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MUSD Bars Body Building Over 'Scantily Clad Women'

A local gym owner said the Monrovia Unified School District superintendent told a body-building contest promoter that she didn't want the high school associated with "scantily clad women."

owner and competitive body builder Brian Whelan said the school district has rejected a proposal to bring a body building competition to because the superintendent didn't want "scantily clad women" associated with the school.

A promoter wanted to stage the West Coast Classic Bodybuilding and Figure contest at MHS during next year's summer break but was rebuffed by Monrovia Unified School District Superintendent Linda Wagner, Whelan said. Whelan said Wagner called the contest promoter and told his assistant that he would not be allowed to rent the school for the event.

"She just said, 'We do not want our school associated with scantily clad women,'" Whelan said. "Her view on it was very, very clear."

Whelan took exception to that characterization of female body building and defended it as a sport. Whelan's wife Jennifer is also a competitive body builder--she's won the West Coast Classic twice--and he said that only professional body builders would be taking part in the competition, which the promoter wanted to hold over the 2012 summer break.

Wagner did not return an email or a phone message left her assistant requesting comment on this story.

The contest, which would have required a paid ticket for entry, could have brought in thousands of dollars for MHS boosters, Whelan said. Last year's event drew about 1,200 spectators, and Whelan said $5 of each ticket sold would have gone to the boosters.

In the past, the competition has been held at other nearby high schools like El Monte High and Rosemead High, Whelan said.

Lonnie Teper, the contest's promoter, said he visited MHS over the summer and wanted to move the competition to Monrovia High from El Monte High because the city offers better amenities. His assistant submitted the paperwork when the school year started, and that's when she got the call from Wagner, Teper said.

Teper said the description of female body builders as scantily clad women was "demeaning" to people like Jennifer Whelan, who he said trains intensely for the competitions.

"I think that's pretty demeaning to Jennfier Whelan who along with Brian is a pillar in that community," Teper said. "These people are training really hard and watching what they eat and they're an inspiration to people."

Teper compared the bikinis worn by body builders to the outfits worn by many high school athletes like swimmers and track runners.

"When you're judging somebody's physique, yes, they have to be in bikinis," he said. "But you see bikinis everywhere you go."

Whelan said the contest would have been a boon to the city's businesses as well. The last event promoted by Teper, a writer for Iron Man Magazine and an instructor at Pasadena City College, filled up an entire hotel, Whelan said.

Teper said he was put off by the superintendent's reaction and plans to host the event elsewhere.

"They want me to have the show at El Monte. They're welcoming me with open arms," he said. "I don't want the facility if they don't want me there."

