On July 1, 2020, starting around 12:00 PM PST the Salem-Keizer School Board held a public meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to accept public testimony regarding the selection of a new Chairperson and new Vice-Chairperson for the School Board, as well as hold a vote to select new leaders. The video of the meeting is embedded below, courtesy of CCTV Salem’s YouTube Channel, followed by a breakdown of what occurred during the public meeting:
The meeting begins at roughly the 7-minute, 30-second mark of the YouTube video.
Salem-Keizer School Board member (and now former Chairperson) Marty Heyen (Zone 2) begins the meeting by trying to play the victim card. Heyen has faced significant scrutiny by community members, including on this website, because of campaign photos that have been widely circulated online, as well as activity on her Twitter account, her previous appearance at an anti-immigrant campaign event with a known racist (Joey Nations), and her behavior during School Board meetings. For reference, below is a recent post on Facebook by Joey Nations (one of many horrific posts by Mr. Nations), who appeared with Marty Heyen at the anti-immigrant campaign event:
In Heyen’s diatribe that opened the meeting, she stated that her “biggest character flaw” is ‘trusting people.’
“Light will shine on the darkness and the truth will come out,” stated Heyen.
“I had an hour-long meeting Monday with Bennie Williams of the NAACP, and he told me, Marty, you are not defined by a picture,” Heyen went on to say.
What all was said at the reported meeting is unclear, and this article will be updated if/when the Salem-Keizer NAACP Chapter issues a statement about it. Regardless, what Mr. Williams reportedly said is technically true – Marty Heyen is not defined by one picture. Rather, Marty Heyen is presumably defined in many community members’ minds by her actions in School Board meetings, her Twitter account, her appearance at the previously mentioned anti-immigrant event alongside a known racist, and many other things.
Marty Heyen, in her last act as Chairperson of the Salem-Keizer School Board, ran the public meeting like a dictator, once again proving why she is unfit for office. Heyen tried to stifle public comments on multiple occasions during the public meeting and repeatedly lectured people about time constraints. Worth noting – Marty Heyen’s lectures took up quite a bit of the limited time that she herself was trying to ‘defend.’
Heyen claimed that she was the victim of a ‘character assassination,’ however, she is not the victim of such an effort. Instead, members of the community that Heyen was elected to serve continue to merely bring attention to who Heyen really is so that others can form their own opinions. Of course, if those opinions are not favorable to Heyen, then that is a reflection of who Marty Heyen is – nothing more, nothing less.
The public comment portion of the public meeting was limited to 30 minutes due to reported time constraints by some of the Board members. The first public comment begins at roughly the 13-minute mark of the video following a vote regarding whether the vote for new leadership should be postponed. Two Board members, Jesse Lippold (Zone 5) and Paul Kyllo (Zone 7) voted to postpone the vote. Everyone else on the Board voted to proceed, which ultimately resulted in the vote moving forward.
The first public commenter stated that the next Chair and Vice-Chair “should be someone who, unlike the current chair, reads public comment and engages with it in a way that shows that they have a material concern for our students and won’t let their ego get in the way.”
It was a very fair comment given everything that has gone on, and the failings of most of the current Board to actually listen to, and value, comments from the community. Marty Heyen responded to the first public comment with her first scolding, demanding that commenters “please keep your comments specifically to the election itself and no other.”
The third public comment occurs at roughly the 16:20-mark of the video. During a passionate testimony by the commenter, Marty Heyen cuts the person off and talks over them in the middle of their public testimony, saying, “Your testimony is out of order, please, who would you like for Vice-Chair?… Please, so every voice can be heard, keep it limited to who you want for Chair and Vice-Chair.”
What Marty Heyen repeatedly failed to recognize while running the public meeting is that public commenters not only have the right to say who they want for Chair and Vice-Chair but also why they feel the way that they do. Heyen’s disregard for that fact, and her repeated attempts to stifle public comment, is a prime example of why she is not fit for office. She was elected to serve the entire community, and not to try to stifle the comments of community members giving their public testimony at a public meeting.
