Horne’s calls upset residents | TheUnion.com

Horne’s calls upset residents

Nevada County Supervisor Sue Horne defended placing phone calls to the homes of high school students in advance of Wednesday’s school board meeting, saying she had a right to weigh in on the parental-consent issue as a concerned parent.

But parents and those concerned with a possible change in the Nevada Joint Union High School District’s parental-consent policy say Horne’s involvement might suggest she has a political motive for weighing in on the debate.

Horne said she was not acting as a county supervisor when she was asked by a Sacramento-based nonprofit to record a message asking people to attend the board meeting in support of parental consent for confidential medical appointments. In the message, Horne did not identify herself as a supervisor.

Horne, who lives at Lake of the Pines and represents southern Nevada County, said she’s often been asked to speak to groups that don’t have a direct link to the Board of Supervisors. This was no exception.

“The people who were contacted are my constituents,” she said. “It’s perfectly appropriate, and I was speaking as a private citizen.”

Nevertheless, Horne’s actions have a few scratching their heads.

“How did she get my name and phone number, and who paid for this?” asked Dorothy Leighton, who was greeted Monday night by an automated message from Horne asking parents to attend Wednesday’s meeting at Bear River High School. “I was certainly upset by this, that’s for sure.”

Leighton said her name is on the federal do-not-call list. The list allows for “calls by or on behalf of tax exempt or nonprofit organizations,” according to the federal Web site.

Leighton was one of three people who wrote letters to The Union questioning Horne’s actions regarding the parental-consent issue.

Leighton asked who paid for the phone message and said she was hopeful that no public money was spent.

Karen England of the Capitol Resource Institute said her nonprofit paid for the phone message. The nonprofit, which describes itself as “California’s leading pro-family grassroots advocacy group,” also conducted a survey of Nevada County parents earlier this month to gauge their support for a proposed change.

The nonprofit has conducted similar surveys in Placer, El Dorado and Solano counties where school districts were considering a change in their parental-consent policies.

Even if Horne didn’t identify herself as a supervisor in her phone call, her wide name recognition might have confused some, said Mary Longmore.

Longmore issued a letter to trustees asking them to retain a policy that guarantees students can leave high school campuses without parental consent. In her letter, Longmore – who is chairwoman of the Nevada County Democratic Party – makes no reference to her political position.

“I would never do what she did,” said Longmore, who has grandchildren attending Nevada Union.

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