Hillary Outperformed Expectations in Erie County

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In Erie County, Hillary Clinton eked out a slim victory against Bernie Sanders; 50,199 to 49,387. The knives are out for Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner: 

“The Erie County Democratic Party is once again the laughingstock of the state,” said James J. Eagan, secretary of the New York State Democratic Committee. “Jeremy Zellner is an embarrassment to the loyal Democrats of this county. When are the party leaders going to realize that it’s time for a change?”

Here’s a response to this sort of facile fuckery: what’s Albany’s, Rochester’s, and Syracuse’s excuse? Did Zellner magically screw Hillary there, too? 

In Monroe County, Clinton defeated Sanders 37,309 to 34,717. In Onondaga County, Clinton won 20,397 to 18,057. In Albany County, Clinton lost to Sanders 20,422 to 18,450. Clinton’s upstate victories were slim, where they exist at all. 

Bernie Sanders attracted over 11,000 people to his hastily-organized UB rally. Was that Zellner’s fault, or is that explained by a campaign that had tons of momentum coming into New York, and an opponent who has especially captivated young voters and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party? 

But really, this doesn’t matter. What matters is how Clinton did in individual Congressional Districts. She lost in NY-27, but did very well in NY-26. Mr. Eagan should stick to worrying about things like systemic corruption in Albany and other things that genuinely matter. 

Given the circumstances, that Clinton won anywhere upstate this year is amazing – Sanders outspent Clinton by a 2:1 margin – and perhaps the New York State Democratic Committee and Clinton’s campaign itself bears the brunt of the blame for her upstate results. 

Buffalonian Racist Backlash at Harriet Tubman

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On the same day that Carl Paladino went on NPR to essentially call President Obama a “raccoon”, which he then tried to explain away by saying it wasn’t meant to be a commentary on the President’s race, but on how he’s a dirty thief, the Treasury announced that Alexander Hamilton would stay on the $10 bill, but Andrew Jackson would be replaced by Harriet Tubman

What an amazing day for America, to so prominently recognize a female black hero who saved lives, fought for equality, civil rights, and women’s suffrage. There’s no law that says our paper money has to have dead Presidents or Founding Fathers on it, and honoring achievement in science, the humanities, literature, music, and history makes sense. In contemporary times, Sacagawea and Susan B. Anthony made their way to the seldom-used dollar coin. Twenties are comparatively ubiquitous. 

Harriet Tubman was born a slave, and dedicated her life to freeing slaves via the Underground Railroad; we honor and commemorate the stops peppered throughout the Buffalo area, where people stopped en route to freedom in Canada. She was a spy for the Union during the Civil War.  They called her “Moses”, leading her people out of slavery to freedom. She is quite literally one of the greatest Americans who ever lived. 

On Facebook, WBEN posted about it thusly, 

As usual, “your thoughts” is Trumpist shorthand for, “your overtly racist epithets”. 

Steve Kirk says, “makes sense when you see the stacks of 20s on the table after a drug bust…” 

Jen Marie says “That is 1 ugly 20, thats scarey lookin ill carry 5,10,50,100s instead…, i wouldn’t even be able to look in my wallet, wtf is this.”

Erik Rusinek says, “Want to honor her put her on a coin…Bills are for dead presidents and founding fathers”. Not, evidently, people who saved slaves.

Peter Benham reacts to a freer of slaves and suffragette with, “Obama’s gang just has to s**t on history!”

Dawn Curto, perhaps mistaking Harriet Tubman for Rosa Parks says, “To the back of the wallet, behind the C notes!”

Phil Pantano reacts to Harriet “Moses” Tubman replacing Andrew Jackson with, “America continues it’s attempt to cleanse history…”

Timothy Grabowski says Harriet Tubman on the 20 is, “Stupid pandering+”

Stephen Bolt says “Guess I’ll just carry 50’s”, rather than a 20 with a black face on it.

Kimberly Zappia implores, “Omg are you kidding me ? Why ?”

