‘Pervasive pornography,’ vulgarity, profanity banned by Temecula school board

“This is an issue of morality,” board President Joseph Komrosky says after 3-2 vote

Pervasive pornography, erotica and “inappropriate vulgarity or profanity” are banned from instructional materials under policy changes passed by Temecula’s school board Tuesday night, Dec. 12.

The Temecula Valley Unified School District board’s 3-2 vote followed discussion over the policy’s timing and criticism from residents who fear the policy will censor valuable lessons and classic literature.

The revised policy states that the district’s “education program, including all of its instructional materials “shall not include pervavsive (sic) pornography, erotica,” depictions of sexual violence and “inappropriate vulgarity or profanity, or other obscene material.”

The policy also calls for learning materials to be “educationally suitable.”

“The Board recognizes that determinations regarding appropriateness and compliance with this policy with respect to the program and instructional materials often must be made case-by-case and in context,” the policy states, adding that the board “encourages discussion amongst administrators, teachers, parents, and the Board itself to facilitate such determinations.”

A public copy of the revised policy does not include definitions for pervasive pornography or other banned content.

Board members Joseph Komrosky and Jen Wiersma, who voted for the policy with fellow conservative Danny Gonzalez, said more details will come by February and the changes won’t take effect until the new school year starts in August.

There will be “a rubric … that teachers will be able to look at (to) give them the guidance they need to say ‘If I’m bringing this in, does it meet all these important guidelines?’” Wiersma said.

She said the policy stems from a controversy earlier this year, in which parent Tracy Nolasco complained about her teenage daughter reading the play “Angels in America” for a drama class. The play, which examines the AIDS epidemic and homosexuality in the 1980s, contains graphic sex scenes, profanity and adult themes.

Temecula Valley High School drama teacher Greg Bailey offered “Angels in America” as part of a list of plays his students could read for an end-of-year assignment. Bailey, who said he warned students in advance of the play’s content, was placed on paid administrative leave in May before being allowed to return to the classroom in late August.

“That student (who read ‘Angels in America’) didn’t know what she was choosing,” Wiersma said. “We felt it very important to provide important policies and parameters that prevent obscene sexually explicit material and pervasive vulgarity.”

“Schools should be a beacon of light,” Wiersma said. “This isn’t about book banning.”

Komrosky, who was re-appointed school board president by a 3-2 vote Tuesday, said the policy is needed because “it prevents the normalization of the sexualization of our youth.”

“If you want pervasive pornography, erotica, profanity, obscenity and vulgarity, you’re in the wrong school district,” he said.

“This is an issue of morality, not political ideology. This is a moral issue. These are intrinsically evil and they should not be around our children, especially when they’re pervasive. People that want more of this, they’re called groomers.”

Some who spoke to the board, including Nolasco, supported the policy changes.

Under the prior policy, “you would never have known to expect that content” in “Angels in America,” she said. “How is my daughter … to know to expect that?”

Others, including Temecula progressive activist Julie Geary, spoke against the revised policy.

“By allowing students access to literature that addresses controversial topics, we empower them to develop a deeper understanding of the complexities of the world,” Geary told the board.

“It makes students come together so they can talk about things such as consent (in sexual activity). They can talk about where to get help if they’re being abused at home. If we censor this, these conversations will never happen. The abuse and trauma will continue and that will be on you.”

Board members Allison Barclay and Steven Schwartz, who often are at odds with the conservative majority, voted against the policy changes.

Schwartz said the board should not vote on the policy pending a “final decision” from a committee working on the policy that includes Komrosky, Wiersma and administrators. He also took issue with a sentence that barred “depictions of violence” from learning materials.

“If you take violence out of (teaching about) World War II, what is it you’re going to teach?” Schwartz asked. “If you take out the slaughter of millions of civilians … What is it you’re teaching about history? You cannot cleanse violence from history.”

Komrosky agreed, and the final policy changes deleted the phrase “depictions of violence” while keeping language that bars depictions of sexual violence.

Barclay said that, while she agreed “with much of what has been said” and opposes pornography in schools, she also wanted to wait until the committee’s work wrapped up.

“Any decision made in this district has 1,000 ripple effects and so many things that have been rushed so far in this last year have created ripple effects,” Barclay said.

