By George Miller
The left wing political pressure group Indivisible Conejo descended upon the 8-27-19 Thousand Oaks City Council meeting to attack Mayor Rob McCoy for allegedly violating the “separation of church and state.” But supporters of McCoy and/or family values education came in even greater numbers to oppose them and educate the public. Most of the nearly 30 speakers on the subject supported McCoy and a controversial conference his church hosted.
Event VIDEO (action starts in agenda item 6 at about 48:00)
McCoy is also Senior Pastor of the local Calvary Chapel Godspeak. Specifically, they challenged his right to host an August 10 event there on problems with the public school curriculum and what to do about it, which ranged from reform of the public schools, to private schools and homeschool alternatives. Major objections to radical new changes to sex-ed/gender curriculum prompted the event.
On the side supporting McCoy and the conference, the objections focused on the radical sex-ed/”gender” curriculum changes, which are highly offensive to family values people and arguably scientifically flawed.
Protesters, in summary, asserted that McCoy, as a public official “crossed the line on church/state separation” in hosting an event which opposed the curriculum changes (actually the conference opposed a lot more than just that). They described the event as “attacking” or “bashing” the school system, which they felt McCoy should not be allowed to facilitate, because of his role as a public official.
McCoy permitted some homeschoolers, private schools, a former CVUSD board member and a current one to hold a conference to present their objections to what is happening in the public schools and offer alternatives, which included: 1)- reforming the public schools (CVUSD Board member and mother of children in local public schools Sandee Everett), 2)- private schools and 3)- variants of homeschooling. He did not set the agenda or organize the conference.
Conference speakers’ premise was that if their children are to be forced to partake of this curriculum and no opt out is possible, then it is preferable to seek out alternative education, as 26% of school age students have already done and more public school students have done via “home study” programs.
This was the event in question, which Citizens Journal published the only comprehensive report on:
Education Conference Delivers Broadside to Public School Sex-Ed (“Gender”) and Other Curricula, Presents PS Alternatives.
By George Miller- Newbury Park, CA- Conejo Valley opponents blasted increasingly radicalized sex-ed in public/charter schools and presented alternatives at a conference-“Local, Private and Homeschool Alternatives to Public School” in Newbury Park (Thousand Oaks), CA on August 10, 2019. The conference addressed why they thought alternatives were needed in the first place and what they […]
Because this topic was not on the meeting agenda, the factions’ speakers battled it out during a 2 hour general comments section, which was also interspersed with demands to end gun shows and miscellaneous topics.
Caroline Abate led off in “full and complete support of Rob McCoy” and proceeded to lash out at the “terrible… inappropriate and embarrassing curriculum” which she “can’t even talk about,” ” being taught to innocent, vulnerable children.” She referred to a “Liberal sexual agenda,” which she thought should be made unlawful.
Retired publishing executive Debra Baber Savalla of the Conservative POV group attacked protest organizer Indivisible, which she said “is funded by deep-pocketed people like George Soros”.” She went on to say that their pronounced and public agenda is to go up against the Trump agenda. She said they are totalitarian in nature and lie about: “the spark of life, hide history, churchgoing people and their motivation, about our faith-based Founders, the documents that they wrote and about the meaning of separation of church and state.”
Practicing minister and activist Gloria Chinea Massey, originally from Puerto Rico, says she has a Masters in Public Health. She thanked McCoy for opening his church to the community, says that church sites have traditionally been used to bring the truth.
Chantal supported the First and Second Amendments, congratulated Rob McCoy and urged tolerance and acceptance of viewpoints.
Don Hubbs said there have been discussions all over the country on the role of churches in the community, which he said includes political activity, which will benefit society in general. He invoked MLK as a role model for involvement and said his speeches were grounded in biblical principles.
Bill Hicks said he was at the 8-20-19 school board meeting and thinks protesters here were “sour grapes” because they weren’t able to get school board member Sandee Eveert censured. He praised McCoy as a generous man who allowed his building to be used. He said that LAUSD has become “third world” and he doesn’t want tat to happen here.
