Chino Valley Unified Sues Top California Officials To Prevent The Blocking Of Parental Notification

The Chino Valley Unified School District and the parents of eight students attending its schools and that of three other school districts in California have filed a lawsuit against Governor Gavin Newsom, California Attorney General Rob Bonta and California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond in an effort to prevent the enforcement of a recently passed state law prohibiting schools from making a practice of notifying parents if their children are assuming a gender different from the one assigned them at birth.
The suit comes nearly a year after the Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees instituted a parental notification policy that was in short order challenged by Bonta and his office and thereby blocked from being applied.
Representing the district and parents Oscar Avila, Monica Botts, Jason Craig, Kristi Hays, Cole Mann, Victor Romero, Gheorghe Rosca, Jr. and Leslie Sawyer are Austin, Texas-based Liberty Justice Center and attorney Emily Rae.
The lawsuit challenges AB 1955, which was signed by Governor Newsom on Monday, July 15. AB 1955, authored by Assembly Member Chris Ward, D-San Diego, came in reaction to the passage of Chino Valley Unified’s policy followed by similar actions by the Orange, Temecula Valley and Murrieta Valley school districts.
The Chino Unified School District Board of Education took up the issue of parental notification after Republican Assemblyman Bill Essayli in March 2023, introduced Assembly Bill 1314, which would have required schools in California to notify parents in writing within three days if a student identified at school as a gender different from their assigned gender at birth. AB 1314 died a quiet legislative procedural death when Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, a Democrat and the chairman of the Assembly Education Committee, declined to set a hearing date for the bill before his committee, such that the bill was not given a chance to be considered by the entire Assembly.
With the matter unable to advance at the state level, the Chino Valley Unified School Board took up consideration of utilizing a piecemeal strategy of instituting similar policies throughout the state school district by school district and then took the lead in doing so. Before a capacity crowd within the
At a meeting held within the auditorium at Don Lugo High School in anticipation of an oversized crowd, the Chino Unified School Board considered adopting a policy, which was well advertised in advance, that requires faculty at the district’s schools to inform parents if their child identifies as transgender or insists on using a name, pronoun or facilities other than those traditionally intended for an individual as identified on that student’s birth certificate.
Thurmond sojourned from his office in Sacramento to Chino to address the school board and express his opposition to the policy change. In comments that were abbreviated because the school board had reduced the speaking time of those addressing it that evening from the normal three minutes to one minute to accommodate the sheer number of speakers, Thurmond made the point, that “nearly half of students who identify as being LBGTQ+ are considering suicide.” Thurmond then moved on to make that point that some parents might react with either physical violence or engage in psychological or emotional abuse of their children if faced with a child altering his or her gender. “I ask you to consider this: The policy that you consider tonight not only might fall outside the laws that respect privacy and safety for our students but may put our students at risk because they may not be in homes where they can be…” Thurmond said, at which point his microphone was cut off.
Ultimately, the board voted 4-to-1 to put the policy in place, with James Na, Andrew Cruz, Jon Monroe and Board President Sonja Shaw, prevailing and Board Member Don Bridge casting the sole dissenting vote.

