facebook tracking pixel Overreacting over crack by Riordan | TheUnion.com

Overreacting over crack by Riordan

The Union editorial board

OK, so California education secretary and former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan has a twisted sense of humor more appropriate for a smart-alec kid than a 74-year-old man. But he certainly doesn’t deserve to be fired because of it.

Riordan was visiting a summer reading program in Santa Barbara recently when little Isis D’Luciano asked him if he knew that “Isis” meant Egyptian goddess. He cracked back that it really meant “stupid, dirty girl,” and when she corrected him, he replied, “Hey, that’s nifty.”

Dumb, but not traumatic, right? In this climate of partisan anger? Most definitely wrong. He apologized five ways from Sunday at the time, then more formally as the story went national and as Democrats and the Sacramento Bee demanded that he be fired. Democrat Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally even tried to whip up a racial issue, asking if Riordan would have “done that to a white girl.” Then somebody told him that Isis was white. Oops, as “Saturday Night Live’s” Emily Litella used to say – never mind. …

Come on. It’s not as if Riordan was secretary of defense when U.S. soldiers were torturing Iraqi prisoners.

It’s also not as if Riordan doesn’t care about children. Kids and their education have been a core belief in this man’s public and personal life, which includes a run for governor. His family foundation has given millions to provide educational tools, such as computers for poor, mostly minority schoolchildren. He has vocally supported political candidates, such as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, whom he believed would push educational opportunities.

Isis kept things in proper perspective, according to her mother, by not taking it personally, and in fact being careful not to hurt Riordan’s feelings after his gaffe. Mom also is a pretty smart cookie, saying, “I’m not going to sue him for therapy bills. (He has) already apologized repeatedly. I don’t see what else is to be done.”



See more

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.