Santa Maria Sun / Commentary
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 19
Does speaking your opinion constitute attack?I stand my ground--but not everybody likes that
BY WILL SMITH
Mr. Smith has not been spending a lot of time on the playground or school sites, as the Canary stated. As a matter of fact, Smith has not showed up at school and demanded that he be shown around by the principal or other top employees. Prior to Mr. Smith being elected to the board, the Santa Maria Bonita School District held a special session on Nov. 18, 2010, and changed rules that allowed Board Members to go visit schools without a need to be escorted by administration. This rule had never been in place.
On the issue of censure, the thousands of documents the district used to censure Smith were court documents that included complaints and responses filed with the courts by the district and Mr. Smith, which is Mr. Smith’s constitutional right. It also had hearsay complaints from board members—and many accusations of Brown Act violations, which the district has no authority to rule on. This is the District Attorney or court’s call. The State Legislature only gives the district legislative authority to run the schools. The school district somewhere has felt it was awarded a judicial degree. The homework of this outfit has not been done, which can cost taxpayers millions in dealing with legal costs from suits.
Canary quotes what my remarks are concerning complaints filed against me. Here is a response to clear up the mess with facts. Does speaking out against wrongs, speaking of abuse of funds and the millions of taxpayer dollars lost due to poor management by the board and administration with TurnKey and speaking your opinion constitute attack? Does standing ground because parliamentary procedures are not being followed because a majority of the board does not care for you and what you are saying constitute interrupting meetings? Does filing a lawsuit against the district because they entered into a settlement agreement and refused to pay with no real reason constitute a false filing? The district probably has spent more than it owes Mr. Smith with taxpayer dollars in a suit it wants to win. I wonder if they would have done this with their own money?
Two district employees have not filed restraining or stay-away orders against Mr. Smith; they do not have the authority of the board to do this. What has happened is the district board and administration filed a Workplace Harassment Order against Mr. Smith on behalf of one principal. It needs to be noted that Mr. Smith and several teachers filed EEOC complaints against the principal, and the district and the principal have not been happy with Mr. Smith nor the teachers involved.
Documents filed by the district contained testimony indicating Mr. Smith was known to have a gun and a host of untruths to get a temporary restraining order issued until he and the district could go to court. Ironically, Mr. Smith has never personally owned a gun.
Mr. Smith represented himself in court. A formal hearing determined that there was no credible threat of violence against the principal, nor any stalking. Judge Rigali of the Superior Court told the district’s legal counsel that he could see tension between Mr. Smith and the district and said he was requiring Mr. Smith stay 150 feet away from the principal. He also instructed the district counsel that if he took this to be anything more than what it was, he would have to answer to him. Mr. Smith questioned how he could be placed under a restraining order when it was determined that he did nothing wrong. A few weeks later, the judge recused himself after Mr. Smith questioned the fact that a district official and the judge knew each other and had worked together possibly at a local school. This fact is on court records.
Mr. Smith filed with the U.S. Department of Education because board meetings were not being done in English and Spanish. The complaint was received and is being investigated by the Department of Education. Should Mr. Smith be required to behave because he is representing the students and citizens of this community? Remember, the Board voted 4-1 against providing a mandated service. Mr. Smith was the lone dissenter, and he fought to have the right thing done.
It is the right of anyone to characterize my appearance in public, but if rules and regulations are being broken, there are agencies from the D.A. to the police that deal with these—and not the public or district. If these agencies are saying that I did nothing wrong or criminal, why are these things issues? Smith is a different type of person, but we all have our individuality. We don’t have to fit into a mold. I was talked about before and certainly after the election, but people voted for me because they looked beyond the hype and district games.
While I am a fan of opinions being voiced, I am not a fan of papers writing articles and the writer taking a side without putting forth facts that are easily obtained. The Santa Maria community is a great community, but it does not lack individuals who will say or do anything to maintain control of organizations to keep the good old boy network going. This is the part of Santa Maria that is around, but dying slowly.
Rev. Will Smith is a Santa Maria-Bonita School District trustee. Send comments to the executive editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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