Home Antioch Antioch Unified School District Board President Hit With Recall Petition

Antioch Unified School District Board President Hit With Recall Petition

by ECT
AUSD Allie Householder

On Friday, Antioch Unified School District Board President Ellie Householder was served with a notice of recall.

Householder is now the second elected official in the City of Antioch to be hit with the prospect of being recalled. Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe was served with a Notice of Intention to Circulate Recall Petition at Antioch City Hall on September 24.

For Householder, a recall has been threatened for months after her behavior on the school board deteriorated after becoming Board President. She began her turn in the rotation with an attempt to oust Superintendent Stephanie Anello during winter break and after a second attempt last month, it has prompted a “Vote of No Confidence” by the three employee unions with 97.5% in support–see story.

Householder also refused to recognize fellow board members Mary Rocha and Gary Hack during portions of recent school board meetings while not following Roberts Rules of Order and possibly broke the Brown Act on several occasions–Rocha has tried to have Householder replaced as Board President only to have Householder twice remove the item from the agenda.

According to the Proponents:

To the Honorable Elisabeth Householder: Pursuant to Section 11020, California Education Code, the undersigned registered qualified voters of the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD), in the State of California, hereby give notice that we are proponents of a recall petition and that we intend to seek your recall and removal from the office of AUSD Trustee, Antioch, California and to demand election of a successor in that office.

The grounds for the recall are as follows:

You are disrespectful to Board Members, Staff and Public who disagree with you during AUSD Board meetings. You have committed Brown Act violations by blocking/deleting comments on Social Media (eliminating equal access). You assert the president must not only collaborate on, but approve, the board agenda. (Ed.Code/Board Policy does not require board president’s approval); You abuse your authority by calling and/or adding agenda items at special meetings that were neither urgent or necessary. You violated the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), by publicly posting an unauthorized video of students without permission. You have committed numerous Roberts Rules of Order Violations during meetings presided over by you; Allowed a substitution motion on a non-debatable “motion to table”; Ongoing efforts to limit or eliminate public comment by removing agenda items without consensus of the board; Stopping public comments midstream when you felt it wasn’t appropriate or directly related to the agenda item; Requesting staff to use personal judgement on which public comments should be entered into the public record and which should not; and Abused presidential authority by not recognizing staff/board members’ requests to speak/provide input during a public meeting.

They also issued the following statement as to why they started the recall process:

“The decision to initiate a recall was not made lightly. We discussed the seriousness of taking this action for several months before we decided to act. It became apparent to us that the students of Antioch Unified School District were no longer the focus of the Board of Education and drastic action was needed to correct the direction we are headed.

When the Vote of No Confidence wasn’t enough to get the trustees to vote to remove Householder as president, we decided to start this process. We are a group of parents, teachers, staff, and administrators that know AUSD needs a leader that wants to work with our educators to achieve collective goals, a leader that is supportive, a leader that wants to effect change in a constructive manner.

“As has been the rally cry for several years, #WeAreAUSD and we demand better.”

Process

Householder now has 7-days to respond should she choose with a 200-word response. She also has to serve it to a proponent as well as the Contra Costa County Clerks office. A petition could take up to 10-20-days before signatures can begin to be collected.

If this moves forward, the proponents will have to collect 15% of registered voters in the Antioch Unified School District (Antioch along with portions of City of Oakley and City of Pittsburg) within 160-days. They are looking at approximately 10,500 signatures. If successful, it would then go to ballot sometime next spring.

Householders term ends in December of 2022.

 

History

 

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6 comments

Bob C Oct 10, 2021 - 11:58 am

I’m confused by the letter to her starts with her being referenced as “honorable”

Reply
Arbe Oct 11, 2021 - 1:17 pm

If your quote is correct, the Notice should refer to Section 11020 of the Elections Code, not the Education Code.

Reply
Joe Schmoe Oct 11, 2021 - 7:45 pm

I’d like to suggest a much faster way to deal with Ellie, and much more emotionally sat

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Joe Schmoe Oct 11, 2021 - 7:50 pm

A much faster way to remove Ellie from office and more emotionally satisfying would be to:
1. Stuff Ellie down the muzzle of a cannon.
2. Elevate the muzzle approximately 15 degrees above the horizon.
3. Discharge the cannon.

Reply
Street-Sweeper Oct 11, 2021 - 8:55 pm

This may be the only productive thing that Mary Rocha has ever done.

