Meet the candidate: Graham Ledger

Four candidates are vying for two open seats on the San Dieguito Union High School District Board of Trustees in the Nov. 6 election: Joyce Dalessandro (incumbent), Beth Gergesheimer (incumbent), Graham Ledger and Steve McDowell. Below are candidate photos, bios and answers to two questions given to them by this newspaper.

Name: Graham Ledger

Years living in the school district:



Businessman, television news anchor, conservative community leader, parent. BS, SDSU. Telecommunications major, Public Administration, minor.

Community activities:

I have been a community leader for two decades. I have anchored the news on television in Southern California for more than 20 years, including the nightly newscasts at KFMB-TV beginning in 1990, while covering some of the biggest live news stories in Southern California history, including the devastating wild fires of 2003.

I have sat on boards of directors for local charities, including Father Joe’s Village-Toussaint Youth Center and the Sullivan Foundation for Children. I am an active member of my church and I volunteer my time at dozens of charitable events throughout the county each year. I have also served on the PTA. I am an honorary Deputy Sheriff for San Diego County.

I currently anchor a nightly, network newscast (Wealth International News), which is seen nationwide by more than 15 million households from New York City to Los Angeles.

I am a two-time Emmy Award winner and a two-time Golden Microphone winner. I have been named Big Brother’s and Sister’s “Man of the Year 2000,” and, I was given a proclamation of “Graham Ledger Day” by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors for my work with abused children.

In 2006, I helped launch a high-tech company in San Diego, Smart Drive Systems Inc. With little or no budget, we successfully carved out a market foothold and established the company in a highly competitive industry, while personally establishing new client relationships, including the state of California and Salvation Army

1.) What do you think are the biggest issues facing the school district?

Reckless deficit spending.

As a parent of a Torrey Pines High School student and a 20-plus-year resident of the district, my pledge to taxpayers, parents and students in the San Dieguito Union High School District is to restore fiscal responsibility and sanity to a school board that is running up deficits, raising taxes, and generally acting irresponsibly in the middle of a crippling recession.

I am “For the Children” — Advocate for students (and their parents), not beholden to any special interest group.

I will promote the scholastic basics – Teach the fundamentals of world history, American history, California history, etc. without revisionist, politically-correct, selective influences.

We have great students, teachers and schools…let’s keep tomorrow great by not spending money that the district does not have today.

2.) Do you have any suggestions as to how the biggest issue in your answer for #1 should be addressed by the board?

Work within current income levels:

Balanced Budget:

The current board has shown it cannot even balance its own checkbook. In fiscal 2011-2012, the board ran a


of $3.5 million. For fiscal ‘12-’13, it’s projected that the district will be $6 million in

the red.

Imagine what this fiscally dysfunctional board will do with $449 million!

No Tax Increase ($449 M Bond):

The San Dieguito Union High School District’s planned $449 million bond offering on the November 2012 ballot is exactly what I stand against: increased taxes, wasteful use of tax-payer dollars and a disconnect with/disrespect for the very people the board is sworn to represent and act in the best interest of while strapping the next several generations with confiscatory taxation and a monstrous debt. If the bond is passed, it will hamstring schools with obsolete equipment while crippling the district from seeking fresh monetary streams down the road

No New Taxes:

The board and district can operate under the parameters of the current revenue stream and not in the red.

Bottom line:

We can balance the San Dieguito Union High School District’s budget


keep schools well funded, properly maintained, technologically up to date, and fully staffed with the current, annual revenue stream.