Richard Besant thoughtfully comments, “I’m surprised it is interesting obama on the new $20”. I’m surprised it is interesting, too!

Bill Richards says, “Nice because we have nothing else to spend money on. Yet we owe trillions of dollars. But this def is a must.”

Jane Wisnier says, “NO WAY …… She was a criminal .. according to the law of the land”

Harriet Tubman on a $20? Joseph Stephen says, “They should put Tubman on food stamp bills.”

George Griffenham adds in a stream of dumb consciousness, “That will be one ugly $20 bill at least it doesn’t have Obama on it then it would have an IOU on it.” 

Daniel Neu adds, “Shouldn’t she be on the fiddy dollar bill?”

Bernie Misura adds, “Protest by not using it accepting 20’s…Great use of tax dollars… Smh”

UPDATE: This one appeared today. From the looks of the avi, it’s a white supremacist. What a great platform WBEN offers! 

All of this, obviously, is as sick as it is [sic]. 

So, thanks, Buffalo’s AM talk radio enthusiasts for your predictably shameless overt racism, and thanks to the powers that be at WBEN and the Entercom corporation for allowing your social media accounts to become bulletin boards for nihilist, eliminationist racism. 

Donald Trump: The Rally

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Kudos to the people who protested both inside and outside the FN arena. Thank you for speaking and acting in opposition to Donald Trump. 

Clarence town councilmembers Chris Greene, Paul Shear, and Congressman Chris Collins were positioned in such a way that their support for Donald Trump’s toxic blend of know-nothing populist bluster brings shame on our town

I listened to a small portion of the speech and found it to be quite possibly the most vapid, Kardashian-esque, stream-of-consciousness nonsense I’ve heard since the last time I watched a Survivor tribal council or Big Brother head of household nomination ceremony. 

Last night’s Trump rally attracted 11,400 people to the First Niagara Center with three weeks’ notice, beautiful weather, a 7pm start time, and complete media saturation. 

Last week’s Bernie Sanders rally attracted 11,500 people to UB with three days’ notice, pouring rain, and a 5pm start time and the region’s top-rated AM newsradio station was not completely in the tank for him, nor did it link on its own website to Sanders tickets, nor did it push a text alert regarding when tickets became available. 

So, let’s say western New York is arguably way more Bernie Country than Donald Country. 

In any event, here are some things to remember about the Trump performance: 

1. Our generation’s Pearl Harbor took place in September – not July. If a Democrat had made this gaffe, there would be howls of derision from all the usual suspects. 

2. During Trump’s paean to the 7/11 first responders, he extolled the virtues of police, fire, MTA workers, and other members of public sector unions. On this we can agree. Does he agree that they deserve fair benefits and remuneration? 

3. This may become one of the most iconic images of the 2016 Presidential election – an anti-Trump protester being ejected from the First Niagara Center, courtesy of the Buffalo News’ Derek Gee: 

4. Buffalo made sure that #TrumpEatsAss trended last night on Twitter. 

Polls are open now through 9pm throughout Erie County; they open at noon in many other counties throughout upstate NY. Only registered Republicans and Democrats can vote in our closed primaries. Donald Trump, naturally, is going to crush on the (R) side, but Hillary Clinton really needs a big win against Sanders in the state she served in the Senate. 

I’ll be providing analysis on WGRZ tonight at 10 and 11, and some sort of webcast is planned between 9 – 10. Follow along on Twitter to watch the fun. 

Trump Surrogate: Coward Paladino

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When he isn’t defaming the petition-gathering efforts of his school board election opponent, or cowardly avoiding a debate for that race, Carl Paladino is acting as a surrogate for his BFF, Donald Trump. 

This past week, Coward Paladino – a man struck dumb by an 18 year-old opponent – took shots at John Kasich, a Presidential candidate who has experience serving in Congress, and later as Governor of Ohio. 

Carl Paladino on Friday targeted Ohio Gov. John Kasich over a vote he made in Congress 22 years ago to ban 19 types of semiautomatic weapons and large-capacity magazines.

