BY DAVE PRICE
Daily Post Editor
The president of the Las Lomitas Elementary School District in Menlo Park resigned tonight from the school board after his wife used a vulgar word to describe Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in a social media posting.
Jon Venverloh, a former Google marketing executive who joined the school board in December 2018, said on social media tonight, “… given my wife’s social media posts, which expressed reprehensible views that I do not agree with, I know my continued service would be a distraction from the work that needs to be done in the district over the two years remaining in my term.”
Venverloh, in a phone conversation tonight, confirmed verbally that he was stepping down from the board.
Venverloh’s wife, Mehridith Philips Venverloh, was having a twitter conversation early this morning about Harris’s qualifications when she wrote, “All she needs to be qualified is a black (vulgar word)! No brain needed.”
This afternoon, she apologized on social media and blamed it on a medical situation.
“Some of you know I suffer from a debilitating neurological disease, and as a result I take various medications,” she wrote. “Over the past several days I have been weaning off of my meds to prepare for a hospitalization that is scheduled to start tomorrow. I believe that the change in my medication reduced my judgment between right and wrong when I made the posts.”
She continued, “There is no excuse for what I wrote, but I ask for your understanding that my state of mind was far from normal last night.”
Her husband, in announcing his resignation from the school board, distanced himself from his wife’s comment about Harris.
“Let me be clear: I did not make the remarks that have so upset the community. I was not present when they were made. I have never encouraged such thinking or opinions, and I don’t agree with them in any way whatsoever.”
On the phone this evening, Venverloh told the Post that while his wife wasn’t happy with the outcome of the presidential election, she wasn’t a racist and, in fact, is mentoring a young Hispanic girl in North Fair Oaks.
Venverloh said he decided to resign after the reaction he got on social media earlier in the day. “It appeared that many people were not willing to accept the apologies,” he said in an interview tonight. He felt the controversy would distract from the school board in its work.
John Earnhardt, another member of the school board, said that Venverloh was a “great colleague … very diligent as a board member and impactful for the district.”
Earnhardt said the controversy moved quickly today because it spread through electronic media and parents this year are more engaged in the district than in the past.
He said that before the pandemic, maybe eight to 15 people would attend school board meetings. But after the pandemic began, and the meetings moved the Zoom platform, attendance exploded to 150 people or more.
“There has been an active, passionate, engaged parent community,” Earnhardt said.
It wasn’t known how the board would fill Vanderloh’s vacancy. To fill a previous vacancy several years ago, the board asked qualified members of the community to submit applications and the board picked a replacement, Earnhardt said. Another possiblity is to hold a special elections, though they can be prohibitively expensive.
In last week’s election, voters elected Jason Morimoto and Jody Leng. They will join Earnhardt and Dana Nunn on the board.
Correction: An earlier version said Venverloh was a Google executive, but actually he no longer works for that company. This version of the story has been corrected.