Sean Baggett Sean Baggett

Not Wanted: Sean J. Baggett

Judge lifts tea party-endorsed school board candidate’s $30,000 DUI-related warrant after fine is partially paid

By André Coleman , Kevin Uhrich 03/29/2011

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On the same day that a story about the controversy appeared in the Pasadena Weekly’s online edition, Pasadena Board of Education candidate Sean J. Baggett surrendered to the court on a 20-month-old $30,000 bench warrant stemming from a 2008 arrest on suspicion of drunken driving and subsequent conviction for reckless driving.

Baggett surrendered Friday morning, a few hours prior to the publication of a story in which a Pasadena police official urged the candidate to turn himself in. Unbeknownst to police or reporters, Baggett was doing just that, only at the courthouse, across the street from the police station. Baggett was called for comment on his cell phone five times throughout Friday, but did not return any of those calls.

The Pasadena Weekly on Thursday obtained court documents indicating Baggett was wanted for failing to appear in court and for not paying his fine. Pasadena police Lt. Phlunte Riddle on Friday said police records indicated the warrant was still in effect. Late Friday afternoon, Riddle said, “I strongly encourage Mr. Baggett to turn himself in to the Police Department to clear up this matter as soon as possible.”

Although he did not return repeated calls, Baggett emailed reporters just before 9 p.m. Friday, deeming the story “false” and announcing that he had paid his fine, the warrant was lifted and that he wanted a correction. “I made payment on the fine this morning [Friday] and the bench warrant was lifted. Please immediately correct your story which is posted on the Internet,” wrote Baggett, who faces Board of Education incumbent Tom Selinske in the April 19 runoff election. 

The traffic warrant is but the latest in a series of personal run-ins that the 39-year-old Baggett has had with law enforcement and prosecutors since the early 1990s, offenses that include driving under the influence and petty theft.

But it has been Baggett’s more recent behavior — a 2006 charge of public urination at the Rose Bowl, a 2008 DUI arrest and failure to make payments on the fine levied for that offense, and a San Diego civil judge’s December 2008 order for him to pay a finance company nearly $14,000, which has not been paid, according to court documents — that most concerned private investigator Larry O’Brien, who provided the court documents to the PW.

Father of small children attending Pasadena schools, O’Brien said it didn’t take very long for him to turn up Baggett’s criminal past and his problems in civil court. It also only took a few phone calls to determine that many of the job references and educational accomplishments listed on Baggett’s resume are not completely true.

Baggett, who was supported by the Pasadena Patriots, an affiliate of the tea party, came in second place in the March 8 election for Seat 6 on the Pasadena Board of Education, forcing a runoff against Selinske, who received the most votes but failed to win the simple majority needed for outright victory.

“How he got away with it for so long is probably a sad commentary on us. It’s troubling,” O’Brien said of Baggett. “I think these are things that people should know.”

According to Pasadena Superior Court records, Baggett was arrested May 6, 2008, on one count each of suspicion of driving under the influence and operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol/drug level above 0.08. Baggett agreed to a plea deal that reduced the charge to “wet” reckless — a reckless driving charge pled down from a DUI. Baggett was ordered to complete a drug and alcohol program and pay $1,486. 
Baggett completed the program and was given an abstract by the court to renew his driver’s license, which had been suspended. On April 8, 2009, Baggett received a 60-day extension to pay the fine. Neither Baggett nor his attorney appeared in court on July 17 to pay the fine, and Judge Gus Gomez, a former Glendale City Councilman, ordered a warrant for his arrest, setting bail at $30,000.

“If Mr. Baggett surrenders to the Police Department, he will be processed just as any citizen would be for an outstanding warrant,” said Riddle. “We have a protocol, and if he can post bail, he will bail out with a promise to appear. If not, he will be held over and taken to the magistrate on the next business day. If he does not turn himself in and he is stopped by a patrol officer in the course of his duties, then he could be arrested if the officer determines there is an outstanding warrant.” 

This is not the first time in recent weeks that Baggett has been involved in a police matter.

The week before the March 8 election, a juvenile volunteer at a Highland Park continuation school was accused of making hateful threats against a gay couple ostensibly while making phone calls to help Baggett’s campaign. It was not immediately known how the teen knew the couple he was calling was gay. Baggett has denied any knowledge of the call. Police are currently investigating the incident.

O’Brien said he was shocked at what came up when he started checking Baggett’s name against public records.

“We have a tough enough time in the Pasadena public schools with fighting the misperception that the district is not performing well and all the infighting on the board,” O’Brien said. “It undercuts the good things that are happening, and I can just see the headlines now if a person with Baggett’s background is elected. It does nothing to help us.”

In 2006, charges filed against Baggett were dropped after he was cited on suspicion of urinating in public at the Rose Bowl. In a published report, Baggett said that he was with his dog near a wooded area near the stadium and couldn’t hold it any longer and was forced to use the woods to relieve himself.