Click here to read the full story in the Press-Enterprise

Murrieta Valley school board OKs policy to tell parents if children are transgender

In marathon session, trustees approve rules based on those adopted by Chino Valley school board

In a marathon meeting, the Murrieta Valley school board approved a policy Thursday night, Aug. 10, to notify parents if their children identify as a gender that doesn’t match their sex assigned at birth.

The vote was 3-2, with board members Paul Diffley, Nick Pardue and Julie Vandegrift voting yes. Nancy Young and Linda Lunn voted no.

The proposal, from Diffley and Pardue, is based on a policy adopted 4-1 by the Chino Valley Unified School District last month during a contentious and emotional meeting. Chino Valley’s policy was included as an example in the Murrieta school board agenda packet.

RELATED: Murrieta Valley school board could tell parents if their children are transgender

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced an investigation Friday, Aug. 4, into potential legal violations raised by Chino Valley’s rules.

Pardue, the board’s clerk, is one of five conservative Christians elected to southwest Riverside County school boards in November and was backed by a conservative PAC.

The Murrieta Valley Unified School District board room — which holds about 147 people — was full well before the open session of the meeting began at 5 p.m. An overflow crowd was in the entryway. About a dozen law enforcement officers stood by. It took hours to get a vote, which came about 10:30 p.m.

Young, who defeated a candidate backed by a conservative PAC in the November election, said Wednesday, Aug. 9, that she is “adamantly opposed” to the potential policy.

“Its illegal,” she said. “It’s a violation of Ed Code and state law and discriminates.”

Young cited the risk of lawsuits or a civil rights investigation by the state, as well as the stress the policy would cause to transgender students, who she said have “a suicide rate that is four times the suicide rate” of other students.

An American Academy of Pediatrics article states that “nearly 25% to 30% of transgender adolescents report attempting suicide during their lifetimes,” and mentions a second study showing that “45% of 18- to 24-year-old transgender people had attempted suicide in their lifetimes.”

Young said she had received about 10 emails from students, teachers and parents by Wednesday — all opposed to the policy.

“Most agenda items get zero emails,” she said.

While school board posts are officially nonpartisan, some trustees are using their positions “as a platform for airing their political grievances,” Young said.

Murrieta resident Lane McKeever, who will soon have three grandchildren in Murrieta Valley schools, said before the meeting that she supports the proposed policy and is “opposed to teachers trying to take the place of parents.”

McKeever said her son struggled with depression while in school, and she was informed by a teacher.

“Parents get to know everything,” McKeever said.

Stephanie Young, a Murrieta resident and district teacher, attended the meeting to oppose the potential policy and support transgender students. Young has a 17-year-old son who is trans.

“There’s gonna be kids who feel like nobody cares,” she said.

Stephanie Young thought the policy was likely to be adopted.

More than 60 people said they intended to speak at Thursday night’s meeting, most of them regarding the parental notification proposal. Board members wavered on whether to limit speakers to two minutes apiece, but eventually voted to let everyone speak for the usual three minutes.

By the time all speakers had finished their comments about three hours later, roughly 30 had voiced support for a policy to inform parents, but nearly as many spoke against it.

Staff members spoke on behalf of Republican Assemblymembers Kate Sanchez, who represents Temecula, Murrieta and parts of Orange County, and Bill Essayli, who represents several western Riverside County cities. Both support such a policy.

“The reality is, sex cannot be changed” said Chloe Cole, an activist and “former trans kid” who said she identified as transgender from age 12-16. She backs the proposal.

Rudi Krause began his comments with a song about what he called the gay agenda.

“The rainbow flag must be removed from all schools, government and institution,” he said after the song. He later said: “No heterosexual parent wants a homosexual child.”

Alexandra Galeano spoke after her 12-year-old-daughter, both in opposition to the policy. Galeano said and said that if her child went to her teacher before her, “I would question, ‘What have I done wrong?’”

Rachel Dennis, a local pastor, spoke against the policy.

“I am happy that I am not the first adult to stand up to speak on behalf of at-risk kids,” said Dennis.

“Left-handedness used to be considered wicked by Christians,” she said.

