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Candidate Helps Run Group That Says Homosexuality Can Be Cured

Donna Woodrum, who’s running for a spot on the San Diego Community College District’s board of trustees, lists her occupation as “NonProfit CEO” on her ballot statement. She runs the nonprofit American Culture Council, which helps refurbish homes for veterans, according to the organization’s website.


Donna Woodrum, a candidate for the San Diego Community College District’s Board of Trustees, in her campaign website photo.

But Woodrum is also the secretary and IT director of Eagle Forum San Diego, an organization that includes statements on its website declaring homosexuality is a disease that can be cured, that prayer is legal in schools and that Muslims are a threat to America.

Her husband, Woody Woodrum, who ran a write-in campaign for San Diego mayor in 2012, is the group's president.

Reached by phone, Donna Woodrum said she’s primarily involved in the Eagle Forum because of her husband. She said she does “a lot of the behind the scenes things” such as securing venues for events and sending out invitations. The organization’s views, she said, “have nothing to do with my race” for the community college board.

When asked whether she shares Eagle Forum San Diego’s beliefs, and whether the group would influence her policy decisions if she’s elected, Woodrum said again, “This has nothing to do with my race.”

She said she’s focused on how the community college district spends its budget and why more money doesn’t go toward alleviating student fees.

“In the 24 years my incumbent opponent has been in office, credit student fees have gone up 600 percent,” she said. “Even with this large budget. That seems to be unfair.”

Fees at California community colleges are set by the state legislature, not the board of trustees.

Woodrum and her husband founded Eagle Forum San Diego in 2009, according to her husband’s website That same year, they received the Eagle Leaders of the Year award, according to Woodrum’s LinkedIn page. There, she describes the organization as “education-based, but they also encourage their Members and Attendees to run for office or to apply for seats on Boards and Commissions around our county” and says she works to book speakers like Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, at its events.

San Diego Community College District’s board of trustees sets policies for three community colleges, which serve about 130,000 students a year, said Jack Beresford, a district spokesman. The board makes decisions on how to spend an $865 million annual budget and sets policies on “education, budget, facilities, human resources, external relations and communications,” he said.

“They have a lot to do with where we’re growing, what direction the district takes in terms of instruction,” Beresford said.

The community college district's chancellor is tasked with carrying out the policies the board approves.

Woodrum is running against incumbent Maria Nieto Senour to represent the Community College District’s Area A, which includes University City, La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, Clairemont and Bay Park. They are the only two candidates in the race, which means both will advance to a citywide election in November.

Neither candidate has raised much money so far. A committee called Elect Woodrum Trustee 2014 received $1,000 from Claire Reiss of La Jolla, $500 from Dran Reese of Escondido and $100 from Frank Kacer of San Diego. Senour for Community Colleges Committee 2014 has so far received only one $235 donation from Juan Camerena of San Diego.

Woodrum said she does plan to fundraise more — “every candidate has plans for fundraising, of course,” she said — but said her plans haven’t “gelled” yet.

The Republican Party of San Diego County and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, have endorsed Woodrum, according to her campaign website. Woodrum also recently joined 52nd District congressional candidate Kirk Jorgensen, San Diego County Assessor Ernie Dronenburg and a few other Republican candidates at a teapParty gathering, according to the online news website Times of San Diego.

The Woodrums’ Eagle Forum San Diego is a chapter of a larger organization that says it “exposes the radical feminists” and opposes “the feminist goal of federally financed and regulated daycare.”

Eagle Forum San Diego’s website calls it “The Home for CONSERVATIVES Who Have No Party.” It includes pages detailing “research” on a number of topics, including:

  • Homosexuality (“The confusion about their sexual identity can last a lifetime, unless the child, when older and in control of their own decisions, decides to come out of the homosexual closet and receive treatment and help to regain their true sexual identity. Fortunately, there are many clinics which offer such treatment, with very good success rates”)
  • “Muslim threats in America” (“September 11, 2001 exposed the greatest threat to America today...and showed the liberal point of view for the most flawed, un-American position ever taught in American schools and universities.”)
  • And, prayer in schools. (“Parents, you can and you must take charge of your child’s education. If you cannot afford to home school, then run for a position on the school board, or at least go to the school board and demand that these laws be implemented.”)

When Woodrum’s husband ran a write-in campaign for mayor, San Diego CityBeat reported on his outspoken positions on homosexuality and his campaign rap (“Stand for America and the sanctity of life/Woody Woodrum For The Mayor, San Diego Get It Right”).

Lorie Hearn, executive director and editor of inewsource, a KPBS media partner, edited this story.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 22, 2014 at 9:46 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Can her stupidity and bigotry be cured?

I think not.

It goes without saying we don't need a draconian bigot (prejudiced against gays and Muslims) on a board representing a student body as diverse ad San Diego community college.

I will be following this race closely and looking forward to her losing.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 22, 2014 at 9:48 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Endorsed by Mr. issa no less, one of the most corrupt, inept, dirty members of high D.C. politics.

Issa is another McCarthy.

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Avatar for user 'Eddie89'

Eddie89 | May 23, 2014 at 7:23 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Good to know some background on all of these candidates. It helps make us informed voters!

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | May 23, 2014 at 7:37 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

so another vote for the least detestable of the lot vote ?

