If you aren’t aware of the war being waged in the United States by a few billionaire oligarchs to remake the United States into a country that fits what they think, then it’s time to wake up and learn how to discover the signs of oligarch funded propaganda designed to manipulate and fool voters during elections. These billionaires are buying their way into the Republican and Democratic parties, and they are libertarians, neo-liberals, and neo-conservatives—and all of them threaten our freedom and way of life, because to win, they subvert the democratic process protected by the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.
For Instance, for the last few weeks, occasionally, the phone rings, and the call ends up being for one of the candidates running in a special election in California’s State Senate District 7 (where I live) that will be held on May 19. There are two candidates in this runoff election, and both are Democrats, but I think one of them is a corporate loving, teacher bashing, union hating, corporate reformer pretending to be something he isn’t.
The two candidates are Steve Glazer and Susan Bonilla. Bonilla is in the state legislature and identities herself as an educator. Campaign literature for Glazer claims he is a mayor and a university trustee.
The phone rang a few days ago, and I ended up talking to someone working in Glazer’s campaign, who claimed this was a dirty campaign and inferred that Bonilla was responsible for the dirt and lies. Then this guy went and said that Glazer was running a clean and honest campaign, and I thought, “What?” That’s not what I’ve been seeing. Maybe he isn’t paying for the dirty flyers being slipped into our mail boxes, but his allies and supporters are doing it for him.
For weeks, a day seldom goes by that one or more two-sided color campaign posters supporting Glazer don’t show up in our mail box. I don’t remember getting many from Bonilla. I have two posters supporting Glazer on my desk from last Thursday (4-9-15) and two more that arrived the following Saturday—all spouting the same claims against Glazer’s opponent. What’s strange, I don’t remember getting any similar material from Bonilla or her supporters bashing Glazer. It’s almost as if she isn’t campaigning, and no one has called me from her campaign.
Back to that phone call from the Glazer’s campaign staff. I replied that I didn’t know much about Bonilla, but said that I suspected that Steve Glazer was a corporate education reformer because it looked like his financial support was coming from that sector.
The Glazer supporter at the other end of the line denied this before he hung up, but SF Gate reported that Glazer is against unions and wants to ban strikes, in addition, he is supported by business-oriented groups, and he supports changes in teacher tenure. That usually means no due-process job protection for teachers. Believe me, I taught for thirty years, and bad teachers can be fired. Due process rights do not protect teachers who are incompetent, but the incompetence must be proven with evidence and witnesses. I repeat, public school teachers do not have a guaranteed job for life.
I’m going to point out the evidence that no matter what Glazer’s campaign people claim over the phone, Glazer is a corporate reformer because the corporate types love him enough to spend a lot of money sending out these misleading dirty campaign posters and flyers. Does it really matter if the candidate pays for this sort of crap or if one of his supporters pays for it? I don’t think so.
I’m going to start with the poster that has a young boy on the cover pulling his hair out. Right next to that image, it says, “Why does Susan Bonilla want us to have bad teachers.” To be fair, the poster says that this was paid for by Jobs Pac, a bipartisan coalition of California employers. If Glazer wasn’t a corporate reformer in sheep’s clothing, I don’t think he’d be supported by a coalition of California employers that translates, for me, to private sector corporate types—the same types who are waging a national war against the public schools and labor unions.
On the other side of that poster, there’s that kid again still pulling his hair out. Above his, soon to be bald head, it says, “Susan Bonilla backed extreme legislation that put special interests ahead of kids. Bad teachers are holding our kids back and affecting their ability to graduate and go to college—putting their future and California’s future at risk. But instead of standing up for them, Susan Bonilla voted a bill (AB1619, 2014) that would preserve the status quo—where firing bad teachers is nearly impossible, and moving up as a good teacher takes years.” This is probably what Glazer’s supporters are talking about in that bill: “If the certificated employee has completed less than three consecutive years of service, the employee shall complete his or her probationary period and shall be granted permanent employee status upon reelection to his or her fourth year of service, as applicable pursuant to this section.”
