Tredyffrin Township Democrats attack Republican School Board Candidate George Anderson for extremist views on Facebook

Republicans-vs-DemocratsWith Election Day 2015 still four months in the future, the Tredyffrin Township Democrats are not letting the “dog days of summer” keep them from going after one of the Republican TE School Board candidates, Dr. George Anderson. With a headline reading “Extremist Views Espoused by TE School Board Candidate”, an email blast was sent to the TTDEMS mailing list and the article posted on their website. The use of graphics and commentary from Dr. Anderson’s personal Facebook page provide the proof of the TTDEMS accusations (see below).

The individual responsible for the TTDEMS email and the website entry is TE School Board candidate, Democrat Alan Yockey, but I am told that the other three Democratic school board candidates support his actions.

Yockey (D) is a candidate for Tredyffrin Region 2 whereas Anderson (R) is a candidate for Tredyffrin Region 1. Although Yockey and Anderson are not seeking the same TE School Board seat, it was interesting to note that Yockey used a entry from Anderson’s Facebook page, which also included a photo of Republican Ed Sweeney. Sweeney is a school board candidate for Tredyffrin Region 2, the same seat for which Yockey seeks office. It’s unclear whether Yockey’s inclusion of Sweeney’s photo from Anderson’s Facebook page was an oversight or calculated to discredit this school board candidate by association.

Politicians and political parties are in the era of Internet campaigning. Creating a social media strategy for use during political campaigns has quickly become an essential part of every candidate’s plan to get into office. Today’s example by the Tredyffrin Democrats shows that the use of social media is a two-edged sword. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. are all useful tools to help win an election but as Anderson (and possibly Ed Sweeney) learned today, can also be the secret weapon in local politics.

School Board candidate George Anderson and Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee Chair Neill Kling both provided responses to the posting by the Tredyffrin Democrats (see statements below).  The Chair of the Tredyffrin Township Democrats, Kathleen Keohane, was contacted and should she provide a statement, it will be added to this post.

The calendar may say July, but it looks like this could be a very long campaign season for local voters.  And the battle begins …

From the Tredyffrin Township Democrats email and posting (To read, click on the graphics or go to their website, www.ttdems.com)

TTDEMS

TTDEMS 1 TTDEMS 2

In response to the Tredyffrin Township Democrats posting, School Board candidate Dr. George Anderson provides the following:

In response to carefully excerpted selections from my personal Facebook page being put up by the Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee I plead guilty… I am guilty of believing those holding political office should not use governmental power to promote their personal political agenda, (as America witnessed in the recent use of the White House as a screen for the Rainbow Flag). I am guilty of believing in every American should have the ability to defend themselves and their families by exercising their Second Amendment Rights. I am guilty of believing Darwin’s explanation of how life developed on our planet was incomplete and is unsupported by science as it developed over the last 150 years. I am guilty of believing drug addiction is a horrible affliction and having the threat of imminent death may reduce the number of those who take the chance for a thrill. I am guilty of believing, there has been no global warming for the last 10 years and the continued calls for more draconian regulations are more about governmental control than they are about saving the planet. If basing my opinions upon the American Constitution and the existing science is extremist, then I am most certainly guilty.  (I have little doubt the next email from the Tredyffrin Democrats will headline … “Extremist Candidate admits Guilt”)

The level of effort which went into this email is interesting. I do post many political items on my personal page, and they are generally opposed to the policies of this administration but it also includes photos of my new Koi pond, photos of my birds and pictures of Bulldog puppies. One is forced to ask; why has someone put in so much effort, going through thousands of posts, to slandering me? Is it because on my official Facebook page (Dr. George Anderson for TE School Board), I expressed the radical concept that “We owe our children the best education we can provide. We owe it to our citizens to achieve that goal in the most transparent and frugal way possible.”  or perhaps it was the extremist concept that members of the School Board work for the citizens of the TE school district and should be available to them.

It is an old saying “If you cannot attack their ideas, attack them personally.”  With, personal attacks this early in the election cycle, one is forced to ask, who or what is the Democratic machine trying to protect?

Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee Chair Neill Kling provides the following statement in response to the Tredyffrin Democrats posting:

Dear Pattye:
I understand that the Tredyffrin Democrats (in the person of Region 2 School Board candidate Alan Yockey) have sent out an e-mail attacking Region 1 School Board candidate George Anderson as an “extremist” based on material that he has re-posted on his personal facebook page. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to respond.  

This is a tactic that the TT Democrats used in the last local election to foment opposition to our Republican school board members and candidates. It seeks to demonize certain of our neighbors who put themselves up for election and divide our electorate rather than bring us together to address the challenges that our school district faces.  I’m sure that we Republicans could find material against our Democratic opponents that would perhaps paint them in a way that some of our electorate would consider extreme.  But these are our neighbors, this is not the campaign that we Republicans choose to run, and we will not respond in kind.  Such tactics do not produce a healthy environment for school board (or any other) governance going forward.

Our school board candidates, while certainly all good Republicans, are individuals with many perspectives and  talents who bring their personal opinions to specific issues (issues we hope to engage fully in the Fall campaign) while focusing generally on the core principal of good stewardship — of our children’s education and safety, of our hard-earned tax dollars, of our invaluable school employees, and of our school facilities.  School Board is an unpaid, difficult, often thankless job and each of our neighbors who has served and has stepped forward to ask for your vote this November (Republican and Democrat) deserve our respect.

I also understand that Mr. Anderson has sent you a response to Mr. Yockey’s post.  For my part, I know Mr. Anderson as a devoted father and husband, as a former student of the T/E Schools, as an educator at Valley Forge Military Academy who is also tasked by that institution to bring diversity to its ranks, and as a person with a strong background in finance.   Mr. Anderson has told me that he welcomes any discussion about his views and he will be walking the neighborhoods this Summer (as will all of our candidates) so that our neighbors can get to meet him and engage him in conversation.  I hope that all take the opportunity to do so.

Thanks again for your courtesy,

Neill Kling
TTRC Chairman

Since this Community Matters post went up yesterday, the graphic from George Anderson’s Facebook page which included Ed Sweeney’s photo was removed from the TTDEMS website and replaced with a different graphic.

Kathleen Keohane, Chair of the Tredyffrin Township Democrats provided the following statement in response to school board candidate George Anderson and Tredyffrin Republican Committee Chair Neill Kling:

Hi Pattye,

I appreciate your bringing this troubling issue to light. I disagree strongly with Neill Kling’s characterization of the TTDEMS’ webpage post and email to our subscribers. They cannot be reduced to “a politically motivated attack” on a private person who reposts what some may find offensive material on his Facebook page.

On July 8, George Anderson stepped way over the line when he wrote, “I personally believe it should be against the law to revive someone who has a drug overdose. Letting them kill themselves would thin the herd.”

Understandably, our candidates expressed disbelief and revulsion that a person holding this view could be in the position to make decisions about the welfare of our District’s children.

No one disputes George Anderson’s right to express whatever views he may hold. But there are consequences to doing so. I believe every Tredyffrin voter needs to take a careful look at each of the candidates running for local office. Yes, they are our neighbors, and we appreciate their willingness to step forward to make a difference in our community. But who are they, and what do they stand for?

We are less than a month into the lazy days of summer, and I know that few people are focused on the fall election right now. From a political standpoint, our party’s decision to take a stand against George Anderson on July 11 was hardly strategic.

It simply had to be taken. His heartless belief that it should be a crime to administer life-saving medicine to a dying addict, along with some of his other extreme views need to be known. I feel certain that the reasonable, caring, well-informed people who live in our community will reject them.

Best regards,

Kathleen Keohane
Chair, TTDEMS

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30 Comments

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  1. I should like to add one additional point to my response. Although I am sure he was at the School Board meeting, to the best of my knowledge, I have never spoken with Mr. Yockey nor do I believe I would be able to pick him out of a crowd. Other than this rather rude introduction, I have no preconceived notions about him. He however, has apparently made a great deal of intuitive judgements about me as a human being with no first hand information.