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Avatar for user 'lifesaver1'

lifesaver1 | May 23, 2014 at 9:25 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Her views aside, it's really creepy when people run for office without being straightforward about their core beliefs. If you don't stand behind your core beliefs, what sort of person are you? Perhaps disingenuous, but probably more importantly lacking in character. One presumes that the people who share her beliefs quietly know about them and support her; and she hoped that those who don't share them would be blissfully ignorant. This is not how our democracy should work.

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | May 23, 2014 at 10:04 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

it may not be their "core beliefs" in so much as the persons behind them that manipulate them.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | May 23, 2014 at 10:41 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Why is the GOP in San Diego entirely incapable of producing a reasonable moderate candidate?

Where is a good independent candidate?

How about even a moderate Democrat?

Now the election has been handed (once again) to a left-wing extremist who has been in office for 25 years. We need TERM LIMITS!

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Avatar for user 'dorndiego'

dorndiego | May 24, 2014 at 11:09 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for this story. I'm sure it would have come up sooner or later, but sooner is better. We can all consider how little we know of the people who run for office.

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Avatar for user 'josephnobody'

josephnobody | May 25, 2014 at 8:15 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

"Just say no" to a Woodrum holding any office in San Diego!
Perhaps Homosexuality will find it's way back into the DSM6, with a Big Pharma magic pill to cure such a birth defect.
Democrat/Republican, same corporate sponsors hedging their bets.
911, Muslimnoia gave us Homeland Security at the price of our Constitution & Bill of Rights.
Keep it polarized, us & them, vs "We the people".
Prayer in schools?
"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State." ~ Thomas Jefferson.
Only a Woodrum would execute Socrates, again.
Will a day come when critical thought places you on the terrorist watch list?
Merely my 2 cents from the East Village Idiot.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 25, 2014 at 10:24 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

"911, Muslimnoia gave us Homeland Security at the price of our Constitution & Bill of Rights."


This is an important point. It shows how the targeted bigotry of one group can actually spread and cause civil rights abuses that impact all of us.

This is why people should be concerned about targeted bigotry even if you aren't the target.

At what point do we say the terrorists won when they have given our government the foundation to amass un-checked power and erode American freedom?

There is the physical and emotion damage and destruction that took place on 9 11, and then there is the ongoing erosion of freedom that has been bleeding since then thanks to abhorrent fanatical hacks like Ms. Woodman.

I realize that as technology changes the invasion into unchecked intrusion by any government - be they right or left - becomes tempting, and if not 9 11 then I'm sure some other trigger would have opened the floodgates - but that's why it's so important we elect people to office who are interested in keeping and indeed expanding civil rights protections and putting protections in place that protect our privacy and protect us from anything "warrantless".

Not only would I never vote for an overt hysterical bigot like Ms. Woodrum, but I will not vote for any candidate - be they Dem or Repug who (1) thinks Edward Snowden did something terrible or (2) thinks the ACLU is an "evil" organization

The ACLU is the one powerful non-government entity that works daily on behalf of the people when our government oversteps.

It protects us as best as any organization can from people who want to destroy the very foundations of freedom in our country.

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Avatar for user 'sd760'

sd760 | June 4, 2014 at 10:52 a.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

I thought you progressives were all into diversity. What's wrong with having a trustee with a different opinion than yours on homosexuality and muslims? Step out of your liberal bubble for a minute and you will see there are many people that have a different point of view.
Please spare me the generalization that anyone who stands against homosexuality is homophobic or bigoted. Over half of California stood against it on Prop 8. For most people it's a deeply held religious belief, one that is against homosexuality but NOT against the homosexual person. Yes, it is possible to like a person even when you dislike something he or she is engaged in.
As for Muslims... I challenge you to do research on the history of Islam and how it spread, and is still spreading. You will discover that Mohammed left a command to conquer the world for Islam. You will find that it has spread mainly by military action first in the Arabian peninsula, then east across Africa and north into Asia. There was a determined effort to spread into Eruope but it was stopped by the Crusades. Many uninformed individuals condemn Christians for the Crusades. Sure, there were atrocities... on both sides. War is hell, but the Crusades represent the first offensive action to stop the military takeover of the world by Islam. Until then one city at a time fought a defensive war against it. I thank God the Crusades were a success.
The spread of Islam stagnated for several centuries due to the Crusades and a dwindling treasury to fund the effort. Guess what? They now have tons of money again since the 1970's from oil production. They are still living under the same command from Mohammed and they are still acting on it. They realized that they don't need to conquer the free world by force. They simply emigrate to those countries and build up their numbers until they can vote in sharia and vote out freedom. You don't think that is happening already? Take a look across Europe. Take a look at Dearborn, Michigan. I'm glad that we share the same view on freedom and how Homeland security and other government agencies have chipped away at the Constitution and our freedom for decades. Under Islamic rule there is no freedom. They focus on submission to sharia law and their leaders. How do you think you'd like living in an islamic America? Don't be so naive as to beleive it can't happen here. All it takes is political correctness and apathy. Learn about Islam. You will find that it isn't like the other main religions of the world. The other main religions teach voluntary conversion, love and tolerance for one another. Islam teaches hate, murder and conversion by force. It is more of a political ideology than a religion.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | June 4, 2014 at 11:06 a.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

This woman would have represented a college distric with gay and Musilm students, and her politics were not a good fit.

I'm glad she lost, it was one of the few good things to come out of last nights otherwise dismal election.

Maybe she should try running again - this time in Mississippi. There I think she would find more people in-line with her political viewpoints.

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