serves as its CEO. Yet, she did not report her Chamber of Commerce salary income until March 2016. For all we knew, Ms. Kausar’s position at the Chamber was unpaid.
Similarly, Anjali Kausar has worked for Intero Real Estate since 2010. Yet she only reported her income from Intero after filing an amendment in May 2016 and restating her income from 2009 – 2015.
As a result of her failures to disclose financial interests, Ms. Kausar has deprived the public of knowing that she has acted in the best interest of our schools, while serving on the CUSD Board.
Complaints have been filed with the FPPC and DA’s office, and they will determine Ms. Kausar’s conflicts of interest. In the meantime, however, it would show good faith if Anjali Kausar were to request a letter of advice from the FPPC, so they could make a ruling on whether her economic interests are indeed conflicts. As Ms. Kausar continues to participate in every governmental decision, it would be most unfortunate if any of those decisions were ruled invalid due to a conflict of interest.