After Dennis received a loud reaction from the audience, school board member Lunn said she had “been extremely impressed” with audience reaction so far and asked speakers to continue.

Robert Garcia, the school board president in the Jurupa Unified School District in Riverside County, also spoke.

“I’m here representing what is right,” said Garcia, who said he’s a veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm.

“The reason we served is so that everybody can have their freedom,” he said.

“We get caught up in the politics and the personal agendas,” Garcia said. “I think we’re all better than that.”

Joseph Komrosky, board president in the neighboring Temecula Valley Unified School District, attended the meeting, but did not speak publicly.

Several Murrieta Valley students and recent alums spoke.

Corinne Smith, 17, the senior class president at Murrieta Valley High School, referred to other school districts that have adopted similar policies and asked supporters: “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?”

“If students choose to talk to a trusted adult before their parents, it is for a reason,” she said.

Other speakers included teachers, parents — some with LGBTQ+ children — and other community members.

“It isn’t by any means an attack, or do we want it to be, on the LGBTQ community,” Diffley, the board president, said of the proposal.

“To me the importance of the bond between student and family, mother and father, is paramount,” he said, and it supersedes anything else in school. However, Diffley agreed that there are some parents “who may beat their kids.”

Attorney Dina Harris discussed the proposed policy.

Click here to read the full article at the Press Enterprise

Gov. Newsom’s Deceit with Local School Boards Exposes Tyrannical Leanings

Is Newsom a ruthlessness authoritarian?

One week ago, the elected Temecula Valley Unified School District board again voted 3-2 to reject California’s elementary school social studies curriculum. A day later, Governor Gavin Newsom announced he would be sending the textbooks anyway, threatened a lawsuit and $1.5 million fine.

Facing a lawsuit and hefty fine, the Temecula Valley board reversed its earlier votes in an emergency meeting that went late last Friday night. They approved the curriculum with the caveat to make the material age and grade appropriate, and asked district officials to review the supplementary material that discusses gay rights and same-sex legality in California.

Do you ever remember a time when a California Governor imposed his will on a locally-elected school board?

The Globe spoke with a former State legislator this week who said local school boards have 100% authority for their schools’ curriculum, and even have the ability to create testing. The lawmaker said Gov. Newsom really stepped in it this time, and may find himself on the other end of a lawsuit.

Notably, Gov. Newsom never apologized to the people of California for locking them up, destroying their businesses, causing serious mental harm and learning loss to their children, and being wrong about masks and vaccine mandates. Tyrants never apologize.

Newsom: Presidential-Candidate-in-Waiting

Newsom, who is obviously the Democrat Presidential-Candidate-in-Waiting should President Joe Biden become too ill or dementia-addled to run for reelection, is revealing his dark underbelly. Again.

We saw what an authoritarian and tyrant Newsom is when during the time of COVID madness, he ordered the entire state locked down for nearly three years, forced private sector businesses to close indefinitely, issued mask mandates indoors and outdoors, ordered all students ages 5-11 to receive COVID vaccinations in order to attend in-person school, and then mandated vaccines for all school children. His orders were enforced by local police  and public health officials who arrested surfers, people out walking alone on a beach, and businesses which refused to comply with his illogical orders.

Newsom even created laws illegally using his emergency powers – only the Legislature can create laws.

Assembly members James Gallagher and Kevin Kiley sued over Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “one man rule,”challenging whether he had the emergency authority to make law without legislative authority, using his emergency powers during the COVID shutdown of the state. Gov. Gavin Newsom issued 58 executive orders by the time Gallagher and Kiley filed their suit. Many of those decisions and executive orders were legally dubious if not outright unconstitutional, all under the guise of “public health.”

They won in State Super Court but Gov. Newsom and his legal team appealed Kiley and Gallagher’s trial court victory. This is what they wrote in their return response:

This case concerns a limited point of law: whether the California Constitution countenances a dictatorship. Gavin Newsom is no Caesar, but his legal theory in this case and ruling philosophy this year are that of dictator legibus faciendis. The Executive can make laws at will, and the participation of the Legislature is at his discretion.

They say in their response:

What is at issue is whether, in addition to this duly delegated authority, the Governor may lay claim to a form of “police power” that includes acts of purely legislative creation. Such power, if legitimized by this Court, would admit of no practical limitation. 