Reply
Outsider Oct 12, 2021 - 11:29 am

I don’t live in Antioch, but I have been following the case of Ellie Householder very closely for months.

I met Ellie when she was in college, and found her to be a normal, likable person. When she was elected to the Board of Education, I assumed it was just a normal start to a political career. It was after seeing community comments on her public official Facebook page that I first realized there was a large contingent of the Antioch public opposing her, and so I googled what she had been up to, began watching past recordings of her meetings, and now regularly watch Antioch BoE meetings live. It’s hard to describe the situation without sounding hyperbolic.

Ellie weaponizes race to shut down debate and cast her opponents’ positions as invalid. When she demanded that the Board abandon its written procedures for appointing a student trustee, she openly and plainly said that the reason why they would not agree with her was because the applicant was a student of color and the other board members were racist. When Ellie saw a video of a black student being detained, she immediately focused on the color of his skin and cast him as a victim in need of a white savior, ultimately making him into a prop for her to grandstand on top of. Even the little things, like her constant reference to Trustee Lewis as “Trustee Dr. Lewis,” her need to constantly reference Trustee Lewis’ level of education, come off as patronizing to me. The fact that Ellie has vocal critics in Antioch’s Black community, despite the fact that she constantly tries to position herself as their champion, is no accident.

Ellie displays eye-popping disrespect for her fellow board members – the clearest example was when she encouraged intimidation of her fellow board members on Twitter, and in response to them raising concerns told them that they were just likely too old to understand how Twitter worked. Ironically, she recently cast herself as a victim of “cyber bullying” by this news publication because a Facebook commenter on their page shared a picture of her with a Hitler mustache – suggesting she actually doesn’t know how Facebook works.

It also suggests she doesn’t understand her responsibilities as an elected official. The fact is, criticizing your elected leaders is not cyber bullying. While many in the Antioch community appeared divided by whether or not the Hitler image was appropriate, I think those who think that comparisons to Hitler should be saved solely for those who are actively trying to commit genocide have missed the point. Comparing Ellie to other dictators like Mussolini or Stalin would perhaps be more appropriate, but no one would get it if someone photoshopped Ellie with a bald head or a regular mustache like Stalin had. The Hitler mustache is one of the few instantly recognizable symbols of dictatorship, and criticizing Ellie as behaving like a dictator is not only appropriate, it’s warranted.

Beyond the disrespect and refusal to entertain the possibility that she could learn from others, Ellie has brazenly abused her power as a trustee. Her unilateral pulling of the agenda item to remove her, in spite of the fact that Hernandez and Lewis almost certainly would have supported her, was just jaw-dropping. I honestly did not understand why the issue couldn’t be brought back later. Ellie kept making references to the fact that the issue had already been voted on and those on the losing side of a vote couldn’t bring back an issue, but she had never put the issue to a vote, she just pulled it off the agenda. Her refusal to allow the superintendent or other trustees to speak on the issue was also beyond ridiculous – as if taking the item off the agenda wasn’t enough, she also can’t be bothered to allowed those who disagree with her decision to offer a word in edgewise.

The no-confidence vote itself is staggering, the fact that almost 700 people could come to a 97% agreement on such an enormous issue as expressing no-confidence in their elected leader. If you are so toxic that nearly all of the teachers in your district want you out, that is saying a tremendous amount – *especially* with someone like Ellie, who is a major supporter of unions and idolizes Robert Reich.

Someone asked Ellie on Twitter why she isn’t stepping down after the no-confidence vote, and her response was “that’s not how democracy works.” She is wrong – people gracefully step down from their elected positions in office all of the time. I wonder, did she think Nixon was anti-democratic for stepping down? Was Cuomo? The real answer is that she hasn’t stepped down because she doesn’t feel shame for her actions. Like Trump, she has some innate insecurity that causes her to double-down on her positions rather than questioning her own assumptions, and someone like that is not capable of feeling shame or learning from others.

Unfortunately, this recall will likely not work. I have done enough research into Antioch’s history to know that past recall attempts have failed, for the fact that require a massive percentage of registered voters to sign a petition, a very steep burden for the initiative’s proponents to reach. My advice to them would be to comb through past board meetings, compile a collection of Ellie’s worst moments (there are a lot of them) into a short video, and go door-to-door with a tablet to share this video while collecting signatures. Seeing is believing.

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