I actually have several other posts to write but something happen this morning that I wanted to share.
First, I received a phone call from Mary Bass. She just wanted some feedback from me on what I think I'm hearing here and other places about her performance as a director. We arranged a time to speak later.
Then, I'm listening the weekly news round-up on KUOW. I knew they would likely be talking about the primary election results so I was interested. There was Joel Connelly from the PI, Eli Sanders from the Stranger and Joni Balter from the Times. They were discussing how Joe Mallahan and Mike McGinn were behind the learning curve about being the mayor and needed to come up to speed. I decided to call in and see if I could mention that the same holds for the School Board candidates (as well as mention my discussion with Mike McGinn about his viewpoint about the schools).
So they were more interested in the my conversation with McGinn and I explained that I talked to him early on in the campaign. My take was that he felt it was important for a mayor to listen to constituent concerns about public education and that a mayor had to be aware of the importance of public education. I also mentioned that he knew he couldn't just take over schools and would need the Legislature. (I also mentioned that (1) Mayor Nickels had already talked about it a couple of years back and (2) that the Legislature could indeed pass a law that would apply to one district only.)
Well, Joni and Joel wasted no time in pooh-poohing the notion that it should be something a mayor should be concerned with (given the lack of power that currently exists). This bothered me because I didn't say and McGinn hasn't said it was the first thing on his agenda. But it is on his radar and I certainly am glad he cares enough to have thought about it (whether I agree with his stance). Steve asked me if I thought that he got votes for that and I said I doubted it as it had not been a central issue (and I don't even know if most people even know that about him).
But then Joel says that the Board is much better since they got rid of the "dingbats" and will be better of they get rid of another one. So Eli or Steve asked who that was and Joel said Mary Bass. He said it would "upgrade the quality of the School Board". Joni opined that Mary's "day is done" and found it puzzling that people keep voting for her. Then Joel says we have a tough new superintendent and a highly competent Board so why would a mayor mess with that? And Joni says it shouldn't be "job one".
A lot of this really angered me. One (and first and foremost) there should be no name-calling. These are supposed to be professional pundits and calling anyone who steps up to public service a name really says more about the speaker than the person they are naming. Mary Bass may be many things but a "dingbat" isn't one of them. I think he was referring to either Sally Soriano, Darlene Flynn and/or Brita Butler-Wall when he was talking about getting rid of "dingbats". These women all served honorably. The Board they were on was the Board who had to clean up the Olchefske mess from the so-called professional Board before them (who allowed the mess to happen in the first place). The Board they were on created a non-commercialism policy for our schools to try to get kids to eating healthier. The Board they were on took on one of the biggest challenges (that previous Boards had avoided); school closures. Whatever you think of these people, name-calling is inappropriate.
Two, I may have confused some people here (and I think Joel shares in that) but Dr. Goodloe-Johnson has a tough (formidable, etc.) demeanor but do I think she really is getting a lot done? There's a lot of planning and renaming and auditing but real things? No. And how is this Board any more competent than other Boards?
Third, Mike McGinn hasn't said taking over schools is job one. I didn't say that either. Joni Balter is the one who said that. It is very sad when they feel the need to rush to judgment just to make a point or be funny.