The La Mirada chamber invited an alt-right racist to moderate the school board debate

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BRINGING RACISM TO THE SCHOOL BOARD DEBATE- A simple internet search of Van De Mark would have produced several photos like this. Behind Van De Mark (front), a woman flashes a white supremacist sign

September 17, 2022

Staff report

The La Mirada Chamber of Commerce kicked off a quick Thursday night at the NLMUSD Candidates Forum by presenting as moderator Critical Race Theory marrying alt-right supporter and Proud Boy known Gracey Van De Mark, to the surprise of many at the event.

The leaders of LM Chamber were giddy, as were the clones who knew she was coming ahead of time, ready to pounce with their right-wing divisive statements about teachers in the classroom, what they teach, abortion, the birth control and how they enable LGBTQ+ children.

But others, including HMG-CN editor Brian Hews, had no idea Van De Mark was going to be the moderator.

The Cerritos Republican Club invited Van De Mark to speak at the Cerritos Library, with ABCUSD Vice Chairman Soo Yoo in attendance; HMG-CN learned of the event and publicized it, which drew many protesters to a Cerritos City Council meeting, but the City Council allowed the event at the library anyway.

The Cerritos Republican Club hosted racist Proud Boy supporter Gracey Van Der Mark at the Cerritos Library weeks after beating AAPI at the city park

“It’s a right-wing job that needs to stay in Orange County,” said HMG-CN editor Brian Hews, “I didn’t find out she was the moderator until I received several texts during the forum from people present who were very angry. Extremely bad judgment on the part of the La Mirada House to invite him.

“My local community news editor, Tammye McDuff, who asked me if she could be Speaker of the House this year, didn’t tell me either.”

And that’s not just Hews’ take on Van Der Mark: “She’s a troublemaker, she’s a bigot, and she has no place in public governance. None,” Gina Clayton-Tarvin, clerk of the Ocean View School District Board of Trustees, told The Daily Beast in 2021.

A simple internet search by the chamber would have revealed Van Der Mark’s long involvement with the alt-right.

In April 2017, according to a Facebook post, she shared a photo from an event with Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman. A far-right brawler and leader of the Proud Boys’ paramilitary wing, the “Alt-Knights”, Chapman had earned his nickname when video footage showed him hitting a left-wing protester with a stick, which leads to his arrest and an eventual weapon plea deal. charge.

“My son got some advice from Based Stick Man on how to protect himself from masked Antifa cowards at patriot rallies and events. [sic]Van Der Mark wrote on Facebook.

In another selfie, Van Der Mark can be seen with Antonio Foreman. who, in August 2017, took part in the murderous rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville.

Van Der Mark can also be seen attending an anti-Islam event in San Bernardino. Photos from the day show her wearing a gun-print shirt, standing behind the far-right figure “Johnny Benitez”, who is wearing a Proud Boys uniform and holding a poster with a meme about the ethnic cleansing of Muslims.

But this story didn’t matter to the room. Van Der Mark was introduced, smugly strolled to the podium, and immediately began his round of alt-right questions, unaware that it was traditional to give each candidate the usual two minutes to introduce themselves. .

Van Der Mark’s first question was predictable: “will you be teaching CRT in the NLMUSD?” His second question was, “Are you going to fight the state trying to include CRT in the school curriculum?”

It has been proven in every reputable media that CRT is only taught in graduate school classes and is a racist right wing meme meant to divide parents and school boards.

All candidates could be considered taken by surprise, all answering the question in the negative.

Van Der Mark then asked if council members would allow a family planning clinic, but that was a moot point and yet another contentious issue.

An item had been placed on the agenda of the NLMUSD board weeks ago to discuss a clinic, but it was removed and never discussed, with the board making it clear in a statement that he was not considering the clinic.

When Van Der Mark started asking about abortion, a visibly upset LMUSD board member, Dr. Robert Cancio, who is endorsed by HMG-CN, took issue with the series. questions from Van Der Mark.

Van Der Mark asked, “A minor at school cannot be given aspirin or neosporin without parental permission; however, a child of any age, without parental permission or knowledge, can consent to an abortion and receive birth control, do you approve of that? »

Cancio replied, “I almost feel like I’m not getting into a friendly debate for the school board with these issues.”

Many attendees could be heard at the microphone saying “yes, what is that? Why are you asking these questions?”

Cancio continued, “As the only product of the Norwalk La Mirada School District on stage, I can assure you that we teach our students to be lifelong learners, we do not provide services and it is inappropriate for you to keep asking for them. questions.”

A debate moderator’s job is to be objective and in control, but Van Der Mark, could be heard saying after Cancio’s comment, “actually it’s [abortion services] happens in a lot of schools, I’ve seen it myself.

Cancio replied, “not in this school district.”

Board member Norma Amezcua took the floor and said, “your [Van Der Mark] the questions are ridiculous and have no place in this debate, can you ask relevant questions? This statement elicited a strong and vocal response from attendees.

Unfazed, Van Der Mark continued to ask the other contestants about abortion, with the contestants growing increasingly angry and shouting at him.

The last question caused chamber leaders Noel Jaimes and McDuff to call a break and end the questioning of Van Der Mark.

“Does anyone believe that a six-year-old child is cognitively primed to understand the concept of gender assignment?”

In an email, Jaimes told HMG-CN, “yes I approved it [Van Der Mark] as a moderator I did some research and found a few articles about her in Orange County, but your [HMG-CN’s] things didn’t show up in my search. Why?”

Like the Daily Beast article, a search for Van Der Mark will yield many unflattering articles from Orange County highlighting his background as an alt-right supporter Proud Boy, his controversial bid for the Huntington Beach City Council. [she came in fourth] and his association with former HB adviser Tito Ortiz, another right-wing Proud Boy supporter who called the Jan. 6 insurrection a “false flag” and the pandemic a “pandemic.”

Information from OC’s articles was used as background information when HMG-CN released the report describing how ABC Board Chairman Soo Yoo and the Cerritos Republican Club invited Van Der Mark to speak at the Cerritos Library.

This meeting ended with Yoo, Van Der Mark and ABC board member Michael Eugenio pictured under the California Department of Education with a circle/slash through the logo.

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? white supremacist Van Der Mark (left) with ABC vice president Soo Yoo and administrator Mike Eugenio (right) under the prohibition sign.

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