The appeals court oddly sided with Gallagher and Kiley, but kicked the case up to the Supreme Court, as Kiley noted:

“The Third District sided with me and James on almost every legal issue,” Assemblyman Kiley posted on Twitter. “Yet it somehow found a path to avoid limiting the Governor’s powers. This case will be decided by the California Supreme Court.”

The California Supreme Court – made up of Gov. Jerry Brown and Gov. Newsom appointees -eventually ruled against them, despite the law being very clear on a California Governor’s power – even during a state of emergency.

Newsom continued to balk on lifting the lockdowns and mandates on Californians while his children continued to attend private school, and he and the First Partner maintained an active social life, dining with friends at the chi-chi French Laundry in Napa Valley, vacationed in Montana, vacationed at a $29,000-per-night villa in Cabo San Lucas and traveled to Costa Rica.

As Gov. Newsom extended California’s COVID State of Emergency into its second year, he traveled the country on a book tour and took in an interview on The View.

As honest and hard working Californians remained trapped in their homes under his lockdown orders, California’s horrific crime wave achieved national attention, despite politicians’ attempts to deny this.

“The wave of group mob-style smash and grab robberies around the Golden State continued on in California over the Thanksgiving holiday period, resulting in the ramping up of police protection despite some departments facing strained resources following defunding efforts,” the Globe reported at that time.

Gov. Newsom did not conduct live, in-person press conferences throughout the lockdowns, and the Capitol press was mostly kept away from him – from March 2020 through February 2022. And he rarely had to answer a difficult question anyway.

The authoritarian Governor was remote and inaccessible for nearly three years.

Other acts of Tyranny 

Remember when as one of his first acts as governor, in 2019, Gov.  Newsom sued the Orange County city of Huntington Beach for failing to provide enough additional “affordable housing,” while his own home county of Marin enjoyed a moratorium on affordable housing building requirements until 2028, the Globe reported.

Newsom vowed that “some cities are refusing to do their part to address this crisis and willfully stand in violation of California law,” he said. “Those cities will be held to account.” Newsom’s overreach and meddling into local control issues ignored that Huntington Beach had already zoned and permitted 1,000 units of its 1,353 required.

Only, his own home county, left-leaning Marin, wasn’t held to account the way conservative Huntington Beach was.

And Newsom never stopped – in February of 2023, Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Bonta once again harassed Huntington Beach in conservative Orange County over state affordable housing requirements after the city council voted to challenge the housing state laws aimed at forcing local cities to allow granny flats, (Accessory Dwelling Units).

Huntington Beach is a charter city which has more local controls, exempting it from some state zoning laws, according to a panel of the California 4th District Court of Appeal. The appeals court ruled in 2017 that charter cities like Huntington Beach can approve plans that don’t meet the state’s housing requirements and can eliminate sites zoned for affordable housing. The state appealed the ruling.

The Department of Housing and Community Development reported in 2019 that most of California city’s housing plans are in compliance, while 51 cities and counties were not, including Huntington Beach… and Selma, Orange Cove, Holtville, Lake County, Bradbury, Claremont, La Puente, Maywood, Montebello, Paramount, Rolling Hills, South El Monte, Westlake Village, Atwater… while all Marin County cities were listed in compliance.

That report is no longer available on the housing department website.

There are traits and behaviors common to tyrants:

Tyrants are shifty, they are slick and treacherous.

They’ll manipulate you to prevent you from figuring them out.

Tyrants want us confused.

To tyrants, winning is everything, and they will claim victory in every interaction by any means necessary.

Gavin Newsom’s behavior during and since Covid, and now with a disobedient school board, is tyrannical and ultimately dangerous. Whether he is trolling Red State Governors, or harassing cities in more conservative areas, or issuing his own edicts, or imposing lockdowns – all behaviors and decisions should have shown every Californian just how tyrannical and unreasonable our governor and his appointees are.

Far too many Californians appear to be apathetic to our individual liberties and that should be really concerning. Newsom and most other Democrat Governors became lockdown zealots … while Republican governors allowed their states to remain free while adopting and encouraging personal responsibility.

Such a contrast – freedom or servitude.

