Controversial Kyrene board hopeful drops out The Chandler Arizonan

Controversial Kyrene board hopeful drops out

Controversial Kyrene board hopeful drops out
City News
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By PAUL MARYNIAK
Arizonan Executive Editor

An announced candidate for Kyrene School District Governing Board whose controversial posts two weeks ago stirred outrage has announced he won’t run after all.

Scott Weinberg – who also has engaged in a long-running Twitter war with Chandler Unified Governing Board member Lindsay Love – announced on May 25 that he won’t be filing petitions for the Nov. 3 ballot.

“I have decided to withdraw from the Kyrene school board race,” Weinberg said. “I know my aggressive social media presence has been disappointing to some of you and I hope you know that it came from a good place and wanting to make a difference.

“Unfortunately, I allowed myself to lose sight of my original goal and get dragged down to the level of those I was fighting against,” Weinberg wrote. “Clearly I was never meant for a life in politics and need to refocus on the things that matter most.”

Love reacted immediately.

“Bye Scott! Congrats to @KyreneSchools,” she tweeted within hours of the announcement. “The race has been narrowed down to some wonderful candidates.”

Although he lives in Ahwatukee and his children are enrolled in Kyrene schools, Weinberg also has been a frequent speaker during the “call to the public” sessions of both Chandler and Kyrene governing board meetings.

He and fellow members of the Purple for Parents groups have lobbied both districts to end their equity programs, which are aimed at narrowing the disciplinary and achievement gaps between white students and students of color. In Chandler, the group also has lobbied against the district’s sex education curriculum.

During a Kyrene board meeting in October, he was ejected after calling the board “cowards.”

Weinberg’s withdrawal from the race came after he sparked outrage among some community members with postings on Twitter – one in which he used the word “retarded” and another in which he falsely identified an Arizona State University student as the gunman in a multiple shooting at the Westgate Entertainment District.

Those tweets also prompted Wanda Kolomyjec, an Ahwatukee Democratic activist running for the Kyrene board and an Arizona State University faculty associate, rapped the LD 18 Republican Committee for supporting Weinberg after he posted the two controversial tweets.

The day after the May 20 shooting in which three people were injured, Weinberg misidentified the suspect, posting that he was a “left-wing #LGBTQ student and Youth Ambassador.”

He later removed the tweet and apologized, posting:

“Several people reached out to vouch for the individual who is close in age and has the same name as the #Westgate shooter. I apologize for my mistake. I should have properly vetted the information before tweeting it. My intent was criticize the #AZMedia and not to cause any harm.”

Despite the apology, Equality Arizona released a statement that read: “Mr. Weinberg took to social media to falsely accuse and baselessly attack a young man who is a member of the LGBTQ community.”

Weinberg stirred more anger with his use of the word “retarded” in two separate posts.

When one person wrote, “Please stop using an outdated slur that targets people with disabilities” on May 20, Weinberg wrote, “Please stop being offended by the word ‘retarded.’”

In another exchange, someone posted a video about Special Olympics, telling Weinberg to watch it and ”u will rethink ur post.”

Weinberg wrote back, “Relax, Mike. It’s just a word. It can’t hurt you.”

But “Mike” replied, “I am in the Special Olympics words hurt that hurt a lot.”

But his posts pulled the LD 18 Republican Committee –which covers northern Chandler as well Ahwatukee and a portion of Tempe – into the fray.

Several Republicans have privately criticized the committee for allegedly supporting Weinberg.

During an appearance before that committee Feb. 12 in which he outlined his positions, Weinberg showed a PowerPoint presentation that called Kyrene Superintendent Dr. Jan Vesely a “left wing superintendent” and stated “Democrats are destroying America.”

Another slide called the equity program “anti-capitalist and anti-white.”

His posts on Twitter last week prompted Kolomyjec to post a message to local Republicans.

“The Republican Party in Legislative District 18 is supporting this person as a candidate for Kyrene School Board,” Kolomyjec posted. “Mr. Weinberg has appeared at their meetings with rousing support. My Republican friends, are you okay with this? If not, please reach out to your party and ask them to stop supporting this person.

“There HAS to be a line. There HAS to be a line,” she said, noting that even if they can’t support Democrats in the nonpartisan race, there are two independent candidates “who have the best interests of our children in mind and would make excellent school board members.”

Candidates for school board cannot file petitions to get on the ballot until June 6 and must file by July 6. However, they are required by law to file statements of interest before they can circulate petitions and so far, four other people have filed them.

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