    Political decision making is best achieved when there is mutual understanding. Therefore, I would like to invite Mr. Yockey to sit down with me for a coffee (or a beer if he prefers) and discuss directly each one of the four pages he selected. Let’s think less about maligning each other and more about what can be done to benefit TE School District. I’ll buy.

    [Reply]

  2. Since this Community Matters post went up yesterday, the graphic from George Anderson’s Facebook page which contained the photo of Ed Sweeney, was removed from the TTDEMS website and replaced with another graphic.

    My post was also updated to include a response from Kathleen Keohane, Chair of the Tredyffrin Township Democrats to TE School Board candidate George Anderson and Neill Kling, Chair, Tredyffrin Republican Committee.

    [Reply]

  3. Kathleen,

    I find it peculiar that the only time you choose to publicly comment on something is to bash a Republican running for office, Dr. Anderson, or to attack a R who just lost an election, Dr. Brake.

    I would appreciate your comment on fellow D Kevin Buraks and the fact that his law firm is in a financial relationship with the district.

    I would appreciate your comment on Scott Dorsey voting for an outsourcing company for valuable aides and paras when he ran on the promise not to outsource aides and paras.

    I would appreciate your comment on your fellow D’s barring Liz M. from attending Board Meetings.

    [Reply]

  4. Pattye, thanks for posting Ms. Koehane’s reply. As is the case with Mr. Yockey, to the best of memory, I have never met her or spoken with her about any issue. I would be pleased to do so.

    Still, from her point of view, I do appreciate the need to move the conversation away from school board issues; secret meetings, multimillion dollar deficits, tax increases, wasteful spending etc and make it about me. If I were her, I would not want to have my candidates running on that record.

    [Reply]

  5. I was somewhat puzzled why Region 2 candidate Yockey would post my picture in this context. I thought he was running, like me, for Region 2. He apparently has a great interest in Region 1 candidate George Anderson’s views (and my picture!).

    My name is Ed Sweeney, and I want to fight successfully for Tredyffrin and Tredyffrin Region 2’s interests and the greater good of all TE students. I was endorsed — unsolicited — in the “anonymous” pre-election mailing along with his Democratic running mate for one of the two best Region 2 candidates for our vigorous stands on the “fence issue.” Tredyffrin needs to continue to be a place where middle class families can live and take advantage of a first rate education. We are not Radnor School District, and the more we act like we are, the more we will be driving out middle class families.

    We need to spend less money on infrastructure and focus on preserving academic quality and preserve district employee morale. There should be less talk of “outsourcing.” There should be more talk of cutting the rising cost of administrators and keeping the money for the teachers and in the classroom. We need to have more direct interaction and openness at SB meetings and I will urge moving to system of interaction that resembles Board of Supervisor (BOS) meetings. My years of government service (hopefully) allow me to speak with authority on issues and to know best when to speak. .

    All TE School Board members and our area residents should should be speaking with one bi-partisan voice about the most recent important issue: we need Governor Wolf to truly support school employee pension reform, and not veto it! The current way of handling pensions is an outmoded, unsustainable 1930s model. It is not unreasonable to say to new employees to more to what all of us have in the private sector while preserving the current employees’ rights to what has been contractually obligated. The current way of funding is seriously hurting TE and other districts.

    George Anderson is a patriot and loves his country. Both he and his son were deployed abroad as part of First City Troop. His family knows what it is to truly sacrifice for his country and people should get to know him. He has earned the right to be heard and treated with respect and not simplified into a sound bite. Mr. Yockey could profit from Mr. Anderson’s meeting and, I personally, would chose the beer. I am sure he’ll get a story or two and meet a good man who has served his country well and would do so again if elected.

    [Reply]

  6. I was just made aware the TTDEMS are circulating their accusations via a variety of organizational and personal email. I am forced to wonder why my calls for transparency and responsible stewardship of the taxpayers money represent such a threat. It is easy to speculate, but I promised not to reply in kind.

