I spotted the following post about the challenge to the W. E. Fanning school’s name from Don Schweitzer on Facebook. After reviewing all he had provided (plus looking up and reading the original inflammatory blogs by Gustavo Arellano/OC Weekly) I felt compelled to share everything here, with Don’s permission, as well.
Over the years, Don and I have butted heads on many issues but on the Fanning matter we agree. First and foremost the truth must be established. Second, though technically the five members of the BOUSD Board can do whatever the hell they want to do on this… the community of Brea deserves an opportunity to wade in and play a leading role in the outcome.
Third party, non-Brea right wing unionist outsiders who have pretended to take up the cause are welcome to stay in Los Angeles, Fullerton and La Habra and save the money putting gas in their busses.
Don’s Facebook Post.
Friends, I need your help. Brea needs your help. Maybe you have heard or maybe you haven’t but the Brea School Board is considering changing the name of Fanning Elementary School. A school that was named after William E. Fanning, Brea’s first Superintendent and beloved Brea pioneer.
The School Board is basing their decision primarily on an unproven accusation that Mr. Fanning was a Ku Klux Klan member in the early 1900’s. An accusation that has been researched extensively and found to have no factual basis other than a hand written list by an unknown author.
I have attached a letter from Dena Sommer, a prior board member, that states the issue much better than I ever could as well as a letter from Bill Fanning, the grandson of W.E. Fanning. They are both very factual. For fairness I have also attached the opinion of the gentleman, that by the way is from La Habra, that is requesting the name change and his reasoning. I want you to hear both sides.
In order for the School Board to make an intelligent decision they need to hear from us. I’ve attached their contact information below. Please write them a short note with your opinion, for or against the issue. They will be voting very soon, next week I believe, so if you feel like engaging please do it soon.
As a side note, I knew Mr. Fanning. My parents knew him well as did my grandfather. In high school one of my teachers was his son and his grandsons were my classmates. The Fanning family have been a fixture in Brea for almost a hundred years. The three generations of Fanning’s I have known have always been respected and admired for their honestly, intelligence and willingness to help others. A founding family that has contributed greatly to Brea’s success, especially in the field of education.
Thank you very much for your time. I hope this note finds you in good health and that you and your loved ones have a very Merry Christmas.
Don Schweitzer, Former Mayor
Make yourself heard!
Only the brain dead will not form some opinion or point of view. Keeping it to yourself when you have the opportunity… and responsibility to share it should result in having your ‘Good Ol’ Brea Membership Card’ revoked for life.
If you’re unable to attend the BOUSD Board meeting then these are the folks you need to email:
- Carrie Flanders, Board President – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Gail Lyons, Board Vice President – email@example.com
- Paul Ruiz – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Nicole Colon – email@example.com
- Keri Kropke – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Brad Mason, Superintendent of BOUSD – email@example.com
Do your homework first!
Below are links to communications from Dena Sommer, former BOUSD Board member, Terry Sullivan, 70 year resident of Brea and the detailed report from the Brea Historical Society.
They are PDFs, easy to read, download and worth saving as permanent reference.
- Additional Resources (click ‘em, they’re links):
- Letter from Dena Sommer
- Letter from Terry Sullivan
- Brea Historical Society Research
Like I said from the beginning, start with the truth. Don’t rely on that nosey neighbor down the street that always has an opinion on everything but never any proof. Get familiar with the facts and come to your own conclusion.
Whatever that considered conclusion might be… share it. Send an email or, even better, show up at the Board’s General Session next Monday evening (starts at 6:30 pm).
I’ve confirmed that the matter of naming the Fanning school will be on Monday’s agenda as a Discussion Item and that Dr. Mason will be making an oral presentation on the topic. No written report has been prepared.
Please, speak during Matters from the Audience. Your input along with Dr. Mason’s presentation and whatever discussion follows amongst the board, will lay the groundwork for the final recommendations to be presented to the board – likely later this month or in January.