Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
I especially appreciate our local paper when our editor’s columns share his personal experiences. Wednesday’s column on “Learning less” about those around us due to the Internet is spot on. I find that it is increasing true that “(T)here is a strong inclination … to be less than civil and tolerant of those who have different values and views.” I experienced an example following up on Tuesday’s update about former Manteca Unified School District Trustee Ashley Drain. Trustee Drain’s use of the Internet certainly provided our community many opportunities to learn about her. However not many took the time to talk to her. So perhaps many of us learned less about her. This seems to be the case with the lawyer who is prosecuting her in our name.
As her fourth official defense lawyer (per the Superior Court website) reviews the thousands of pages of court documents I updated my review of the pubic record by reading the recent sentencing recommendation by the prosecutor. Trustee Drain sentencing recommendation concludes: “The People recommend a total sentence of 6 years, 4 months State Prison with two years to be served in custody …”.
Prior to this conclusion he states that “… she displayed a lack of respect for the Jury, the Court, the Prosecutor and the sanctity of the tribunal/process itself.” My perspective is different. Oppression of those different than the powerful through residency and other rules can be found throughout our country’s history. Such oppression gave rise to the Voting Rights Act and even changes to our Constitution such as the 14th Amendment.
Perhaps the prosecutor needs to learn more about Trustee Drain’s experiences. As stated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance. It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn.”
Nationally many are urging that we tolerate the learning curve of President Trump. Where is the tolerance of Trustee Drain’s learning curve? Why was she charged with felonies when similar convictions have been overturned on appeal due to the vagueness of the difference between residence and domicile? Why do other counties recommend sentences of 90 days followed by probation for convictions similar to Trustee Drain’s?
On 9/20/14 the Bulletin did its job informing the voters about Trustee Drain’s address issues. According to the court records, subsequently complaints were filed by a trustee, a community member and anomalously from the Bulletin. Also according to the 11/12/14 Bulletin the Board discussed the address issue during closed session. All of these responses to the Bulletin’s article occurred prior to the election. Despite all of this Trustee Drain was left on the ballot and received the votes of a majority. Yet the prosecutor states; “(E)ach and every District(sic) #2 constituent was effectively voiceless during the time Defendant held the MUSD Board position.” As stated in Tuesday’s article the Bulletin learned more about Trustee Drain: “… she championed almost exclusively (Weston Ranch) during her tenure on the Board.
In return for being a champion Trustee Drain’s picture has been removed from the picture display for former Trustees at the District Office. Trustee Bronson has also been ‘disappeared’ from this display despite the fact of his choice to plead guilty to misdemeanors. This action by district leadership does not feel either civil or tolerant to me. Trustees Bronson and Drain provided the impetus for change to a newly energized Board. I urge this Board to petition the DA to consider the same values of restorative justice that MUSD is learning to help our students. We learn more when together and less when divided.