“Satan is attacking our family by perverting the concept of marriage, which God created to be between one man and one woman only.”
This is not a rant from a fundamentalist church in Alabama; it is from a website launched by Dran Reese, a wealthy Rancho Santa Fe businesswoman who is one of two candidates running for a seat on the MiraCosta Community College Board of Trustees.
It is thought she has a decent shot at getting elected. The incumbent is not running for re-election and she is better funded than her sole challenger.
Reese is running to win a seat on the seven-member board that oversees the main MiraCosta Oceanside campus, a Cardiff campus, and a community learning center in Oceanside. Reese and her husband made their fortune selling an adhesive called Quakehold and other products that help make you safe in a disaster. She founded the Salt and Light Council, a nonprofit, nondenominational “clearinghouse of information” dedicated to promoting “biblical moral values in the public sector.”
Reese made her first big public plunge into education issues in October of 2013, when Channel 10 covered her effort to collect signatures for a petition that would make sure transgender students don’t get their choice of sports teams or bathrooms. A few months earlier she made a speech in front of the federal courthouse in San Diego, where she said, "Homosexual marriage is detestable…. No matter what judge, politician or movie star says it is equal to a marriage between one man and one woman.”
In 2011, Reese was quoted by onenewsnow.com, a division of the American Family News Network, as saying, “Homosexuals have no good quality intentions with children but to indoctrinate them into a perverted, sexual lifestyle.”
Reese’s opponent in the college-board race, Rick Cassar, says he doesn’t want to revel over provocative Reese-speak.
“I don’t want this to be another Peters versus DeMaio,” he says.
Cassar is a community college counselor at San Diego Miramar and City community colleges and an elected member of the Cardiff Union School District.
“As a counselor I celebrate diversity,” says Cassar. “When I see gay people who I work with get disparaged, I take it personally. In a community college setting, I think people need to feel safe and accepted. I think those views would make many people feel uncomfortable.”
In this campaign, Cassar says he would rather talk about issues such as college budgets and his proposal to make it easier for community-college students to transfer to universities. But, he points out, his opponent doesn’t show up to public candidate forums. Cassar says Reese attended one of three such debates.
MiraCosta faculty librarian Steven Deineh attended that October 20 forum at MiraCosta’s San Elijo campus.
“She calls transgender people pedophiles,” says Deineh. “The plentiful statements she's made against gay marriage is one thing. As a librarian, I'm all for freedom of speech and not censoring people. But she doesn't seem to understand much about the LGBT community, with an emphasis on the T for transgender. Publicly calling transgender people pedophiles is inappropriate, unacceptable, and is hate speech.
“Dran Reese is promoting a culture of intolerance that will create a hostile environment for transgender students and staff in our district and I think that’s extremely disturbing and problematic.”
Candidate Reese said by phone on October 30: “I respectfully decline to be part of your interview.”
Reese and Cassar are running for the MiraCosta Community College District 2, which serves 37,000 registered voters in Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Fairbanks Ranch, Cardiff, Olivenhain, and parts of the community known as New Encinitas.