Paladino called Kasich “the Ohio version” of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

“New York gun owners cannot trust John Kasich,” Paladino said during a news conference in Ellicott Square. “He will not be a president that we can trust with our guns.”

Gunsgunsguns. Remember how Obama was coming for people’s guns? Amazingly enough, they’re still waiting, these gun-huggers, for how “registration leads to confiscation”, as it ostensibly does for things like cars. 

The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution was set up to allow citizens to arm themselves as part of state militiae. At the time, the United States had no standing army, and militiae were the nation’s only line of defense. In recent years, the 2nd Amendment has oddly lost its historical and legal context, and now people have a right to bear arms for sport and protection. Absolutists – who are legally and historically wrong – believe that any restriction on the type of weapons they’re allowed to possess is an illegal overreach. They seem shocked to discover that government has an interest in not permitting random people to maintain mass-murder-friendly arsenals. Coward Paladino is one of these people who incorrectly believe that any restriction on arms is an illegal overreach. In Heller v. DC, the Supreme Court expressly stated that governments can implement these restrictions, just like restrictions exist on the freedom of speech. 

Paladino, who is backing Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump, said Kasich cast a key vote in May 1994 when House members voted to approve the ban by a two-vote margin.

The Public Safety and Recreation Firearms Use Protection Act was part of a larger crime bill signed into law later in 2004 by President Bill Clinton, which has already become a controversial issue in the Democratic primary race for president.

Paladino, who was Cuomo’s Republican opponent in 2010, is decrying Kasich’s role in passing the legislation and contended language from the 1994 bill was copied as part of the New York SAFE ACT gun control law passed in 2013.

“When he was in Congress, he was no supporter of the Second Amendment,” Paladino said inside the Trump campaign’s local headquarters. “Today, when he wants to be president, he wants to go around the state and have you believe that he’s changed his stripes. Zebras don’t change their stripes.”

Not to defend Kasich, or to suggest that he’s a facile absolutist like our cowardly friend in Ellicott Square, but that last line – “Zebras don’t change their strips” is simply not something that Carl Paladino believes. He can’t. Can he?

No, he can’t, because, for 30 years – until 2005, Carl Paladino wasn’t the angry right-wing coward who can’t/won’t debate an 18 year-old; he was a registered Democrat. 

In 2004, Carl Paladino gave $500 to Democratic Congressional candidate Eric Massa. In 2003, Carl Paladino gave Democrat Dick Gephardt $1000. In 2004, Trump backer Paladino gave Democrat Louise Slaughter $1000. There’s $8100 for Democrat Brian Higgins through 2009. He gave Democrat Chuck Schumer $3400, including 2009. He gave John Kerry $500 in 2004. He gave Gore/Lieberman $1000 in 2000, and Al Gore $1000 in 1999

Carl Paladino gave “Friends of Hillary” $4100 in 2005-2006, But this one is my favorite; it’s a thing of beauty. $2300 to Hillary Clinton for President in 2008

That’s just what’s reported with the FEC in RINO Paladino’s own name. That doesn’t include the huge sums of money Paladino and his various LLCs have donated to state and local Democratic candidates and organizations in past years. He gave Marc Panepinto $250, and Joe Mascia $1666 in 2012. 

If recent Democrat Carl Paladino says that a zebra can’t change its strips, query how someone who gave thousands to Brian Higgins, Louise Slaughter, Chuck Schumer, and Hillary Clinton in the last 10 years can be some sort of gun-nut tea party Republican. After all, Hillary Clinton is the same person now – with the same positions and beliefs – that she was in 2008 and 2004. 

“Donald Trump doesn’t lie. He tells the truth,” Paladino said. “I’ve known him for that and he takes great pleasure in being known as a truthful man of integrity and character.”

Paladino concluded the news conference saying “You can’t take the guns away from the people.”

The last person who should be lecturing anyone on truth, integrity, and character is Carl Paladino. He quite literally has no shame. 

