Gloria Romero: With Gomez Endorsement, the OC Register Editorial Board Walks Away From Education Reform

OC Daily noted earlier this week how the Orange County Register had subsumed political principle in favor of personal pique by  endorsing teachers union candidate Beckie Gomez over school choice advocate in the OC Board of Education Area 1 race. The Register’s unprincipled stance has outraged conservative activists and provided aid and comfort to the teachers union and other defenders of the public education status quo.

Education reform advocate Gloria Romero is a columnist for the Register opinion page, and she penned a stinging critique of the Gomez endorsement and submitted it for publication prior to the June 7 election.

The Register refused to run it.

Opinion Editor Brian Calle wrote this on April 25 of this year about the Register’s evolved editorial policy under its new ownership:

We will strive for a substantial diversity of opinion; that way, when our content is read, we host the full spectrum of debate and engage the best arguments from all sides.

Obviously that doesn’t apply to hosting Ms. Romero’s difference of opinion regarding the Gomez endorsement.  The Register told Ms. Romero it would be “unorthodox” for her to “criticize” the paper for which she writes – an interesting stance given that Mr. Calle’s April 25 manifesto was all about sundering orthodoxy in the opinion industry.

The Register gives regular column space to the general manager of the county employees union so she can spout government union propaganda that is contrary to the Register‘s own editorial philosophy and yet refuses to publish a commentary by one of its own columnist seeking to hold the paper to its own principles? Further and further into the looking glass we go.

In any, Gloria Romero’s column was published yesterday in the Flashreport.org, and we are re-printing it here also at the request of the author:

With Endorsement the OC Register Editorial Board Walks Away from Education Reform

The Orange County Register made the wrong choice when it endorsed the Rebecca Gomez instead of current Board member Robert Hammond for the Orange County Board of Education.

What is most troubling is the rationale provided for its failure to endorse Hammond: rather than reviewing him on his exemplary record of supporting parental choice and expanding quality school choice options for all Orange County families, they excoriated him for the use of a derogatory term offensive to gays and lesbians.

I support the Register’s chastising Hammond over the use of the insulting word written in an email to a colleague following the Supreme Court’s historic ruling upholding gay marriage. I have long championed gay rights and the fight against bigotry. When I learned of his use of the term, I called Hammond, telling him how terribly offensive that word was, for which he apologized.

The Register gave him no chance. They have a right to not endorse a candidate. But what is wrong was their choice to exact revenge on Hammond by not only publicly flogging him, but then turning around and endorsing his opponent, Gomez.

Gomez is supported by the Santa Ana Educator’s Association which recently blanketed taxpayer-operated teacher District mailboxes with campaign materials – that’s a violation of California law. To date, Gomez has failed to publicly support an investigation into this abuse of taxpayer money benefiting her. Hammond supports expanding charter school choice in education; Gomez limits it to “need” as determined by a local school board – not parents. Hammond supported the historic Vergara v. California lawsuit seeking changes in teacher quality statutes; Gomez does not. Hammond supported Anaheim’s Palm Lane parents seeking transformation of a chronically failing elementary school; Gomez did not.

A Special Education teacher and former U.S. Marine, Hammond has consistently voted to give opportunities to Orange County parents to “vote with their feet” and enroll their children in the school of their choice. In the very same county that was home to the lawsuit that eventually became the argument embedded in Brown v. Board of Education, I am outraged by the Register’s callous attitude towards the impact of their decision on the lives of tens of thousands of poor and minority kids in Orange County. What’s politically correct about sabotaging poor kids’ opportunities?

Ironically, while the Register railed against Hammond’s “bigotry”, they failed to even mention bigotry when they recently glowingly endorsed Rep. Loretta Sanchez for the U.S. Senate. Sanchez, likewise, engaged in a nauseating display racial bigotry when she simulated a stereotypical war whoop to describe Native Americans. Why didn’t the Register excoriate her? Don’t Native Americans matter? Why the double standard?

Candidates are flawed and when we endorse choices need to be balanced. The Register could have stood up for both the gay community and poor, minority kids. They could have even withheld endorsing at all. But to angrily “send a message” in an Exorcist-type, neck twisting endorsement of a candidate who is running on a status quo education platform and holds positions completely opposite to the Register’s Editorial Page’s own viewpoints is utterly irresponsible.

Last Sunday, the Register extracted their revenge on Hammond. Sadly, it’s the tens of thousands of families of minority, poor kids who will pay the price for the Register’s selective display of a sudden “anti-bigotry” outrage. If the Register is to be believed about no tolerance for any type of bigotry they should have treated Sanchez and Hammond equally. They didn’t. Voters should reject the Register’s double standard. Hammond, like Sanchez, apologized. Based on his voting record in which he prioritizes kids over special interests, he deserves voter support for a second term. 

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