In the continuing kerfuffle over BEX, one of the women in the trio of NE moms trying to get the BEX to fail (albeit quietly via very large neighborhood e-mail lists) has sent quite a pointed e-mail to Director Peaslee that was less-than-effective.
This e-mail is in reference to a video that Director Peaslee helped Jane Addams K-8 make in order to try to attract more students that in turn, would help take the pressure off neighboring elementaries and, of course, Eckstein.
This mom seem to believe, without quite coming out and saying it, that Director Peaslee has done something unethical. (And fyi, the district HAS a method to alert them to any potential or perceived ethics violation and it has been well-advertised.) The mom asks a laundry list of very pointed questions to Director Peaslee, most of which should be answered by district staff, including the Legal department.
Short of name-calling, this e-mail breaks almost every rule in the activist rulebook. So I offer these suggestions for future reference.
1) When you write to any elected official, do try being polite and starting with "Dear 'Elected Title' Jones". When you start, "Mr. Jones", it's off-putting and frankly, less than polite. This is especially true even if you don't like this person's work but have chosen to send your e-mail to OTHER elected officials.
They do take their cues from how you address other elected officials. They are the ones elected and it never hurts to be polite.
2) It's fine to give a parameter of when you would like answers to your questions but putting a hard date (with a specific time, no less) to ANY elected official, is again, off-putting and will not serve you well.
3) It is confusing to tell an elected official that you "understand" something without explaining where you got your information or if you have even tried to get an official explanation (particularly from the people/groups you reference). It is even more confusing to say you "understand" something and then ask that official questions about the exact thing you say you understand.
That elected official may not even know what you are talking about and may have to go to precisely the same people you should have gone to in the first place for answers.
Again, if you are asking questions rhetorically ( maybe to try to embarrass or bully the elected official), remember that cc'ing other elected officials will likely may them wary of you in the future.
4) The MOST important thing to do, early in any e-mail to any elected official, is to state the point of your e-mail. You can blah, blah, blah but busy officials have no time for that. Get to the point.
5) Don't ask questions you can look up on the website. No elected official has time for that.
6) Don't sign your missive "respectfully" when you have been aggressive and frankly, not-so-respectful. It comes across as flip.
Just a friendly word to the wise to one who has been in the trenches for years.