|Ezra Seymour Gosney|
Our vote was stolen by redistricting. I don’t believe that can be be denied. Our middle school was leveled before there was a plan to build a new one. Our kids, well someone else’s kids because mine aren’t there - were placed into tin cans - of which I am convinced are unsafe for kids’ health (and which is why my kids aren’t there). I have made no secret my belief in these assertions.
Someone has been skimming Measure TT money, and the PUSD attorneys are working really hard to make sure that Mary and I don’t get our hands on anything we request through PRAs to support or dispel the rumors. Some people have been put on notice with gag orders.
I also hoped that by stating that I was submitting an application for the school board vacancy that it would jolt more Sierra Madreans into action. Those other loudmouths on the Patch, or the Secret Society of the Earth Mamas of the Sierra Madre Elementary Elite. Alas, they didn’t come running forth.
I guess that means that I have failed.
However, I am glad that three other members of the community have come forth. If we are to believe what the redistricting says, we probably have the wrong outer shell, however, to represent our local government. Because we are in Sierra Madre, however, we are disenfranchised enough to be considered unrepresented.
In any event, I promised to share my resume. You can find it (here) if you are so motivated to read it. In response to the poster a couple weeks back who questioned my knowledge and abilities in school policies and politics, go ahead and read (over here and over here) and let me know if I am in the ballpark. I won’t hesitate to tell you that Guillermo Arce stomps all over me in this regard. As far as I am concerned, both he and Ramon Miramontes would do Sierra Madre proud, but, Ramon did not submit his name.
A New Kind of Velveeta
Sometimes it’s the process, and not the product - that is the measure of success.
I have no false belief that this role is one for me to take on, but I am not a quitter, and will see this silly whim through to the end. I have no desire to ever run for public office, but the thought of falling into one by misadventure is one thing I can’t help but be intrigued by.
I am not embarrassed about the things I’ve said, nor by the things people have said about me. I won’t go through the hassle of cleaning the internet of my voice. That never sits well in a conformist culture like this one.
Ultimately, it’s more important to me to speak freely than it is to represent people who are apathetic to begin with.
A couple three weeks back there was a shindig at the PUSD Board of Education in which every blowhard east of Michillinda Avenue cracked wind for Ed Honowitz’s departure. That’s right. For a good 75 minutes you could hear every windbreaker in the place try to undo all of the gospel from Mount Grove Avenue and Lima Heights in a feeble attempt to clothe the Emperor.
After the deluge, your faithless compadre read in a roast of dear Honowince. It tanked. I took a verbal beating from a squeaky little UTP rodent and her pack of vermin, and then the strangest thing happened. I was kicked as I walked away from the podium.
In order to make me trip and fall is my guess. So. I went to file it with the police department later when I could positively identify the fellow. I sent a letter to the Board first, and after some researching, we figured out who it was.
Would you believe it was someone related to Honowitz? Yeah, I was surprised too.
I was also surprised that tobacco companies thought smoking was OK for your health. Good thing Mad Magazine put me straight (click here).
Pardon This Interruption for a Public Comment
Like I may have shared, I made a public comment that resulted in my being yelled at, called crazy, and ultimately “accidentally” tripped by a member of the audience at a Board Meeting. I followed that incident up with a public comment made on May 14th, and which follows, about mental illness.
Please enjoy the intermission.
On April 23, 2013, as I spoke to the board, I was jeered, told I should be ashamed of myself, and told repeatedly to sit down. This came from Pasadena teachers, the same teachers we entrust our children to. One of the teachers made a gesture at me implying that I am mentally ill.
I take these implications very seriously when a staff member directs them at me, and when it is broadcast around the world via the internet. The stigma of mental illness is not one to malign, and it is unacceptable to belittle a parent, or community member, or to make flippantly through gestures that promote the discrimination of the mentally ill, nor to use this discriminatory behavior to discredit community speakers during Public Comment.
On April 23, 2013, the following quote was made by a PUSD employee, who identified herself as a teacher at Webster School, and as a leader on the bargaining team for United Teachers of Pasadena.
“Not all children with special needs are fit to be included in a general education classroom.”
Now, as far as I understand it, public education, and access to general education is designed for all children. When a group of children are excluded, for whatever reason, it runs contrary to Federal law.
It also opens the door for a wave of discriminatory practices, and reminds me of a piece of Pasadena’s very ugly history.
Gosney Hall at Polytechnic School in Pasadena was named after Ezra Seymour Gosney, an American philanthropist, eugenicist, and the founder of the Human Betterment Foundation of Pasadena. Human Betterment Foundation advocated compulsory sterilization of the mentally ill and the mentally retarded. One of the members of the society was Stanford psychologist Lewis Terman who is best known for creating the Stanford-Binet test of IQ.
Paul Popenoe, who would one day be the father of Marriage Counseling, a co-founder of Ladies Home Journal, editor at the Pasadena Star News, and recipient of an honorary Doctorate in Science from Occidental College, was also a member of the Human Betterment Foundation.
In 1929, Gosney and Paul Popenoe co-authored Sterilization for Human Betterment: A Summary of Results of 6,000 Operations in California, 1909-1929. California was a leader in this practice, and their book found an enthusiastic audience in 1934 among Nazi intellectuals.
Nazi intellectuals. Now there is oxymoron.
The Nazis would put these practices into effect, sterilizing 5,000 mentally ill and mentally retarded people a day. This was prior to the Nazi’s practice of euthanasia, or genocide, which coincidentally has the same root word as eugenics, that root word being gene.
According to Katherine Swift (click here), “Hitler’s national hygiene legislation, whose preliminary targets were also mental patients and the physically disabled, began ‘after careful study of the California experiment under Mr. Gosney and Dr. Popenoe’ ”
As the Nazis platform became increasingly removed from the California model, “Eugenicists switched ideological emphasis from genetics to psychobiology, navigating out of the terrain of strict hereditarian ideology and into the terrain of sociobiology and behavioral biology.”
After his death in 1942, Gosney’s daughter liquidated the foundation and donated its remaining assets to Caltech, which in 1943 established a Gosney research fund for biological research.
People like Charles Goethe of Sacramento (click here), and Gosney of Pasadena will slowly, but steadily become footnotes in books on racism as the foundations, parks, and buildings that once boasted their names quietly remove them. Their legacy becoming one of shame.
When a society determines whether or not a person is mentally, or behaviorally fit to participate in our institutions, including our schools, the outcome has typically been catastrophic.
More importantly, for the sake of this discussion, be wary of practices that place too much emphasis on whether or not a child is FIT for participation in a program. It is a slippery slope, and it generally results in a design that cannot be justified.
The Meaning of Grit
firmness of mind or spirit : unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger.