Editor:

Wade Major has now written two opinion letters to the Daily Press attacking our school district and endorsing the A Brighter Future slate of school board candidates, and each time one of those candidates has shared his published letter on her campaign Facebook page and beyond, only to delete the posts when challenged about her willingness to self-promote based on his support. 

Because of this, I think it is important for voters in the SMMUSD school board election to understand the kinds of public comments Wade has made in school board meetings and what he might be envisioning when he calls for “A New Dawn for SMMUSD.”

Below are links to three public comments Wade has made at school board meetings. The first two only are available via the district’s video archive, so readers would need to navigate to the time his comment begins. The third is on YouTube and is time stamped to the start of his comment. 

June 3, 2021, General Public Comment

Wade Major’s comment on the district’s parent webinar on gender identity (which he calls “a freakish cult indoctrination session”) begins around 2:24:30, followed by a repudiation of his comments by the next commenter, followed by comments by a trans SMMUSD student and his parent:

https://tinyurl.com/wm-webinar

May 19, 2022

Wade Major’s comment on the presentation about McKinley’s Rainbow Club supporting LGBTQIA+ students (“The school… should stop short of endorsing ideological ideas like quote-unquote identity… it is tantamount to taking a religious position… This is dangerous, and you are opening yourselves up to a culture wars attack nationally”) starts around 34 minutes:

https://tinyurl.com/wm-rainbow

June 23, 2022 

Wade Major’s comment on the district’s social justice standards starts at around 5:40 (timestamped):

https://tinyurl.com/wm-justice

When asked about these comments, Wade insists his goal is to ensure that our district is a comfortable place for everyone, including conservative families and families whose religious beliefs may clash with acknowledgment of LGBTQIA+ identities, and that he believes the district’s current approach alienates these groups. Not only is this a familiar argument from efforts around the country to suppress in-school discussion of LGBTQIA+ identities and systemic racism, but Wade’s comments betray a personal vitriol that goes beyond his claimed motives. 

As the Daily Press Editorial Board noted in their analysis of the school board race (“Candidates tinkering with what works on the School Board”), the A Brighter Future candidates “represent groups of residents who have complaints,” and some in our city “don’t care about the policy ideas of candidates; they just want new people in the seats.” 

Before you vote for someone new because change sounds good and because you see that some letter writers, social media posters, and school board meeting commenters seem to have a long list of reasons to be mad at our current board, be sure you understand who the people demanding change are and what they really want, and be sure you evaluate whether the new slate would actually lead to a better school board and better school district. 

Before you take the word of someone you don’t know (including mine), consider looking at endorsements from local organizations, political leaders, and individuals who you know and trust. Endorsements can be found on the webpages of organizations and on the candidates’ campaign pages. Finally, consider watching some of the candidate forums and interviews that have been done by local organizations. The Daily Press has materials accessible from their home page, and the Santa Monica Democratic Club has questionnaires, video interviews, and a debate video posted here for every candidate who sought their endorsement:

https://tinyurl.com/smdc22

As someone whose kids have had amazing experiences at their local schools during the past 10 years and who has seen what strong and supportive school communities we have, and as someone who frequently watches school board meetings, it is frustrating to say the least to see our district under attack in ways that could harm our students, schools, and communities. 

Sarah Starks, Santa Monica