Latest SB Recall Effort A Tangle of Motivations, Cross Purposes & Contradictions

The latest recall effort in San Bernardino presents the public with a confusing mélange of conflicting political and personal entanglements, leaving confusion as to who, precisely, wants to of the senior members of the city council removed from office.
This week, it was publicly announced that a group of city residents living in both the First and Fourth wards want to force a recall question against Councilman Ted Sanchez and Councilman Fred Shorett.
Sanchez was first elected to the city council in 2018 and was reelected in 2022. Shorett was elected to the council in 2009, reelected in 2013, reelected in 2018 and again in 2022.
Shorett’s early tenure in office was distinguished by his alliance with then-Mayor Patrick Morris, which was an unlikely pairing, given that Shorett is a Republican and Morris a Democrat. Nevertheless, the two were part of a narrow ruling majority on the council that formed when the city was under severe economic challenge, with consistent consecutive budget deficits in which expenditures eclipsed revenue. Morris, who was himself a longtime public employee as both a prosecutor in the district attorneys office and then later a Superior Court judge, took what was for many a shocking stand against public employee unions, which for decades had effectively pressured previous mayors and city councils to grant them salary and benefit increases, despite the city’s shrinking income. Shorett joined with Morris in seeking to reduce city expenditures by freezing city employee pay levels and holding the line on benefits, which managed to stave off for a year or year-and-a-half an inevitable bankruptcy filing by the city in 2012. While Shorett found himself faced with the undying enmity of local public employee unions, he managed to get some level of credit for his efforts to maintain the city’s solvency and managed to stay in office for a decade-and-a-half.
Initially, Shorett and Sanchez appeared to be and actually were on a collision course, as Sanchez ran for office and was elected as an ally of John Valdivia, whom Shorett had beaten in the 2009 Fourth Ward election primary and who came into office in the Third Ward in 2012 as a candidate backed by the city’s firefighters’ union who advocated for increasing firefighter salaries and benefits. Valdivia served as a foil to Morris until he left office in 2014, and the differences between Valdivia and Shorett were legendary. Valdivia successfully ran for mayor in 2018, at which point, with the support of Sanchez and then-newly elected Second Ward Councilwoman Sandra Ibarra, Fifth Ward Councilman Henry Nickel and then-Sixth Ward Councilwoman Bessine Richard, Valdivia took firm control of the machinery of government in the county seat. Valdivia’s hold on the city intensified in May 2019, when Juan Figueroa, whom the mayor backed, was elected to finish out the nearly two years remaining on Valdivia’s term as Third Ward Councilman.
In relatively short order, however, Valdivia overplayed his hand, and one by one he lost the support of Ibarra, Nickel and Sanchez, as he was engulfed by scandal upon scandal relating to the pay-for-play ethos of his administration.
Ultimately, in 2022, Valdivia was ousted from the mayor’s post, having been beaten in that year’s primary by both former City Attorney Jim Penman and the city’s one-time human resources director, Helen Tran. Ultimately, Tran was elected mayor in the November 2022 election.
Under Tran, a Democrat, the San Bernardino ship of state has had less than smooth sailing as took the helm of a council that consisted of four Republicans and three Democrats. Tran, who had hoped city affairs might be run in a stable and effective manner, was hampered by the departure of the city manager who had been at the helm of the city during the last two years of Valdivia’s mayoralty. Thus, her tenure in office began with a caretaker city manager in place, and at first subtle and then more pronounced differences surfaced among the members of the council with regard to whom the city should hire as its top administrator while the recruitment process was ongoing in the summer of 2023. This included a manifestation of collective schizophrenia when some members of the city council at first advocated and then rejected the idea of hiring the individual they had hired as the interim city manager, Charles McNeely, as the full-fledged city manager; Tran proving unable to convince her council colleagues to hire her first choice for the post, David Carmody, who had been the city manager in the city where she had gone to work as human resources director after she departed from the employ of San Bernardino in 2019; the city council coming to a near consensus about hiring ????? City Manager Harry Black but seeing that fall apart when Black’s salary demands gave the council pause prior to his withdrawal over concerns about the confidentiality of the recruitment process; and the inexplicable delays and stalling that took place in finalizing the council’s majority choice to manage the city, Salinas City Manager Steve Carrigan, which led to his decision to withdraw as a candidate for the post. Ultimately, the city in October 2023 made a decision to hire Charles Montoya, such that a coordinated and forward-looking running of municipal affairs did not begin in earnest until November 2023, nearly 11 months after Tran was sworn into office.
There was tension on the council between three of the council Republicans – Sanchez, Figueroa and Shorett – who began to vote on many issues as a block and two of the council’s Democrats – Fifth Ward Council Benjamin Reynoso and Sixth Ward Councilman Kimberly Calvin…

Wife & Children Suing County & Sheriff’s Department Over Husband/Father’s Killing

The wife and five children of Keith Vinyard have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against San Bernardino County, the sheriff’s department, Sheriff Shannon Dicus and at least two unnamed deputies as a consequence of the unarmed 52-year-old’s execution on March 23.
On March 23 at roughly 9:50 p.m. in Hesperia, Vinyard was shot and killed after deputies, in apparent response to a domestic violence warrant for Vinyard’s arrest, engaged in a vehicle chase in which he attempted to escape and was, according to the department, driving recklessly. The pursuit ended within the vicinity of the 15400 block of Halinor Street, at which point Vinyard refused to comply with commands made by a deputy, according to the department. During that exchange, according to the department, Vinyard threatened to shoot the deputy. It was subsequently determined that Vinyard was not in possession of a gun. Vinyard did, however, according to the department, arm himself with a “large metal object” as other deputies arrived on scene.
As that was taking place, according to one of the deputies, a second deputy and a third deputy opened fire on Vinyard after a first deputy discharged his service gun, even though one of those deputies did not consider Vinyard at that moment represented a threat, but considered it necessary for the deputies on the scene to act in unison because the threshold of a use of deadly force was occurring.
As of April 4, the California Attorney General’s Office had initiated a review of Vinyard’s shooting under California Government Code Section 12525.3, which requires that the California Department of Justice serve as an independent agency to investigate statewide police officer shootings resulting in the death of an unarmed civilian.
While the sheriff’s department maintains that Vinyard was in possession of a deadly weapon – the large metal object it was claimed Vinyard was holding – witnesses at the scene as well as at least one of the deputies did not have anything in his hands and was yet inside his car when he was felled in a hail of gunfire.
Gage’s lawsuit on behalf of Tiffany Shernaman-Vinyard and the couple’s four sons and one daughter maintains Vinyard had not in any way threatened the physical safety of the officers at the scene.