Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 22, 2017

No apologies

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

Sometimes there are some people that just have the skill to make things worse not better.   Like if you could pick a more tone deaf response to the renewed interest in Trish Spencer’s lack of support for the LGBTQ community when she was on the School Board, you couldn’t do any better than Trish Spencer’s actual response to the renewed interest in Trish Spencer’s lack of support for the LGBTQ community when she was on the School Board.

Most of the narrative is setting up a bit of a victim complex so that we sympathize and empathize with Trish Spencer, but let me just get to the nut meat of her excuses:

During my nine years as an elected official, I have been asked to make many difficult decisions. After listening to all the perspectives, I make what I believe is the best decision, often distilling complex issues to core values, such as the Golden Rule and equal protection.

I made one such decision in 2009, my first year on the school board, regarding the anti-bullying curriculum. I held that when AUSD decided to go from its general anti-bullying curriculum to enumerating one protected class (LGBTQ) that it needed to also concurrently adopt anti-bullying curriculum, similar to an anti-harassment policy, that protected not one, but all protected classes: race, gender identity and gender expression, national origin, religion, sexual orientation and disability.

Some argued for adding the LGBTQ anti-bullying curriculum only. Others reluctantly offered to start with LGBTQ, and later consider adding other protected classes. Others disagreed entirely, saying that racism no longer exists, as President Barack Obama was our president. We didn’t need to teach anti-bullying of those of color because we teach about slavery, or to those of faith because we teach about Anne Frank and the Holocaust. However, AUSD students reported being bullied for numerous reasons. These included wearing a hijab, fasting during Ramadan, being African-American, Jewish, and/or LGBTQ, eating Asian food from home for lunch, having mental/physical disabilities and more.

We must treat all protected classes similarly, regardless of one’s personal beliefs. That is equal protection for all. Every child deserves similar treatment by the AUSD to reduce bullying against them.

Okay, where to start.  Let me take it a bit out of order.   First:

Others disagreed entirely, saying that racism no longer exists, as President Barack Obama was our president. We didn’t need to teach anti-bullying of those of color because we teach about slavery, or to those of faith because we teach about Anne Frank and the Holocaust.

I’m pretty sure NO ONE WAS SAYING THIS.  No one.  That might have been some national level bullshit ridiculousness, but no one supporting Lesson 9 said this.  Because if they did, that would be stupid. And untrue.  And stupid to ask for consideration for one protected class by minimizing the concerns of another.  This did not happen in any public meeting that I am aware of.  If Trish Spencer has recall of where this happened she should provide receipts or apologize for making stuff up.

Then

I held that when AUSD decided to go from its general anti-bullying curriculum to enumerating one protected class (LGBTQ) that it needed to also concurrently adopt anti-bullying curriculum, similar to an anti-harassment policy, that protected not one, but all protected classes: race, gender identity and gender expression, national origin, religion, sexual orientation and disability.

Remember Lesson 9 was one module within a whole Caring Schools Community framework of which there were eight that preceded Lesson 9.  It was a supplement to the larger anti-bullying curriculum that was more general.  The goal was always to create support guides for all of the protected classes.  This is a either a deliberate misrepresentation of what actually happened around the Lesson 9/Caring Schools Community curriculum or Trish Spencer simply did not understand what was going on around the whole topic.  I’m not sure which is worse.

Also, this doesn’t explain why she eventually voted “no” on the expanded book list that did exactly what she claims she wanted: to address all protected classes.

Now here are the most problematic parts:

After listening to all the perspectives, I make what I believe is the best decision, often distilling complex issues to core values, such as the Golden Rule and equal protection.

We must treat all protected classes similarly, regardless of one’s personal beliefs. That is equal protection for all. Every child deserves similar treatment by the AUSD to reduce bullying against them.

No.  Just no.

While every child deserves to not be bullied, “equal protection” is a ridiculous cop out.  A blind adherence to a plain reading of “equal protection” is what got us rulings like Plessy v. Ferguson which held that separate is okay as long as it’s “equal.”  So two different qualities of water fountains, bus seats, train cars, etc and so forth is “equal protection.”

No. Just no.

Sometimes we need to do more for certain groups or call out certain issues because there is a higher level of vulnerability.  Look, I got made fun of for bringing Asian food to school, but I never wanted to kill myself because of it.  But a child who is relentlessly taunted because of his/her sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation is at higher risk for self harm.  To equate the two is offensive.