Bob Lee, PhD, the conference organizer, said the 8-10-19 event was about communications of options for education to parents, which include public, private and home schools. He emphasized First Amendment-guaranteed free speech, to make no law to establish universal religion, but free practice of religion and free speech. He says this seems to have been replaced by political correctness and hate speech. When somebody criticizes our point of view, that is not hate speech, but it can be free speech and that’s what the United States is founded on.
Jean Camer said the Constitution established barriers and must guard against the blurring of lines between religion and the government and desire of officials to promote religious beliefs. City govt has an obligation to do this. Officials must not sponsor an event which recommends specific religious schools. It’s wrong for officials to promote a meeting which promotes disrespect, distrust and outright lies about the Conejo Valley Unified School District.
Retired teacher Carol Miller said she was here to support Mayor McCoy and the First and Second Amendments. She pointed out that the First Amendment does not separate church and state, it does not say that private citizens and Mayor McCoy cannot assemble, meet and discuss things. The Healthy Youth Act takes control out of the hands of the parents of what sex education is and determines what and where it is to be taught and how it is to be taught. The opt-out options are rather weak. It is even more difficult now that the material is being embedded into other curriculum being taught at the schools. Our anti-bullying campaigns (already) focused on having all students be kind to one another regardless of any and all differences. Many experts say children do not have the cognitive ability to understand the gender points. Community members got together to discuss this- I was there.
George Miller Asked why is an out of town financed organization with a paid community organizer picking on the Thousand Oaks Mayor, who’s an excellent, civically-minded man? He noted that they instruct members to monitor public officials for “church-state conflicts.” They now have the gall to challenge McCoy’s right to even sponsor (we were later corrected- it was ‘host”) an event at his own church. Indivisible is dividing the community rather than uniting it- by design? What Indivisible wants is actually a violation of the First Amendment, since it would suppress free speech. The First Amendment only proscribes a state church. They want to impose their bizarre social theories, which are a de facto religion, and suppress any opposition views- that’s what Fascism is. They seek to bully, intimidate him and his supporters, a scenario right out of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.
Grace Chen- We are the people and have civic responsibilities. Inspired that we have people like you I can look up to (and proceeded to say why and included the 8-10-19 forum). I don’t see what is so threatening about a forum that provides information and addresses community concerns on sex-ed and gender identity- and various educational alternatives.It is important to me to see someone of faith have a leadership position in our community.
Dr. Amy Chen thanked Mayor McCoy for being a community advocate and hearing all sides. It is completely appropriate for you to allow your private building to be used for a conference on current laws such as the “Health Youth Act” and CA sex ed framework and alternatives to public school education. The forum provided useful information and encouraged the public to be more involved, informed about the (public) schools and be informed about other educational options. I’m sorry that certain members of the community are lying about you (McCoy) and harassing you. That small group (referring to Indivisible) is intolerant of anyone who has different beliefs. By far the majority in the community know the truth and think these attacks are bizarre.
Narda Fargastein said public schools are great here in Thousand Oaks. Someone in public office is bound to represent the public. She said aid Mayor McCoy was distributing flyers via schools for his paid leadership academy and solicited his book sales- implied CVUSD endorsement. And he sponsored the 8-10-19 event where CVUSD Board Member Sandee Everett participated, which could result in reduced public school enrollment.
Bill Laserow strongly supports constitution practice of freedom of religion. But Thomas Jefferson himself first articulated separation of church and state, recalling that he said our legislature should build a wall of separation between church and state. He told the Mayor that he brushed up close to violating that spirit. Some have taken the Mayor’s lead to abuse what that freedom means. He said some are making a highly emotional attempt to impose religious values on others via our public institutions, That is out of step with the intentions of our Founders. It was unacceptable to brand fellow citizens as anti-God, anti-American and for heaven’s sake, pagan and imply that such people abrogate their own exercise of liberty and pursuit of appropriate public policy. This body is fully charged to support inclusiveness of public institutions. Accommodating diversity of our community is no simple task. It requires collaboration rather than exclusion.Events such as 8-10-19 one be considered with care and circumspection in the future.
