Dori: Petition calls for entire Olympia School Board to resign after appointing felon

Nov 30, 2022, 5:26 PM
Olympia School Board Member Talauna Reed

Barely one month after four Olympia School Board members unanimously appointed a convicted felon to fill a board opening, a no-confidence petition has been posted by community members, calling for the entire board to resign.

Olympia parent Alesha Perkins, who is behind the grassroots group OSD Rescue, told The Dori Monson Show that the petition had garnered nearly 500 signatures within the first two days of its circulation.

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The case started in late October when the four sitting members unanimously appointed Talauna Martin Reed, 47, to their board’s vacancy. Community members, including Perkins, objected to Reed’s appointment, citing her criminal history and vulgar anti-police comments. Some local voters recognized Reed from her failed 2021 campaign to the Olympia City Council.

During that race, Reed gained attention at a rally by telling the crowd “f*** the police” in a string of profanities she used while criticizing local officers providing security and crowd control. Video shows Reed calling the officers “pigs,” and adding “. . . they don’t pay attention until we tear s*** up. So, before I get started, tear everything up in this f****** city until they do what we want them to do.”

The petition has gained traction because “Initially people didn’t understand how extreme this person was with her rhetoric,” Perkins told Dori’s listeners.

Equally concerning to Perkins and OSD Rescue: Reed’s criminal history.

At the board’s Nov. 10 meeting, Perkins continued, Reed defended her past, citing only a 1996 bounced check. However, records show Reed’s criminal convictions include a series of second-and third-degree theft charges stemming from a Thurston County embezzlement case in 2003; a 2010 second-degree theft conviction in Pierce County; a 2017 check forgery case at an Olympia-area Hobby Lobby; and a shoplifting arrest at a Target store that same year.

At that same meeting, Perkins said, the board was “presented with her entire criminal history, which includes felonies, misdemeanors – spanning almost 25 years – violent crime, theft, assault. This is not a minor bounced check and to deliberately mislead the public like that is unconscionable.”

Even so, “the other four members have completely 100 percent stuck by her. They’re 100 percent supportive of her,” Perkins added.

“You do start to feel like you’re starting to live in the Twilight Zone,” she said. “When you present a mountain of evidence of how somebody is completely unfit for office and you’re told that it is her lived experience and is actually an attribute, what do you do with that?

“As these things have come out, more and more parents are saying, `how do we have a board that allowed this to happen?’”

Perkins told Dori’s listeners that the petition can be found at “OSD Rescue” on Facebook.

Since the no-confidence petition is not binding, Dori asked, what’s the end game?

“They are not bound to accept” the petition, Perkins acknowledged. “But we are asking for a full resignation. As far as what they choose to do, we don’t have control over. It is important for us to state on the record we have no confidence in you and your ability to lead this school district anymore.”

Listen to Dori Monson weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Dori: Petition calls for entire Olympia School Board to resign after appointing felon