Trump Surrogate: Chris Collins

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My Congressman, Chris Collins, has endorsed Donald Trump. Since then, he has become more of an embarrassment than ever before. This weekend, he wrote an un-comical op/ed for that liberal stalwart, the New York Times

Americans are angry. I hear it from the former factory workers who lost their jobs to other countries because of bad trade deals, the veterans who wait months to see a doctor at a Veterans Affairs hospital and the small-business owners who are struggling to stay afloat because of the Affordable Care Act’s crippling regulations. The professional politicians they trusted and supported have repeatedly sold out our country in favor of special interests and the status quo. Finally, millions of Americans are saying, “Enough is enough.”

The VA is understaffed and underfunded by the Republican Congress. (Can’t have big government). More Americans have quality, real health insurance than at any time in history; not dying is a “special interest”. Manufacturing? Collins should know as well as anyone that it’s been automating or shifting overseas for generations. 

Are people angry about, e.g., Chris Collins’ company failing to pay its workers a contracted-for prevailing wage? Are they angry about Chris Collins’ company manufacturing its bike balancing gizmo in China? Hypocritical doesn’t begin to describe that first paragraph. 

I see the failures of career politicians in the experiences of the hardworking men and women in Western New York whom I represent in Congress. The safe manufacturer SentrySafe, which once employed hundreds in the Rochester area, will close its doors this June and shift much of its operation to Mexico. That means the loss of good-paying jobs because our state and national leaders do not know how to encourage businesses to stay and grow in the United States.

When given the chance, Chris Collins – a man who has been in politics for almost two decades – manufactured his bike balance thing in China. Not in western New York.

America cannot afford another professional politician residing in the White House. We need a leader who has faced tough real-life situations before, and won. As Republicans prepare to vote in the New York primary on Tuesday, I hope they will send a resounding message that they believe Donald J. Trump is that type of leader.

Over the past several decades, Mr. Trump has built a family business into a network of highly successful enterprises. One of the many reasons Americans are rallying behind him is his record of success and commitment to taking the lessons he’s learned to the White House. When he talks about being a president who would create jobs, win negotiations and stand up to enemies, people believe him because he has done it before.

To fix the mistakes made by President Obama, our next president needs to speak frankly about the problems that exist, explain how he or she will correct them and have the fortitude to take necessary actions, no matter how unpopular they would be with Washington elites.

Get that? You can fix bad policies and systemic failures by “speak[ing] frankly”. He will build a wall and make Mexico pay for it. He will drop nuclear bombs on “ISIS”, without regard for innocent civilians who are vaporized. He will commit torture, abrogate the Geneva Conventions, and murder terrorists’ innocent relatives (but likely not, by example, the parents of Timothy McVeigh, who slaughtered 168 innocent men, women, and children). Chris Collins endorses all of it. 

Yes, being a blunt-spoken political outsider gets a nominee only so far. But Mr. Trump continues to win because his message and his ideas for fixing America are resonating with voters. He is committed to securing our borders, taking back the manufacturing jobs that have been stolen from the middle class by Mexico and China, and standing up to enemies threatening our way of life. These are things people in my district care about. His demand that foreign countries stop cheating on international trade is especially welcome in Western New York, a region devastated by the North American Free Trade Agreement and other poorly negotiated trade deals.

“Red China Chris” Collins is a political insider who has done nothing to abrogate or challenge bad trade deals. On the contrary, he outsourced his own product to China, because he could and because it was cheaper than employing western New Yorkers to do it. 

Even some of his supporters don’t agree with everything he says. I believe his plan to deport the 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States is unfeasible, and his proposed temporary ban on Muslims entering our country will not end radical Islamic terrorism.

“Avoidable humanitarian crisis of Biblical proportions” can now be euphemised into “unfeasible”. Make no mistake – the rounding up, detention, and deportation of 11 million men, women, and children will be nothing more than contemporary concentration camps. They’ll be Dachau and Omarska for the 21st Century. Banning Muslims – even American Muslims – from entry or re-entry isn’t just something to avoid because it won’t work, but because it’s fundamentally illegal, unconstitutional, stupid, and ignorant. Trumpisti are quick to say it would be “temporary”, but that’s not true; something “temporary” has an expiration date. The proper word is, “indefinite”. Chris Collins endorses all of it, despite his weak and mealy-mouthed protestations. 

