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A continued paucity of democracy
Posted on Tuesday, October 23 @ 21:32:51 EDT by Admin

News from the small schools Justice writes "

The “Meet the candidates” forum for the school board was held tonight, and again it was a snoozefest. Why do they always have this stogy format where all the candidates answer the same pre-approved questions? Would it be too much democracy if they just allowed questions from the audience? I'm thinking the format designed specifically so they can weed out questions that would be uncomfortable to answer.

Yea, they didn't ask any of the questions I submitted. Big surprise.

The opening two minute session was as exciting as reading from campaign literature, which it was. I was jerked from slumber when Peters made a feeble attempt at humor with her “top ten list”. She failed. The reason top ten lists work is that they are short, not the endless drone of campaign blather.

Adam Miller was not able to be at the event because of a sudden meeting required by his JAG military bosses. Former board member Tom Roberts gave his two minute intro speech, and added his own heartfelt recommendation, complementing Miller's knowledge of school financial and legal issues. It was a good recommendation, but Tom Roberts was not running for the board.

While answering a question about the school funding for the all-day kindergarten I noticed that Peters was much more knowledgeable than the other candidates with facts and figures ready to support her position. Of course she might have know that the question was coming. If she had her friends supply it on the question cards handed out before the event, it was not really that impressive.

I thought that the question “who is in charge at the schools, the board or the administration”, might elicit an interesting answer, but Lithgow and Treasure both supplied reasons for the board to let the administration run the show. Lithgow said she didn't think the board should be a "micromanager". The problem is that the board also fails to be a macromanager, or any other kind of manager.

I was hoping at least the challengers might use this question as a chance to point out where the board had been going wrong, but Treasure said “I don't have any problems with what the board has been doing”.

In answering this question, Peters brought up the issue of parents who have complaints that can't be resolved with the administration, and said that parents should be able to take them to the board for further resolution.

This a good indication of how bad things are on the present board (and how meek the challengers for the board were at this event) - a suggestion that the board should listen to parent complaints was probably the most radical idea expressed the whole night!

For those of you who couldn't stand to miss “Cavemen” on the TV tonight – you probably listened to more stimulating conversation and deep thoughs on important issues watching that TV program.

Later - Just to make it clear what positions the candidates are running on, Lithgow is the establishment, same old stuff candidate. Peters and Treasure are both running to be the partner of Lithgow as the establishment candidate. Miller is the change candidate. Since Peters has been anointed by the "secret political group" as the favored status quo candidate (along with Lithgow), you might have expected Treasure to stick some elbows out and try to move into the challenger space occupied by Miller. She didn't.

My prediction for the board election - as it becomes more apparent that Peters and Treasure are both running for the same status quo electorial slot, those who are backing Lithgow will realise that there can be a dilution effect for all three candidates, maybe even to the point of knocking Lithgow out of her spot on the board. I think there will be hard pressure on Treasure to drop out of the election.

Even later – A clarification of the above prediction. If you were at the candidate night at the HS, you saw a clear difference in the three women running for the board. Peters and Treasure are both lawyers, intelligent and highly articulate. They knew how to come across as knowledgeable about school issues (because they had done their homework, and they were knowledgeable). Lithgow is a ... lab technician? She muddled through the questions, with lots of “I agree with what she said”. Any objective viewer on that night would grade Lithgow as the weakest candidate. There will be a lot of Peters/Treasure votes as a result.


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