Recall Vote & Attack on Democracy

“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”― Isaac Asimov

The Board Recall Campaign is Suspended

What is this Board Recall Vote all About?

No one likes to lose, especially when it is something that they are passionate about. However, throwing a tantrum, wasting money, slandering, and encouraging negativity and racist attitudes because of losing is another issue entirely. Our community, our school, and most of all, our children have taken a huge hit based on a loophole to circumvent a democratic and ethical vote. Attempting to recall three people because of a vote they disliked is a threat to the democratic process and an immense waste of limited community resources.  

Many of you have seen signs like these littering the streets of Chapel Hill. These individuals who are putting signs up have gone to extraordinary efforts to try to overturn democracy through a loophole. They have slandered those most engaged in our community because they disagreed with their vote. If a recall were to take place, the cost would be significant to our community, which was preliminarily estimated to cost $84,000- $112,000 by the Orange County Board of Elections. (Petitioner Jon Driggers admitted to not having any estimate for the cost of the recall prior to the petition filing.) Already, the community has incurred a Public Records Request at ~$30,000 for a broad fishing expedition that yielded no unethical findings as stated by the school board lawyer. In fact, the only laws broken are the illegal posting of these signs on public property, which continued despite having been informed of the law. Further expenses to the community were incurred by the town having to remove signs.

The recall petitioners had lodged previous claims against the same board members while looking for claims against the MDL program. Of these early complaints, the group claimed that the teacher’s proposal had not been distributed to the board and administration. This was true. However, this was the result by the then-chair at the time, Rani Dasi. As chair, Dasi was responsible for dissemination of the teacher’s proposal to fellow board members. Only after it became a contentious issue did Dasi forward the proposal. Dasi also stated that she was surprised that the MDL vote was on the agenda, despite the fact that she, as chair, controls the agenda and approves it for release. At best this is incompetent, if not unethical. However, as Dasi is against the MDL program, her actions have gone largely unnoticed. Despite this, Dasi is not a target of the recall.

Watch a clip from a recent CHCCS School Board meeting where a community member spoke out against this hypocrisy:

Ron DiFelice filed the initial recall petition on February 28th, 2019. A second, near identical petition was filed by Johnathan Driggers on March 4th, 2019. Go to the StopCHCCSrecall for additional information.

Prior to the recall petition, Katharine Kollins, one of the primary recall sponsors, came out against the MDL program. Ironically, she cites the “very limited resources” that our community has and declares that “I will do everything I can to make sure the our resources are first put into our students who need it most…” The recall effort is estimated to cost the community as much as $130,000 and if successful, would remove school board members a few month prior their term end. A small handful of people including Katharine Kollins have unilaterally decided to squander our community’s resources and attack our democratic rights to elect officials. Further, Kollins repeatedly states that the recall has nothing to do with the MDL program. Watch below:

All CHCCS Board Meeting videos, minutes, and agendas can be found here.

Below are the three CHCCS board members who voted in favor of the MDL Magnet Proposal. These civil servants are the only three who the anti-MDL campaign has targeted in an attempt to eliminate the MDL program. They are parents, community leaders, and social advocates who took on the thankless roles as school board members. Their pay? At approximately $4000/year, these roles are considered by most to be volunteer. These three have all faced numerous false accusations, from conflict-of-interest to improper scheduling of votes, all of which have been cleared by the school board’s attorney. As the petitioners know their accusations are without merit, the recall petitions do not claim as much. Instead, the recall petitions state that each “lacks the proper judgement to serve the needs of all students…”

Read Margaret Samuel’s resignation letter below:

Fortunately, many of our elected leaders have spoken out against the recall vote.

Below are clips from the March 7th, 2019 Orange County Board of Commissions where Mark Dorosin and Penny Rich on the Board of Commissioners address the community’s loss due to the resignation of Margaret Samuels and the ill-guided recall effort.

Mark Dorosin talks about Margaret Samuel’s resignation as a great loss to the community. He links the recall effort to the Mandarin Dual Language program.

He also talks about the Recall petition and its purpose to initially recall 3 board members, now 2. He says the community should not go through the struggle of a recall. He says it’s an unfortunate circumstance for the community. He’s someone that loves and believes in democracy and says a recall process is already in place – it’s an election which happens this coming November. He talks about the cost to taxpayers and how a recall election is a poor use of resources.

He also asks, if the recall does go through, that they board do not fill any vacant seats. It would unfortunately prejudice the process going into the election.

Penny Rich thanks Margaret Samuels for all her hard work with all children who live in Orange County. She recognizes that Margaret was bullied into her resignation. Penny also talks about how outdated the Recall Bill is, written by Gerry Cohen in 1994, and hopes legislators are listening. She also hopes they will revise the Recall Bill to reflect how elections run in today’s world.

For the full link to the video, go to the Orange County Board of Community Commissioners.

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