Last week, George Plescia engaged in the worst kind of politics, using the issue of child victimization to take a cheap shot at his rival, state Assemblymember Marty Block.
Plescia, a Republican former member of the Assembly who's running against Block, a Democrat, for a state Senate seat, would practically have you believe that Block unilaterally gave deviant teachers the go-ahead to prey on their students in violent and sexual ways.
But here's what happened: A bill that would make it easier and quicker to suspend and terminate teachers who are accused of crimes against students involving sex, drugs or violence passed through the Senate but stalled in the Assembly Education Committee; critics say it's because some Democrats on the committee are lapdogs of the California Teachers Association.
A Republican Assembly member then tried a gut-and-amend move to get the bill out of committee; that is, he proposed taking an unrelated bill under consideration, removing all the language and replacing it with the language of the teacher-predator bill. Block was among the members who voted no on that move, because the bill that would be gutted—one that would make changes to student testing— was important to Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.
Plescia pounced on the opportunity, along with local Republican political hacks and, later, U-T San Diego, whose editorial page has become an embarrassing media arm of the Republican Party. Plescia charged that Block was "protecting" violent sexual predators at the behest of the teachers union. Disgusting.
Say what you want about the teachers union being too protective of problem teachers, and attack away at the Dems on the Education Committee for killing the original bill—Block's not on the committee. But misleading voters into thinking Block protects violent predators when all he did was object to a procedural maneuver that would have killed an unrelated bill is completely unfair. This whole thing reflects far worse on Plescia than it does on Block.
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