If I Lose, We All Lose
The First Amendment to the to the United States Constitution, adopted December 15, 1791, prevents the government from making laws that regulate an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise of religion, or abridge the freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the freedom of assembly, or the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.
These rights guaranteed in the First Amendment and expanded in Gitlow v. New York (1925), applied a process called incorporation to state law through the Due Process Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Petition Clause protects the right of the citizen to petition the government (federal, state or local) when the government acts in a manner that harms the interests and prosperity of the petitioner(s). The right to petition protects not only demands for “a redress of grievances” but also demands for action from the government on behalf of the citizen. This right is equally important as freedom of speech and religion.
A United States citizen’s right to petition the government to suggest changes and voice concerns is fundamental and absolute especially when those elected violate the trust of the electorate through misfeasance or malfeasance while in office.
Also fundamental to this right is the citizen’s confidence that he or she will not be punished for exercising the right to petition so long as that citizen adheres to the legal rules and guidelines which includes engaging competent experienced legal counsel to determine if their petition or similar action meets legal and factual sufficiency standards.
Fear of reprisal for exercising one’s First Amendment rights, especially if precedent allows government officials to leverage (and abuse) publicly funded resources against the private citizen without limits and for purposes of advancing a vendetta against the “petitioner,” will, in effect, silence or suppress every citizen’s voice thereby eliminating their right to redress or action guaranteed in the First Amendment.
Reprisal and vendetta is exactly what’s occurring in the recall petition case filed in September 2021 seeking permission from the court to gather signatures in an attempt to recall three Central Valley School Board directors for harmful acts impacting students and staff in the district.
A recall petition, filed on behalf of hundreds of concerned citizens in the Central Valley School District, challenged the legitimacy and harm COVID protocols and mandates were having on students and staff.
Issues cited in the petitions include:
Failure to provide required and necessary informed consent documentation outlining both benefits and harm caused by wearing a mask, which is a medical device, for prolonged periods sometimes exceeding 8 hours. The necessary documentation is required to include an analysis of short and long term effects on the individual and offer reasonable alternatives especially for handicapped, impaired or special needs children for which wearing the mask for either a short or prolonged duration, may result in exponential harm.
Enforcement of the Governor’s Vaccine Mandate Proclamation, forcing CVSD teachers and staff to either have an experimental mRNA serum injected into their bodies or risk termination. Forced vaccination violated individual civil rights; due process rights per the existing employment contracts; placed unnecessary risk on their health, careers and livelihoods; and risked disrupting the delivery of education due to a shortage of teachers resulting from enforcement of the mandate.
CVSD Board’s policy to expel students for failure to comply with the mask mandate policy is a violation of Article 9 of the Washington State Constitution. Additionally, this policy was inconsistent with OSPI guidelines.
The recall process was executed per state law and local guidelines as follows:
Charges were compiled, discussed, drafted and reviewed by hundreds of citizens.
Attorneys reviewed, signed and submitted petitions to the Spokane County Auditor.
The Auditor reviewed and then forwarded the petitions to the County Prosecuting Attorney.
The County Prosecutor, through the Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, reviewed the petitions, prepared the required synopsis, and forwarded the petitions to Spokane Superior Court which then set a date for the hearing.
Once received, State law directs the Court to conduct a hearing within fifteen (15) to determine:
Whether the acts stated in the recall charges satisfy the criteria for which a recall petition may be filed.
Whether the ballot synopsis (prepared by the County Prosecutor) is adequate, and to correct the synopsis if the Court finds it inadequate; and
Such other and further relief as the Court deems just and appropriate.
“Such Other Relief” in this case appears to be the CVSD board’s motion for CR-11 sanctions against the plaintiff and attorneys, filed the day prior to the scheduled hearing date and accompanied by hundreds of documents that couldn’t possibly be reviewed in time for the hearing.
Based on research, this appears to be the first time CR-11 sanctions were filed in a school board recall petition hearing. The theory why this is the case is a topic for another day.
Weeks after the case was dismissed and coincidentally during the period between the General Election November 2, 2021 and the swearing in of the two new school board directors December 13, 2021, the three CVSD board members involved in the now dismissed recall petition process directed the CVSD district’s attorney to subpoena one of the newly elected board members which turned out to be a harassing discovery process that yielded no additional information supporting sanctions.
My question here is why wasn’t this discovery done before the sanction motion was filed? In my opinion, the three board directors used the subpoena purely to harass and intimidate the newly elected board director who was an outspoken critic of their failing policies and lack of transparency during her campaign.
In June 2022, seven months following dismissal of the recall petition case the Judge ruled in favor of sanctions. The three CVSD board directors are demanding over $174,000 in legal fees, of which it is estimated based on the billing records submitted to the court, over 80% of that cost occurred after the recall petitions were dismissed by the Court.
The CVSD board directors are also demanding:
Petitioner permanently give up his right to submit future public records request to CVSD.
They want the Court to order petitioner to admit guilt in the form of a public apology. (I guess for the "crime" of submitting a recall petition on behalf of hundreds of concerned and in some cases terrified parents, teachers and district staff which is his and their First Amendment Right).
They want petitioner to guarantee parties unrelated to the petition permanently give up their right submit public records requests.
In closing, the board, in an executive session awarded themselves funding for legal fees to defend their board director positions against the recall charges and process.
Following dismissal of the case by the judge, they continued to use your taxpayer funds to further their personal vendetta against me and another sitting school board director.
Whether you agree or disagree with the premises for which the recall petitions were filed, I hope everyone reading this post can agree abuse of power by the government at any level that punishes citizens who thoughtfully exercise their Constitutional rights in accordance with the law and published procedural guidelines does harm to all of us.
I also encourage you to share this story with family, friends, local and national media and link this article on your social media sites.