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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Times' Article on District 2

This article appeared in today's Times about this race. I am quoted but a correction I would make is that while I supported Darlene last time, I don't recall giving to her campaign.

Darlene's line about people who want to contact her always manage to seems to be a backhanded way of saying that people didn't really try. How many times are you supposed to e-mail her/phone her before she'll answer? I know this is not just me. I can see, if she's very busy between the two jobs she has, only answering constiuents of her district but I still haven't found anyone who says she did that on a consistent basis.

I think she's correct in her assessment that no one can really understand the job until they are in it. There's a learning curve for every job but when considering non-incumbent candidates you can look for people who are the most likely to be able to step into the job easily.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a comparison, both Brita and Michael have been good about answering emails. They are busy, too. Darlene should do better if she wants another term.

Anonymous said...

While I was able to get Darlene to respond to email and phone messages, she was rude and demeaning at our meeting. Almost like a multiple personality. Kind of scary.

I was never able to get Mary Bass to respond to any type of communication. Unless you go in person to have your communications completely ignored. Same with Irene Stewart.

It's really awful.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, Brita is pretty much (from my experience with Board members through the years) the gold standard. Not only does she answer inquiries, she had regular office hours in her district. It was very helpful.

Anonymous said...

I loved Darlene's quote about how while Sherry Carr "...spent the past few months campaigning ... she (Darlene) was busy hiring a new superintendent and working on other district issues."

If hubris were all it took to be a competent director, Darlene would be excellent. Unfortunately, it isn't even a quality I consider desirable in a director.

Similarly hubristic is her taking credit for "cleaning up the district's finances" - in Charlie Mas's excellent schooling on what board members can and can't do, we've learned that 80% of the District's spending is salaries, which are not approved by the Boardm, and that the most the board can do is vote the total fund budgets up or down, not even line-item veto - yet she's implying here that she's done some comprehensive overhaul.

If you want to give anyone credit for the financial turnaround, it's Raj's staff - Mark Green, Steve Nielsen, Linda Sebring (and the budget analysts, who rock in their quiet wonky way)- and they all probably did it in spite of Darlene's "pointed questioning".

The board can take credit for hiring the new sup and for school closures - that's a fact - but at least on the latter Darlene was a vote and several painful soliloquies and that was about it. The executive cmte did the heavy lifting.

Too bad the press can't get to the reality - I guess if they did they'd never get the notable quotables to call them back...

Melissa Westbrook said...

Talk about not keeping up; I completely forgot that I did make a contribution to Darlene's campaign back in 2003. So my apologies to Emily Heffter at the Times for saying she was wrong. She's a better fact checker than me on this one.

Anonymous said...

Not to be an apologist but I think it is important to note that Flynn, Stewart and Bass have full-time government jobs that explicitly forbid them to do school board work on the company clock. If they have to attend to their school board duties during regular business hours, they have to use their vacation time or complete their paid employment responsibilities later in the day. Butler-Wall is largely supported by her spouse and deBell is self-employed. They have a lot of control over their work days.

I have never had any trouble contacting any of the school board members. Did they always do what I wanted -- no..... Did I wish they had? Yes..... Am I complaining that no one listens to me? No.... Sorry to sound unsympathetic but the people who should be complaining (the parents of the children who really aren't being served as evidenced by low test scores and disgraceful graduation rates) haven't been listened to for more than twenty years and I for one am grateful that we have board members who will continue to speak on their behalf.

I guess I get tired of people who have every advantage this school district has to offer complaining that they don't get enough. If you want a Lakeside education then cough up the money. Otherwise, give the rest of us a break. No one likes a "matyr" and this seemingly organized attempt to discredit school board members for not answering emails is beginning to feel small and petty. Get over it already.