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The Foley/Torres Resolution against Informed Parents shatters the City's Ethics Code


FULL TITLE: How the Foley/Torres Resolution against Informed Parents Silicon Valley shatters the City's Ethics Code


The following open letter was sent to the San Jose City Council on October 6, 2023 regarding an upcoming resolution, now deferred to the October 17 city council meeting, which was largely targeted against Informed Parents of Silicon Valley:


To: All San Jose City Councilmembers Fr: Informed Parents Re: Open Letter Re: How the Foley/Torres Resolution against Informed Parents Silicon Valley shatters the City's Ethics Code Date: October 6, 2023

For Immediate Release Honored Councilmembers: In our previous communiques, we have established how local elected officials have peddled misinformation about Informed Parents, and how the Foley/Torres Resolution targeting Informed Parents is hopelessly compromised by mistakes of fact, logic, and literacy. In this letter, we respectfully draw your attention to how the Resolution also runs far afoul of the City's Ethics code, and places the City at great risk of formal rebuke by its own Ethics Committee, disgrace in the public eye, and possible legal action. In a nutshell, the Resolution breaks the city's Ethics Code by hawking demonstrably dishonest claims about us, by letting partisan zealotry override basic fairness, and creating an environment that would curtail citizens' basic First Amendment rights. To understand these grave risks, consider the opening language of the City's Ethics policy: "In order to best serve the citizens and customers of the City of San Jose, the elected and appointed officials, and employees of the City must act individually and collectively to create a City government that is responsible, fair, honest and open." "Responsible." "Fair." "Honest." "Open." These are the active concepts driving the City's ethics policy—and every single one of them is undermined by the Foley/Torres Resolution. Here are two reasons why:

First, the Resolution makes a mockery of the goal of open-ness in city government by aggressively advocating for the otherizing, shunning, and disenfranchisement of City citizens on ideological grounds. Allow us to refresh your attention to what the Resolution actually asks for: "WE FURTHERMORE call on all members of this Council and elected officials across Santa Clara County to affirm support of the transgender and broader LGBTQ+ communities and disavow further collaboration or support for anti-transgender and anti-LGBTQ+ groups, including the Informed Parents of Silicon Valley." Let that sink in: "Disavow collaboration or support" for groups that the Grand Inquisitors Foley and Torres accuse--baselessly, without evidence, and simply a wave of the hand-- of being queerphobic. And while these clauses are poorly written and vague, even the most narrow reading of these muddled sentiments suggest that the city is using its power and authority to coerce elected officials to refrain from working with, meeting with, listening to, or hearing concerns from Informed Parents and its supporters.

And regardless of the issue, we are anxious to understand how that squares with the First Amendment which says: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." A little hard to see how Informed Parents and its supporters can petition City Hall if no one at City Hall will take their call. In case the councilmembers forgot, the City's Ethics Policy demands that all City employees support the U.S. Constitution. Simply put, this resolution, in true McCarthyite fashion, effectively labels Informed Parents, its volunteers and supporters, as Second Class citizens, and starts to sketch the outlines of an ideological Jim Crow regime along the banks of the Guadalupe. Second, the Resolution is Irresponsible, unfair, and dishonest because its core arguments are based on clearly false and poorly researched claims (if researched at all.) The Resolution makes baseless accusations that Informed Parents is anti-LGBTQ. We explicitly deny the claim and the Foley/Torres Resolution provides zero evidence to support their ludicrous claims that we are. That's patently irresponsible. The Resolution asserts that advocating for Parent Opt-out of curriculum (the core mission of Informed Parents) is unacceptable--when in fact it's protected speech as it's enshrined in the California Education Code. The Foley/Torres claim that opt-out is out of bounds is, at best, politically illiterate--and transparently dishonest. And most obviously: the resolution makes up wild conspiracy theories by claiming Informed Parents harassed parents at a specific school on a specific date when in fact, there were no Informed Parents volunteers at that school or on the date called out in the Resolution. Even if the resolution sloppily got its dates wrong, it's vital to note that no legal findings have ever determined whether any Informed Parents volunteers harassed anybody. This is beyond unfair--and makes the resolution seem like it's inspired more by the dark corners of Internet chat rooms than from the language of the city's Charter or Ethics Code. Let us repeat: We are 100% in favor of an open, inclusive society, and support the clauses of the Resolution that make that point. All we want is for parents to be able to exert their rights to opt out of curriculum they find inappropriate for their children--a right enshrined in the California Education Code. Whether that content is cisgendered, transgendered, straight, gay, or somewhere in transition in between, is irrelevant to us. This resolution was planted in dishonest soil, cultivated with lies and exaggerations, and harvested in a spirit of malicious punishment. No wonder its fruits are so rotten, and fall so far from the principles demanded by the City's Ethics Code. Respectfully, Informed Parents. Full text of city Code of Ethics is available here: https://www.sanjoseca.gov/your-government/departments-offices/office-of-the-city-manager/employee-relations/city-policy-manual/city-administrative-policy-manual-section-1-2-1-code-of-ethics#!/

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