UPDATE: After the Globe published this article, Rep. Kevin Kiley posted this amazing exchange with Dr. Nat Malkus, a senior fellow and the deputy director of education policy at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he specializes in empirical research on K-12 schooling.

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

Why Gavin Newsom, State Leaders are Paying Attention to Temecula’s School Board

Temecula Valley schools are in Sacramento’s spotlight after board blocked textbook

“Congratulations Mr. Komrosky you have my attention. Stay tuned.”

That’s how California Gov. Gavin Newsom ended a tweet calling Temecula school board President Joseph Komrosky “an ignorant person” for calling slain LGBTQ civil rights icon Harvey Milk “a pedophile” in a debate over a social studies curriculum.

The governor’s words proved prophetic.

California’s attorney general and Department of Education are now scrutinizing the Temecula Valley Unified School District, where a conservative school board majority has delighted supporters and outraged critics by its actions since taking power in December.

Member of the pro-LGBTQ group Temecula Pride picketed school district headquarters Friday, June 9, to denounce school board members’ Milk comments. More protests are expected at the Tuesday, June 13, school board meeting.

While Temecula is no stranger to culture war fights, Sacramento’s focus on its school district marks an escalation in a long-running fight between the city’s Christian conservatives and a vocal progressive movement in the traditionally red city in southwest Riverside County.

It’s also a fight with implications beyond Temecula, especially for an unabashedly liberal Democratic governor determined to take on Republicans nationwide.

The school board showdown in the latest chapter in Temecula’s history of clashes over sexuality and religion. In 1995, Residents protested the showing of the NC-17-rated movie “Showgirls” in a Temecula movie theater and, in 2008, criticized a charity performance of the play, “The Vagina Monologues.”

In 2010, Temecula’s City Council approved plans to build a new mosque after a public hearing that ended after 3 a.m. and protests at which mosque opponents brought their dogs to antagonize Muslims.

Last September, the council rejected a pro-life resolution that would have declared Temecula a sanctuary city for the unborn. Months earlier, Councilmember Jessica Alexander, the resolution’s sponsor, blasted a council proclamation honoring LGBTQ Pride Month.

In January, the council voted 3-2 to stop issuing citywide proclamations recognizing months like Black History Month that celebrate cultural diversity, women’s history or the LGBTQ community, instead deferring to the city’s diversity commission to designate such months.

Other than California Attorney General Rob Bonta warning Temecula’s council the pro-life resolution might be illegal, Sacramento has generally avoided intervening in Temecula, which is almost 500 miles away.

That changed when the school board in May voted 3-2 to reject a social studies textbook because its supplemental materials referenced Milk.

“My question is why even mention a pedophile?” Komrosky said at the May 16 meeting. “What does that got to do with our curriculum in schools? That’s a form of activism.”

Board member Danny Gonzalez also called Milk a pedophile. At a Wednesday, June 7, news conference responding to Newsom, Komrosky said he was not referring to Milk’s sexuality, but to reports that Milk had a relationship with a teenager.

Bonta’s office on Wednesday sent a letter to the district seeking documents related to the board’s decision to reject the textbook.

“Restricting what our children are taught in school based on animus or ideological opposition contradicts our societal values,” Bonta said in a news release.

In addition, the state education department is investigating the district, although it’s unclear why. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond visited the district Tuesday.

The scrutiny comes as the term-limited Newsom, who survived a GOP-led recall in 2021 and cruised to re-election last year, is spearheading an effort attacking Republicans and Donald Trump supporters as threats to democracy, abortion rights and LGBTQ Americans.

He’s visited red states and taken out billboards and full-page newspaper ads in red states while publicly taunting GOP governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida. Newsom, who is scheduled to appear on conservative commentator Sean Hannity’s Fox News TV show Monday night, June 12, also proposed a constitutional amendment to enact gun control.

“Newsom relishes fights with right-wing culture warriors,” Jack Pitney, a professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College, said via email. “He won’t make any converts, but he will earn points with progressive Democrats for taking the fight to the opposition.”

Newsom’s and Bonta’s comments “appear to be warnings to other (school) districts as much as they are targeted towards Temecula,” Marcia Godwin, a professor of public administration at the University of La Verne, said via email.