sayitisntso October 08, 2011 at 12:20 AM
Hope to see you at the meeting and you are wrong about the Civic Center Act not applying to this group. But I would suspect you are used to being wrong.
Nicoline Conway October 08, 2011 at 12:26 AM
I couldn't have said this better myself, Dave!
Mark October 08, 2011 at 12:28 AM
I tend to agree with you both.
Nicoline Conway October 08, 2011 at 12:28 AM
There are a lot more important things to get upset about.
sayitisntso October 08, 2011 at 12:40 AM
Who's upset? People here are having healthy debates and good clean disagreements.
sayitisntso October 08, 2011 at 05:55 AM
Maybe she has a very wild life? You know what they say about Pious people, (Making a hypocritical display of virtue.)
Kate K. October 08, 2011 at 07:27 AM
Completely apart from the above concerns about what's appropriate, etc.--- Its my recent understanding (perhaps incorrect?) that the usual fees for Monrovia High as well as other MUSD school facilities are far higher than the $5/head audience revenue this event "offered". If this is so, why would/should MUSD rent to this group for less than their stated rates? Just wondering...
Kate K. October 08, 2011 at 07:51 AM
Some people ARE having healthy debate here; But other people are stooping to snide personal remarks, such as "...I suspect you are used to being wrong", and insinuating stupidity in those merely disagreeing, ala "If you believe Linda... I have a bridge to sell you." Could we all, please, keep discussion at a bit more respectable and less condescending level ? True debate does not include snide condescension and personal insult. (Leave that bombastic rudeness to the politicians, please.)
Erin Thorn October 08, 2011 at 07:54 AM
I know there is a rocket club that competes in a JPL contest every year and there is now an Academic Decathlon team that competes. Those probably don't cost anywhere near the amount of money that sports, band, drama and the like cost. Besides, the article said he was donating to "MHS boosters" or "the boosters" it did not specify Athletic/Big M boosters. There are a lot of booster clubs and it may very well be he intended to spread the wealth. The MASA is only about 4 years old and they were given a good sized start up grant and now a brand new science wing to get them going. Lastly, there has been one parade to celebrate a long sought after MHS Football CIF win that came after 10 trips to the finals, in like 80 years. No other school sport or organization had to fight that long and hard to get there. It was well deserved.
sayitisntso October 08, 2011 at 04:41 PM
If MUSD had a rental policy in place the price would be there and the price would be paid or not. Right now it seems that we have a superintendent who wants to force her morals on the community by way of what she will or won’t allow us to view. Remember “RENT” The schools would not be subsiding this event. State law requires this type of event to pay fair rental value. EDUCATION CODE SECTION 38130-38139 38134. (e) In the case of entertainments or meetings where admission fees are charged or contributions are solicited and the net receipts are not expended for the welfare of the pupils of the district or for charitable purposes, a charge shall be levied for the use of school facilities or grounds which charge shall be equal to fair rental value. Kate, if you can’t see the hummer in my comments then I feel sorry for you. Lighten-up, one hundred years from now this won’t matter anyway, don’t try to force your morals on others or their way of speaking.
Brenda Winner October 08, 2011 at 11:29 PM
That is exactly right sayitisntso. And as far as Bodybuilding competitions being compared to strip clubs and pole dancing is so off base and incorrect. The athletes that compete in these shows are intellectual, disciplined and highly motivated people promoting health and fitness. Discipline is something students of every age need to learn. I work with bodybuilders everyday and I can tell you firsthand these are people who exhibit values and morals that are of the highest standards. To compare them to strippers is an insult. To deny Monrovia the opportunity to hold one of these venues that show the best of the best is a great loss. We support Monrovia schools every year and we work with the students firsthand. Our staff has always been students who work at our gym until they graduate and most even come back to work during their breaks or summer vacations. We teach them the value of good health habits and we feel satisfied that what they have learned from us is something they will carry for the rest of their lives.
David Conway October 09, 2011 at 02:54 AM
Monrovia High School is scheduled to be repainted this summer. Several brand new building were built and they don't need to be painted, but If you look at the older buildings they are in need of plaster repairs and repainting. They really look shabby, especially in contrast with the beautiful new buildings. For the entire campus to look good the repainting is essential.
Ed Gililland October 09, 2011 at 04:19 AM
Are you kidding me back at you Andy? No one threw Dr. Wagner under the bus. Cyrus requested the issue be placed on the agenda as he has every right to do. It would be illegal and irresponsible to do anything else. It would also violate the Brown Act if we made a decision on this or any other item on the agenda prior to open discussion of the item. Therefore, unless Cyrus decides to withdraw his request, it will be heard in open session and the Board will really consider if this decision by Dr. Wagner should be reversed. One of the key factors in that discussion will be that the campus will be closed for sandblasting and painting of the main building at the time this competition will take place. Nathan seems to have a knack for editing information to create conflict. I hope to sit down with him this week to talk about how we can honestly and openly share information so the correct information gets out the first time.
Ed Gililland October 09, 2011 at 04:31 AM
MUSD does have a rental policy in place and sayitisntso has included the appropriate information about the basis for that policy. This type event would have to pay the fair rental value to the District which would be used for the welfare of the students. If the event planners want to include a $5 per ticket donation to the athletic, band, or academic booster clubs at MHS, they would be free to do that in addition to, not instead of the rental charge.
Raymond Aguirre October 09, 2011 at 05:11 AM