Indivisible leader Jon Cummings (photo to right) criticized an event advertising flyer which referred to public schools with a Progressive, anti-God and Anti-American pagan agenda and pointing out that there are local private Christian schools. He acknowledged PASTOR McCoy’s right to do such events but not MAYOR McCoy. He attacked the event as rendering the public schools unacceptable to McCoy’s flock and luring parents away from our public schools. He accused McCoy of a perpetual chipping away at the wall between church and state. and said that his activities have been directly detrimental to the community that he is supposed to be serving as a member of this council.
Tinia Habib said that government is supposed to be secular, separation between church and state is absolutely vital. As an Iranian-American, seeing Christian values promoted as the sole moral value is disheartening. Leave personal and religious values at the door before entering politics. She said it is wrong to reject religious values that are not the same as in the community. Teach reality and diverse perspectives. Schools shouldn’t cater to a specific viewpoint. The irony is that she didn’t seem to realize this is exactly what the new curriculum is doing. As far as we know, some principles which have Christian roots and are predominant in many other cultures will no longer be covered.
Bonnie Schub said she went to the meeting and was flabbergasted to learn that the entire meeting was geared to removing children from public schools. Why would the Mayor of our city be promoting a mass exodus from our public schools? She remarked that Mike Dunn said facts of the presentation were provided by Godspeak Communications Director Micah Stevens. Fact check: McCoy’s son-in-law Mr. Stevens heads up music and does church announcements. He is not the church spokesman. As far as we know Mike only used that one piece of information he so attributed. She wants McCoy to consider leaving his public service position.
Tony Dolz warned that rabid radicals, a mob, are hard at work to fundamentally change the US. They gathered here tonight to defame and slander our distinguished Mayor. The radical mob comes to demand that government infringe on certain constitutionally protected rights – 1st Amendment: freedom of speech, assembly; 5th Amendment- private property rights. No illegal activity took place at the meeting- you may not like it. Mob is attempting to suppress similar future meetings- using techniques of political shaming and boycotting, attempting to inflict political harm on him. He asked City Council to reject that.
Nancy Janek thanked Sandee Everett and Rob McCoy and is appalled at intolerance school board has shown. People are leaving the schools because of direct attacks on their values. She invoked the First Amendment to defend their positions. Home education saves the government $10,000+ /year/student. Sex ed misinformation is in direct conflict with this community, causing many parents to look for educational alternatives.
Tim Cooley said we elect the whole person to office and they don’t have to abandon those qualities – morals, values. Show me a law or regulation that McCoy has broken. The problem with John Cummings, Indivisible, Planned Parenthood and other bigoted hate-mongering groups is that they ignore laws while at the same time inventing pseudo-law and policies to undermine law abiding citizens of this community.
Protesting Gun Shows
The other major topic of public comments was objections to holding gun shows at the state commission-run Ventura County Fairgrounds. Commenters believe that the gun shows are a source of dangerous weapons which may be used for illegal violence and that they help establish a “gun culture” that glorifies and “makes guns cool” , encouraging shooting violence. Several relatives of shooting victims brought in blamed the gun shows and “gun culture” for losing their loved ones and opined that ending the gun shows and “universal background checks” (which already exist in California and most places) would reduce such tragedies.
While the city and county have no authority over the gun shows, protesters believe that they could help influence the state to eliminate them.
While there was no organized counter-protest to this, several speakers on both issues on both sides commented. It was interesting that there was a 100% correlation between positions on the two issues, namely that: opponents of McCoy hosting the conference who also spoke on the gun show were all opposed to it and those in favor of the conference and supporting McCoy all opined that the gun show and guns were symptoms, not the problems.
Public comments on these and other matters may be viewed on the event video, agenda item 6- public comments on items not on the agenda.
Other 8-27 meeting items are covered in Michael Hernandez’s article as follows:
By Michael Hernandez THOUSAND OAKS—Community residents will be able to share their vision of how they believe Thousand Oaks should grow in upcoming community workshops focused on the first new General Plan in over 50 years. A community workshop has been planned for Thursday, Sept. 12 from 6-8 p.m. at Robles Greens Golf Course Sunset […]
George Miller is Publisher/Co-Founder of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard.