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Gutierrez demands retraction of flyers calling her ‘extremist’

Craig Clough | May 13, 2015

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Lydia Gutierrez

Lydia Gutierrez

Things are getting nasty in what had been a relatively quiet and peaceful race for the LA Unified school board seat in District 7.

Candidate Lydia Gutierrez, who is challenging incumbent and board President Richard Vladovic, responded sharply to several campaign flyers circulated by the political action committee for SEIU Local 99, a union of school workers that is supporting Vladovic.

The flyers attack Gutierrez for some of her political views that are associated with Tea Party Republicans. (See the flyers here and here.

She said in a statement the flyers include “outrageous statements that have nothing to do with the educational welfare of our children.”

Gutierrez, a school teacher at Long Beach Unified who has never held political office before, made a name for herself in the fall when she finished third in race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction and received nearly a million votes. Many of her voters were Tea Party backers.

The flyers accuse her of holding “extremist” views, describing her as someone who favors banning teaching the theory of evolution, opposes gay marriage and opposes abortion for any reason.

In a response, Gutierrez did not address issues individually but suggested that all of her views do not align with the flyers although the views do align with conservative positions. Gutierrez has expressed support of teaching creationism in the past. She also said in her statement, “Every child has the right to pray on school campuses and every parent has the right to bring up their children with their own family values according to their beliefs—this should be respected, not denigrated or ridiculed.”

Gutierrez said she had discussed the flyers with her advisors and “decided to continue to ‘take  the high road’ and not fall into negative and false claims against my opponent, Richard Vladovic.”

“Everything that I have ever said about him is on the record or his supporters have published it,” she said. “I do not  make things up the way they are doing out of anxiety about Vladovic’s chances as we get closer to the  election.”

Gutierrez also demanded an “immediate retraction” of the flyers, and questioned whether any member of the union should “be near children.”

“Every SEIU Local 99 member should be outraged that their union would attack an individual who is a union member on her personal beliefs and distort the truth,” Gutierrez said. “This reveals that they have no respect for children and their faith, to the extent that they would literally ridicule, denigrate and bully students if they did not hold the same values as SEIU Local 99. It is questionable whether their organization should even be near children if they would stoop this low.”

SEIU did not respond directly to any of Gutierrez’s calls for a retraction but issued a statement, saying, “SEIU Local 99 members’ support for Dr. Richard Vladovic is based on his solid record of commitment to students and working families. There is a clear distinction between the candidates in this race and our literature reflects the facts of the candidates’ records and affiliations.”

The election is Tuesday, May 19.

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