October 12, 2001

The Public Forum ... El Foro Publico


My response to the fiasco at SDUSD

Let it be hereupon known that in these times of constant disquiet in our national security and personal welfare, terrorist threats like the one Sue Braun made toward her colleagues Fran Zimmerman and John de Beck will not be tolerated. I Carlos R. Guillen, student senator of San Diego City College do hereby express my concern and condemn the baleful words of San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) (ex-)board president Sue Braun. Also I do hereby offer my unconditional support to board members Fran Zimmerman and John de Beck.

I also do hereby make two suggestions. One of the suggestions is for the proper authorities and the other is direct to Sue Braun- come to think about it, it is a demand in lieu of a suggestion.

1) I am in acquiescence with La Prensa San Diego that the State of Calfornia should take over the San Diego Unified School District "until a thorough investigation is made."

2) Sue Braun, to save yourself the embarrassment due to the outcome of the investigation and to save the tax payers millions of dollars and time in a recall, I demand that you resign from your position on the Board of Education as a member.

It is a fact and it exists in the SDUSD policies that if a student or employee were to make such horrendous remarks they would be expelled from school or removed from their positions. Since elected officials are not affected by the policy, Sue Braun cannot be removed from office. I think and I hope that the rest of the community agrees, that just because Ms. Braun is an elected official that she should be able to get away with saying such terrorist and uneducated remarks.

Sue Braun's total lack of respect for human life and unprofessionalism should not go unheeded. The community should let her know that we do not want an irresponsible and avaricious individual(s) "guiding our public schools."

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere appreciation to the men and women of La Prensa de San Diego for being our watchdogs.

Carlos R. Guillen
San Diego

Full force of the law should be applied

Regarding Sue Braun's threat to shoot two of her fellow trustees, I feel that the full force of the law should be applied. As a frequent observer of the board meetings, it is my opinion that Sue Braun, President of the San Diego City Schools Board of Education, often becomes very angry and frustrated during meetings when she can't control the freedom of speech that people on the board and the general public have as their right, under the Brown Act and the United States Constitution. People have their times cut short, are interrupted, or are made to wait for hours to speak, if Sue disagrees with their point of view.

On the other hand, if the speaker is someone she supports, or who support her, they are given extra time and the utmost courtesy. I have never seen Mr. de Beck or Mrs. Zimmerman, her named targets, do anything but act in a professional manner, attempting to inform the public regarding the truth and carrying out their duties, under the most trying circumstances, caused by the behavior of the board majority, which Sue is part of. I have observed, first hand, Sue's unprofessional behavior and manipulation of the board at each meeting I have attended. The only thing to be done about this is to bar her presence and participation, immediately, from the Board of Education. Morally and ethically, terrorism and intimidation cannot be tolerated on our local school board any more than in international relations. A special election should be held to replace her immediately - one that is monitored by neutral parties to ensure fairness.

Sue should have to answer to criminal charges, as did the teen who threatened to "finish the job" at Santana High and in the spirit of our own board's Zero Tolerance Policies. She should not enjoy special privileges. America's finest city, San Diego, deserves better than this, with a board member at the helm of the 7th largest school district in the nation.

Susan Brinchman
La Mesa

No whitewashing at La Prensa

Though I have written before to thank you for the fearless and accurate reporting of the facts by your Yvette tenBerg on education issues, I find myself writing to the editor for the second time in my life as it is so well deserved!

While "the other" newspaper skirts the real meat of the issues, your publication makes no attempt to whitewash the truth. I congratulate you again for the fastidious reporting which is finally informing the citizens of our community. The hard work and integrity of your investigative reporter, Ms. tenBerg, is truly appreciated by many in San Diego. If more people do not become engaged in bringing about effective education reform it will not be due to an absence of compelling evidence of its necessity as reported by La Prensa.

I suspect that La Prensa will be the only newspaper in which I might find an article reporting the failure of the San Diego Unified School District to serve the educational needs of children of color as exposed by the Latino Coalition at the board meeting today. I can only hope that the Board of Education will respond to the Coalition's report with all due haste. Latino children's, indeed all students' futures, depend upon it. These children do not have the luxury of time. They must receive the highest quality education based on sound programs and practices. And they must receive it now!

Real education reform depends upon a community insisting that "the experts" deliver the goods. My optimism that this will occur is based on the assumption that if the people know, they will act. Your continued journalistic efforts will keep information flowing and serve us well. Keep up the good work!!

Corday Iribe
City Heights

Crash course in hypocrisy

We've all been receiving a crash course in hypocrisy from San Diego School Board President Braun and her supporters. Sue "Zero Tolerance" Braun violated her own policy, sending out an email to others explaining how she wanted to shoot both her opponents on the school board, preferably killing them both with a single bullet.

This evening she resigned as school board president (a largely ceremonial position) while retaining her voting position on the school board. While most of the audience called for her to resign from the board, Channel 10 showed only one sound bite from a person on each side.

Defending Sue Braun was Establishment apologist Bob Dingman — self-proclaimed "Mr. Scripps Ranch" — who favors EVERYTHING that government does that costs more money. He is, of course, a staunch supporter EVERY tax increase, EVERY bond measure, the Charger deal, the ballpark deal — indeed, ANY deal that costs the taxpayers. Braun is cut from the same cloth, so naturally Dingman rushed down to defend his fellow traveler.

Dingman's pitch was "we all make mistakes." No mention was made of the brutal zero tolerance policy that expels young students for making the exact same of mistake. Speaking against Braun was a gentleman who succinctly brought forward this very point, calling for a review of all past zero tolerance actions against students and employees — if Sue Braun is not held accountable, neither should they be.

Richard Rider
San Diego

If it was me, I'd be in big trouble

I find the email message referring to shooting de Beck and Zimmerman by Sue Braun of the SDUSD School Board to be completely UNACCEPTABLE.

I know if I had made such a statement I would be in big trouble and no one would have laughed it off. I have sat in a conference with a student, VP and a Secret Service agent after a `joke' about a similar situation was made by the student. The police agencies do and should treat any such statement with respect as a possible and serious threat.

Additionally, my email was monitored and may still be by the district. I was informed of this last spring by an administrator and asked if I was using school equipment or school time for my activities involving Active Physics opposition. I told him no. I was using my own machine at home at night. If I had been using school equipment or time, then I would have been in trouble. It is not right for a district account to be used in the manner done so by Sue Braun, any more then it would have been for me to use a school account or equipment.

Any adult associated with education should know such actions or threats are completely unacceptable and out of place. Any adult, especially an elected official, exhibiting such conduct should not retain the position to which he or she has been elected.

Martin Teachworth
Physics Teacher

NYC Person

Another way to show your concern for the people in New York City is to use your pen.

During October San Diego County residents are encouraged to write short notes of comfort to strangers in New York City. These messages (no evelopes needed) on 1/2 sheets of copy paper or index cards can be collected from friends, family and co-workers. Dropp off points are the SD downtown central library (820 E Street) or the El Cajon library (201 E. Douglas Street). Our Red Cross will get these notes of concern to the NYC Red Cross for distribution to individuals.

How about writing one a day?

Tara Hands
El Cajon

Thank you La Prensa

On behalf of the Cannery Workers Celebration Committee, and LCLAA San Diego Chapter, I would like to say thank you for the articles you provided us in your newspaper.

There were over three hundred people who attended this year's event, along with several television crews and your newspaper coverage.

It is with your generosity that cannery workers spanning many years were able to reunite with co-workers and friends. These remembered workers are extremely grateful to you as we all are.

Frank Sramiento
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement
Letters to the Editor Return to the Frontpage