Recently, after a heavily attended meeting, an out-of-the-gate tie vote and a heated discussion, the Burbank Board of Education appointed Burbank Police Lt. John Dilibert over the openly gay former Park Commissioner Steve Ferguson to serve as interim board member through April. Board member Ted Bunch claimed Dilibert’s service on the Athletic Fields Oversight Committee as a major factor in his decision to appoint him over Ferguson.
Looking back at the meeting online, I stumbled over some things that were said by board members Bunch and Dave Kemp that struck me as way too conspicuous to be ignored. At the onset of the discussion, before the first vote was taken, Bunch said, “One thing we’ve actually done as a board is we’ve always kept our respect for each other, and we’ve actually become friends.” Right before the first vote was taken, Kemp remarked, “I still haven’t decided on how this is gonna go, but I’ll wait and see. I’ll listen to what Mr. Bunch has to say, and then I’ll move on.”
I have known both of these men for a few years now. It appeared to me that Bunch and Kemp didn’t want to keep respect for an openly gay young man who would join them in making policy decisions for our district. It seemed to me that they decided their own personal beliefs were more important than the massive community support that turned out that night to support a young leader whose community service outshined all else in the room.
It’s about time Kemp and Bunch stopped hiding behind what I view as their bigotry and intolerance and provided the parents, students and taxpayers of this district with real answers. The truth is, I doubt they have any.