Commentary: A Repudiation of Anti-Trans Activism?

PC: Sharon McCutcheon

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Davis, CA – On Friday, another round of results will drop for the Measure N campaign which is pretty much the only local election measure that appears to be in doubt.

The law that requires a school parcel tax to pass with two-thirds vote is the only reason why the measure is in some doubt.  The results have trended up to nearly 68 percent, on par and in alignment with the results over the last 20 years or so.

Still, it would not take a major shift to change the outcome.  So we will wait for a deeper dive until that occurs.

But we know enough to look at a few points quickly from the arguments against Measure N.

I was recently re-reading the Arguments Against Measure N and the Rebuttal Arguments for the ballot statement.  Two really jumped out.

The main arguments against were filed by the Tax Payer Association, Mark Sullivan Mezger from Yolo and Michael Nolan from Solano County.  Nolan of course was a former DJUSD employee who ended up running a few years ago for school board.

Given that, I’m a bit surprised by the argument he put up.

They write: “Measure N enacts, forever, a separate and unequal education plan for Davis schools…  Separate because it only protects the programs favored by the privileged, well educated, affluent, elite, whose children are expected to attend highly ranked, selective and exclusive universities…”

I understand the goal is to get to 34% in a parcel tax measure, but still, they really thought that would be a winning argument in Davis?

Then we jump to the Rebuttal Argument filed by Thomas Coleman Randall, who along with Jose Granda has opposed it seems every single one of these and a newcomer to all of this Beth Bourne—who as we know is angry at the school district because it has largely followed state law on gender-identity and LGBTQ issues.

Here’s the key passage: “The days of glory of this District are gone. They are more interested in indoctrinating kids with gender-sexual ideology and anti-parent policies than teaching the basics Civics, English Math and Science.”

Never mind the shear audacity of this argument.  This is a school district that places about three-quarters of its students in a four-year college and puts more than 90 percent of its students in post-secondary education which means that an extraordinarily high number of students at least graduate from high school and most go on to get further education.

I don’t know what more you can ask of a school district in terms of those basics.

Is there room for improvement?  Of course.  I guarantee that not one person in the school district would argue that point.

But, that point aside, and again, 34 percent is not a very high barrier to clear, but if these results hold this is a resounding repudiation of the Moms for Liberty position in Davis.

Throughout the last year-plus, we have heard suggested the idea that there is some sort of silent majority out there in way left liberal Davis that is concerned with the message of equity being taught in its schools.

At least this faction of the No on Measure N folks made gender equity a centerpiece to their opposition to the Parcel Tax—again despite the fact that most of the district’s policies simply follow state law and therefore they have limited autonomy or authority to change them.

And districts that have attempted to do so, have actually been sued by the Attorney General for failing to adhere to state law.  Most have had to back down in the face of those lawsuits.

But what we have seen, yet again, resoundingly at the polls, is again this pretty much holds regardless of whether the late returns can push the opposition to 34 percent, and right now they are at 32 percent—we are still talking a small but vocal minority not a silent majority on this issue.

I’ll even take it a step further.  In Woodland.  Far less liberal than Davis.  It is pretty much a foregone conclusion that Emily McDonald will be recalled.  Currently the tallies show nearly 62 percent of the voters voted to recall her.

Small numbers to be sure.  Less than 1000 total votes.  But that cuts both ways as well.  It means that currently only 376 voters were willing to keep her.

As these things go, that’s not much of a vote of confidence.

The Washington Post ran a story last weekend noting that Florida voters are getting tired of the cultural wars.

“Florida has firmly cemented itself in recent years as ground zero for the nation’s culture wars,” the Post reported noting that Florida is the birthplace of Moms for Liberty.  “But the pushback is growing.”

We can only imagine how people in liberal Davis feel about the intrusion of culture wars into our local community.  We’ll see what happens in the final tally here, but it seems to me yet again that the message from Moms for Liberty won’t have much resonance in these parts.

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Walter Shwe

    There has never been any silent Davis majority in favor of right wing anti-trans hate mongering from the so-called Moms for Liberty. That was always a complete lie.

    In Florida, the birthplace of Moms for Liberty, the influence of M4L is clearly diminished. There is a God after all. Keep in mind that Republicans currently hold a supermajority in the Florida Legislature.

    21 viciously anti-LGBTQ+ bills die in Florida as DeSantis influence wanes
    They were some of the most extreme laws proposed this year.

    Proposed laws that would have expanded the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” law from the classroom into the workplace failed, as did another that would have banned Pride flags from schools and government buildings. Another bill would have required transgender people’s driver’s licenses to show their sex assigned at birth. A fourth would have made it “defamation” to describe someone as homophobic or transphobic.'%20failed%20campaign,the%20queer%20community%20was%20passed.

  2. Dave Hart

    I’m not convinced by what you wrote, David, that the M4L controversy had much to do with the vote talley so far.  I think it has a whole lot more to do with (1) low voter turnout and (2) perceived economic conditions.  DJUSD votes on tax issues gets narrower every election.  It’s worrying.  The DJUSD is not doing nearly enough to keep voters educated.  They, and the city of Davis, are sleep walking toward a 34% no vote the next time they need a tax vote.  All the charts that were put together on the NO side were compelling even though they cherry-picked data or were outright misleading.  The city and school district need to have pie charts and tables of data explaining what the city and district’s finances look like and why on their websites.  They need to list their sources.  The voters will make the right choices when given the facts, but this election relied on the YES emotional support way too much.  Emotional support always favors fear and the NO side will always have the advantage of fear and negativity over the more nuanced YES.  Give the YES side the tools.


    1. David Greenwald

      “I’m not convinced by what you wrote, David, that the M4L controversy had much to do with the vote talley so far. ”

      That’s part of the point – the vote tally seems to be in line with historical results and thus there is no real sign that the M4L stuff is affecting it.

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