Twelve years prior to that, Baggett failed to appear on another reckless driving case, which was also originally filed as DUI in Santa Cruz County. The year before that, in 1993, he paid a $250 fine after pleading guilty to petty theft.

From the outset, Baggett’s campaign has been filled with half-truths about his affiliation with the tea party and his employment history. In an interview with this newspaper, Baggett stated flatly that he had never been arrested or charged with a crime.

For months he claimed he had no affiliation to the tea party, despite employing Amy Ellison, who heads Pasadena’s TeaPAC, as a campaign consultant. Baggett also claimed he was an adjunct instructor at Pasadena City College, a track and field strength and conditioning coach with Caltech and an adjunct professor at Cal State Sacramento. According to documents obtained by the Weekly, he has not worked for Cal State Sacramento since 2005. In addition, he was a stipend employee at PCC, making only $1,000 for 10 months of work. Baggett was actually a volunteer at Caltech.


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To his credit, he likely had no significant run ins with the police during the 20 months the warrant was outstanding.

posted by pusd papa on 3/29/11 @ 03:56 p.m.

What's to correct? He DID have a warrant out for his arrest with bail set at $30,000 for nearly two years. This was for driving drunk--hardly a good example for our youth. He's been arrested twice for driving under the influence. He's been arrested also for petty theft and public urination. I can see why he lied about it; I cannot see why anyone would vote for him.

posted by pasparents282 on 3/29/11 @ 04:01 p.m.

Dear Andre and Kevin,
It appears two writers from Pasadena Weekly are in bed with Tom Selinske. I thought journalists were suppose to be unbiased? How are people going to get the full story with slanted articles like this coming out? Pathetic how anyone can be a journalist these days.
Obviously these warrants were nothing more than citations and anyone could make these mistakes. These could be nothing more than court errors that more often than not, gasp, do happen in the system. Ever think to look into that? Or how about this "dui?" It was blown so low on the scale that it could have been caused by cough syrup. Or urinating in the woods??? I am sure he is the first guy to ever do that. And last but not least, that phone call?! The president told me to write this comment to your article, do you believe me? Maybe Selinske paid that kid to call that couple, or would that be out of the question? Don't you have anything better to give us?
Oh, and by the way WORK IS WORK despite how much you made or how long you did it. Even if you work for free, you are still allowed to say you worked hence the reason college kids take internships.
Lets be real here. Do you not want children to learn honesty and integrity, and to stand up and face their mistakes? At least Sean Baggett is doing this, even though they are for ridiculous things. It seems you would prefer they learn to hide and lie about their shortcomings. Or just pay people to slander others.
Now lets talk about things that actually matter here. Sean Baggett is an excellent public school teacher who has a vested interest in seeing PUSD succeed. Tom Selinske doesn't even use the Pasadena Public School system!!! His kids go to private schools!!!!
Great job on bashing Baggett, plan on writing one about Selinske? I mean it is only your duty as journalists to be fair.

posted by informed2011 on 3/29/11 @ 08:49 p.m.

Hello Boys and Girls,

I'd like to introduce our new school board member; contrary to what you've heard from him, here are some of the highlights of his career and civic accomplishments:

Did not receive a Masters degree from UC San Diego as he stated.

Does not serve as adjunct faculty at Cal State Sacramento, Caltech, nor Pasadena Community College as he stated.

Does not hold a position with the Los Angeles County Office of education as director of community day schools as stated.

Failed to properly supervise his student volunteers at Soledad Enrichment Highland Park, which has unfortunately resulted in a student being criminally charged while engaged in Mr. Baggett's official campaign operations.

Used tax-payer funded facilities and equipment for campaigning activities at Soledad Enrichment Highland Park, which is a criminal violation of state campaigning laws. (See

Urinated in public. Drove drunk on multiple occasions. Found guilty of petty theft. Failed to pay criminal fine; failed to pay civil judgement. Scoffed at a $30,000 bench warrant until reported in the press.

Cannot spell nor speak in public without reading from a note card.

So join me in welcoming our new board member boys and girls--a fine example for all of you to live up to. He will be overseeing financial and budget decisions as well as developing a new code of conduct for everyone in the district. Mr. Baggett, are your note cards ready?

posted by pasparents282 on 3/30/11 @ 06:28 a.m.

282: I am also troubled that kids at a taxpayer supported school where he is employed and under his supervision would be manning the phone banks for his political activities. I am also curious whether or not the application for school board candidates has questions relating to past law enforcement contacts, and whether or not it must be signed under the penalty of perjury.

posted by pusd papa on 3/30/11 @ 08:02 a.m.

informed: Selinske's ad claims his daughter goes to the pusd. if you can back up your allegation that his kids are in not in the pusd, that would be helpful for your persecuted hero. Does Sean have any kids in the pusd?

posted by pusd papa on 3/30/11 @ 08:09 a.m.

