Per a letter to the Thousand Oaks Acorn, in September 2017, a community member, Tim Bond, mentioned he was the founder of a group call Unified Conejo.
Unified Conejo (UC) first emerged around the time the FAIR Act implementation was being discussed at school board meetings, right around the time I first started attending board meetings actually, in January 2017 (also the same month that a concerned citizen who has a close relationship with board member Mike Dunn, printed out my blog, and came to my work in person, in attempts of threatening my employment — or, at the very least, silencing me. To be clear, this concerned citizen actually emailed board members Mike Dunn and Sandee Everett informing them about where I work and told them to cancel the district's contract with my employer ((my employer didn't have a contract with the district at the time of that email, just to note, but previously did)).
In the meetings to follow, I noticed that community members who identified themselves as part of UC, or — sat in their company — seemed to have an unweighted amount of support/and or special treatment from board members, specifically Dunn, who, at the time, was board president.
In fact, I noticed that one woman, a current admin of the Unified Conejo Facebook group (the other admin is an editor for Citizen's Journal), which is a secret group on Facebook, was given extra speaking time twice during her public comments at two different meetings, by Mr. Dunn, and was also called out by name, by Mr. Dunn, who suggested that she write and submit an alternative assignment policy to the agenda for discussion.
Now, before we dive in, I see nothing wrong with a group of parents/community members forming together to be advocates for causes they are passionate about. In fact, I think it's admirable, and as someone who strives daily to be an activist and advocate for issues important to me, I understand the importance of connecting with those in the community who share my same value set. Therefore, I don't think there is anything wrong with a group of people coming together to form a group of this nature in mind. At its core premise, I find absolutely nothing wrong with the concept of Unified Conejo.
Where I take issue is not in that we disagree, but in HOW we disagree and behave, and the retaliation against me at the hands of members of Unified Conejo, who disagree with my criticisms of publicly elected officials that I believe are poorly affecting my children's quality of education. And I would urge those that are affiliated with the group to consider those who act as their mouthpiece to the public. Is this what you support? These are the people you want speaking for you? Representing you? I can't imagine that many in the group truly agree with the tactics enacted. Perhaps they're not even aware. Just kidding! I've seen the posts in the group.
I noticed that the Unified Conejo presence at board meetings often brought a high level of contentious energy to the board meetings — with those affiliated with the group, insulting both teachers and students in our district who spoke up in opposition of the alternative assignment and curriculum review & selection policy the board was fast-tracking through the approval process. I blogged about these meetings previously. Additionally, I noticed that there seemed to often be out-of-town activists accompanying the Unified Conejo group, in order to strong-arm the board/and or support the board majority's agenda. (Really, not all that dissimilar from the strategy we see happening at city council meetings right now regarding SB 54.) I can't imagine this is representative of all of the people who are currently in the group, and who may have joined for legitimate reasons regarding their own frustrations with the district or certain board members... but it certainly isn't a good look if this is the face to your public presence, is it?
In the past, I have written about my observations regarding the behavior of members who associate themselves with this group in blogs, as I witnessed first hand blatantly disrespectful comments made to and about our teachers, and to our students, who stood for hours to speak at board meetings — and were then denied the opportunity to do so. I watched these people flip off students and degrade our teachers by name.
I also noticed that the Citizen's Journal (whose editor George Miller is also a member of Unified Conejo) posted hit pieces about teachers or volunteers in our district who took the time to attend the board meetings and share their concerns. For example HERE and HERE. They've also written pieces about me without reaching out to me for comment, which I find strange for an "unbiased" publication, but — to each their own!
I'm not sure why Citizen's Journal finds it acceptable to write hit pieces on teachers and parent volunteers? It's one thing to disagree with public speakers, and even express that sentiment or issue with their comments, (or report comments from a factual standpoint as a publication) but dedicated articles and hit pieces on private citizens, with photos for readers to easily identify is inappropriate. Further, it's just poor journalism.
I recall a Camarillo resident, for example, who had attended a few of the school board meetings in the company of Unified Conejo, and was rather alarmed to hear that he had given a whole speech in which he had a picture of people in the board room printed out, and had labeled audience members as good guys or bad guys to his audience. He also displayed pictures of these individuals' children. It's one thing to disagree with community members, but it's an entirely different level to present them as targets, more so when children are involved. It's to be noted that board member Ms. Sandee Everett was slated to give a joint lecture with this individual on "Saving Our Children’s Minds: Fighting the Public School System.” After public outcry, Ms. Everett did not appear to speak.
Now, if you've been following my page/blog, you've heard about the email current Board Trustee Mike Dunn sent to my boss, threatening retaliation against my employer's business if he did not silence me from speaking at school board meetings. You know that Mike Dunn was censured as a result of this (basically a public slap on the wrist — one he didn't even show up for. I guess he felt it was appropriate to slander me to the media, but then not have to answer for it. A bit of a snowflake, if you will.) You might also know know that in the aftermath, a group of "anonymous" individuals have created multiple, public Facebook hate pages in attempts to defame and slander my reputation, falsely accusing me of stealing charity funds, of harassing community members at their place of employment, of threatening the district with violence, threatening to call CPS against me with feigned concern for my children, targeting my community nonprofit with slander and beyond. These pages (HATE PAGE 1 — which miraculously had 1250 "likes" immediately upon launching, but zero interaction... and HATE PAGE 2) have always asserted that they were in no way, a response to my opinions or engagement on school board issues (despite launching up directly following the Dunn episode).
But recently, one of the pages slipped.
The screenshot above is of a comment posted in the Unified Conejo Facebook group on January 29, a week before Mike Dunn's censure, and a few days after he threatened my employer.
