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La Mirada Chamber Invited Alt-Right Racist to Moderate School Board Debate



BRINGING RACISM TO SCHOOL BOARD DEBATE-  A simple internet search of Van De Mark would have produced several pictures such as this one. Behind Van De Mark (front) is a woman flashing a white supremacist sign


September 17, 2022

Staff Report

The La Mirada Chamber of Commerce pulled a fast one Thursday night at the NLMUSD Candidates Forum introducing as the moderator Critical Race Theory espousing alt-right and known Proud Boy supporter Gracey Van De Mark to the surprise of many at the event.

LM Chamber executives were giddy, as was the clones who knew she was coming in advance, ready to pounce with their right-wing divisive statements about teachers in the classroom, what they’re teaching, abortion, birth control, and how they are enabling LGBTQ+ kids.

But others, including HMG-CN Publisher Brian Hews, had no idea Van De Mark was going to be the moderator.

The Cerritos Republican Club invited Van De Mark to speak at the Cerritos Library, which was attended by then Vice President of ABCUSD Board Soo Yoo; HMG-CN learned of the event and publicized it, which drew many protesters to a Cerritos City Council meeting, but the City Council still allowed the library event.

Cerritos Republican Club Hosted Racist Proud Boy Supporter Gracey Van Der Mark at Cerritos Library Weeks After AAPI Beating at City Park

“She’s a right-wing whack job who needs to stay in Orange County, said HMG-CN publisher Brian Hews, “I did not find out she was the moderator until I got several texts during the forum from people attending who were very angry. Extremely bad judgment on the part of the La Mirada Chamber to invite her.”

“My local community news writer, Tammye McDuff, who asked me if she could be Chamber President this year, also did not tell me.”

And its not just Hews’ view of Van Der Mark, “She’s a disruptor, she’s a bigot, and she has no place in public governance. None,” Gina Clayton-Tarvin, clerk of the board of trustees at Ocean View School District told the Daily Beast in 2021.

A simple internet search by the chamber would have revealed Van Der Mark’s long involvement with the alt-right.

In April 2017, according to a Facebook post, she shared a picture from an event with Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman. A far-right brawler and leader of the Proud Boys’ paramilitary wing the “Alt-Knights,” Chapman had earned his nickname when video footage showed him hitting a leftist protester with a stick, leading to his arrest and eventual plea deal on a weapons charge.



“My son got a few tips from Based Stick Man on how to protect himself against the Antifa masked cowards at rallys and patriot events. [sic]” Van Der Mark wrote on Facebook.


In another selfie, Van Der Mark can be seen with Antonio Foreman. who, in August 2017, marched in the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

Van Der Mark can also be seen attending an anti-Islam event in San Bernardino. Photos from the day show her wearing a gun-print shirt, standing behind far-right figure “Johnny Benitez,” who is wearing a Proud Boys uniform and holding a poster with a meme about ethnic cleansing of Muslims.


But that history did not matter to the chamber. Van Der Mark was introduced, smugly strolled up to the podium and immediately began her alt-right line of questioning, not knowing that it was traditional to allow the customary two minutes for each candidate to introduce themselves.

Van Der Mark’s first question was predictable, “will you teach CRT in the NLMUSD.?” Her second question was, “will you fight against the state trying to include CRT in school curriculum?”

It has been a proven fact in all reputable media reports that CRT is only taught in college graduate courses and it is a right-wing racist meme meant to divide parents and school boards

All candidates could be seen as taken by surprise, with all answering the question in the negative.

Van Der Mark then asked if the board members would allow a Planned Parenthood clinic, but that was a moot subject and yet another divisive question.

An item had been put on the NLMUSD’s Board agenda weeks ago to discuss a clinic, but it was pulled and never discussed, the board making it clear in a statement they were not considering the clinic.

By the time Van Der Mark began asking abortion questions, a visibly upset LMUSD Board Member Dr. Robert Cancio, who is endorsed by HMG-CN, objected to Van Der Mark’s line of questioning.

Van Der Mark asked, “a minor in school cannot be given an aspirin or Neosporin without permission from their parents; however, a child of any age, without permission or knowledge of their parents, can consent to have an abortion as well as be given birth control, do you approve of this?”

Cancio responded, “I almost feel like I’m not in a friendly debate for school board with these questions.”

Many attendees could be overheard on a microphone saying “yes what is this? Why are you asking these questions?”

Cancio continued, “as the only product of the Norwalk La Mirada School District on the stage, I can assure you that we are in the business of teaching our students to be lifelong learners, we do not provide services and it’s inappropriate you keep asking these questions.”

A debate moderator’s job is to be objective and control the situation, but Van Der Mark, could be overheard saying after Cancio’s comment, “actually it’s [abortion services] happening in a lot of schools I’ve seen it myself.”

Cancio responded, “not in this school district.”

Board Member Norma Amezcua spoke up and said, “your [Van Der Mark] questions are ridiculous and have no place in this debate, can you ask pertinent questions?” That statement drew a loud and vocal response from the attendees.

Undaunted, Van Der Mark continued asking other candidates the abortion question, with the attendees becoming increasingly angry and yelling in her direction.

The last question caused chamber executives Noel Jaimes and McDuff to call a break and end Van Der Mark’s questioning.

“Does anyone believes a six-year-old is cognitively prepared to understand the concept of being assigned a gender?”

In an email, Jaimes told HMG-CN, “yes I approved her [Van Der Mark] as the moderator, I did some research and found a few articles on her in Orange County, but your [HMG-CN’s] stuff did not pop up in my search. Why?”

Like the Daily Beast article, a search of Van Der Mark will produce many unflattering Orange County articles pointing out her alt-right Proud Boy supporter background, her controversial run for Huntington Beach City Council [she came in fourth] and her association with ex-HB Councilman Tito Ortiz, another right-wing Proud Boy supporter who called the Jan. 6 insurrection a “false flag,” and the pandemic a “plandemic.”

The information in the OC articles was used as background information when HMG-CN published the report outlining how ABC Board President Soo Yoo and the Cerritos Republican Club invited Van Der Mark to speak at the Cerritos Library.

That meeting ended with Yoo, Van Der Mark, and ABC Board Member Michael Eugenio pictured under the California Department of Education with a circle/slash through the logo.

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? White Supremacist Van Der Mark (left) with ABC VP Soo Yoo and Trustee Mike Eugenio (r) under the Prohibition sign.