Attack Ad Response
I would not normally respond to something disparagingly written about me. In this instance, I feel I must respond. The last week of the 2022 election cycle saw a very hurtful mailer sent to my constituents. This flyer, sent by the Inland Empire Family PAC (associated with the 412 Church in Murrieta) included many untrue and slanderous statements on behalf of my opponent. I want to take this opportunity to reply to some of these issues.
Starting in 2020, Covid quickly became a very divisive issue. School Boards throughout the country were faced with difficult decisions and upset parents. When the pandemic first began in March of 2020, we thought, as did many, that we would extend spring break by a week and then go back to normal. That was not to happen. While we were off for the extended spring break, we were notified by the State and County Departments of Public Health, as was every district in the State of California, that we could not reopen under the current Covid conditions.
Once it was clear that we would not be reopening, we pivoted and did everything in our power to get teachers and students set up for Distance Learning. That summer was a horrible experience for many teachers as they had to learn a completely new way to teach. Likewise, families were thrown into turmoil as they tried to find childcare or at home supervision for their kids.
We first looked at reopening the schools under hybrid conditions in the late fall of 2020. This was NOT going to be “normal” school by any means. When the issue of opening came up for a vote in October of 2020, I voted No because I did not feel that returning under the Covid conditions at that time was prudent. The risk to students, teachers and staff from the potential exposure to Covid was, in my opinion, not worth the risk. The Board agreed to reevaluate the conditions each month. In March 2021 the Board voted to return to in-person instruction under hybrid conditions and I supported this decision. This was still far from a “normal” school day. There was no lunch, no recess, the students were only on site for half of the normal day and everyone had to wear masks.
On the subject of masks, I want to make it clear that our Board did not vote to impose masks. The masks were mandated by the Governor of California and passed down through the State and County Departments of Public Health. We reviewed these mandates and consulted with our legal team and we were informed that the mandate DID have the power of law and for us to ignore the mandate would put us in violation of state law. I took an oath at the start of my term to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California.” I took that oath seriously and followed the legal advice we were given.
Some of the other falsehoods in the campaign flyer included:
“Voted to keep students in masks.” - False. We never voted on masks. It was a State mandate.
“Voted to keep schools locked down” – True. I voted to keep the schools locked down until the conditions were safe for all parties.
“Support mandatory vaccines for students and staff.” – FALSE. We were never asked about vaccines for students and I think that decision should rest with parents. As for staff, the State mandated Covid vaccines for all District employees (including Board Members) or testing on a weekly basis.
“Supports Divisive Critical Race Theory” – FALSE. CRT has not come up before the Board for any vote.
“Supports sexual curriculum in K-12 classes” – TRUE/FALSE. I support age-appropriate education through approved curriculum. I do not believe this education should begin before the 5th grade and MUST be age-appropriate and given with the parents’ consent.
“Lack of leadership led to bullying and fights in his District Schools” – FALSE. The Board is not responsible for the daily operation of school campuses. That falls to the school staff and I believe they have done and continue to do an excellent job in difficult situations. Also, I will say that I strongly believe it is a parents’ responsibility to raise and educate their children to know that Bullying and Violence are Never acceptable behavior.
Obviously my opponent and I have different opinions on some key subjects. I only wish she would have made the effort to at least speak to me and ask for my opinions rather than to simply slander me in a mailer.
Did the attack mailer have any impact on the vote count? We will never know. It is possible that our area followed many other areas in the country and voted against any incumbent. I do know that the IE Family PAC came out long before anyone could even file for the school board race and said it was their mission to replace as many incumbent school board members as possible all without even talking to us or getting the truth. To the IE Family PAC and Pastor Tim Thompson of the 412 Church all I can say is you have a very different definition of “Conservative Christians.” I know of no form of Christianity that supports lies, slander, and falsehoods.