We still have lot of issues in our society and community that requires specific addressing of a specific class to call attention to some injustice.  The most obvious example is our course the Black Lives Matter movement.  It’s not saying that ONLY Black lives matter, but that there is some dysfunction in our country when Black people are killed in what should be routine encounters with law enforcement.  Just like Lesson 9 was attempting to call out the fact that the LGBTQ community is particularly vulnerable to bullying.  And not that ONLY the LGBTQ community is bullied.

This “All Lives Matter” dismissiveness from an elected official of a city in the Bay Area is not acceptable.  The fact that Trish Spencer does not see the gradients of different is problematic and indicative of why she hasn’t apologized and probably never will.

For full context of Trish Spencer’s Lesson 9 votes, click through.

12 Comments

  1. I love the way you progressive left wing democrats hate each other.

    Comment by jack — June 22, 2017 @ 7:05 am

    • Trish Spencer is not progressive. Being cool with pot use at best makes her a libertarian or something like that. But I think some conservatives are down with pot smoking now.

      Comment by Lauren Do — June 22, 2017 @ 7:10 am

  2. we definitely don’t march in lockstep like you alt-rights.

    Comment by JohnP.Trump is not my President. — June 22, 2017 @ 7:28 am

    • I love the way you progressive left wing and non progressive democrats hate each other.

      Comment by jack — June 22, 2017 @ 10:07 am

  3. Calling Trish a progressive requires alternative definitions …. and while one may think she is more libertarian, I would think most on reflection would see she is simply a populist for those that want it ” …. like it was when …”.
    But being a populist means it is easy for her to jump on the 420 issue …
    But a progressive.. omg … lol …

    Comment by Ron Mooney — June 22, 2017 @ 9:17 am

    • Mooney & Do: Please stop using the word “libertarian” in a sentence when you have no idea what it means. Libertarian is not a word subject to Ministerial definition.

      Comment by vigi — June 22, 2017 @ 11:17 am

  4. Teddy Roosevelt defined the term “Progressive” in the US. And he shot & killed more endangered species than almost anyone.

    Comment by vigi — June 22, 2017 @ 11:19 am

  5. Be careful who you call a progressive. The “progressives” of the 19th century attempted to scientifically manage a “better” society and were racist by our standards- implementing Literacy tests, Jim Crow laws, miscegenation laws banning marriage between certain races, white slavery laws to avoid trafficking in prostitutes, use of IQ tests in determining immigration restrictions, Eugenics laws to sterilize the mentally ill and differently abled, and, of course, drug restrictions on opium, cocaine, and marijuana, culminating in Prohibition of all alcohol. Does that sound like a fun group?

    Comment by Nowyouknow — June 22, 2017 @ 3:42 pm

  6. ROFL … Gottstein asking people to stop using words ………..

    Comment by Ron Mooney — June 22, 2017 @ 9:34 pm

  7. It was a terribly written response, I grant you that. Trish supported the anti-bullying campaign (already a pretty progressive thing in itself) but thought it went too far when it singled out a particular group. You might disagree with this, but guess what? It is OK to disagree with someone without calling them a bigot. Also, please realize this whole thing is a convenient wedge issue being pushed by the developers to stoke the anti-Trish sentiment. You are a TOOL if you fall for this, no different than the voters who flocked to Trump for Hillary’s “e-mail issue” – a slip-up for sure, but not the conspiracy treason her competitors made it out to be.

    Comment by Barry MiKokiner — June 28, 2017 @ 7:18 am

    • Did Trish Spencer also explain to you why she didn’t vote for the expanded curriculum that recognized all protected classes or did she just stop at “All Lives Matter” which was a satisfactory excuse for voting against curriculum that was simply designed to say “hey, this LGBTQ community exists, maybe you shouldn’t be a dick to these kids who identify as such or who you think may fall into this classification.”

      This is not being pushed by developers, that is literally the biggest straw man ever.

      Comment by Lauren Do — June 28, 2017 @ 7:37 am

  8. At no time did Trish Spencer actually support any anti-bullying curriculum. She spewed out lots of words (and continues to do so), but Trish Spencer’s fundamental position was clear to anyone who paid any attention. She did not want the existence gay people (whether students or parents) acknowledged in any way, shape or form in the classrooms of the Alameda School District. Every single proposal that would acknowledge the existence of gay people in the curriculum was objected to by Trish Spencer.

    She is the most prominent anti-gay politician in Alameda. Her anti-gay positions are what made her. She still pulls in votes from anti-gay voters, because they remember her for hearalding their cause.

    Even in this op-ed, she preserves her connection to her anti-gay supporters.

    It’s too bad she doesn’t just own her positions, but I guess that would be asking an awful lot from a politician, particularly this one.

    Comment by JohnB — June 30, 2017 @ 1:12 pm


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