“The timing of the Temecula (school board’s) action, during (LGBTQ) Pride Month, was bound to attract the attention of elected officials,” Godwin said. “For Newsom, this issue ties into his early advocacy for LGBTQ rights and also his aspirations to be relevant on a national stage.”

As San Francisco’s mayor in 2004, Newsom directed the city to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of state law.

Newsom’s involvement could also rally conservatives to the embattled school board majority.

Komrosky and Gonzalez’s press conference responding to Newsom took place in the church of Pastor Tim Thompson, a conservative activist who helped get the Temecula board majority and school board members in Murrieta and Lake Elsinore elected.

Julie Geary, of the progressive group Temecula Unity, welcomes Sacramento’s involvement.

Click here to read the full article in the Press Enterprise

Claremont School Board Member Quits Amid Allegations He Exposed Students to ‘Half-Naked Men,’ Alcohol

Claremont Unified Board of Education president Steven Llanusa resigned Saturday, Dec. 10 amid allegations that he exposed students to inappropriate behavior, including a “dirty Santa” and alcohol at a holiday party in his home earlier this month.

In an email sent to the Claremont Unified School District community around 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Superintendent James Elsasser said Llanusa tendered his resignation early Saturday and will step down immediately from his board duties.

“In the very near future, we will discuss the next steps for filling this vacant position,” Elsasser wrote. “Thank you for your patience during this very difficult time.”

Elsasser, reached by a reporter, confirmed the resignation.

Rachel Forester, a Claremont Educational Foundation board member, said she was previously aware of Llanusa’s holiday parties but had never heard of inappropriate conduct taking place.

A parent of three children attending CUSD schools, Forester called Llanusa’s resignation “the very best thing to happen” but added she “felt” for Llanusa.

“I think (Llanusa) is a decent person and made a really poor decision that is going to cost him,” Forester said.

At a special board meeting that was live-streamed on Friday, Dec. 9, a half-dozen parents said their children, part of the Claremont High School choir program, performed at Llanusa’s home on Saturday, Dec. 3, to raise money for the program.

At the party, parents said, the students were exposed to scantily-clad male dancers dressed as elves and a “dirty Santa,” while some were offered alcohol.

“They were offered an open bar and to socialize with half-naked men, the dirty Santa who made disgusting comments to our children,” parent Gabriel Lozano told CBS Los Angeles.

Police are investigating the allegations.

Click here to read the full article in the San Bernardino Sun

San Francisco Defends Right of Non-Citizens to Vote in School Board Elections

San Francisco is defending the right of non-citizens to vote in school board elections.

In a brief filed Friday, the City Attorney’s Office swung back at a legal challenge by a Republican operative that aims to revoke the right of non-citizens to vote in San Francisco Unified School District elections. 

The motion comes in response to a lawsuit filed three-and-a-half months ago in San Francisco Superior Court by James V. Lacy—an Orange County lawyer, right-wing pundit and author of conservative books such as Taxifornia—alleging that non-citizen voting is unlawful and should be banned.

Fellow plaintiff Michael Denny, a San Francisco resident, said non-citizens participating in local elections unlawfully dilutes the votes of citizens.

In his response Friday, City Attorney David Chiu countered that while California’s constitution guarantees voting rights to citizens over the age of 18, it does not prohibit cities from extending the electorate to additional residents in local elections. 

Even if the court found a conflict between the city’s charter and state law, Chiu argued that San Francisco’s “home rule authority” would prevail.

Chiu noted in his filing that non-citizens were allowed to vote for the first 150 years of United States history.  

“While women and racial minorities who were citizens were deprived of voting rights, non-citizens who were white male property owners could vote in state and local elections well into the 20th century,” he wrote in the brief. “Non-citizen voting in 40 states and U.S. territories was curtailed only after an influx of Southern and Eastern European immigrants and World War I provoked xenophobia and nativism in this country.”

In 2016, San Francisco voters passed Proposition N, allowing non-citizens—including permanent residents, visas holders, refugees and undocumented immigrants—to cast ballots in school board races. Five years later, in 2021, the city made non-citizen voting in school elections a permanent right for parents or guardians with at least one child under 19 years old.

