For the Higgy: Alison Collins

Image HT: SF Examiner

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

There have been a lot of crazy vibes radiating out of the San Francisco school board lately, but no one on that board is more radioactive than the board’s vice president, Alison Collins. After years of pushing the board’s most PLDDist tendencies, she recently revealed a little too much of the inhumane hatred that always lies behind such impulses – and after being faced with surprisingly mild consequences for her outrageous behavior, she has now turned on the board itself in a vain (in every sense) effort to extract $87 million for herself.

JPGBers will recall that in 2019, the Frisco school board paid $600,000 to destroy a mural, painted by a communist, depicting George Washington as a cruel slaveowner and oppressor. The school board did this not because it misunderstood or disagreed with the artist’s desire to destroy liberal democracy by equating it with slavery, but because portraying uncomfortable history is now considered a form of violence. Of the $600,000 spent to destroy the mural, $500,000 went to pay for an environmental impact statement (no, really).

In the past year, the big joke about the Frisco school board has been the board’s determination – in the midst of a system-shattering pandemic that might have been expected to secure the board’s attention and energies – to rename 44 of their schools (over a third of all their schools) in order to usher in a glorious Year Zero, removing any semblance of a trace of a notion of a hint that the United States has anything resembling a history. Never mind debates about George Washington! Even debates about Abraham Lincoln are so yesterday – of course Lincoln has to go. The school board went far beyond these woefully inadequate measures, removing such names as Robert Louis Stevenson (who among other things bore witness against colonial mistreatment of Pacific Islanders), John Muir and Diane Feinstein.

As that notorious right-wing propaganda rag The Atlantic documents, the renaming process represented the sheer bull-headed stupidity of PLDDism at its worst:

The decision process was a joke. The committee’s research seems to have consisted mostly of cursory Google searches, and the sources cited were primarily Wikipedia entries or similar. Historians were not consulted. Embarrassing errors of interpretation were made, as well as rudimentary factual errors. Robert Louis Stevenson, perhaps the most beloved literary figure in the city’s history, was canceled because in a poem titled “Foreign Children” in his famous collection A Child’s Garden of Verses, he used the rhyming word Japanee for Japanese. Paul Revere Elementary School ended up on the renaming list because, during the discussion, a committee member misread a History.com article as claiming that Revere had taken part in an expedition that stole the lands of the Penobscot Indians. In fact, the article described Revere’s role in the Penobscot Expedition, a disastrous American military campaign against the British during the Revolutionary War. (That expedition was named after a bay in Maine.) But no one bothered to check, the committee voted to rename the school, and by order of the San Francisco school board Paul Revere will now ride into oblivion.  

The committee also failed to consistently apply its one-strike-and-you’re-out rule. When one member questioned whether Malcolm X Academy should be renamed in light of the fact that Malcolm was once a pimp, and therefore subjugated women, the committee decided that his later career redeemed his earlier missteps. Yet no such exceptions were made for Lincoln, Jefferson, and others on the list.

But this modern version of the Ride of Paul Revere came to an abrupt end for Collins recently, when 2016 tweets surfaced in which, referring to “most” Asian-Americans, she said they were “house n—–s” who had joined themselves to “white supremacy” because they embraced high academic standards. This revelation came after the recent highly-publicized murders targeting Asian-Americans. Of course, such conduct would be unacceptable anywhere, but it is especially inconsistent with leadership in a district that serves a huge population of Asian-American students.

Collins issued a weasel-worded non-apology (“whether my tweets are being taken out of context or not…”). She was not fired and did not lose her six-figure salary on the board. But she was stripped of her committee assignments.

And now the story gets really interesting!

Collins has sued – that’s right, sued – not only the board as a whole but five of its members as individuals, for a grand total of $87 million. The rambling, shoddily-written lawsuit (so shoddily-written that at first there was widespread confusion over exactly how much she was suing for) states that the five members must personally pay Collins millions each “to protect the public from the gross misuse of governmental power,” and because a mere $12 million damages from the board itself “will only tip the scale in the direction of injustice.”

And what, exactly, is she suing over, given that she did not lose her job, nor a penny of her salary? Buckle up: Relieving her of her committee assignments is “illegal” and has caused Collins “spiritual injury to her soul” that will haunt her “in perpetuity, for the rest of her life.”

Also, allowing a 30-minute public comment period during a board meeting, in which some members of the public called Collins “racist,” caused Collins “clear and present danger, harm, and injuries.”

As Mason Hartman put it succinctly: “The complaint is essentially arguing that Alison Collins had a constitutionally-protected right to tweet racial slurs without (nonmonetary) impact to her employment, but that her fellow board members should have to compensate her for merely allowing the public to comment on them…I think Alison Collins might genuinely believe that it’s illegal to call her a racist.”

The suit also seeks additional damages from fifty unidentified defendants to be named later, for reasons to be determined later. No, really! It does! Gape at this amazing paragraph for yourself:

The suit dispassionately comments, in all caps: “JURY TRIAL DEMANDED.”

Have I mentioned that Collins, this tribune of the downtrodden seeking $87 million, is married to a wealthy real-estate developer who does tons of luxury condo and office development work in Frisco – work that requires approval from the same city government that employs her? Because she totally is.

Don’t worry. However the Collins lawsuit comes out, at least the school board is committed to doing better in the future. After this debacle, the board audited its own “restorative justice” processes and found that they were extensively infected with “white supremacist characteristics.”

Filing a crazy-eyed, off-the-wall lawsuit for $87 million against your own longtime partners in pernicious PLDDery, just because they refuse to let your bigoted tweets take them down with you?

I have only one thing to say to that: HIGGY DEMANDED.

6 Responses to For the Higgy: Alison Collins

  1. Michael Shaughnessy says:

    “Spiritual injury to her soul”? And how is she going to prove this in a court of law???

  2. pdexiii says:

    No more Higgy nominations; doesn’t get any better (or worse) than this lady; she wins.

  3. […] March blew in like a lion when it was revealed that San Francisco school board Vice President Allison Collins had made some rather nasty comments about Asian Americans on Twitter a few years ago. She accused them of many things, including the use of “white supremacist thinking to assimilate and ‘get ahead.’” So, the school board had to do something, but they didn’t fire her or take away any of her six-figure salary; they merely removed her as vice president, and stripped all of her committee assignments. But instead of apologizing and graciously accepting the demotion, Collins sued the school district. For $87 million. Among other things, her lawsuit alleges that the demotion caused her a significant loss of reputation, severe mental and emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, humiliation, and (my personal favorite) “spiritual injury to her soul.” […]

  4. […] March blew in like a lion when it was revealed that San Francisco school board Vice President Allison Collins had made some rather nasty comments about Asian Americans on Twitter a few years ago. She accused them of many things, including the use of “white supremacist thinking to assimilate and ‘get ahead.’” So, the school board had to do something, but they didn’t fire her or take away any of her six-figure salary; they merely removed her as vice president, and stripped all of her committee assignments. But instead of apologizing and graciously accepting the demotion, Collins sued the school district. For $87 million. Among other things, her lawsuit alleges that the demotion caused her a significant loss of reputation, severe mental and emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, humiliation, and (my personal favorite) “spiritual injury to her soul.” […]

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