I have heard from no less than five different people about the machinations of Philip Hu and how his courageous move was some larger political game that he played.
Here’s how to story goes based on cobbling together pieces from various sources: Philip Hu had planned all along to support Gray Harris, but first he intended to throw his support to Anne McKereghan because he knew that there would be a deadlock and that he would come out looking like the hero if he then switched his vote to break the deadlock.
If that indeed the case then I say, “bravo.” Look, anyone playing a long and involved political game like that deserves recognition that he outplayed some seriously political players.
But here’s why it’s probably a bit of a stretch.
First, Philip Hu would have to know, definitively, that Gary Lym was going to vote for Anne McKereghan. Unless they discussed it before hand, there was very little in Gary Lym’s previous votes during the last appointment that indicated that he would be inclined to vote for Anne McKereghan.
In fact, I was pretty convinced that Gary Lym — based on his remarks — had changed his mind pretty recently on who to support for Niel Tam’s seat. Maybe he’s a really good actor and I’m just particularly gullible (I am, seriously.) but I was struck by his sincerity during his comment period of why he was voting for Anne McKereghan.
If he was the sole vote for Anne McKereghan (in a 3 – 1 vote) then he would risk alienating the union officials that came out to support Gray Harris and would be on the losing side. Therefore, knowing exactly where Gary Lym was going to vote was important to this grand plan.
Plus, it appears that even if this were Philip Hu’s grand plan, it has somewhat backfired on him since people have been coming out of everywhere (on every side of the issue) to provide ominous warnings of his intentions.
Perhaps Philip Hu meticulously planned out every single scenario possible to ensure that he came out looking the best of all the School Board, which I’m sure he has the wherewithal to do, but the political payout appears to be fairly minimal to invest that much time to creating a correct response to every possible scenario. Or, again, maybe I’m just extraordinarily gullible to think that people are speaking from a place of truth as opposed to creating elaborate schemes to further their political careers. I just think that Philip Hu and Gary Lym, for that matter, recognized that Anne McKereghan would have brought something different and special to the School Board. Just as Solana Henneberry and Barbara Kahn recognized that Gray Harris will bring something different and special to the School Board.
Much like it’s not a fair characterization to say that folks only supported Gray Harris because they toed the union line or those that supported Anne McKereghan were the “activist parents” in Alameda, similarly it’s not okay to say that Philip Hu’s vote was only a Machiavellian attempt to play both sides. It’s okay to admit that both ladies — and in fact all of the applicants — have amazing qualities to add to this particular Board. But, in the end, there had to be a choice made because the alternative — the special election and allowing the county office of education to appoint a placeholder — was more distasteful.