However, there is something to be said for a candidate who is willing to put forward proposals to protect our nation, rather than skirt uncomfortable issues — as President Obama and Hillary Clinton all too often do. His lack of political correctness shows that he is independent and understands the things people care about. Unlike career politicians who take policy positions based on their fear of losing elections or angering deep-pocketed special interests, Mr. Trump is accountable to no one but the voters.

Hey, my candidate might say horrible, wretched, and unworkable things, but gosh he’s willing to say them! Also, “political correctness” has become Republican shorthand for, “let’s treat people like garbage again”. 

Republicans recognize that the remaining Republican candidates have all advanced conservative solutions to the problems our nation is facing, as evidenced by the record voter turnout we have seen. But while Senator Ted Cruz and Gov. John Kasich both have strong visions, neither possesses Mr. Trump’s proven negotiating skills or ability to enact real change.

Donald Trump’s negotiating skills must explain why his name is still up on junk-bond-financed, twice-bankrupted Trump Taj Mahal, the 13th best hotel in Atlantic City, according to Tripadvisor. 

I know firsthand how important Mr. Trump’s private-sector know-how is to improving the way government operates. I spent my career buying and rebuilding distressed companies, which created and saved hundreds of middle-class jobs. I put that experience to use in 2007 when I ran for executive of Erie County, a region that had been devastated by losses in manufacturing jobs.

In office, I made the necessary tough choices and turned a nearly bankrupt, debt-ridden county into one with a surplus. I believe Donald Trump will achieve the same results for America.

Shorter Chris Collins: Trump needs the assistance of an imposed control board to lead. 

Americans have a chance to set our country back on course and restore the possibility of the American dream for our children and grandchildren. For too long the political class has denied everyday Americans a real voice in government. This election, voters are finding a leader who is listening to them over the clamor of Washington special interests, and voters are speaking loud and clear. They want a leader like Mr. Trump; a chief executive, not a chief politician.

Here’s a news flash for Red China Chris: you are a member of the political class, and you never schedule or attend events where you might have to deign to hear from people who don’t agree with you and buy into your Spaulding Lake shtick. Your policies were so horrible for western New York’s middle class that you were ejected from county office after one unnecessarily turbulent term. You are an embarrassment to your constituents, to your town, and to yourself. 

The New York Primary: It Matters. Now Go Away.

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National general elections in Canada and the United Kingdom take weeks. Our interminable system is now a billion-dollar industry, where each party’s rules differ in each state, and the thing drags out for well over a year.

At the very least, one would hope that all that time and money would get us some pretty incredible candidates. We get quantity; quality? Not so much. 

I recently finished watching the 4th season of House of Cards – a fictional political soap opera set during a very contentious Presidential election. The reality has literally become stranger than fiction. Now? The Republicans are down to a reality show clown, a radicalized theocratic demagogue, and what appears to be the very last Republican who believes in the idea of governing. The Democrats are locked in a typically annoying battle between the centrist corporate type and the progressive true believer. Judging solely by my social media feeds, there is an overwhelming, bottomless glut of self-righteous proclamations of Bernie’s/Hillary’s lefty ideological bona fides. It’s a gusher!

As a Democrat, for me it’s quite simple – if Bernie gets the nomination, I’m voting for him. If Hillary gets the nomination, I’m voting for her. The Republicans will never, ever pick someone sane like Kasich, so my decision in November will be easy, regardless of what happens between now and then. I think both Sanders and Clinton are reasonable and qualified. Frankly, I’d like to see Clinton win and Sanders take a cabinet post dealing with education or health & human services. So, while I don’t know how I’ll vote next Tuesday, I’m all set for November. 

