Plagiarists, white supremacists and me

Last week, SN&R noted Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig’s weird tirade against the American Civil Liberties Union, printed in the Woodland Daily Democrat (see “Yolo DA accuses ACLU” SN&R Bites, August 2).

The truly remarkable thing about Reisig’s hit piece was only later uncovered by the cop watchers over at the People’s Vanguard of Davis: Reisig completely ripped-off the essay from Sacramento DA Jan Scully, who wrote an almost identical piece for The Sacramento Bee earlier this year.

Here’s one nugget from Reisig: “The ACLU and its agents are responsible for endless delays in the criminal justice system, frivolous appeals and a mountain of misinformation.”

And the original, from Scully: “It’s the ACLU. They are responsible for endless delays, frivolous appeals and a mountain of misinformation.”

Reisig said, “The American Civil Liberties Union and its allies have waged a relentless attack on public safety for decades, with the goal of overturning the death penalty.”

Which was taken directly from the book of Scully: “The American Civil Liberties Union has waged a relentless attack on public safety in California for decades. Their goal: overturn the death penalty.”

If Reisig were a college student, he’d be flunked for plagiarism. If he were a reporter, he’d be fired.

Still, Yolo DA spokesperson Jonathan Raven said Bites is making a capital case of nothing. Quoth Raven: “Many of the DAs across the state (including Jan and Jeff) are part of the campaign team in opposition to the initiative to repeal the death penalty.”

“As I’m sure you are aware, sharing Op Eds and word-for-word talking points is standard practice in such political campaigns,” Raven continued.

So, there you have it. When you do it, it’s stealing. When Jeff Reisig does it, it’s standard practice.

When Bites was very young, there was no Internet, and so a kid didn’t always know what kind of racist atrocities lay behind the names on the schools and libraries in his community.

Now he does. Which is why the Sacramento City Unified School District wants to rename Jedediah Smith Elementary School. It turns out that Jed Smith was a white supremacist slave owner who—according to Wikipedia, the No. 1 source for any decent fourth-grade history paper—would occasionally “make a demonstration by having one or two Natives killed with a rifle” in order to send a message to any nearby Indians that were being too uppity.

Jed Smith principal Billy Aydlett made the pitch for a name change to the Sac city school board last week. Actually, it was more of an insufferably jargon-filled drone-fest about how the name change “reflects the context of our priority school work,” and how “his life and actions serve as a counterbalance to the assets and aspirations of our schools.”

Dude, spit it out. Smith was a slave-owning racist murderer. He’s got to go.

Aydlett wants to name the school after one Leataata Floyd, a beloved 70-year-old volunteer and longtime neighbor of the school. Still, some school-board members hemmed and hawed about the risk of naming a school after a living person—who might, after all, make some mistake that would make them unworthy of having a school named after them.

You know, like enslaving and murdering people.

Hey, all kinds of crazy and exciting things are happening in Bites’life right now. New opportunities; new, smaller paychecks; and new larger piles of homework, etc. Weekly dispatches from the Bitescave will continue, but we’re taking a little break before the reboot. See you after Labor Day.