With a month still ahead of us, the school board race is getting ugly. Not the candidates, but their supporters.
I got a call from a Madeline Ehrlich, herself a former school board member, telling me she’d gotten an email from Gary Walker – that was not from Gary Walker.
Gary Walker is a long familiar local journalist whose main desk is at The Argonaut, but who has worked as a stringer for the Culver City News for many years. I worked with him when I was employed there.
How do you know, I asked, it’s not from Gary? (Although I had my suspicions, knowing Walker to be much more comfortable on the telephone than he is online.) She said I’ll send it to you. Complete text is below.
Hi Mrs. Erlich,
It’s been a while. I hope you’re doing well.
Someone forwarded to me your response to a blog announcing an endorsement of Kelly Kent by the Culver City Coalition. Why is this organization’s any less important, than say the local chamber of commerce, the Exchange Club, the local Democratic Club or United Parents of Culver City? And would others be entitled to feel the same if Ms. Kent refused to answer the questions of an organization that her supporters deemed unworthy? And who should voters look at candidates who pick and choose which questions they want to answer and before which organizations that they choose to speak in front of?
One last thing: much has be talked about how the Democratic Club vote was “rigged” or manipulated. You reference that the Culver City Coalition “basically loaded the Demo Club” in favor of Ms. Kent. Has anyone presented you with any evidence of this?
Culver City News
Yes, I agreed, THAT really doesn’t sound like Walker. It sounds like someone with an ax to grind in your direction who feels a need to legitimize the Culver City Coalition.
AND, said Madeline Ehrlich, I sent Gary and email at his other address and this is what I got back.
From: [email protected]
To: [Madeline Ehrlich]
God love you Judith, Gary & Madeline:
Apart from your rightful indignation at a blatant attack on
Gary W’s stock in trade ( btw no- one does a higher quality
Journalistic product than you two locally)
I personally just have to file this away as
Culver City election season mirth
You know coming from a childhood
Where I lost 2 really good dogs to poisoning
At about the same time my mom was integrating
My Cub Scout Troop so the Boy Scout leader
Who was a great pillar of our community too
I have to laugh about the intrigue that begins to swirl
Around snitched lawn signs, video cams and
Okay y’all, gotta go support
Planned Parenthood now
Things get weirder. On 9/29 I got an email from someone who started it off with the same salutation saying he was a teacher at CCUSD and demanding to know why the bond money hadn’t been spent yet. He/she was quite quarrelsome and demanding. I just directed him to the bond website and Mike Reynolds. Coincidently that ws the same day the District issued their press release regarding the progress of the projects. Now I have to think it was the same person. The person who contacted me said he was Brian V.W. Pogue. Was it?
Here’s another thought. These are all legitimate questions and I am sure that the voters in our community would be interested in the answers. They are probably obvious questions that most investigative reporters might ask–the key word here being investigative. Some of our local reporters are not being very “investigative” these days, they are merely stirring the pot with innuendo.
How EXACTLY have you determined that this so-called hack is connected in any way, shape or form to the Kelly Kent campaign, Judith? That seems quite a stretch on your part and you’ve stated nothing in your “article” to support your accusation.
I agree with Ken…this is just typical campaign intrigue that appears to be the norm now in Culver City. If you have no issue to rally around, create one! Or better still, if there are no issues to actually debate or you are unable to argue the issues, embrace a campaign strategy of casting aspersions on your opponent in order to make yourself look superior. Sadly, this seems to be a strategy that has worked well in Culver City in recent elections. I realize that this type of thing routinely comes up in national politics, but in a small community such as ours, there should be no place for it.
Just a thought!!
It’s probably better to call Gary Walker at the Culver City News and confirm if he was the author of the email.
Judith – It’s wrong for you to associate this alleged hack with the Kent campaign. If I make a Gmail address that looks like it’s from the Kent campaign and send you a message trashing Burke-McVarish, will you print it and blame Kelly? What if I pose as a member of their camp and send you lies about Kelly? Will you blame Anne and Scott? Is it that easy to publicly put a stain a good people doing their best?
There are rabble-rousing fools spewing hate all over this world, and no one is responsible except the authors themselves. Years ago communication changed, and since then everyone has a bully pulpit on the Internet in the form of blogs, Facebook, email blasts, etc. Hiding one’s identity is possible, as is posing as someone else. Fringe elements hiding in the digital shadows are likely to be with us a long time. But you can’t hold public figures, whether our local school board candidates or our national leaders, accountable for the actions of an unknown, random bad apple. It’s certainly within your duties as a journalist to write about such events. But to say that Dr. Kent has a “loose cannon on board” is to imply that she knows and sanctions such activities. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence to indicate this, so I’m at a loss as to why you would print it.
I am very worried about loose cannons given all the school shootings recently. I would love to see all military weaponry removed from our campuses and school board races. I’m not sure what Ken Browning is suggesting, but I support him 100 percent. In terms of the school board race, may the best women win. I also want to support Madeline, as after all the contributions that she and Paul have made to our community, they should not have to answer any questions about statements they make, unsupported or not. I was at the Demo club meeting, and no one asked me to vote for only one candidate, and I, in fact voted for two. For reasons I explained there, I am unable to endorse Scott McVarish, but I agree that it benefits the club to support eligible candidates who support club values.
I don’t really have a dog in this fight. But reading the 2nd email from Walker, he really never denies that the first one came him. He only says he is “at a loss”. No big deal to me, maybe I will buy more popcorn….
It’s really sad to learn about the hacked email, and to hear some of the negative campaigning that is going around. Judith is just reporting the facts. Personally I support Kelly and don’t believe for one minute that she would be a party to anything so sleazy. I’ve read things in the frontpage online that suggest elections can be petty, as long as the candidates act honestly I think our community should avoid trolls, dirty tricks and negative campaigns. Crossroads is a good source to learn about the election.