Guest Editorial: Having the Courage to Stand Up!

 

 

By Scott Harris and Dianne McKay

Last night was a spectacular night. Two weeks ago, one of our terrific employees, Jess Weihe, spoke at a board meeting for our local school district, Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD). One of the board members, Mike Dunn, was offended by her comments. In reaction, he sent a threatening email to Mustang Marketing that stated if we didn’t silence her, he would retaliate against Mustang and our reputation. It’s only shocking if you don’t know this man’s past bizarre behaviors — but that only limits the surprise, not the outrage.

We both immediately decided to not accept this quietly and fought back. Obviously not firing Jess and not willing (or, frankly, able!) to shut her up, we demanded an apology. Instead of apologizing, Mike Dunn went on the offensive, spreading lies about Jess and Scott personally.

Last night was the first board meeting following Mr. Dunn’s retaliatory actions. The board room quickly reached capacity, and additional attendees flowed into the lobby and then into adjoining classrooms. The community was outraged. They showed up and spoke their minds. Mike Dunn chose not to show up, having a brief statement read that explained his wife didn’t want him to go because his feelings had been hurt.

At the end of the evening, the board members who did show up voted 4-0 to censure Mike for his actions. It was a spectacular community moment.

It was also a concern for Mustang. While the support from the community has been overwhelmingly positive for the stance we took, it didn’t have to be, and we certainly didn’t know what it would be when we took — and maintained — our public position. The board room and overflow rooms were a sea of purple — thanks to those who came out donning the color in support of free speech and in support of Mustang. It was inspiring to see this community show of support.

Further, it was a tremendous lesson, not only in the strength achieved when a community comes together, but also in the power of social media and public relations. It will take a while to process exactly what happened, to see what we can learn from it and for the full impact to be known. But for now, setting modesty aside, we are very proud of our company and our employees —especially Jess Weihe — for having the courage to stand up!

You can sit this one out – Editor


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2 Responses to Guest Editorial: Having the Courage to Stand Up!

  1. Sharon Debidour February 21, 2018 at 9:08 am

    Just curious why trying to intimidate a private business owner is saved as a liberal/progressive issue? All business owners regardless of political views object to elected officials to a voluntary bipartisan position to refrain from retaliation and intimidation tactics. The School Board is a politically neutral body whose function is to focus on enhancing the academic services to the community they serve not to promote their political agenda.

    Reply
    • Citizen Reporter February 21, 2018 at 11:27 am

      Good question, Ms. Debidour. Those familiar with the situation know that some very nasty attacks from “indivisible” people and allies have been given a pass by other regional media, while Dunn was pilloried. We believe that he and the Indivisible folks are both in the wrong on some of their moves. So, yes there is a political element to them. we normally classify Dunn’s stuff as Conservative. We agree that the left-right” national politics orientation doesn’t really fit local issues very well.

      Reply

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