Yeah I do , but I am not going to post his kids school online. Sean's kids are too young to go to school as of now.

posted by informed2011 on 3/30/11 @ 08:55 a.m.

pasparents282: You seem real passionate about your hate for Baggett, yet you give no real reasons why he is not a good candidate. Your comments sound like you read 2 Pasadena Weekly articles and commented on those, rather than providing real evidence why he can't perform. Ever think Pasadena Weekly Articles may be a little skewed? Do yourself a favor and read more about the candidates than 2 articles from the Pasadena Weekly, than come back with solid, educated arguments. Right now you are just parroting this article. As a parent you deserve to know what the candidates plan to do with PUSD. Maybe its time we get a guy who isn't afraid to piss in the woods.

posted by informed2011 on 3/30/11 @ 09:07 a.m.

is your educated argument that public urination makes one a better board member?

posted by pusd papa on 3/30/11 @ 10:16 a.m.

"Yet you give no real reasons why he is not a good candidate"???

What do you smoke, sir or mam?

Evidence that he cannot perform? The fabrications and lies speak for themselves. The evidence is damning and troubling. Try to mitigate it as you might; it speaks for itself. This is not about pissing in the woods. It's about pissing on our kids, our public institutions, and the standards we should uphold. Pay your court fines. Be a good citizen even if you've slipped up. Show up to court when the judge tells you to. Don't lie on your resume. Don't stretch the truth. Be honest.

You imply there's nothing shameful of his conduct. That being the case, why in the hell did he lie about it for so long and make exceptionally lame excuses when they came to light? His dog. His lawyer. The person who he paid to post his resume. How pathetic. Such attempted escapes from personal responsibility is an insult to me as a taxpayer, parent, and citizen.

What is the evidence that this man can serve PUSD with what we would expect? Let's start with something truthful which he has yet to provide. I challenge him or his campaign to come forward with anything that he has done for the community that is accurate. Is his website still down as he corrects-- nay--doctors his credentials further? It's obvious that this guy has lived off the public purse his entire career with nothing to show for it. No wonder he had to create something out of nothing.

posted by pasparents282 on 3/30/11 @ 11:22 a.m.

It is rather obvious to me, Selinske is G_d-ordained, and Baggett is probably an evil, secret pedophile just waiting to molest all of Pasadena's school children.

I wonder, though its obvious desire to collect a vast surplus of punitive taxation funds in order to finance its own, Superior Court and LE livestyles of the less-impoverished are quite self-evident to most of America's law-enforcement victim class, why did the court yet let this man slide so easily on an outstanding warrant for two years, while yet knowing where he lives? Could some institutional flaw or bureaucratic shortcoming have contributed to this potentially inadvertent failure to pay? Is this why it seems that the BIG hammer wasn't dropped on him as it most likely would have been for the rest of us trailer-trash types?

And Kevin, to call it a "blood alcohol/drug" level, ain't that piling it on a little thick? Or was he also unofficially suspected of having some THC/Cocaine/Meth in his system? Inquiring minds want to know ... .

In the meantime, if a board member claims to have children in a school system yet refuses to reveal where, then how can the average hoi-polloi compare how that potential public liability may treat his kid's school as compared to the rest in Pasadena?

So, we get all the down and dirty on Baggett, while Selinske in a vacuum appears more like Jesus on a bike. Maybe Baggett is just a ringer set up to make Selinske's golden-child status seem more legitimate. The only thing more suspicious to me than a (comparatively anonymous) politician with a bad record is something similar having a record that is just too good (or empty of all failure).

To top all this off, it seems that the Pasadena Weekly is -- kinda -- outsourcing its investigative reporting to altruistic "private" investigators. So tell me, who hired this paddy anyway? Is he Selinske's private dick? So, now that Baggett's history has been so thoroughly eviscerated, will the Weekly do the same thing to his competition? Or will the Weekly's "Fair-n-Balanced" be more FOX-oriented?

Anyway, whatever happened to full disclosure?


posted by DanD on 3/30/11 @ 01:53 p.m.

Thank you DanD!
PUSDPapa and PasParents you are so concerned about the example Baggett is to your children, do your children even know who is currently on the PUSD Board? I would dare to say they probably couldn't name half the teachers in their school. PUSD Board members are never used as role models for children.

posted by informed2011 on 3/31/11 @ 08:52 a.m.

So your error-filled logic is why in the hell should it matter if you drive drunk, break the law, fabricate credentials, lie, reject personal responsibility and disregard the court of law which the rest of us abide by since "board members are never used as role models for children"? Nice work. Brilliant really. Ever thought of running for a school board yourself? Is the symbolism of having a scoundrel as a school board member lost on you?

posted by pasparents282 on 3/31/11 @ 08:37 p.m.
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