Academia Semillas del Pueblo, Failing Charter School, Threatens Conservative Blog 'Mayor Sam' With Lawsuit
Fred Noland/LA WeeklyWith all the legal prowess of an Aztec warrior.
Don't you just love when public-sector pricks try to threaten truthy Internet journalists with baseless "defamation" lawsuits?
Nothing's funnier to us than the image of these guys in their offices, all red-nosed and flustered, shaking their fists and frantically searching Thesaurus.com for bigger and scarier law terms, like, This'll show 'em! Yeah, use "legally actionable"! Oogly boogly!
If you're of the same taste, you'll really get a kick out of this one:
Academia Semillas del Pueblo, the insanely underperforming charter school in El Sereno that insists on teaching children Nahuatl -- a language spoken by under 2 million people in Mexico* -- is threatening to sue the rightbloggers at Mayor Sam for talking smack.
(*If only school officials were so insistant on teaching the kids English; only 30 percent test as "proficient." And they're even worse at math.)
Naturally, the school became somewhat of a pet target for white conservative media a few years ago. Led by KABC radio personality Doug McIntyre, critics accused the school of having a "radical reconquista agenda" and grooming its elementary-age kids for "the reclamation of the American southwest for the Mexican people."
So school officials cried "racist!" and slapped McIntyre with a lawsuit.
Of course, if they'd hired a real lawyer instead of some dud within their nepotistic city circle, they might have known that you can't just sue someone for not liking you.
According to documents posted on Mayor Sam, a judge soon trashed the suit and declared it a SLAPP (a "strategic lawsuit against public participation"). Academia Semillas was ordered to compensate McIntyre and the station for all their legal fees -- over $190,000 in taxpayer dollars.
Yet on June 6, like a retarded newborn hamster, the school served Mayor Sam with a nearly identical "cease and desist" letter for alleged "false and damaging statements."
And for a much lesser offense: Mayor Sam has recently been pointing out the very indisputable truths that Academia Semillas director Marcos Aguilar plays buddy/campaign contributor to City Councilman Jose Huizar, and that the school's cafeteria has been experiencing some suspicious financial woes.
(Word has it the Times is digging into the woe-pile, as well, so Academia Semillas might have bigger problems than a feisty blogspot in its future.)
The letter to Mayor Sam, written by legal counsel Salomon Zavala, demands that an extensive list of blog posts be taken down. Or else, writes, Zavala...
"... if you do not comply with these demands to stop your wrongful conduct on or before June 12, 2012, Semillas intends to file a civil suit against you for damages and will seek an award of its attorney fees and litigation expenses. Please govern yourself accordingly."
Scott Johnson, the Mayor Sam blogger who covers Academia Semillas (and who most certainly does not intend to remove his coverage), says he hasn't heard from the school or its lawyer in the last few days, despite the June 12 deadline.
Another rightblogger over at City Watch says Zavala, the school's attorney, has equally strong ties to the reconquista movement:
"Nearly a decade ago, Zavala himself was on the board of the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal, a Latino-progressive legal review, while a law student at Boalt. As general counsel for Semillas Sociedad Civil, he lends counsel to the Academia, long thought by local conservatives to be far more than a place where difference is celebrated; rather it is seen by many conservatives as a place where Anglo American values and traditions are even actively called into question."
For more on the niche charter school's abysmal academic record and LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy's fruitless attempts to shut it down, see LA Weekly print story "Academia Semillas, a Failing School, Escapes Closure."
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