If, as Tip O'Neill said, all politics is local, it must be equally true that all politics is idiotic. At least, if all local politics is like that of the Jurupa Unified School District in Riverside California, where board trustee Noreen Considine, excuse me, Captain Noreen Considine, is threatening to sue the District.
Her complaint? That board members refer to her as "Trustee Considine" rather than as "Captain Considine":
According to the Navy Times:
A retired Reserve captain is threatening to sue her local California school board if the board’s members do not address her by her military title.
Retired Reserve Capt. Noreen Considine, 64, was elected to the Jurupa Unified School Board near Riverside, Calif., in November. She claims her political foes are deliberately disrespecting her by not using her rank when discussing school business.
“It’s a way to diminish me. If they take away my title — the one I ran on and the one I’m entitled to — then they have a better shot at demonizing me,” Considine said in an interview.
At a Jan. 20 meeting, Considine told the school board they were harming her reputation, violating her civil rights and may be liable under California state laws.
“None should doubt my resolve in this matter,” Considine told the crowd, according to the minutes of the meeting.
“Those who think they can act contrary to the law with impunity — proceed at your own peril,” she said.
Considine feels that by failing to address her as Captain, fellow board members are engaged in slander against her name (she considers "Captain" to be a part of the name), violation of her civil rights under 42 U.S.C. 1983, and a special act of the United States Congress. As she put it to the board:
In the United States Navy the ranks of Captain and above must be conferred by an Act of the United States Congress – no others may do so. That a superintendent of this school district and a member of this board would presume to have the authority to deprive me of that which was granted by an Act of Congress and protected by the United States Code and the laws of California, is a manifestation of colossal arrogance and profound ignorance of the law.
I suppose I share that ignorance, as I'm unaware of any law which requires civilians to address retired Naval reservists by their former ranks. But I'm willing to concede I may be wrong. You really should read Captain Considine's complaint yourself, to appreciate her legal analysis: thats-captain-considine-to-you-sir
In the meantime, I'll again concede that I am uninformed. But to make things interesting, I'm willing to bet my co-blogger Ken, a California attorney, a full season of McHale's Navy dvds, versus four pounds of frozen strawberries, that there is no California law which requires civilians to address Trustee Considine as Captain.
Now where are those strawberries?
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