The fifth public comment begins at around the 20:45-mark of the video. The public comment was in Spanish, and prior to being translated, Marty Heyen demanded of the translator, “For the interpretation can you just let us know basically who she wants for Chair and Vice-Chair and why so that we can hear more callers please?”
Board member Lippold, who has received considerable scrutiny himself from the community, pushed back on the demand by Marty Heyen and requested to hear the whole translation, to which Marty Heyen stated, “Want to hear the whole thing? OK, then we will lose several phone calls but go ahead, give us the whole thing…”
The sixth and seventh callers providing public testimony echoed what many others had previously stated, calling for the Board to do better and to uphold the School Board’s Equity Lens policy. The eighth and ninth callers stated that they wanted to see Sheronne Blasi (Zone 3) as Chair and Kathy Goss (Zone 1) as Vice-Chair. In a condescending response to the ninth caller, Marty Heyen thanked the two callers for “sticking to the agenda as asked.”
The next series of callers essentially echoed the previous callers and stated that they too wanted to see Sheronne Blasi (Zone 3) as Chair and Kathy Goss (Zone 1) as Vice-Chair. At roughly the 38:30 mark the 14th (and final) caller stated that she too wanted to see Sheronne Blasi (Zone 3) as Chair and Kathy Goss (Zone 1) as Vice-Chair.
In mid-sentence Heyen cut the caller off, stating, “Thank you Jan, you’ve already stated what we are trying to find out today, next caller please.” The caller remained on the line for all to hear. She sounded appalled, and rightfully so. It was an extremely rude and unprofessional display by Marty Heyen, to say the least.
After the 14th caller, Marty Heyen moved the meeting along to a summary of the e-mails received (at roughly the 39:45-mark of the video), which is recapped below:
- 308 total submissions
- 130 supported Blasi as Chair, with 27 of those also directly opposing Jesse Lippold as Chair
- 15 were solely opposing Jesse Lippold as Chair
- 5 were against Heyen as Chair
- 1 supported Satya Chandragiri (Zone 4) as Chair and Sheronne Blasi as Vice-Chair
- 1 supported Heyen, Lippold, and Chandragiri for leadership roles
- The rest dealt with resignations, removals, and other matters
The meeting then moved to the nominations portion of the public meeting. When nominations were requested, Paul Kyllo immediately started to wave his hand and nominated Jesse Lippold for Chair. When Marty Heyen recognized Kyllo waving his hand, she referred to him as Lippold – perhaps a Freudian slip related to a back-door agreement? Feel free to form your own opinion.
Goss then proceeded to nominate Blasi, and Danielle Bethell (Zone 6) proceeded to nominate Satya Chandragiri (Zone 4). Votes were cast, ending with 1 vote for Lippold (Paul Kyllo’s vote), 3 for Blasi, and 3 for Chandragiri. That was followed by Lippold withdrawing, and another vote was cast.
Kyllo then changed his vote to Chandragiri (although he listed Chandragiri’s first name, not his last name, as instructed and yet not-so-ironically did *not* receive a lecture from Heyen for failing to ‘do as asked’). With that vote, Chandragiri became the new Chairperson for the Board, despite the significant support expressed by members of the community for Blasi.
After Heyen passed along control of the meeting to the new Chairperson, the nominations for Vice-Chair commenced. Kyllo, again, was the first to nominate, specifically nominating Danielle Bethell (Zone 6). Blasi proceeded to nominate Goss, and Lippold followed by nominating Blasi. Two Board members voted for Goss (Goss herself, and Blasi), one member voted for Blasi (Lippold), and the rest of the Board voted for Bethell.
As the process and outcome of the vote clearly demonstrate, the public’s opinion continues to not matter to most of the members of the Salem-Keizer School Board. Many community members will likely feel that the process and system for selecting new leadership was rigged. It’s yet another reason for members of the community to urge Board members to resign, and if they won’t resign, consider pursuing recall efforts, and if that doesn’t occur, then to vote most Board members out when they are up for re-election.
If you would like to know what it takes to recall a Salem-Keizer School Board member, check out the video below:
Marty Heyen’s actions in this Board meeting is shameful and is further proof that she is unfit for office. Please sign and share the petition below which calls for Marty Heyen to do what is right and resign immediately (4,396 signatures as of this posting):