Bee's Glaring Op Ed Omission

Katy Grimes:  Martha Penry, “a special education teacher’s assistant in the Twin Rivers school district” wrote an op ed in today’s Sacramento Bee, defending the escalating and unsustainable spending on California’s public employee pensions, and even blamed “Wall Street greed” for the “headline-grabbing” pensions.

But nowhere in the article is Penry identified as an active union boss.

“Yet it is teachers, and regular people like me, who are being scapegoated for California’s budget troubles,” Penry wrote in the Bee article.

But Penry is also on the Board of Directors for the California State Employees Association. Listed as “Area A Director,” her bio states, “Martha Penry works as a paraeducator for the Twin Rivers Unified School District.”

Yet in the Bee,  the caption next to her photo only states, “Martha Penry is a special education teacher’s assistant in the Twin Rivers school district.” The Bee could easily have added, “and CSEA Board Member.”

Penry is no newbie to union politics – she has held several leadership positions within the CSEA including Chapter President, Chief Job Steward, Regional Representative, Research/Negotiations State Committee Person, “and currently you’re [sic] Area A Director,” her campaign flyer for re-election to the CSEA board states.

“If those behind the assault on California’s middle class truly were concerned with the state’s education system, they would support protecting the retirement security of millions of state and local public employees who pay taxes, volunteer in their communities – including in classrooms – and pump their retirement earnings right back into local economies and schools,” Penry wrote.

Penry has been quite active politically on behalf of the CSEA, and has participated in legislative and lobby day at the Capitol.

Penry has even received awards for her CSEA stewardship.

The omission by the Bee was glaring, even if it was Penry who neglected to note her union connections. Given the tone of Penry’s article, I only had to Google her name to locate her long union history and many CSEA leadership positions.

MAY 31, 2011

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