Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 59° Partly Cloudy
News >  Education

Anti-mask political groups in Central Valley funded by Florida company

UPDATED: Tue., March 29, 2022

The Hartshorn family, left to right, Brooklyn, 14; mom, Lori; Charlie, 4; and Kaitlyn, 17, protest in front of Central Valley High School during the “March for More” rally last year. About three dozen parents and students protested Central Valley School District’s latest in-person learning plan.  (Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
The Hartshorn family, left to right, Brooklyn, 14; mom, Lori; Charlie, 4; and Kaitlyn, 17, protest in front of Central Valley High School during the “March for More” rally last year. About three dozen parents and students protested Central Valley School District’s latest in-person learning plan. (Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
By Nina Culver For The Spokesman-Review

A Florida company paid for a mailing sent to some Central Valley School District residents on behalf of a Washington political action committee that says it is against mask mandates, vaccine mandates, critical race theory and comprehensive sex education.

The mailing from Citizens for CVSD Transparency arrived in mailboxes in early February. The letter from the group said it had supported Central Valley School Board member Pam Orebaugh and write-in candidate Bret Howell in the November election. Orebaugh was elected and the group decided to form a PAC.

“We are conservative traditionalists who believe there is NO place in our children’s education for ‘woke culture’ or ‘political correctness,’ ” the letter said. “We are an all-volunteer committee of local citizens working hard to change the current culture in the CVSD.”

The goals stated in the letter include keeping critical race theory out of schools, to “teach our children to love their country rather than being taught distorted facts about America’s history,” and the desire to “protect your children from a liberal, progressive sex education curriculum which panders to multiple genders, no sexual boundaries, and the abandonment of traditional morals.”

A letter from Howell was included in the mailing in which he advocated support of Citizens for CVSD Transparency. “The guidance, expertise and tireless effort of the parents who formed the CVSDT PAC was instrumental to my recent write-in campaign for school board,” he wrote.

The group’s web site provides no information about the founders or backers of the group.

The goals listed on the web site include attending school board meetings, electing new school board members to replace board members “opposed to our values,” opposing CRT, opposing comprehensive sex education and reviewing and auditing the district’s budget. It also discusses making sure that participation in sports is based on the gender stated on the child’s birth certificate.

Documents on file with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission provide some information about the PAC that isn’t disclosed elsewhere. The chair of the PAC is listed as Dennis Reed. Erin Zasada, Kelsey Maltsberger and Melinda Seymour are listed as vice chairs. The secretary is Robin Joncyk and the treasurer is James Grisafi, who filed the paperwork. The same post office box and generic email address is listed as the contact information for each person except for Grisafi.

Grisafi declined to comment on the group when contacted. No one else contacted responded to a request for comment.

The PAC has raised and spent little money. Donors include Joelle Balcom of Spokane Valley ($130), Brian Abraham of Spokane Valley ($100) and Rob Linebarger of Liberty Lake ($25). Maltsberger has donated $10 in cash and a $29.18 in-kind donation in the form of business cards. Small contributions account for another $175.

The direct mailing is listed as a $1,084.62 in-kind donation from a Melbourne, Florida, based company called Smartmail LLC.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.