Outraged Protesters Confront Poizner at Book Signing

By Jessica Greene
|  Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010  |  Updated 5:19 PM PDT
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Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner will finally get the debate he's been demanding against gubernatorial primary opponent, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman.

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Teachers, Students Confront Poizner at Book Signing

Outraged protesters demand answers about Steve Poizner's depiction of Mount Pleasant High School at his book signing in San Jose.
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California insurance commissioner and Republican contender for governor Steve Poizner got a not so pleasant welcome at a Bay Area book store Thursday night as he promoted his book, "Mount Pleasant."

Upset teachers, current and former students of Mount Pleasant High School gathered at a San Jose Barnes and Noble where Poizner held a book signing to voice their anger over the way he depicted the school, where he spent a year guest teaching in 2003. On page 90, Poizner writes:

From an intellectual standpoint, I absolutely knew not to expect Silicon Valley-caliber ambition and smarts from East San Jose schoolkids.

East Side Union School Board President Eddie Garcia was among the outraged protesters at the event but he wasn't looking for a personalized copy for his collection. A product of the East Side Union School District himself, Garcia wanted answers.

"So Mr. Poizner let me say this. You do not have smarts or ambition is what you're saying? Thank you sir." Garcia said, above several others who agreed, "He just said we do not! You just said that right now. You just said that. You said on Page 90, you said it. I asked you right now. You just said it again! Come on back!"

Poizner tried to defend his points and said people who are angered over sentences and excerpts are not getting the full picture.

"You have to read the whole book." Poizer told the crowd. "Because if you read the whole book, you can't come to the conclusion that I would believe that any student can't reach the highest level of performance."

Poizner said he's open to meeting with the students and teachers sometime soon. Asked at the end of the event whether he would apoligize to those he offended, Poizner said, "Nah, I stand by my book."
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