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La Mesa Spring Valley School District Board Meeting, 2009-09-15 'Obama Apology'

Citizens Oversight (2009-09-15) Raymond Lutz

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More Info: La Mesa Spring Valley School Board, Local Politics

The La Mesa Spring Valley School Board ruled 3-2 to ban the live airing of President Obama's Address to Students in an emergency meeting on Sept. 7, 2009 (Labor Day) even after reading the content of the speech. This meeting was called to allow the board to apologize, and they voted to accept their own apology, which is a bit curious in itself. Then, in a second action, they essentially negated their apology by attacking a member of the public who was critical of their action.

There are four parts to this video, total length: 2 hours, 34 minutes. It does not include the entire meeting, but only those parts about Obama's speech. View part 1 for board comments and part 4 for board action for reduced viewing time. However, speeches by parents, teachers and (especially) the kids are extremely moving. Also see project topic: La Mesa Spring Valley School Board for overview and related articles.

Part 1 - Statements + Public Comment

Includes statements of apology by board members Penny Halgren, Bob Duff, and Rick Winet, and then public comments.

Part 2 - Continued Public Comment

Part 3 - Continued Public Comment

Part 4 - Action by Board on Apology

Member Bill Baber moved to accept the apology and Winet seconded. The crowd laughed at this because he was seconding the acceptance of his own apology. The voted to accept the apology.

Then, there was an extra long 35-minute break (it was announced to be 5 minutes) and they processed New Business item #2, which was the resolution brought in by Winet (see below.) This resolution, a slap at the President of the Teachers Association essentially negated the concept that the board was honestly apologetic.

Link to the video:

According to Don Sevrens, editorial writer for the Union Tribune (seated in the front row), Rick Winet was on the phone with Barry Jantz, CEO of the Grossmont Healthcare District and conservative blogger during the break, apparently receiving instructions from his party's leadership. The break, originally announced to be only five minutes, went on for 35 minutes, apparently to clear the room so the disgusting "tit for tat" resolution by Winet could be presented. (I wonder if this resolution met the requirements of the Brown Act, since it was drafted that night, it was not reviewed by the public for the required period prior to the meeting.)

Resolution by Rick Winet (essentially attacking Paul Schnaubelt, President of the La Mesa Spring Valley Teachers Association):

September 15, 2009

In the course of public debate, emotions can run high on some issues. The Board Members who voted in the majority on September 7th can attest to this fact.

Many of those with an opposing view have lowered themselves to name calling and ugly, uncivil language. While this behavior is demeaning and irresponsible at best, I have an example to share with you this evening that crosses the line.

This is an e-mail that was authored by Paul Schnaubelt, President of the La Mesa-Spring Valley Teachers Association. On September 8th, Mr. Schnaubelt was addressing members of the teachers association when he wrote the following:

"Some people asked what they could do to the three school board members who voted in favor of this...are the three school board members up for election in November? We were unsuccessful removing a board member last time simply because people would not come to the phone banks. If you are going to challenge the King you'd better kill the King."

I believe that we must discourage this type of language, where someone refers to "killing" a School Board Member.

These words, taken figuratively or literally, have no place in our education or school setting.

This is why I have brought this item to the our Board this evening.

I move that we approve resolution 09-10-11, Threats to School Officials.

Rick Winet
and the resolution read as follows:

WHEREAS, all school officials, as part of their duties, made decisions that, at times, may be unpopular;

\WHEREAS, all people are entitled to a safe and healthy community;

WHEREAS, in today's society individuals may respond to unpopular decisions with threats and personal attacks;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Education of the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District hereby states that all legal means will be used to protect the safety and well-being of the Board and all school district employees.

IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board condemns personal attacks and threats to any individual.

This was in response to an email from Paul Schnaubelt that said "If you challenge the king, you'd better kill the king." "Killing" is not a literal murder but a political death, of course. There is nothing wrong with targeting a person to be "taken out" of office, and permanently disabling them for any further political success, particularly if it only means you have to reveal the ugly truth about someone.

What is amazingly appropriate about this Emerson quotation, is that it is completely relevant when you realize that that Schnaubelt is representing the teachers who must live under the whim of the board. Go against it, it it could be difficult for those teachers, and therefore, you must completely remove those board members (i.e. "kill the king") or you will be subjected to the wrath of that ruling body.

Indeed, Winet is demonstrating his tit-for-tat mentality when he goes after this issue as if someone were threatening his life.

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Title La Mesa Spring Valley School District Board Meeting, 2009-09-15 'Obama Apology'
Publisher Citizens Oversight
Author Raymond Lutz
Pub Date 2009-09-15
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Keywords La Mesa Spring Valley School Board, Local Politics
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Topic revision: r6 - 27 Dec 2013, RaymondLutz
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