Laura W. Kanter, director of Policy, Advocacy and Youth Programs with the LGBT Center OC, sure has a lot of questions.
They are directed at two school board members whose first terms end in November.
One is Cecilia Iglesias of the Santa Ana Unified School District.
The other is Robert Hammond, president of the Orange County Board of Education.
Hammond recruited Iglesias to run for office in the first place as part of a "take back Santa Ana" movement spearheaded by right-wing conservatives. Having immigrated with her family from El Salvador and gone on to tutor deaf children, Iglesias had to drop her support for English as a second language courses and the DREAM Act to join Hammond's dream team in 2012.
"A product of Santa Ana Unified School District"—Iglesias attended Diamond and Wilson Elementary, Carr Intermediate and Valley High School, her bio explains—she ran for a state Assembly seat just two years into her school board term, winning the endorsements of Hammond and Orange County GOP chief Scott Baugh. But she lost the Republican primary to Sherry Walker, who lost the general election to Tom Daly (D-Anaheim).
While making his own unsuccessful bid for state Assembly in 2010, Robert Hammond received a 100 percent score for his anti-abortion stands from the California Pro-Life Council as well as a 93 percent for gun rights positions from the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund.
Elected to the Orange County Board of Education two years later, Hammond is now running for re-election. His campaign is blessed by such Republican warhorses as county Supervisor Michelle Steel, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) and the kingmaking Lincoln Club of Orange County.
So let us now return to Kanter, who emailed us the following:
Can someone tell me why SAUSD School Board Member Cecelia Iglesias, who made campaign videos stating that AB1266 is a "creepy, dangerous law" that "lets boys use girls' bathrooms, showers and locker rooms while the girls are using them" and who thinks we need more cops in schools rather than counselors and restorative practices, brought Tea Party bigot Robert Hammond to pass out campaign materials to my group's Restorative Justice for All meeting on Monday night? Can someone ask her what she was thinking? And is it acceptable for one political candidate to bring another political candidate, unannounced and uninvited, to a meeting organized by a coalition of nonprofits, who are working to make schools safer and more supportive for LGBT students, to hand out campaign materials? Can someone tell me why Robert Hammond, president of the OCDE School Board, is allowed to get away with calling LGBT people "sodomites" and allowing the distribution of what amounts to hate rhetoric and pass out anti-LGBT campaign materials at school board meetings that he has stacked with bible-toting bigots, including "ex-gay" pastors whose homosexuality was healed by god?
What about a Tea Party Republican homophobic, transphobic religious zealot who actively campaigned against AB1266, telling voters that football players were going to dress up in skirts to go into girls' locker rooms (maybe that is what he would have done—but has never actually happened) if we passed a law allowing transgender students to access facilities based on their gender identity, stating he is the "democratic choice" on his campaign materials? Is this all part of the political game? Lying to voters, spreading hateful and harmful rhetoric, throwing our most vulnerable youth—those who are at the highest risk for suicide among all youth—under the bus, and using and encouraging language that leads to violence against LGBT people? Please tell me that there is at least some violation of rules here, in addition to a violation of simple human dignity. Tell me this is all a nightmare set in 1977.
Actually, that's an improvement, Laura. Many think Orange County is perpetually set in 1957.
(Which reminds me: take off those shoes, get in the kitchen and make me some grub, woman!)
But I digress. Here is the flier that was being passed around Monday night:
Wow, confuse the electorate much?
While "The Democratic Choice for Quality Education" is highly misleading, the inclusion of former career politician Democrats Gloria Romero and Cruz Bustamante is not surprising. Both strongly support those darlings of conservative California Republicans: charter schools.
Romero, the former state Senate majority leader who later finished third in her run for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, now leads the California chapter of Democrats for Education Reform, an interest group funded by Wall Street hedge fund managers seeking charter schools. Bustamante is director of business development with Accord Education, another business-backed group pimping charter schools.
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Watch Hammond in action here (you have to get past the long introduction) ...
Now for Ceci ...