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School board recall proponents drop bid

Submitted by on 1, December 29, 2009 – 6:00 am8 Comments

Proponents of an effort to recall three school board members who voted to implement an anti-gay bullying curriculum in Alameda’s elementary schools have called a halt to those efforts.

“S.E.R.V.E. Alameda, proponents of the Recall of (Tracy) Jensen, (Ron) Mooney, & Neil (sp) Tam, are withdrawing from our signature-gathering campaign, thus no longer seeking to recall these three Board Members,” S.E.R.V.E.’s Kevin and Kellie Wood wrote in a letter to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.

In a press release delivered to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters on December 23, the group said their efforts pressured the School Board to develop a more comprehensive anti-bullying plan, and they vowed to help further those efforts. A book list to go along with the enhanced set of lessons is still to be developed.

Kevin Wood said he realizes the community “needs healing” after the bruising debate over the lessons, and he said he is “desperately searching for ways to improve the performance of the schools.”

Still, he said that if the matter isn’t resolved to his satisfaction, he’ll campaign against any new parcel tax placed on the ballot. Another committee is working to develop a new parcel tax to replace the district’s two existing ones.

Kevin Wood said the recall effort had strong support at the outset, but he said the group lost a lot of its support along the way. He said the remainder of the group “soldiered on” in order to put pressure on the board.

Wood declined to say how many people signed the group’s petitions to get a recall on the ballot. The group would have needed to have gathered the signatures of 20 percent of Alameda’s registered voters, or about 8,600 people, by the end of the day today in order to qualify the recall for the ballot.

Wood said the group is in the process of destroying the signature petitions so those who did sign can’t be identified and so they won’t face reprisals for their decision to sign.

Two of the three board trustees who faced recall, who sounded palpably relieved when a reporter told them the recall efforts had ended, said they’re glad they can move on to work on other issues the district is facing.

“All I can say is, I’m happy to be past this and that we can continue to work to have safe schools,” Jensen said.

Mooney said he’s glad to be able to focus more of his energy on the district’s master plan, though he said he wasn’t surprised the recall effort failed, calling it the work of “a small group of people upset that we discussed anything about homosexuals in our schools.”

Tam could not be reached for comment.

The three trustees cast the deciding yes votes in a May 26 decision to include anti-gay bullying lessons as part of the district’s existing elementary school anti-violence curriculum. Hundreds of people turned out to speak both for and against the lessons, which became fodder for the national media and the subject of both the recall and a lawsuit seeking an opt-out for parents who didn’t want them taught to their children. (An Alameda County Superior Court judge denied the request, but the parents’ attorney has said he will appeal.)


  • Mark Dietrich says:

    Fail. Lesson 9 is still in effect for K-2. Grades 3-5 have a more inclusive curriculum that includes LGBT content and readings. How Kevin and Kellie Wood can claim victory amidst this baffles me. The Woods are wrapping their homophobia in more convenient, easy to use, and easy to defend packaging.

    Not in my town.

  • Interested Observer says:

    A more accurate title should have been Recall Effort Fails. The SERVE group had 90 days to gather the signatures and that deadline ended yesterday. Their spin that they are withdrawing their efforts is baloney.

    Their veiled threat to fight the parcel tax is just another “bullying” tactic to keep their agenda going.

  • Michael Williams says:

    Like Board Member Mooney, I’m not surprised. But I am relieved.

    And I hope they mean it when they say they will help create a more inclusive curriculum. This was an idea that was embraced fully by Lesson 9 supporters. As the School Board approached its December 8 vote on curriculum revisions, the more vocal Lesson 9 opponents backed off of their demand for inclusiveness and began calling for just a “generic” anti-bullying curriculum. It was Niel Tam, Ron Mooney, and Tracy Jensen, along with Mike McMahon, who voted for moving forward with a diverse, literature-based approach.

    SERVE members can be supportive in the upcoming process by not making a political football out of every book or phrase that displeased them. They can back off of accusations of “hidden agendas.” And they can support the parcel tax.

    I hope that SERVE members and parties to the lawsuit will reflect on what this means for their divisive tactics. If you have to threaten people who disagree with you, and you can’t get a small minority of the community to sign your position, that says something about the merits of your argument.

    This shows that the handful of activists who make up SERVE don’t represent a “silent majority” as they claimed and maybe sincerely believed. I hope that they really mean it when they express a hope for “healing” and working “to improve the performance of the schools.” If not, then the healing will have to happen without them.

  • John says:

    From the beginning SERVE was defending itself as not being a hate group. However, Kevin Woods’ paranoid, anti-gay diabtribe that was reminiscent of so many anti-Semetic tracts of the past just confirmed to everyone that SERVE was essentially an anti-gay hate group. Who wants to be part of that?

    We need to change the law so that recall and special election petitions are available, so the public can be sure that their names aren’t falsely placed on one of these petitions.

  • Mark Dietrich says:

    An open letter to Kellie and Kevin Wood, founders of “Serve Alameda”:

    Thank you for stopping your effort to recall the AUSD Board Members, and for stopping just in the nick time – the day before signatures were due! You’ve made Alameda a secure and safe place once again, a place that tolerates and respects differing viewpoints, a place that is welcoming and inviting, and a place that is not homophobic.

    Bless you. This is what your Jesus would have done. He’d tell you, “Well done, good and faithful servants, for I have no room in My house for hatred, bigotry, homophobia, or discrimination. This is why I affirmed a gay couple in Matthew 8, and this is why I affirmed born homosexuals in Matthew 19.”

  • Kerry Cook says:

    I was not in any way involved with the recall, but am concerned about misinformation about homosexuality. In the Old Testmanet Leviticus 18:22 says “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” In the NT: Paul affirms this part of God’s moral law for everyone, not just Ancient Israel. See also 1 Cor. 6:9-10, 1 Timothy 1:10, and Romans 1:24-28.

    I see nothing related to homosexual behavior in Matthew 8, and note “eunuchs” usually had nothing to do with same sex attraction or homosexual behavior.

  • Mark Dietrich says:

    Kerry, I’m also concerned about misinformation about homosexuality. Try reading *anything* on the subject other than the Bible. Start with “What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality” by Helminiak. It’s $10.08 on Amazon today.

  • Andy Currid says:

    Why is what the Bible has to say about homosexuality of any relevance here? If you want a school curriculum informed by religious values, go sign up for a private church school.

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