You Probably Think This Bill Is about You -- Public Comment on HB 4013
UPDATE MARCH 3, 2018 (Scroll down to read the original post.)
Sordyl's position on the OSBE allows her to hear all testimony. It gives her proximity to those who testify. If she uses her position to undermine the testimony of others and impugn their character as she did with me, or if she uses her position to benefit herself personally, she should not occupy a seat on the board.
On February 26th, 2018, I received the following email from Rob Manning at OPB:
Rob Manning February 26, 2018 at 11:46 AM
Subject: OPB working on story about HB 4013
To: Deb Mayer
Rob Manning here with OPB.
I’m working on a story about Kim Sordyl and the bill in the legislature that would change who can serve as representatives of the Secretary of State & State Treasurer on the State Board of Education . I saw your blog post about your very bad run-in with her, and was wondering if you’d be willing to do a brief interview about that. Over the phone is fine.
I was happy to see that someone was interested in telling the other side of the story about Kim Sordyl's "education advocacy." I called him up, and we had a conversation about my experiences and those of others I knew about who had suffered from Kim Sordyl's bad behavior. He asked if I had documents to support my statements. I said I did but they were confidential and if he used them names would have to be redacted. I explained that I had only found out about Kim's attack because a friend on the thread sent a copy to me. He agreed the emails would be confidential.
We also talked about how Sordyl says she's a Democrat while acting like a Republican which I find problematic since she uses that claim to defend her appointment to the OSBE -- refuting that it has anything to do with politics. I thought Rob was sincere about covering both sides of the issue, but it wouldn't be the first time I've been mistaken about Manning and OPB. (Coverage of M 98 is a prime example.) So, I sent Rob the documents. I explained how Sordyl went behind my back to misrepresent my testimony at OSBE, how she lied about a conversation we had had, how she sent an email to people in power to impugn my integrity, how she called me dishonest, and other troubling things.
He said my documents are problematic. His response:
The email thread following the State Board of Ed meeting is kind of confusing but overall has me conclude that Kim’s main transgression was talking about you to other people via email. It looks like there was some miscommunication at the board meeting, and ultimately, when you and Kim got in touch, she apologized for her misunderstanding.
He left me with the impression he wasn't doing the story. That's why I was surprised when this article appeared. After all, he called me to find out about my "very bad run-in with her." According to Manning, it's okay if Sordyl maligns people behind their backs, lies about them, and causes general chaos -- as long as she says, "I'm sorry." That's ridiculous! And, she only apologized to me via email without forwarding that apology to anyone else on the thread. The damage was done. This is exactly the way she operates. This is exactly why she shouldn't occupy a seat on the OSBE.
Sordyl's position on the OSBE allows her to hear all testimony. It gives her proximity to those who testify. If she uses her position to undermine the tesitmony of others and impugn their character as she did with me, or if she uses her position to benefit herself personally, she should not occupy a seat on the board.
I don't know why Rob Manning chose to tell only one side of this story and why other news outlets aren't even curious enough to find out the truth about Sordyl. After all, as others claim, if the intent of HB 4013 is to remove Sordyl from a position on the state board, there has to be a substantial reason. Legislative bills don't just materialize over night.
I don't know if Kim Sordyl has political aspirations, but she certainly is making the most out of this situation. We ignore the facts at our peril. Here are some other things you might not know about Sordyl:
Sordyl was at the heart of the Paul Anthony kerfuffle whereby a group of administrators (PAPSA) tried to force him to resign. A scandal that would perhaps not have surfaced were it not for Sordyl's hateful email exchanges. There is still much fog around that incident — but that’s a story for another day. From the Portland Tribune: "The principals group is seeking only messages between Anthony and Kim Sordyl, the vocal parent activist whom PPS administrators accuse of bullying behavior toward school-district employees." The loss of Anthony would have been a misfortune for Portland Public Schools.
In the 2016 Voter Pamphlet Sordyl campaigned for Secretary of State Dennis Richardson -- the man who gave her the appointment to the contested position she now holds. Campaigning for a Republican is not the act of a lifelong Democrat.
Here are some other posts about Kim Sordyl on ultra-conservative websites. It’s been my experience that articles like these do not just appear on websites, they are submitted. You won't find articles about her on liberal, progressive websites. This is all so confusing. Does Sordyl have political aspirations? If so, she appears to be courting conservatives. With Democrats like her, who needs Republicans? If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, she's a Republican. Freedom Foundation, Eagle Rising, Washington Times, Conservative Angle are some publications that are at the top of the list:
While I'm not suggesting that the position on the OSBE shouldn't be held by a Republican, that Democrats would come after one of their own just doesn't make sense.
Watching the public testimony on HB 4013, the words of Carly Simon's epic song, You're So Vain, popped into my mind. I'll explain. The bill provides that Deputy State Treasurer or Deputy Secretary of State may serve on State Board of Education. I thought the bill made perfect sense.
