To Fight The Good Fight The Battle — страница 5

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elected and responsible, are not allowed to function, conditions where those closest to the scene are not allowed to prevail and solve their own problems, I find it difficult to serve. . . There are challenging times ahead and I wish you Godspeed in working toward solving Pasadena’s educational problems. With that, he slowly pushed back his chair, rose, and left the board room.18 John Welsh resigned in response to the school board’s decision not to fight the federal court-order. Not long after Welsh’s resignation, a group of fundamentalists launched the first recall effort in Pasadena’s 100 year history in order to remove the three board members (Lowe, LaMotte, and Engholm) who refused to appeal the court decision. Ultimately the recall failed at the polls, but only by a

narrow margin because of the steady shift of moderates into the fundamentalist camp. LaMotte, Lowe and Engholm were able to hang on to their school board seats, at least until they were up for re-election in 1973. While the elected school board officials throughout the 1960s were attempting to side-step desegregation, fundamentalists were playing on the fears of “forced busing” and communist infiltration in order to make inroads onto the school board.Throughout the first part of the 1970-71 school year racial unrest at the schools dominated the news, causing endless complaints from parents, growing alarm over the safety of the children, and elected officials’ increased fear of “white flight.” The turbulence quickly diminished but many in the community moved towards

conservative positions on the issue of education. This allowed Henry Marcheschi to win a seat on the school board using an “anti-busing” platform. 19 The 1971 election indicated a dramatic shift in the voters and progressives knew that they would face a tough fight during the 1973 school board elections. The fundamentalists also realized that this would be a pivotal election. This election, more than any other, changed the course of the Pasadena Unified School District and caused the battle over the schools to reach a fevered pitch, because it was in this election that moderates and conservatives overwhelmingly supported a slate of fundamentalists.One evening in 1972 a group of close to a dozen fundamentalists met to discuss their concerns over the 1973 election. In their

view the last three years of forced busing had virtually destroyed the school district. According to their statistics 7,000 children had fled the public school system equaling close to forty percent of the white student population. While property values in neighboring communities were steadily increasing, the value of Pasadena’s houses were at an all time low. It appeared as if their worst fears had come to fruition. This small band felt that their “backs were against the wall” and that “time was running out.”20 Fortunately for this gathering the voters were ready to accept just about any candidate they put forward.Fundamentalists, Henry S. Myers, Jr., Lyman W. Newton, and Richard Vetterli, easily won the election and moved the school board firmly to the fundamentalist

camp and the extreme right, educationally, politically, and religiously. Marcheschi, Vetterli, and Newton were all active members of the Mormon Church. Richard Vetterli, in fact, taught for several years at Brigham Young, the university established by the Mormon church, and he authored a history text entitled, Mormonism, Americanism, and Politics.21 When reading this text it becomes clear that the religious affiliation of these new board members lends insight into their ideology. According to the introduction of Vetterli’s book, for Mormons economics and politics were closely tied to their religious beliefs. In the introduction, Ivan Hinderaker, chair of the Political Science Department at the University of California, Los Angeles, wrote:Latter-day Saints, in politics and

economics, tend to stand for aggressive individual and local responsibility. . . . [They] tend to believe in an economic and political system in which individual free agency and initiative are very important elements. . . . [They] tend to be deeply patriotic Americans. They believe that their destiny and future is inseparably bound up with the destiny and future of the American Nation, that hand in hand Mormonism and Americanism are the answer to a sick world in troubled times, that in these two forces lie the temporal and spiritual salvation of the world. 22Mormonism thus provided the root of Marcheschi, Vetterli, and Newton’s extreme conservatism and fundamentalism.The cornerstone of their political and educational philosophies lay in the fundamental school structure. In the