Indivisible: Conejo Weekly Newsletter

#DoneWithDunn! Community, Protesters Demand --

And Receive -- CVUSD Board Member's Censure

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Dunn's Censure, Connolly's Harsh Truths

 Set Terms for Campaign;

Indivisible Schedules Candidate Forum

With an empty chair representing the thin skin, cowardice, and character of embattled trustee Mike Dunn on Tuesday evening, his colleagues on the Conejo Valley Unified School District board voted unanimously to censure him for his emailed threats to the employer of local blogger Jessica Weihe. The meeting offered a clarifying opening to this year's campaign for three positions on the board -- two of them held by Dunn and his extremist compatriot (and current board president) John Andersen.

Dr. Betsy Connolly helped shape the terms for the upcoming race with her remarks on the censure resolution she had crafted. She excoriated not only Dunn, but also Andersen and the more recently elected Sandee Everett for enabling him -- and her criticisms will shape much of the argument against both men through 2018. Indivisible: Conejo has scheduled a Challengers Forum to introduce their opponents on Sunday, March 4, from 3-5 p.m. at CLU's Ullman Conference Center. Please see the calendar for details, and RSVP!

Here are the key portions of Dr. Connolly's remarks Tuesday evening:

"I’ve never been on a board that didn’t include Mr. Dunn. I’ve been on the board nine years, and he’s been with me every step of the way. So when people suggest, in good faith, that a code of ethics or better bylaws or board protocols would protect this board and this community from the consequences of his behavior, I say to all of you: You don’t know this man. This is a person who does not respect protocols, does not respect bylaws, and does not respect codes of ethics.

"When I first served on the board, Mr. Dunn was a minority of one -- and as a local newspaper editor said to me, we handled him with a shrug and an eye roll and we went about the important business of doing things that were good for kids. Mr. Andersen joined the board, and Mr. Dunn got a little stronger because he knew he had a political ally. And we went along with a little more ruckus and a little more noise, until Mrs. Everett joined the board a year and a half ago.

"At that point, when Mr. Andersen and Mrs. Everett, despite my protests and my pleas, made him president of the board, a monster was unleashed on (this community) and on his fellow board members. And I believe that what we’re experiencing now, this lashing out at the community, is a result of that unleashing.

"I’m all in favor of board protocols being updated. I’m all in favor of reexamining our ethics and our bylaws. But I’m here to tell you that there is only one way, before November 6, to take care of this problem. And that’s with my fellow board members, Mr. Andersen and Mrs. Everett. Because when they let him misbehave without comment, when they allow him to orchestrate bizarre reordering of our agendas to promote their political aims, the process and protocols and control over the board falls apart.

"I am asking you, Mr. Andersen and Mrs. Everett, to acknowledge the role that you played in setting him loose when you made him president – especially you, Mr. Andersen, because you knew. You knew what he was capable of, and you did it anyway. Now here we are, with someone running amok in our community, and only the two of you can make it stop.

"I am asking you to withdraw your support for him – even when you share a common goal, withdraw your support for him. He will become the eye roll and shrug he once was, and we will finish out our tenure with him and move on to good governance. That can happen, but it can only happen with your support."

As the board struggles to move forward from this distraction, and resume the actual business of overseeing the operation of the district's schools, we will continue to shape the arguments against Dunn and Andersen's reelection with Dr. Connolly's words as our guide. At the same time, we will focus on getting to know the qualifications and positions of the candidates who will seek their seats, as well as that of retiring trustee Pat Phelps. We encourage you to join us for Indivisible: Conejo's CVUSD Challengers Forum on Sunday, March 4, from 3-5 p.m. at CLU's Ullman Conference Center; see the calendar for details, and please RSVP!

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CA-21 Canvassers Enjoy Another Successful Weekend

For the second time in three weeks, a contingent of canvassers from across the state -- organized by Indivisible: Conejo Immigrant Rights' team leader Julie Diaz Martinez -- fanned out across Bakersfield to talk with voters about Democrat Emilio Huerta's congressional campaign for California's 21st district. A number of volunteers shared dinner at Huerta's home last Saturday evening. For the March canvass, volunteers who travel to CA-21 on St. Patrick's Day will wrap up the day with festivities at Murphy's Irish Pub in Bakersfield. Stay tuned for more information on that trip!



Thrive Conejo, a project launched by Disability Rights team leaders Lee Ann Holland and Cindy Liu, held a productive meeting last month with CVUSD Superintendent Dr. Mark McLaughlin. Recent California School Dashboard data shows alarming educational results for several student sub-groups, including students with disabilities and English-language learners. Dr. McLaughlan reported on the meeting during the CVUSD board's Jan. 23 meeting, and stated that he wants to direct district resources toward improving outcomes for those student groups.