San Francisco’s response brief to Lacy v. City of San Francisco

Chinese for Affirmative Action—a group that advocates for multiracial democracy—told The Standard the Lacy lawsuit coincides with a national Republican effort to engage in voter suppression and prevent  immigrant voters from having their voices heard.

The nonprofit advocacy group pointed out that more than 500 bills have been introduced since the 2020 elections to effectively disenfranchise people by, among other things, requiring photo identification and purging voter rolls.

If the litigation against San Francisco’s non-citizen voting law succeeds, Chinese for Affirmative Action says it would discourage some immigrant voters from weighing in on issues that affect their children. 

“By extending the right to vote to non-citizens, San Francisco has led the way in expanding access to democracy and promoting immigrant inclusion,” Chinese for Affirmative Action Immigrant Rights Coordinator Olivia Zheng said. “In the face of attacks on voting rights across the country, it is crucial to continue defending the right for immigrants to fully participate in and shape their communities.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey, 105,000 of San Francisco’s 870,000 residents are non-citizens.

Proponents of non-citizen voting rights say it gives people with roots in their community a chance to have a say in local governance. 

Immigrant parent and San Francisco resident Hwaji Shin said it brought her to tears when she voted for the first time in the U.S. in 2018.

Click here to read the full article in the San Francisco Standard

More S.F. Voters Supported Recall Of School Board Members Than Elected Them In 2018

More San Franciscans voted to recall three school board members than elected them in 2018, despite a relatively low turnout in the special election last week.

With nearly 175,000 votes counted, and few remaining ballots still outstanding, the tally demonstrated a clear landslide and countered claims that the recall was a Republican-fueled election dominated by white families frustrated with the board’s progressive politics.

The voter turnout as of Friday was at 35%.

More than 131,000 voters ousted board member Alison Collins, who received 122,865 votes in 2018 when she was elected to the job.

Board President Gabriela López received 123,463 recall votes compared with 117,843 in 2018, while Faauuga Moliga received 117,843 recall votes, nearly 10,000 more than the 107,989 who elected him.

The data also shows that a majority of voters in every neighborhood in San Francisco supported the removal of Collins and López, while all but one, North Bernal Heights, voted to oust Moliga.

The recall divided the city for the past year, with a grassroots effort of frustrated parents and community members pushing for the board members’ removal over the slow reopening of schools during the pandemic and the board’s focus on controversial issues such as renaming 44 school sites and ending the merit-based admission system at Lowell High School.

Opponents of the recall said that the election was a waste of time, money and energy that could have been better directed toward students and that commissioners were carrying out a racial justice agenda that many voters back and is meant to address inequity in the schools. They pointed out wealthy investors, including some Republicans, largely bankrolled the recall effort.

Voters specifically targeted Collins over racially offensive tweets she made before her election, saying Asian Americans used “white supremacist thinking to assimilate and ‘get ahead.’”

Amid calls for her resignation from city leaders and community groups, she sued the district and five fellow board members for $87 million after the board stripped her of the vice presidency and her seat on committees. The lawsuit was tossed out of court before the first hearing.

Within the next few weeks, Mayor London Breed is expected to appoint replacements to finish out the commissioners’ terms, which end in early January 2023. To remain in office, the replacements would have to run in the upcoming November election, but might have an edge as incumbents.

“The voters of this city have delivered a clear message that the school board must focus on the essentials of delivering a well-run school system above all else,” Breed said in a statement on election night. “There are many critical decisions in the coming months — addressing a significant budget deficit, hiring a new Superintendent, and navigating our emergence from this pandemic. … The school district has a lot of work to do.”

Collins and López remain in office, and will not officially be removed until 10 days after the Board of Supervisors accepts the results. New board members would probably take seats around March 11. Moliga, however, stepped down Wednesday. His seat will be vacant until Breed appoints a replacement.

Collins and López remained defiant last week, attributing the recall to white supremacy, a backlash against social justice issues and deep-pocketed Republicans.

“So if you fight for racial justice, this is the consequence,” López said Thursday on Twitter. “Don’t be mistaken, white supremacists are enjoying this. And the support of the recall is aligned with this.”

Click here to read the full article at the SF Chronicle