But you Republicans should take a good long look at yourselves. Donald Trump is no conservative, and he’s about as thoughtful as a toddler at a bounce house. Ted Cruz is one of the ugliest human beings Texas or Alberta ever shat. He is ugly in visage, he is ugly in mind, he is ugly in idea, ugly in policy, and he is a dishonest opportunist seeking a bizarre ultra-right Christianist abolition of civil society. John Kasich? He won Ohio. Yay. 

In 2000, the candidate who inspired people was John McCain; he dropped out shortly after South Carolina. In 2004, it was Howard Dean, who barely made it out of Iowa in one piece. In 2008, it was Obama, who actually won. Now, it’s Sanders and Trump, both of whom have tapped into the same anxieties, but Sanders’ solutions exist in the real world while Trump’s are pure nonsense. Do we spend billions to help people, or to build a wall? Do we help people get an education, or round up 11 million men, women, and children into detention camps in advance of a mass deportation? Do we educate and care for our people, or set in motion a “final solution” of the immigrant question? 

But if the fundamental thesis of Sanders and Trump is that “shit is all fucked up and bullshit”, I’m telling you that the very way in which we select the President falls deeply into that category.  I am fundamentally fatigued by this entire process. Donald Trump is going to crush it next Tuesday. Hillary isn’t going to crush it like the reality TV star, but she’ll do fine. Sanders has hopefully energized young kids and the disillusioned, and I hope to God that his “revolution” translates into people staying involved or interested in politics, and that they pay close attention to local and state elections, as well. 

In years past, I might have been excited that New York’s late April primary still mattered. 

Not anymore. Please, just make it go away.  

Transphobic Manoeuvres In the Dark

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It’s a messy four-way stop where bigotry, ignorance, arrogance, and nastiness intersect, within the context of kids’ lives.

On Monday April 4th, the Clarence school board held what what supposed to be its annual budget adoption meeting. This was postponed by a week, however, so that trustees could digest an unexpected, unprecedented influx of state aid and decide how to allocate it. Superintendent Dr. Geoffrey Hicks presented the administration’s recommendations – sock some away in the fund balance, use some to further reduce the tax levy, and hire a handful of needed teachers and aides. It was all very calm and tidy. For a district that has been under constant siege by people who don’t believe in public schools, it was a welcome respite. 

Late to the party is former councilman and current cartoon villain Joe Weiss, who bemoans the fact that his mansion has appreciated in value. We feel your pain, Joe!

During the generally free-wheeling public comment section, some had questions about the budget, but all the speakers were supportive of its inherent equity. Notably absent were two members of the anti-school cabal who have attended every budget meeting to interrogate the members of the board about things ranging from fiction to half-truths. Whether they’re being advised by – or colluding with – either Jason Lahti or Roger Showalter, the two tax protest members of the board, isn’t exactly known. Yet for some reason these budget-process regulars didn’t show up for what was quite an important and pivotal budget hearing.

Perhaps they were advised to stay home because the 2016 school election season isn’t going to be about money, but about something altogether different. 

If not spending and taxes, then what? 

Kristin Showalter (Roger’s sister-in-law) rose to speak, and though her questions were polite, they were wildly off-topic. Eschewing any commentary on the budget, she had questions about the school district’s three month-old gender identity policy. She questioned it at the November meeting, as well. Clarence adopted its policy, which I described here, in January. 

Susan Gugliuzza – a parent and nurse who had assailed the proposed transgender policy in November, also spoke. Her comments were not dissimilar from what she had talked about then, but now had the added bonus of complaining about the alleged bureaucratic complexity of: by what name an infinitesimal handful of kids choose to be called. Ms. Gugliuzza also said that this could all lead to a lawsuit, which is, indeed, possible. One gets the impression, however, that she wasn’t so much warning the board against a potential lawsuit, but hoping for one. 

Finally, Jacob Kerksiek – one of last year’s anti-school candidates for the board – attended a meeting for the first time in over a year, and his second board meeting, ever. Everyone was curious about his sudden re-appearance after he embarrassed himself last year, lecturing people about school finances with what could charitably be called unclean hands.  He spent an inordinate amount of time disrespectfully hectoring the board over a gender identity policy enacted in January, and asking about why and how it was passed, which he could have learned by (a) attending prior meetings; (b) reading the minutes of past meetings; or (c) watching the videos posted to YouTube of every relevant school board meeting. 