To be clear, “permanent employee status,” doesn’t mean the same as a guaranteed job for life that you can’t be fired from. You might be interested to find out just how many ways a teacher can be fired from Teaching Monster.com, and the New York Times reported, “In states with tenure, teachers must work satisfactorily for a period of time before they are eligible for tenure. In California, it was 18 months—or two school years. In most other states, it is three or four years. Only then may the principal decide whether to grant tenure. A teacher with tenure is entitled to a hearing before he or she may be fired, and evidence of misconduct must be presented before an independent hearing officer. Tenure protects academic freedom. In the absence of tenure, teachers may be fired for any reason. Teachers may be fired if the principal doesn’t like them or if they are experienced and become too expensive. Teachers may be fired for being outspoken.”
Wait a minute.
How many bad teachers are there in California’s public schools that they are going to ruin the lives of millions of children—and according to the corporate supporters of Steve Glazer—destroy California, and it will all be Bonilla’s fault, because she introduced bills to support and retain more teachers in addition to improving teacher training—that’s what I discovered when I visited her website and looked at the legislation she has introduced and supported.
Who is Bonilla? Prior to serving in the California State Legislature, Susan was the Mayor of Concord and County Supervisor for Contra Costa County. Before entering her career as an elected official, she was a high school English teacher in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District (our daughter went to a middle school there for a few months before we moved). Susan earned her B.A. in English from Azusa Pacific University and her teaching credential from California State University Los Angeles.
I then sent an e-mail through Bonilla’s campaign site and asked how long she’d been a high school teacher, and also asked if she supported the Common Core high stakes testing that fails children and ranks teachers so they can be fired and their public schools closed. It’s now Sunday and Bonilla has had more than 48 hours to reply but hasn’t. If she does after I publish this post, I’ll update.
I’m going to return to that one claim of Glazer’s corporate supporters that bad teachers are going to put every child’s future and the future of California at risk.
In the Vergara trial in Los Angeles where the judge ruled that teachers should lose their due process job protection rights, two witnesses for the plaintiff testified that they guessed from years of classroom observations that about 1% to 3% of teachers were ineffective. If those two witnesses for the plaintiff in the Vergara trial were right about 1% – 3% of teachers being ineffective, what does that mean?
The California Department of Education reports that there were 295,093 teachers in California public schools for the 2012-13 school year teaching out of 10,366 public schools.
That 1% equals 2,951 teachers and 3% equals 8,853, and with 10,366 public schools in California, each school has less than one teacher who is ineffective, or 1,513 – 7.415 public schools in California don’t even have one ineffective teacher. It all depends how you look at it, but of course the corporate special interests that support Steve Glazer want you to think it means the end of the world.
By the way, Governor Brown and the teachers’ unions are appealing the Vergara verdict that was a trial funded by a billionaire who wants the transparent (open information), non-profit, democratic public schools closed and our children turned over to opaque (secretive), for profit (anyway you look at it) corporate charters that are controlled by CEOs and/or billionaire oligarchs.
About two years after our daughter graduated from a public high school—she attended public schools in four public school districts in California—I asked her how many incompetent teachers she had k-12. She thought about it for a few hours, and then said, “Two.” Those two incompetent teachers didn’t stop her from graduating from high school as a scholar athlete with a 4.65 GPA, and being accepted to Stanford where she graduated last June 2014.
Here’s my thinking. Steve Glazer’s wealthy, corporate, special interest supporters are not interested in the needs of 99% of the people and their children, and I’m not voting for Steve Glazer.
UPDATE on April 14, 2015 at 7:00 PM PST
FIRST: Two fliers arrived in the mail today. One was from a Steve Glazer supporter (Bill Bloomfield) bashing Susan Bonilla with what I think are misleading claims.Bill Bloomfield invested time and money to support and reform the Republican Party before leaving its ranks in March 2011. He says he grew tired of his party’s increasing “hyper-partisanship” and conservative social agenda. Bloomfield now calls himself an independent. Bloomfield is a wealthy Manhattan Beach businessman and real estate developer.
