The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines the word alliteration as:
Alliteration (noun) uh-lit-uh–rey-shuhn: the repetition of usually initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words or syllables (such as wild and woolly, threatening throngs). Called also head rhyme, initial rhyme.
I gained an appreciation for writing from my 8th grade teacher, and so many years ago he introduced me to this literary device which I find to be one of my favorites to this day. As of late, I can find no better use of alliteration than applying it to those on the fringe of the group who would otherwise label themselves Progressive. And just when you thought the Loony Left couldn’t get any loonier, they dutifully surprise us. What comes as no surprise though is where the Left’s looniness has again reared its head—the once great city of San Francisco.
John Arntz has served as Director of San Francisco’s Department of Elections for twenty years and is now completing his fourth 5-year term at this post. In fact, just this year alone Arntz supervised everything that went into conducting four different elections in the city by the bay.
Just recently, the San Francisco Election Commission, the 7-member body that has appointing power for the director’s position, decided by a 4-2 vote (one seat is now vacant) that for now Mr. Arntz would not be re-appointed to the position. Instead, the Election Commission will engage a search firm that could consider Arntz if he wished to apply among other candidates for the job he has long held. This would be the first time in twenty years— back to the time Arntz was first appointed, that the Election Commission has chosen to engage a search firm for the position of Director of the Department of Elections.
It was just two years ago that Arntz and his department received a letter of commendation from the Election Commission citing his “incredible leadership”. So, what was the reason given by the Commission for not renewing John Arntz to another five-year term as Director of the Department of Elections?
Has he shown incompetence? No.
Does he not get along with co-workers? No.
Has he reached mandatory retirement age? No.
Was he caught overcounting or undercounting votes to aid his fave candidate? No.
Has he been involved in some salacious dalliance that is soon to hit the news? No.
Was he found to be a <GASP> closet Republican? Yeah, right. This is San Francisco after all.
The actual reason that the Election Commission gave for not renewing John Arntz to his position was that they want to give a chance to applicants of all backgrounds a shot at the job. In an email to Arntz, President of the Election Commission Board Chris Jerdonek wrote:
“Our decision wasn’t about your performance, but after twenty years we wanted to take action on the city’s racial equity plan and give people an opportunity to compete for a leadership position.”
Commissioner Cynthis Jai commented:
“…in order to do more than just pay lip service to Mayor London Breed’s push for racial equity, you actually have to open your senior leadership roles, otherwise you get in a situation where you are literally waiting for someone to retire for those positions to open up.”
While “in other words” really isn’t necessary here has the Commission’s motivations are patently obvious, allow me a moment to capture the bottom line. In other words, John Arntz, the extraordinarily competent 20-year Director of Elections is not being reappointed because of his race and/or gender. John Arntz is a white male and that just ain’t gonna cut it in the eyes of the San Francisco Election Commission. Loony Left indeed.
The reactions to this development have been predictable and have ranged from concern to incredulity. What has not been predictable are some of the sources of the not so favorable reactions. Of course, we should expect that the action being taken by the Election Commissioners would be fodder for conservatives in the media poking fun at the liberal municipal bastion that is San Francisco. Yet some other of the voices offering comments of astonishment and outrage are rather telling.
A dozen managers that have worked under Arntz wrote a letter to the Election Commissioners praising his leadership which brought stability to the department following a time of high turnover for department directors.
Mayor London Breed herself, whose racial equity plan was cited as rationale for not reappointing the director said that Arntz:
“has served San Francisco with integrity, professionalism and has stayed completely independent. He’s remained impartial and has avoided getting caught up in the web of city politics, which is what we are seeing now as a result of this unnecessary vote. Rather than working on key issues to recover and rebuild our city, this is a good example of unfair politicization of a key part of our government that is working well for the voters of this city.”
State Senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) tweeted:
“When John Arntz took over as Director of Elections, the Department was a mess — remember ballot box tops floating in the bay? Arntz turned it around. It’s now one of our best run departments. Why on earth is the Elections Commission moving to dump this strong elections leader?”
When you have lost a far-left California icon like Scot Weiner over racial preferences in hiring, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your position, no?
District 3 San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin called the move to sack Arntz “Bananas”.
As for Arntz himself, he is presently playing it close to the vest stating that he has yet to decide whether he will put himself in the running to reclaim his position before the search committee, and offered this fairly pragmatic statement:
“When I saw that they started to move forward with a selection process, your first thought is that your term is coming to an end. The commission has full authority to appoint who they want to as director.”
Yet, others believe Arntz has another course of action if the Election Commission continues on this tack to replace him for reasons purely based on race.
Supervisor Peskin stated:
“The remarks from Commissioners are ripe for a discrimination lawsuit.”
Indeed. One would only have to look to California Proposition 209 enacted by voters in 1996 and reaffirmed with the defeat of Proposition 16 in 2020 which holds that “The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting” to view Arntz’s potential legal standing as very strong.
There is little debate that the San Francisco Election Commission has the right to terminate the Director of the Department of Elections for cause (or no cause at all) and employ a search firm for a new candidate. However, to publicly state the rationale for finding a director is ostensibly based on a need to achieve racial diversity surely places the Election Commission and the city of San Francisco on shaky legal ground. Only the Loony Left could believe otherwise.
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