I didn't find out about this plan, or comment, until months later. But when I did, I was informed that Tim Bond had to remove the post, and make a follow-up post reminding the group that they do not go to people's houses.
So, upon learning of this failed plan, I shared about it on my page because I felt it was important that the community know the actions that some members of this group are willing to take against those they disagree with.
Well, someone over at Hate Page #2, got a little too heated afterward apparently, and blatantly made a post in which they identify that they (the page/page admins) are members of Unified Conejo. They flat out take ownership of this comment, and in a desperate move to save face, attempt to suggest it was a bait post. Oh, and apparently they have multiple secret groups about me... which is flattering?
This comment was directed at another person on January 29, who was stating they shouldn't be lying down in regards to me. They are the same individual who made the post about planning to picket my residence, which you can see in full below. Gee, sound like it was "bait."?
Now, we know the purpose of Unified Conejo:
"A newly formed group of parents who plan to attend school board meetings and “act as eyes and a voice for the community."
We also know they do discuss school board issues in their Facebook group, as evidenced by the above screenshot in which they wanted to picket at my private residence, and by other exchanges I've seen.
We also now know that they are, in some way, affiliated with the anonymous admins of the dedicated public Facebook hate pages about me.
Did you also know that John Andersen, Mike Dunn and Sandee Everett are members of the secret Unified Conejo Facebook group? Ms. Angie Simpson, a current CVUSD candidate, is also a group member, I've become aware. As you can imagine, this doesn't make me feel confident, as a constituent, that my concerns about the quality of education in our district will be taken seriously. I also wonder why any publicly elected officials or announced candidates would affiliate themselves with a group whose members behave this way toward those they disagree with. As a constituent and stakeholder, I have every right to express my concern over abuses of power at the hands of publicly elected representatives chosen to serve US — the community. That is my right. Their decisions affect my life, and my children's. This is a prime talking point of Unified Conejo members — the concept of parental involvement. Why does it only apply to the constituents with whom they agree?
You may also recall, a public records request was made to the district, of which correspondences that included mention of me, were sent to me by the recipient of these documents. On multiple occasions, a concerned citizen (yup, the same one from earlier) who was often seated with Unified Conejo, emailed the board majority, Mike Dunn, Sandee Everett and John Andersen on updates about my page, my work and personal details about my life quite often, I've come to learn. In one instance, Mike Dunn replied to this community member, advising her to share with people in the community about my birth control choices. In a few of these emails, multiple members of Unified Conejo were CC'd on the correspondence. The woman sending these emails was the same woman who attempted to file a false police report alleging I was armed, drunk and dangerous. Interestingly enough, that attempt of the failed false police report was spun into the narrative that my husband threatened the district with violence, as posted on hate page #2. I hadn't made any mention of it online prior to the post, although I was aware of the incident unfolding as I received multiple calls from people within the district who observed it happening. When my husband commented on the page to shoot down this false allegation, an individual made a fake profile suggesting they call his work and claim that he threatened violence. Guess what... they did in fact call his work and claimed this.
Let's dig in deeper on connections that run deep here in our community. Upon Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin's win in the primary earlier this month, Acorn Editor Kyle Jorrey tweeted an article about Mrs. Irwin's win, that included mention of her opponent for November. In a rash exchange, Irwin's opponent, Rhonda Baldwin-Kennedy lashed out on Twitter after not fully understanding the concept of hometown roots. When I pointed out this misunderstanding, the opponent, who I had never heard of prior, instantly responded in all caps calling me "INVISIBLE MOMMY" (lol) and telling me I wasn't going to get my 15 minutes of fame from her. The hate page that I've mentioned up above? Immediately after this exchange, they liked Rhonda's campaign page on Facebook. And then, just recently, George Miller (remember, the editor of Citizen's Journal and member Unified Conejo) posted support of this opponent, and shared a fundraiser opportunity for the opponent's campaign in Unified Conejo.
It didn't surprise me to learn that this opponent listed Citizen's Journal as her top endorsement on her web page for the primary campaign, or that she attended a fundraiser for the "publication," along with the current board majority (Dunn, Andersen and Everett) and other Unified Conejo Members. I wonder, can a paper really claim neutrality on issues or reporting, when certain board members are attending its fundraisers? Follow the money, right?
Citizen's Journal heavily reported on our school district episodes, as mentioned above.
And then, recently, a conservative leaning "publication" (that's how it describes itself) that was just launched (by a woman who is a member of Unified Conejo) features interviews of Mike Dunn, John Andersen, and most recently... Ronda! Desperate for views, they TAGGED ME on their YouTube videos hoping the search for me would drive traffic their website. I'm kind of a big deal. The founder of this newspaper also admins an online group named "Conservative Moms of Conejo Valley" (it's closed, not secret, yet!), and they've hosted some colorful threads about me. Candidate Ronda is also a member and active commenter in that group. After she spoke at a city council meeting she posted asking everyone in the group to like her campaign page because it was low.
And then the lastest, because, who can even make this stuff up?
The above flyer was in city council member Rob McCoy's Godspeak church lobby.
Citzens Journal's founding Editor Mike Hernandez will be teaching how to actually write news stories! Hmmm. Oh dear.
This is AWKWARD.
So um, Mikey wrote a news story about me... just recently actually! One in which he didn't reach out to me for a quote, but um... also PLAGIARIZED another publication's article for two paragraphs of content.
But, you're telling me none of this is about my involvement in the school board... which is literally just me sharing my perspective of the board meetings and calling out the board members who are behaving badly?
Gee. I wonder why they're trying so hard to silence me.
NOVEMBER 6. FLIP THE BOARD.
My votes are going toward three good governance candidates: