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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Say What?

This editorial appeared in today's Sunday Times under the title, "On the Corner of Indifference and Ignorance". I believe he is saying that he doesn't think the people running for City Council and School Board are qualified enough. He's disappointed. I say "believe" because he seems so peeved, it's hard to be sure. What he says on who runs the city:

"The city is run by representatives of two major and influential cohorts: neighborhoods and highly specialized interest groups. That may fit a less-competitive era, but if this region is going to need every brain and every molecule of stamina, it must have a much higher caliber of contestants for public office."

I don't want to argue with him about whether that is correct for the City Council but it is somewhat true for School Board. And rightly so. Board members have to know neighborhoods; it's an intimate job in that way. I'm not sure I believe interest groups run the District; they certainly have a face here but I don't see any one group dominating the district.

I get what he is saying; we are a big city now and with the world getting smaller, our strategic location on the NW coast, the plethora of issues facing a big city, etc., we need people who can see the big picture. But you can't lose sight of the fact that this city is inhabited by people. Our leaders can't ever leave the day-to-day real life issues out of their thinking.

I had to smile when he talks about how knowledgable Senator Murray is in trade issues. I recall many who laughed and called her a mom in tennis shoes when she ran. People with talent and passion and good common sense can rise to the challenge. Most congressmen and women specialize in an area. It is a rare political leader who can know everything about 15 different issues.

Here's what he said about the School Board elections:

"Take schools. Instead of governing the most imaginative and self-guided of urban school districts, every board candidate appeals to the most-threatened coterie of voters. A new Seattle school superintendent will arrive Monday, perhaps to improve the district — we simply don't know.

Arguably the most important public appointment this year, the new superintendent, Maria Goodloe-Johnson, is almost unknown to those outside the two cohorts public officials value most."

Self-guided? What school district is self-guided? You don't just put programs in place and hit autopilot.

"Every board candidate appeals to the most-threatened coterie of voters". Who and what is he talking about? Seriously, I don't understand. Example: Steve Sundquist is appealing to what most-threatened of voters?

Of course Dr. Goodloe-Johnson is not widely known. Most superintendents in big urban districts are not well-known to people who don't have school-aged children.

If he's not happy with who's running maybe it's because the Times makes the jobs and the current occupants of those seats sound so bad that the very people he might want to run won't consider it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I too had to read the Vesely piece about 3 times this morning and still didn't know exactly what he was saying. Maybe when you're editorial page editor no one will tell you when what you've written doesn't make very much sense.

I finally had to guess that when he talked about each candidate appealing to "the most threatened coterie of voters" it wasn't necessarily the same one for each candidate -

Or maybe it's the various and very vocal variations of SOS/CEASE/Sakara Remmu et al that the MSM always seem to pick up (but MSM? if you're listening? there are a lot of people out here whose views they DON'T represent and who don't see Seattle Public Schools in the way they do - or say they do)

Or perhaps the coterie is whatever contingent of folks is currently threatened with school closure...

Whatever he meant, I didn't get it.

Maybe Lynn Varner will run one day - and we'll get to see how it should be done...I know she's editorial, but wasn't Dick Lilly a reporter before he worked at City Light and became a school board director?

It would be very interesting to see Lynn (or any of the other MSM town criers) out of the stands and into the driver's seat...