Today is the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Statement by AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine on the U.N. International Day of Persons with Disabilities

December 3, 2021

Since 1992, the United Nations has designated December 3 as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, aiming to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights, and well-being of individuals with disabilities. On this day, AERA and the field of education research join in affirming our deep commitment to supporting those in our communities who live with disabilities, to celebrating their contributions, and to recognizing the benefits that come from the full integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of society and life.

AERA is committed to inclusion and we value the contributions that individuals with disabilities bring to our research community. We also understand the challenges and barriers for people who live with disabilities in accessing educational opportunities in the United States and worldwide.

The global crisis brought by the COVID pandemic has exacerbated inequalities in education and many other aspects of society, for those from underserved and under-supported populations. People with disabilities are one of the most excluded groups in society and are among those who have been affected the most during the pandemic. Even before the COVID crisis, they were less likely to access education and to participate in their communities.

AERA is steadfast in our support for inclusivity and the active participation of persons with disabilities not only in the scholarly enterprise but throughout all of society. We call on the wider research community to join us in celebrating the contributions of those with disabilities and advancing scholarship and evidence that examines barriers, challenges, and opportunities for these individuals and that informs best practices and policies for supporting them.

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About AERA
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) is the largest national interdisciplinary research association devoted to the scientific study of education and learning. Founded in 1916, AERA advances knowledge about education, encourages scholarly inquiry related to education, and promotes the use of research to improve education and serve the public good. Find AERA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

This release can be found online.

American Educational Research Association

1430 K Street, NW

Suite 1200

Washington, DC 20005
(202) 238-320

George Fuller, MPA, MA
   City Councilmember
      City of Oakley, CA 

Will Oakley City Councilmember Meadows Voice be Heard?

            Councilmember Aaron Meadows’ family has resided in Oakley for six generations. Councilmember Meadows has lived in Oakley his entire life. He is a successful business person in the community. Councilmember Meadows dedicates himself to the well-being of Oakley residents and works countless hours to enhance the lives of the residents. Councilmember Meadows is well-educated, intelligent, and adept.

            During the governance meeting of the Oakley City Council on November 4, 2021, Councilmember Meadows made a passionate plea for other council members to hear him. He called for a strategic plan meeting so the three new council members could provide input in deciding a positive future for Oakley. A URL to his words is below.

            My concern is two people on the dais, Williams, and Pope, are dominating the conversation on the dais with the intent of creating a muckraking discourse during the meeting. I fear that Williams and Pope have marginalized councilmember Meadow’s voice, and his wise words will be silenced by the two.

URL to Councilmember Meadows words of wisdom:

George Fuller, MPA, MA
     City Councilmember, City of Oakley, CA 

Oakley Vice-Mayor Pope Demands Unilateral Power to Remove Colleagues from the Dais

Vice-Mayor Randy Pope called for legal methods to remove a colleague, and he did so on November 4, 2021. Vice-Mayor Pope asked for information on procedures to remove an Oakley Councilmember from the dais if he disagreed with the colleague. Vice-Mayor Pope would do so, bypassing the Oakley electorate in the process. Below is a URL to a video of his comments. He calls for the accountability of the city council members. Yes, if he disagrees with a council member, that council member is removed. The removal would become more urgent if the errant council member reported misconduct concerning Vice-Mayor Pope on social media. However, Vice-Mayor Pope will determine who will be removed or not. Vice-Mayor Pope believed it was ethical and moral for him to degrade then-Mayor Alaura during a council meeting when she attempted to deliver a resolution in favor of LGBTQ month on May 28, 2019. Pope has sworn to uphold the United States and California constitutions. He did not believe same-sex unions to be constitutional despite a United States Supreme Court decision that says otherwise. Vice-Mayor Pope habitually denigrates unhoused persons, saying he would put them on a bus and forcibly remove them from Oakley if he was able to do so. Vice-Mayor Pope does not believe it to be a constitutional issue that all people be secure in their person. Vice-Mayor Pope thinks it should be lawful for him to forcibly remove people from Oakley without judicial review if he does not like them. A meeting of the Oakley Governance Council is tomorrow night, November 16, 2021, at 6:30 P.M. Now is the time to contact council members to voice your concerns about the governance of Oakley, or, better yet, attend the meeting to be held in the council chambers.

URL to the video:

https://youtu.be/c6tGinMdw9E

George Fuller, MPA, MA
     City Councilmember, City of Oakley, CA 

Oakley City Council Governance Meeting November 4, 2021

The URL for the link to Oakley’s governance meeting held on November 4, 2021, is below. It is the meeting where Vice-Mayor Pope and Councilmember Williams call for censorship of councilmembers’ social media posts. Please be forewarned. It is “some time” to download, and is two hours in length.

http://archive-media.granicus.com:443/OnDemand/oakley/oakley_2cad3fe6-dc95-4fe7-932c-95756030f479.mp4

George Fuller, MPA, MA

City Councilmember, City of Oakley

Oakley Needs to Elect an At-Large Mayor

Oakley needs to elect an at-large mayor. During the Tuesday City Council meeting, the resolution to enable such an election can happen. The current system of selecting the mayor is flawed and does not allow the community to hold the mayor accountable for their actions. December of every year, the council voted to appoint the mayor. A prearranged rotation schedule determines the selection. A standard for selection is in place. The Oakley Municipal Code describes the norm, and a URL to a copy of the item appears below. However, the council has not been diligent in holding the person to be selected to the standard. Oakley residents are keenly aware that the results of that non-accountability have been unpleasant. Tuesday evening, the City Council will vote on the issue of creating councilmanic voting districts. The choice is to have four voting districts and the mayor elected by the at-large community. The four-district concept is the one I favor, with the community holding the mayor accountable in the voting booth. The other option is to have five voting districts, with the council members selecting the mayor. In my perception, the appointment process has not served the City of Oakley well. This December, I will not be voting to appoint Vice-Mayor Pope as mayor despite his being next in the rotation for the position. There are a plethora of reasons I believe Vice-Mayor Pope has failed to meet the bar of the prescribed standards of holding the mayoral position. I will nominate Councilmember Meadows for the mayor position and nominate Mayor Higgins to assume the duties of vice-mayor. Now would be the time to commit to attending the Oakley City Council meeting this Tuesday, November 9, 2021, to voice your opinion on the matter. If one cannot attend the meeting contacting Oakley City Councilmembers of your position regarding the matter would be helpful.

https://fullerforoakley.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/mayor-standards.docx

George Fuller, MPA, MA
     City Councilmember, City of Oakley, CA 

Oakley’s Vice-Mayor Randy Pope and Councilmember Anissa Williams Conspire to Censor Councilmember’s Free Expression.

Oakley Vice-Mayor and one Oakley City Councilmember call for censorship of councilmember’s free speech. Oakley Vice Mayor Randy Pope and City Councilmember Anissa Williams, during the council governance meeting of November 4, 2021, called for censoring councilmembers who use Nextdoor or other forms of social media. The two elected officials clearly stated they wanted to control social media posts by their colleagues, including abridging the right of a council member to discuss an issue pending council debate before that debate occurs. I have attached the PowerPoint presentation of Ellen M. Cross of Strategy Drivers, Inc., which delineates the situation I have just described.

https://fullerforoakley.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/ppt-cross.pptx

George Fuller, MPA, MA
     City Councilmember, City of Oakley, CA 

Documents from the November 4, 2021, Oakley City Council Governance Meeting

Documents – November 4, 2021, Oakley Governance City Council Meeting. On November 4, 2021, during the Oakley City Governance City Council Meeting, I presented a Nextdoor document regarding a post by City Councilmember Anissa Williams describing a “meeting” where she is “going to get things straight” regarding social media posts by City Councilmembers. The pertinent part of the post is in blue, highlighting found on the post’s third, fourth, and fifth pages. Also attached is a copy of the post I made on my website, fullerforoakley.net, regarding my question asking the location of $20,000,000 of the City Money. Then-Mayor Romick, and Councilmember Alaura, were free to respond to the question, which was put forth on September 29, 2020, during the council election. Councilmember mentioned the September 29, 2020, post many times during the November 4, 2021, meeting.

https://fullerforoakley.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Oakley-city-council-20^J000^J000.docx

https://fullerforoakley.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Williams-nextdoorpost-aug-11-2021-1.pdf

George Fuller, MPA, MA

City Councilmember, City of Oakley, CA

A Public Official Needs to be Public

Public Officials do need to be public. Social media is a viable means of communication for public officials, as long as it is public in its use. An elected individual has the opportunity to have forthright communication with their constituents, in a public forum. However, there are constraints to social media as to the Brown Act, among other requirements as to public business discussions. In my perspective, an elected official who takes a public forum, such as FB, and creates a privacy page as a method to circumvent the Brown Act would be dishonest, unethical, and cowardly action. An elected official needs to keep all social media postings public.

George Fuller, MPA, MA
     City Councilmember, City of Oakley, CA 

Is the Oakley City Council Attempting to Censor Its Members?

Interim City Manager Joshua McMurray has asked Ellen M. Cross of Strategy Drivers, Inc. to moderate a discussion of protocols of how the City Council can work effectively with City Staff. Yes, establishing working relationships with City staff is always a high priority. However, a non-negotiable item for me is ensuring ongoing, unencumbered communication with community members, including the unencumbered use of social media. The community has a need, and a right, to know what is happening in City Hall, in an unblemished manner. The meeting is open to the public and public comments, and it is taking place on November 4, 2021, at 6:30 PM. Now is the time to contact City Council members to voice your concerns, either in person or via email.

George Fuller, MPA, MA
    City Councilmember, City of Oakley, CA 

Social Media is Here to Stay

Semiotics is a viable enterprise. The general philosophical theory of signs and symbols deals with their function in artificially constructed and natural languages and comprises syntactic, semantic, and pragmatics. In simpler terms – it is the study of social media. Those of us involved in academia realize that the study of social media (semiotics) is rapidly becoming a scholarly pursuit. The American Education Research Association (AERA) sanctions research project presentations on the subject during their annual conference. It is now evident that social media is “here to stay.” Yes, in the process, social media is impacting our everyday lives tremendously So, one can learn how to effectively utilize social media and decipher the messages for validity and import. Many places are available to enhance one’s knowledge of social media. One, I believe, is our community colleges.

The effort to learn about social media can improve an individual’s life and the community’s. However, raging and name-calling people who use social media because we do not “like their posts” is an unamerican enterprise. Through intimidation, bullying, and censorship, in an attempt to silence social media stifles free press and denies the community access to its government. We need not attempt to censor social media.

I am just saying.

George Fuller, MPA, MA
     City Councilmember, City of Oakley