ON FUMES (BUT NOT VAPING)
As a follow-up to last week, I was immediately badgered by a lawyer from The Friends of Northern Mono Basin to retract/clarify the John Rea assertion that the fire commissioner’s letter to the Mono County Community Development Dept. was somehow obtained by devious means.
Point is, any document addressed to the Mono County Community Development Department is a public document. No one stole anything. Someone learned about the letter and obtained it. Done.
But the letter from Commissioner Dave Swisher of the Mono City Fire Protection District was written in response to a proposed “Rea Ranch” project that contemplated forty campsites.
The Swiggum project we talked about last week contemplates three.
In terms of potential impact, the letter does not translate. It’s not applicable. In fact, it’s really quite irrelevant.
To stay on theme, there’s the case of former Mammoth Unified Superintendent Jennifer Wildman, who wanted the teacher’s union to retract the word “misappropriation” from its “no confidence letter.”
As Wildman wrote after a spring board meeting where the letter was introduced, “Misappropriation is a serious claim. Misappropriation denotes stealing and using funds for personal gain which did not occur. Misappropriation is an unethical and illegal act that I am not (and never will be) associated with.”
Days later, Union representative Michelle Quirsfeld replied, “After close consultation with CTA (Californbia Teachers Assn.) and union members, it was learned that the members do not need to retract the statements in writing or publicly.
When looked up, the definition of misappropriation is as follows: “In law, misappropriation may be defined as “the unauthorized, improper, or unlawful use of funds or other property for purposes other than that for which intended.”
The members intent of the use of the word misappropriation reflects that they feel resources were used improperly.
Which sounds like Ms. Quirsfeld equates “improper” with whatever she happens to disagree with.
Under pressure from Ms. Wildman’s attorney, who threatened litigation, CTA lawyer Jean Shin wrote the following last week. Well, I’ll include the first two paragraphs of the four page document.
“The undersigned represents Mammoth Education Association (“MEA”) with respect to this matter. I write in response to your July 28, 2022 letter regarding MEA’s “use of the term ‘misappropriation’ in the May 26, 2022 Vote of No Confidence Resolution.” The statement in question was made before a meeting of the Mammoth Unified School District (“MUSD”) Board of Education and concerned a vote of no confidence in then-superintendent of MUSD, Jennifer Wildman.
Your letter requests a “public retraction and apology” delivered to you and to the news publication The Sheet. You contend that “misappropriation … is a commonly understood crime.” MEA did not intend to imply that Dr. Wildman had committed a crime. If any such implication arose, MEA apologizes for the misunderstanding and retracts its use of the word. In accordance with your request, a copy of this letter has been sent to The Sheet.”
The letter doesn’t stop there, however. It goes onto rip Wildman for suggesting a ‘false light’ lawsuit would be initiated if an apology wasn’t sent.
Translation: We’re bitter you’re calling us on our s*it.
The CTA letter further argues: “Moreover, even if we were to assume, for the sake of argument, that the word “misappropriation” was wholly incorrect, the actual malice standard still could not be met. In Bose Corp. v. Consumers Union of U.S., Inc., 466 U.S. 485 (1984), the Supreme Court held that use of an inaccurate term without knowing, at the time of its use, that it was inaccurate, did not constitute actual malice. The Court noted that otherwise, “any individual using a malapropism might be liable.”
Hilarious. I can’t be punished if I’m too ignorant to understand what I may have said or implied.
This is my new defense. For everything.
I have to out in this final anecdote regarding the late Sandra Medina. It’s funny how once people are gone, their friends and relatives become very protective of their memory – far more protective than the person in question may have been.
One friend recalled the following story about one of Sandra’s husbands, a man of Cuban descent, who apparently once said, “Oh Sandra, your ass , your ass … if only Castro could have seen your ass. He would’ve forgotten all about the revolution.”
Who wouldn’t want to be remembered for that?