Monday, July 05, 2004

Would you trust this guy to be your Secretary of Education?

Via my favorite General, we find this story.
State Education Secretary Richard Riordan has apologized for joking that a child's name meant "stupid dirty girl."

In a videotaped exchange at the city's central library on Thursday, a girl asked Riordan if he knew that her name meant "Egyptian goddess."

Riordan, who apparently believed he'd been asked what her name meant, replied, "It means stupid dirty girl."

Some in the room laughed nervously, and the girl again told Riordan the meaning of her name.

"Hey, that's nifty," he said.

Local television station KEYT-TV videotaped the exchange.

On Friday, Riordan issued a statement saying he had "teased" the girl, who was not identified. "I immediately apologized to her, and I want to do so again for the misunderstanding," he said.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a longtime friend of Riordan who appointed the former Los Angeles mayor to his cabinet, said in a statement that the comments were "unacceptable in any context."

"We must always focus on encouraging and supporting children. I've known Dick Riordan for a long time, and I know that he would never knowingly or intentionally upset a child."

Riordan was in Santa Barbara to promote his summer book club.
While everyone I knew genuflected before Riordan when he was mayor, I don't quite trust him, especially as Secretary of Education. I've heard his trusted aide is Ouchi, who's idea of public education does not come from personal experience. Lack of personal experience did not stop him from writing a book about public education. PTA parents I know view the duo, actually the trio counting governor movie star, with a great deal of suspicion. Kind of scary, knowing his connection to Riordon.