LA Weekly.com says, “If there’s a common thread there, it might be education reform. Both Kashkari and Tuck are big supporters of the education reform movement, with its emphasis on fighting teachers unions, rolling back tenure, using test scores to evaluate teachers, and expanding charter schools. Bloomfield is also a supporter of Students First, the education reform political action group.”
The other flyer was one of the rare few that arrived in our mail box from Susan Bonilla paid for by her own campaign, and I scoured it looking for accusations and dirt on Steve Glazer, and couldn’t find any dirt.
Does this mean Glazer can claim he’s running a clean campaign because he has supporters who are paying for the dirty side of it.
I couldn’t find anything on Bonilla’s flyer/poser that was dirt, but there was a list of her accomplishments as a mayor, country supervisor and state assembly-member. And there was this: Susan Bonilla’s Clean Campaign refuses funding from tobacco companies or tobacco-funded special interests; only honest, factual, respectful campaigning, and no personal attacks, no misleading voters. On the other side of the flyer, California Attorney General endorses Bonilla.
SECOND: An e-mail arrived in reply to the questions I sent in an e-mail through Susan Bonilla’s Website. Here it is:
Dear Mr. Lofthouse:
Thank you for taking the time to contact my office. As your California State Assemblywoman, it is vital that I hear from you regarding the decisions made in the State Capitol and how they impact our community.
Sometimes my Assembly district or capitol offices receive requests, such as yours, that are related either directly or indirectly to my campaign. I hope that you will understand that it is not appropriate nor are my Assembly offices allowed to respond to campaign issues or requests. My Assembly offices are here to represent and serve the people in my district. You will need to contact my campaign office directly.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact me and I hope you will understand. The information that my office receives from constituents is a significant consideration in my legislative decisions. Please feel to contact my district office at (925) 521-1511 anytime for non-campaign assistance or for more legislative information.
Susan A. Bonilla
Assemblymember, 14th District
Website: Assemblymember Bonilla
UPDATE on April 18, 2015 at 7:00 PM PST
Since the last update, three more poster/flyers arrived in the mail. Two were from Bonilla (paid for by her campaign and not by millionaire/billionaire donors) and one from Glazer’s supporters paid for by an organization called JobsPAC, a bipartisan coalition of California employers. Don’t let the fancy title fool you. JobsPAC does not support workers. Some of the biggest donors to JobsPAC are Anthem Blue Cross, PG&E, Anheuser-Bush, Western Manufactured Housing Communities (WMA), Edition International and Chevron Corporation. Don’t allow yourself to be fooled. If you vote for Steve Glazer, you are voting for the interests of these corporations. – ElectionTrack.com
The JobsPac flyer says, “Assembly woman Susan Bonilla Likes to Enjoy the Good Life — at Your Expense.” The CEO of PG&E’s total compensation for 2011 was more than $9 million. Imagine the high life he lives with that money, and I’m sure that Steve Glazer, if elected, will make sure to vote for legislation that will benefit PG&E. WMA is a statewide trade association whose members are largely mobile home park owners who, collectively own, operate and control over 175,000 mobile home spaces in California. The CEO of Chevron was paid $32.2 million in fiscal 2012, up 20% from $24.7 million in fiscal 2011.
Now that you know a little bit about some of Steve Glazer’s supporters, the question Susan Bonilla asks on one of her two flyers makes sense: “Why are Mega Developers Spending $1 Million to Smear Susan Bonilla and Elect Steve Glazer?” Bonilla’s other flyer says: “Steve Glazer’s Actions speak louder than his words”, and then compares claims made by Glazer’s campaign to news published in the Los Angeles Times, SF Chronicle, the Mercury News, and in the Contra Costa Times (with the dates the news ran so you can look it up yourself if you want to—the flyer supporting Glazer doesn’t offer this detailed information of its sources) offering the vidence that what Glazer claims doesn’t match what he does.
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).
Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).
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