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Oscar Caralampio is, in some ways, an unexpected school board member and teacher.

His family fled Guatemala’s civil war when he was just four years old. They arrived in Valley Center in North County and worked as field laborers. Caralampio didn’t speak English or Spanish. He spoke Q’anjob’al, an indigenous Mayan language. The idea of leaving his parents and going to school terrified him — so much so that he frequently hid from the bus.

Instead of caving to that fear, Caralampio, who is 30, harnessed it. He now works as a teacher in Fallbrook Union Elementary School District and is an elected board member for Fallbrook Union High School District. He’s part of a growing wave of young progressive Latino officials, as we previously reported.

Even though the political dynamics of Fallbrook are changing, Caralampio still faces subtle and not-so-subtle hostility. 

“I do have people who come up to me and say, ‘God, we need more of you. You’re one of the good ones,'” he said. “I don’t take it as a compliment.”  

Read Will Huntsberry’s full profile here.

Sheriff Could Be a Republican After All

The Republican Party of San Diego County endorsed John Hemmerling’s campaign for county sheriff. We noted this might happen in our Politics Report Saturday but now it’s official. 

Photo courtesy of John Hemmerling

Hemmerling, a former Marine who runs the criminal division for the San Diego city attorney’s office, told us at a debate last year that he had left the Republican Party and become a no-party-preference voter. His two rivals for sheriff, Dave Myers and Kelly Martinez, had also left the GOP but both of them joined the Democratic Party (Martinez just last year). 

Hemmerling had made clear it wasn’t just a technicality of his registration but a proactive decision he had made. This led us to run with the headline that there would definitely not be a Republican sheriff and how that’s kind of interesting. He wouldn’t elaborate on why he left the party. 

“That decision is personal to me as well. And, like Kelly (Martinez) said, I believe the sheriff should be apolitical, nonpartisan and perform unbiased law enforcement in the county,” he said at the time.

Tuesday, though, his campaign sent out the announcement of the Republican Party’s support. 

“Whether as a combat Marine, a tough street cop, or chief criminal prosecutor, Republican John Hemmerling will be a tough, law and order Sheriff that voters can trust and take pride in,” said Paula Whitsell, the chairwoman of the local Republican Party, in a written statement Hemmerling sent out. 

Speaking of the sheriff … County supervisors on Tuesday signed off on a plan to hire an interim sheriff following longtime Sheriff Bill Gore’s retirement.

Times of San Diego reports that the county will accept applications over the next month from candidates who can serve until next January after voters select a permanent sheriff — and that candidates for that gig won’t be eligible for the temporary post.

Supervisors expect to settle on five finalists at a March 15 public hearing and to choose the interim sheriff at a March 22 meeting. Candidates will be invited to give presentations at both meetings.

In Other News

  • A week after state auditors released a scathing audit documenting deaths and deficiencies in San Diego County jails, the Union-Tribune reports that advocates are calling for more details on the ethnicities and conviction statuses of people who passed away in county jails. 
  • County supervisors on Tuesday unanimously voted to ask state health officials to establish a plan to phase out mask requirements for school children. They also unanimously voted to direct county staff to design a pilot program to provide minimal rental assistance to seniors in danger of falling into homelessness. (City News Service)
  • Members of the Arab Community Center of San Diego on Tuesday accused the city of El Cajon of failing to prioritize community input during its redistricting process. (CBS 8)
  • The Union-Tribune reports that the Junípero Serra Museum in Presidio Park is getting a facelift.
  • County Supervisor Jim Desmond and Escondido Mayor Paul McNamara were appointed to serve as chair and vice chair of the Local Agency Formation Commission, the agency responsible for determining the jurisdictional boundaries of public agencies.

This Morning Report was written by Will Huntsberry, Lisa Halverstadt and Scott Lewis. It was edited by Megan Wood.

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