Shredding schools and sidestepping gay marriage

Lots of schools have mottos. The Sacramento Unified School District ought to have one too: Devil take the hindmost.

Last week Freeport Elementary School was sacrificed to save the district maybe $400,000 toward a $28 million deficit.

Had to be done. The school is under enrolled and, Bites can’t help but notice, has the lowest test scores in the district.

The teachers union supports the closure and has been pushing all along to shutter schools to save money. Bites has never understood the union’s eagerness to abandon neighborhood schools. That’s just more schoolhouses for the charter-school companies to siphon students and state funding, further undermining the public-school system.

Speaking of which. While the SCUSD budget is tanking, school sports eliminated, school buses cut and teachers pink-slipped, Mayor Kevin Johnson says he’ll introduce his own report cards for local schools.

No thanks. We parents know too well how our kids’ schools are doing, without K.J.’s report cards.

If the mayor is really interested in helping Sacramento public schools succeed—not just cannibalizing them for his own charter-school business—then there are better uses of his limited time and clout. Sac city school officials are exploring a parcel tax or other sources of new revenue to save programs. Johnson should get in touch.

Local NAACP president Betty Williams officially launched her city council campaign against incumbent District 8 representative Bonnie Pannell last week. She’s got a slick mailer out dinging Pannell for the ostensibly high unemployment in her district: “52% of people in District 8 are either unemployed or out of the workforce,” the Williams campaign complains.

Sounds pretty bad, right? Pannell must be one terrible councilwoman, what with all that unemployment.

District 8 may have high jobless numbers, but this statistic is misleading. Williams’ campaign manager Sam Walton confirmed that their 52 percent unemployed number includes retirees, students, stay-at-home parents, people with disabilities, anyone over age 18 who doesn’t have a job, for any reason, whether they want work or not.

It’s going to be that kind of campaign.

At press time, Mayor K.J. still had not signed on the Mayors Freedom to Marry campaign, like most of the mayors of most of the world-class cities in America have done.

The Stonewall Democratic Club of Sacramento asked the mayor to sign on several weeks ago and have turned in hundreds of petitions urging him to support marriage equality. A month later, nothing.

What’s taking so long? Perhaps the mayor doesn’t want to alienate any of his pastor friends. Nah, that would be too cynical.

Back on February 7, the day the latest federal court decision on Proposition 8 came down, Team K.J. sent out this response to the Freedom to Marry petition.

Like President [Barack] Obama, my personal belief is that marriage is between a man and a woman. But I strongly oppose discrimination being written into our constitution, and that’s why I opposed Prop 8 when it was on the ballot, supported measures on the City Council against it, and why I agree with the Court’s decision today.”

“Marriage is between a man and a woman,” is pretty much the same line as Proposition 8. It’s very different from saying, as the mayors of Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Houston, Boston, Austin, Davis, Chico, West Sacramento, Oakland, Chicago, St. Louis, Phoenix and bunch of other cities have said, “All people should be able to share in the love and commitment of marriage.”

As for that bit of “I’m like Obama” misdirection, forget it. Obama is wrong. He’s also running for president of America, not mayor of the comparatively progressive Sacramento. What’s K.J.’s excuse?