Round 3 in Newsom-Komrosky feud: Temecula school official doubles down on Harvey Milk

A black-and-white photo of two men sitting at a table with paper piles, one laughing as the other raises a finger and speaks.
San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, left, joins Mayor George Moscone for the signing of a gay rights bill in 1977. Both men were assassinated the next year.
(Associated Press)
Share via

First, the Temecula Valley Unified School District board president called Harvey Milk a “pedophile” while attempting to ban from the district’s curriculum a book that mentioned the gay activist and onetime San Francisco supervisor.

Joseph Komrosky’s efforts were successful, and the material was removed from the district’s social studies curriculum last month.

Then, Gov. Gavin Newsom lambasted Komrosky as “ignorant” for his “offensive” comments regarding Milk.


“This isn’t Texas or Florida,” Newsom tweeted on Saturday. “In the Golden State, our kids have the freedom to learn. Congrats Mr. Komrosky you have our attention. Stay tuned.”

Now, Komrosky has fired back at Newsom.

On Wednesday, he made a statement that was livestreamed by the social media accounts of the conservative podcast “Our Watch With Tim Thompson” from a 412 Church campus.

“Gov. Newsom, I’m glad that I have your attention. Now you have mine,” Komrosky said to a round of applause from the audience.

“I received my first death threat after your tweet and relentless attacks on my job as a well-standing tenured professor,” he said.

Komrosky then doubled down on his characterization of Milk, the first out gay elected official in California, who was assassinated along with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone in 1978.

The Temecula Valley School District rejected a curriculum because one book mentioned Harvey Milk, a prominent gay politician. Newsom took offense.

June 6, 2023

“My remarks about Mr. Milk were not based on him being a homosexual,” Komrosky said, “but rather based upon him being an adult having a sexual relationship with a minor.”


School board member Danny Gonzalez also spoke during the livestream, which was billed as a news conference, though neither Gonzalez nor Komrosky took any questions, and members of the media did not appear to be present.

“The accusations that my actions are in any way bigoted, homophobic, or any other nasty accusations against me are ridiculous,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez also addressed concerns that the vote to ban the book from the curriculum would leave students without textbooks, as an alternative book was not approved.

“Our students and teachers will have what they need for the start of the year,” he said, “and I continue to work through this daily.”

Both Komrosky and Gonzalez said they were not delivering their statements in their capacities as Temecula school board representatives.

The board’s move to pull the book from its curriculum came amid a flurry of similar activity in California and across the country.


The trend was addressed by Newsom, California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta and state Supt. of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond in a joint letter published last week, although it did not reference Temecula Valley Unified by name.

Removing “materials from curricula or libraries may also violate the First Amendment,” the letter states, “even when prompted by complaints from parents or threats of lawsuits.”