As it happens, the board considered, discussed, and accepted public comment on that gender identity policy at its October, November, and December board meetings. It was passed 5-1 – Showalter voted against, and Lahti abstained – in January. It has been in use for about three months, without known adverse incident. 

Here’s Brad Riter and me dissecting this transphobic eruption via Trending Buffalo podcast: 

What could have so suddenly and unpunctually energized our anti-trans triumverate? Evidently, a transgender boy posted a triumphant picture of himself at a urinal in an empty men’s room to Instagram. Regardless of whether there were any victims in that instance, or whether it in any way indicts the gender identity policy, these people – especially Gugliuzza – were sufficiently outraged by that – something that most people had no idea about; even people who are generally up on what’s going on in social media. Sorry, but even bathroom selfies do not lend a government justification to violate an LGBT student’s basic dignity and human rights. 

You can watch the video of the meeting here: 

Kerksiek rambled on incoherently and rudely about his genitalia and where he can and can’t use them. (BREAKING: he evidently exclusively uses urinals for his toileting).  He continually interrupted board President Maryellen Kloss when she attempted to answer what weren’t so much questions posed, as accusations spat. Gugliuzza is a nurse, but that alone doesn’t give her some sort of especial clinical authority to opine on other people’s kids’ childhood developmental issues. Instead, it all reeked of personal hatred, bigotry, and animus wrapped loosely in a thin pretense of dubious clinical experience. By contrast, Mrs. Showalter was calm, asked some probing questions, and Dr. Hicks answered them. Of the three, she was the only calm and courteous one.

You don’t have to understand or agree with the gender identity policy; it doesn’t matter. That’s because the school board discussed and debated it, and took public comment about it throughout the fall and early winter. That was the time to comment. Not now, not so rudely, and not with such hate ranging from misinformation to fiction. A budget hearing is not the place to publicly hector the board about its long-ago passed gender identity policy. 

Are kids confused about gender? Yes. That’s why the gender identity policy can’t even be triggered unless mental health professionals, administrators, and a kid’s parents are consulted. A kid cannot decide day to day that he wants to use the girls’ bathroom or locker rooms. It’s not how it works, and that sort of commentary is fundamentally rude – bullying, if you will – of the tiny number of transgender kids in the district. It assumes that transgender kids who want to use the bathroom that corresponds with their consistently expressed gender identity are creepers, peepers, and pedophiles. It’s mind-numbingly insulting and derogatory.  

Are there privacy issues at play? Yes. That’s why the administration has implemented ways to ensure that all kids – transgender and not – feel comfortable in bathroom and locker room situations. The district doesn’t have to adopt the transphobic absolutism of Gugliuzza and Kerksiek in order to protect the privacy of the vast majority of students who are not transgendered. If these people are really all that concerned about nudity, sexuality, modesty, and dignity, why do we let kids of any gender get naked in front of other kids at all

Could there be a lawsuit? Yes. About anything. On any day. A lawsuit does not necessarily have to be meritorious to be filed. All you need is money for the filing fee; you don’t even need a lawyer. 

But the notion that transgendered people are pedophilic predators is slander. The notion that this is something kids can just do and undo on a whim, day to day, is a lie.

The policy passed 3 months ago and no one has yet complained about it, and even if they did, there’s an internal administrative process to handle it.

This is all about an election that can’t be about taxes and fiscal policy, so they’re going to make it about modesty and misinformation. I’m appalled by and condemn the patent transphobia that was on display, and I have no doubt that it was a spectacle choreographed by the two incumbents who are up for re-election, and whom we must defeat.

The school board has a special meeting Monday April 11th at 7pm to vote on the proposed 2016/2017 budget, which includes an equitable distribution of additional state aid. It will be interesting to see if the board changes its rules for public comment to require that they be relevant to the budget process.