A Little Perspective
Senator Lew Frederick (TSTP ~7:00) testifies that he had once held that position and the importance of having someone with education expertise and knowledge of civics and financial literacy in that position. Rep. Julie Parrish then grills Sen. Frederick about his credentials to occupy that position on the board -- which were considerable. In other testimony a background history is presented about the original intent of the position. Rep. Julie Parrish asks about the ethics of using the title to benefit the designee who is not a state employee. The law is murky on that. Rep. Paul Evans (TPTS ~ 53:00) asks two sensible questions and voices the most sane comment of the entire meeting: (1) The original intent was not to add two more people to the board for everything, but to bring someone in for the civics and financial literacy piece. Is that correct? Answer: Yes. (2) Is the OSBE designee confirmed by the Senate? Answer: Yes. (3) I understand that we are at a crossroads on whether we expand the concept of what we have or whether we go with what we used to have. I happen to believe that we should tear apart this nonsense that we have built over the last ten years and go back to a separately elected superintendent of education with a Board very similar to the one we had in the past. That said, I know that a lot of people worked very hard to make what we have work. My concern in all this is that it does not become something that it does not need to be. So, sometimes I think the original intent still matters. Rep. Carl Wilson expressed concern that if this bill passed, he or a person like him without education experience, wouldn't be able to serve in this position.
"I happen to believe that we should tear apart this nonsense that we have built over the last ten years and go back to a separately elected superintendent of education with a Board very similar to the one we had in the past." Rep. Paul Evans
A parade of witnesses advocating for Kim Sordyl, a Portland resident who now holds the position, testified that the bill was brought forth solely to remove Sordyl from the board (TSTP ~ 58:00). This is where the song, You're So Vain, pops into my brain. Kim Sordyl has framed the intent of this bill explicitly as an attempt to force her off the board. After the first two people testify, Chair Doherty says she "has never heard this; that no one has contacted her or her office about this bill and what the intent of it was, and I want to make that clear that this is the first time I've heard this." (TPTS ~1:04:25) Teressa Raiford (Don't Shoot Portland) testifies on behalf of "her community," praises Dennis Richardson, and disparages Senator Lew Frederick -- who has been a friend to education and Oregon's children over the years. Throughout, much is made of the fact that Kim Sordyl is a Democrat appointed by a Republican Secretary of State.
Chair Doherty says she "has never heard this; that no one has contacted her or her office about this bill and what the intent of it was, and I want to make that clear that this is the first time I've heard this." Chair Doherty
Sordyl's son, Jack (1:09:22), can be seen carefully treading a fine line to deliver a speech defending his mother. It is a "mommie dearest" moment. Sordyl shows extremely poor judgment in asking that he testify on her behalf. For a child so young, he is obviously uncomfortable with his script and artfully dodges the intent of the hurtful words he is speaking. Chair Doherty compliments him on his delivery. "You are ver articulate," she says.
As others, nine in all, come forward to deliver testimony on Sordyl's behalf, I ponder Chair Doherty's comment that she didn't know about this bill being an apparent affront to Kim Sordyl. For those of us who live in or near North Portland, we are well aware of the larger-than-life Sordyl. She is a bully's bully. Her methods are harsh, and she espouses a take-no-prisoners persona. I speak from experience. Last year after I had testified before the OSBE, Sordyl maneuvered behind my back to undercut my testimony, impugn my character, and otherwise raise question my credibility. She attacks people personally and has been know to damage the reputation of people who disagree with her. She is an equal opportunity maligner, having attacked white people and people of color.
Kim Sordyl, because of her contemptuous view of the legislation and egotistical, self-righteous conceit, has attempted to minimize the importance of HB 4013 to a personal vendetta and undervalue its original intent. Sadly, she has convinced others to do so as well. Proponents of the legislation were taken unaware by the bold attempt to make this solely about marginalizing one person. It was implied in previous testimony that Sordyl used her position for personal benefit. Her FB page, Kim Sordyl, State of Oregon School Board Member, is confusing to say the least, if not unethical.
Many of those who testified against the bill said time and again that a "regular citizen" should be able to hold the position. Rep. Carl Wilson went so far as to say that if the bill passed, someone like him couldn't testify. That's not true. Citizens can testify. I can, and have testified many times. I am an educator with expertise and experience. Sordyl can testify in the same way I do. Why should she, a person with no education knowledge to her credit, occupy a special position just because she caught the eye of the Secretary of State?
While this is an important bill, it is consuming way too much oxygen from more important pieces of legislation. Please let Rep. Doherty and the House Education Committee know that you support HB 4013, and that important legislation should not be hijacked on the whim of a nasty woman. For your convenience: