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Menlo Park school board president resigns over wife’s racist Kamala Harris tweets

Menlo Park school board president resigns over wife’s racist Kamala Harris tweets
Image: Jrienstra via Wikimedia Commons
By Joe Kukura - Published on November 10, 2020.

The school board proceedings of the Las Lomitas School District, a pair of kindergarten through 8th grade schools in Atheron and Menlo Park, are generally not covered by the New York Post or Britain’s Daily Mail. But the small district is attracting some unwanted international attention this week, as the Mercury News explains, after school board president Jon Venverloh has resigned amidst an uproar over his wife’s mind blowingly sexist and racist tweets about vice president-elect Kamala Harris. 

“All she needs to be qualified is a black p***y! No brain needed!,” wife Mehridith Philips Venverloh said in a now-deleted tweet that was captured by KGO. In another tweet, she said, “The possibilities are endless for little girls who w***e their way to the top!!!”

Parents in the district quickly circulated a petition for Venverloh to resign over his wife’s tweets, which he quickly did on Sunday, the day after the tweets were posted. “Given my wife’s social media posts, which expressed reprehensible views that I do not agree with, I know that my continued service would be a distraction from the work that needs to be done in the District over the two years remaining in my term,” he said in a statement to the SF Chronicle.

That’s a pretty gracious and accountable statement for someone who found themselves in a tough spot. His wife’s response was a little less so.

"Some of you know I suffer from a debilitating neurological disease, and as a result I take various medications," she posted on her now-deleted Twitter account, in a tweet that was grabbed by the Palo Alto Daily Post. "Over the past several days I have been weaning off of my meds to prepare for a hospitalization that is scheduled to start tomorrow. I believe that the change in my medication reduced my judgment between right and wrong when I made the posts."

The slurs were perhaps (?) a reference to Harris’ brief relationship with Willie Brown in 1994-95. Brown was not yet mayor of San Francisco, and Harris was not yet SF district attorney. Brown was technically still married, though had been separated from his wife for more than 10 years at the time.

A 2003 SF Weekly profile of Harris noted that “shortly after he was inaugurated, Harris dumped Brown, a notorious womanizer.”