February 24, 2017
Dear Mr. Denham,
I wanted to write to you as the mother of a 15 year old developmentally disabled child about my concerns over HR 610 and how it will eliminate ESSA which provides among other things access to the general education curriculum, access to accommodations on assessments, provisions that require local education agencies to provide evidence-based interventions in schools for children with disabilities.
That’s what I wanted to write to you about until I was shown a letter you wrote to Karina about her request for a face to face town hall. Sir, I am well aware of your February 6 tele-town hall but was sorely disappointed that I could not get through…don’t tell my boss that I was trying to connect while I was on duty please. I am also aware of your Mobile District Offices and was fortunate enough to attend your Manteca MDO with my husband. We were a little disappointed with the less than warm reception we received from the Manteca Chamber of Commerce receptionist as she expressed concerns that we might be there to be rowdy. I do hope that she was relieved to discover that we, as well as the other two constituents of yours, were not as rowdy as she imagined us to be. Yes, I am aware that the MDO in Ceres later that day proved to be perhaps more lively as was the assembly in Modesto on Wednesday, February 15. The thing is Mr. Denham, people are a little bit fired up for good reasons and are frustrated with the feeling that we do not have your ear. I’m sorry but your brief little video mailbags, rare tele-town halls, MDOs, appearances at parades, schools, and such are not enough and we, the people you are supposed to be working for, are becoming a bit rowdy in our disappointments and frustrations. Many of us are not feeling like you are engaging with us.
I would hope that you do have the interests of the Central Valley at heart…ALL of the Central Valley. 52.4% of District 10 did vote for you; but you also are called upon to represent the interests of the other 47.6%. That is your job as a public servant. I’m not too sure what you are implying when you wrote that the Central Valley’s voice not be suppressed by the bullying cries of outraged Bay Area residents who want to impose their opinions and way of life on our community. Honestly, that sounds A LOT like the down with BATs (Bay Area Transplants) talk. Are you anti-BATs? My husband and I moved from the Bay Area in 2003 to Manteca to raise our five children. More than half of the people I interact with day to day here in the Central Valley also at some point moved from the Bay Area. So many of the people living in District 10, like my husband and one of my daughters, commutes daily to work in the Bay Area. Perhaps our Bay Area values might not agree with your values but you still must advocate for our voices too. Of course you would have to listen to them and, at least for me personally, I feel like you are not listening.
I do appreciate your meeting the local Mantecan farmers earlier this week after they prevented the levee south of us from being completely breached. That really was something. Thankfully they were so vigilant. Of course they have been for quite some time as it has been public knowledge for years now that levee improvements are desperately needed. Your visit made for a great photo opportunity and several glowing pieces written by Jason Campbell and Dennis Wyatt in the Manteca Bulletin. I do hope that you will follow through on the promises you made with that media opportunity. The farmers and the citizens of Manteca, BATs included, are counting on it.
When I had the opportunity to meet with your man, Pete Butler, at the Manteca MDO, I did not feel like you were listening. Mr. Butler was nice enough but much of our conversation was him telling us that he could not speak for you. He also reminded us a few times that our opinions, questions and concerns expressed at the Manteca MDO are nothing at all like the reception received at a MDO in Patterson or Newman. Perhaps it’s that Bay Area influence you speak of? Regardless, you still represent us and we deserve your attention too. One thing I repeatedly emphasized while talking to Mr. Butler is you and your office need to do a better job at communicating with us. You need to ANSWER BACK. At the very least you or your staffers can send a postcard, an email or, like POTUS, even a tweet acknowledging communications from your constituents – even the ones whose values don’t agree with yours – ESPECIALLY the ones whose values don’t agree with yours.
Thank you for your time. I could hope to hear from you but honestly given your lack of response to all of my previous communications to your office, you will forgive me if I don’t hold my breath.
Laura A Scarborough
not a paid protester or anarchist but a nurse, wife, mother and grandmother who lives and works in District 10