To Ed Gilliland, Sorry to hear you feel Nathan likes to create conflict, but that is clearly not the case. The publics perseption is reality as we can all agree on, and when the MUSD board drags it's knuckles and refuses to respond to requests for information in a timely manner, well then MUSD has created conflict by not answering local media groups questions in its entirety. You are doing a great job Nathan, I cannot say the same for MUSD's board.
sayitisntso October 09, 2011 at 07:00 AM
Ed Gililland, When I spoke with the district office I was told that no rental policy existed but that the board was currently working on developing one. That was also confirmed by a member of the MUSD board prior to my posting. Many different stories. If there is not one then shame on the Superintendent for not having the board development one when she took office.
Brenda Winner October 09, 2011 at 06:58 PM
These competitions require discipline and good health habits something all students should learn. Besides the value of self worth and the betterment of a person. And Mr generous does give evey year to the school in any way we can.
Brenda Winner October 09, 2011 at 07:02 PM
Your comments and opinions are insulting. There is no comparison to wet tshirts and pole dancing here. But trying to explain this to you would be like going to a gunfight with a knife. There is just no way you could understand if this is how you feel. The only one who suffers unfortunately is your daughter.
Brenda Winner October 09, 2011 at 07:04 PM
It has been held there before and it's not available this year.
Jean R. October 09, 2011 at 07:35 PM
I have seen the students leaving the campus. Most of the "students" have inappropriate clothing. I think a little common since is in order here
Ed Gililland October 10, 2011 at 04:13 AM
The Board Policy is Number 1330 (Use of School Facilities). A policy has been in effect for many years, but the current version was adopted on December 5, 2010. Some revisions have been recommended since that time. The Board is scheduled to consider this policy in November so this discussion is very timely. I am sorry if anyone associated with MUSD gave any information that this policy did not exist. I would also like to address the comment that the campus was just renovated and should not need to be painted. The exterior painting of the existing buildings was not done under the modernization contract. We determined that we could save taxpayer money by having a separate contract just for exterior painting after the major construction and modernization contracts were completed. That is well documented in previous open meeting minutes. Since the modernization contract was not completed in time for that painting to take place before the start of school this year, the decision was made to do the painting at the end of this school year when the campus could be closed. I hope that clears up those two issues.
Frank "frazgo" Zgonc October 10, 2011 at 12:40 PM
Thank you Ed for clearing up this mess and pointing people where to look for answers.
sayitisntso October 10, 2011 at 06:32 PM
Thanks Ed, I will be requesting a copy of Board Policy, Number 1330, along with the painting and sandblasting contract and event application to help sort out fact from fiction.
sayitisntso October 10, 2011 at 07:42 PM
Kristin K. Mariconda Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent Dear Kris, I am making a request, to review copies of the following documents per our conversation 10/10/2011: 1. Board Policy, Number 1330 2. The painting and sandblasting contract for the High School that conflicts with Bodybuilding Event rental application 3. The Bodybuilding Event application to rent High School facilities Thank you, Cyrus Kemp
Brenda Winner October 10, 2011 at 08:24 PM
bikin shows are for strip bars???!! what an assinine remark! You are really showing your true colors now.
Jerry Baker October 12, 2011 at 12:32 AM
It's easy to check. Just make a California Public Records Act request for a copy of the notice to proceed on the sandblasting. That will tell you when and if it was approved - before or after the request to use the facilities for the competition.
sayitisntso October 13, 2011 at 09:13 PM
Ed, it seems that a lot of misinformation has been put out by MUSD. Let’s look at some facts received by me through an information request at MUSD. Application date 9/22/2011 Event date 6/23/2012 June 8, 2012 Last Day of School (K­12) In an email from the District Office - “A copy of the contract for sandblasting and painting at MHS during the time requested by West Coast Classic is not available because the District has not gone out to bid yet for this work.” After reading, Board Policy 1330, reviewing the date of the event and seeing that the Sandblasting, Painting is not scheduled or even put out to bid I see no reason that this event and the revenue it would have brought the MUSD was denied, except for the personal tastes of the Superintendent to the detriment of the District. The work would have over two months to be completed after the event was held and could be put out to bid for that time frame.
Jerry Baker October 13, 2011 at 09:32 PM
Ask them for a copy of the RFP for the project. That will tell you if, in fact, they requested that the work be performed on those dates. It's also interesting that the school district seems to know the winner of a contract that hasn't even been bid yet.
Josh October 14, 2011 at 08:58 PM
They would be paying the usual rental fees plus $5 a head
Ed Gililland October 16, 2011 at 05:09 AM
Cyrus (Sayitisntso), Per your request, we'll have this on the agenda for Oct. 26. The discussion will be done in public and recorded for KGEM. I’m not sure where the idea came from that we had a signed contract or know who the contractor will be. If my comment was interpreted to say that, I apologize for the confusion. I said it is scheduled for that time period, not that it was already contracted. We typically advertise and award these contracts closer to the date the work will actually be done. This will be a very large contract to put the finishing touches on the refurbishment of MHS. It has been openly planned in public meetings for the last two years. I will make sure that timing, work to be done, anticipated schedule and anticipated cost will be part of the discussion on the 26th. In compliance with the Open Meeting Act (Brown Act), the Board will not be having private discussion of this issue prior to the open meeting at which it will be considered.

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