BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
Parents in the Las Lomitas Elementary School District are trying to recall a school board member for praising another school board member who resigned after his wife tweeted racist and vulgar comments about Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
The recall campaign began after the Post reported Mehridith Venverloh’s tweets about Harris on Nov. 8. Her husband, tech executive Jon Venverloh, resigned from the school board the same day as her tweets.
The Post story included the reaction of current board member John Earnhardt, who called Venverloh was a “great colleague … very diligent as a board member and impactful for the district.”
Las Lomitas parents Brianna Caldwell and Marie Summers started a change.org petition calling for Earnhardt’s recall from the board.
“It is very telling that Earnhardt, a former corporate communications executive who is well-versed in handling the media, did not explicitly denounce the hate speech of Mehridith Venverloh. Instead, John Earnhardt used his privilege to defend Jon Venverloh, and trivialized the gravity of the trauma to our community by minimizing it as a social media controversy,” Caldwell and Summers wrote on their petition.
They go on to say: “Here was a public opportunity for a community leader to express outrage and affirm why it is toxic for our children and our schools to hear the kind of speech coming from Mehridith Venverloh. Earnhardt did not take it. Instead, he chose to add his name to a pro-forma joint email (from other school board members), after the Daily Post story was released, that denounced racism, sexism, homophobia and bigotry in general terms.”
The petition has been up for about three weeks and has gotten about 120 signatures, according to the petition page.
An online petition cannot result in a recall vote. To recall a board member, the petitioners would have to go through a process that involves circulating paper-and-ink petitions in order to get signatures of registered voters.
The Post has reached out to Earnhardt for a comment but has not heard back.
Were Earnhardt to step off the board, sitting board member Dana Nunn and incoming board member Jason Morimoto would be the only members left, because both Diane Honda and Bill Steinmetz decided not to seek re-election, and Dr. Jody Leng, who also won a seat on the board in the election, has decided not to assume her position.
The board decided on Nov. 18 to appoint two new board members to take the seats of Venverloh and Leng. The district has posted information about how to apply for the open seats on its website. The deadline to apply is Dec. 9. The new board members will be selected in January.
The Las Lomitas Elementary School District serves portions of Menlo Park and Atherton. It is comprised of two schools: Las Lomitas Elementary (K-3) and La Entrada Middle (grades 4-8).