    Dr. Anderson

    [Reply]

  7. Though I wanted to believe that Neill Kling and members of the TTRC (including Ed Sweeney) endorsed George Anderson without being aware of his extreme views, I was surprised to learn this weekend that both seem to find them within the bounds of mainstream Republican values and beliefs.

    Both Neill Kling and Ed Sweeney took great pains to portray their candidate/colleague as a man who has much to offer our community as a school board director, while George Anderson himself actually doubles down on his extreme statements and admits his “guilt” in comments to Community Matters.

    It did not go unnoticed that George accuses our party of slander. May I suggest he consult with attorneys Kling and Sweeney before repeating this charge? To meet it in a court of law, he would have to prove that false spoken statements were made against him and that they have damaged his reputation.

    In reality, the images and words in the TTDEMS email to their subscribers and on their website were the exact words and images available to any visitor to George Anderson’s Facebook page – until he decided to delete or make them private on Sunday, July 12.

    They and many other personal comments and accompanying images we chose not to print leave no doubt that George Anderson is unsuited to be a T/E School Director.

    Take another look if you haven’t read them carefully.

    Tredyffrin is not unlike many other communities who have rejected school board candidates, or, after-the-fact, not re-elected sitting school board members who hold extremist views or have personal agendas that are at odds with the community’s values, educational goals and priorities for their children.

    George rejects well-established scientific facts and believes that people who overdose on drugs should be left to die as a means of “thinning the herd.”

    Do we need to know more?

    [Reply]

    mainstream Reply:

    Even if what you say is true, as School Board Director George will not have life or death decision making on people who overdose on drugs. That job is left to the EMT’s who I’m sure will make the right choice.

    As far as Global warming, how does his opinion on that affect children? Director’s have no power to influence school curriculum.

    It sounds like George wants to make secret meetings by Board Members, Wasteful spending, Tax increases and multimillion dollar deficits the topic for conversation in his campaign. I would like for George and others to share their views regarding these relevant school district topics.

    [Reply]

    Dr. George Anderson Reply:

    Mainstream;

    Thank you for asking about the real issues of this campaign. An example of the real decisions being made in secret; one School Board meeting I attended was a presentation on the new maintenance building. I found it interesting that the presentation was in the “past tense”. “We decided” “We concluded” etc. One board member even stated, “We cannot keep talking about this we must move on.” It was clear the decision had already been made and any public comment was irrelevant. The fact was the board had not considered all the alternatives and had elected the most expensive possible alternative to satisfy the needs of the township. The school board is to work for the citizens of the TE school district not for the superintendent.

    My campaign is about transparency and accountability. Any voter can reach me on any issue my phone number is 610-969-8320. I cannot promise to pick up the phone, (I do have a job.)But I do promise to answer either here or on Dr George Anderson for TE School Board.

    George

    [Reply]

  8. Dear Ms. Keohane;

    What you see depends upon where you stand. And we are certainly on different wave lengths on several subjects. I hope we can agree we owe our children the best education we can provide and we owe it to our citizens to achieve that goal in the most transparent and frugal way possible.

    To the best of my knowledge, we have never met, we have never spoken. I once again call for dialog and ask you to sit down with me for a cup of coffee (or a beer if you prefer). Pattye can join us and hopefully we can both learn something about the other.

    My phone number is 610-969-8320. Feel free to call me. If I cannot answer right away, I will be sure to return the call.

    [Reply]

  9. That’s a good point. I find this entire matter offensive. It seems to me the TTDEM’s and specifically Chair Kathleen Keohane are trying to force feed their viewpoint. They seem to think the voting public isn’t smart enough to make up their own minds or to be informed on their own.

    I’d much prefer that Mr. Yockey and all candidates and political organizations stick to the core issues.

    [Reply]

    Dr. George Anderson Reply:

    Good Point;

    Thank you for your comments. The real issues in this election are a school board which is out of touch and not responsive to the voters, increasing taxes, wasteful spending, etc. (Much of which could be forgiven if the school was headed “up” but it is in fact loosing ground.)
    TE has been a great school district but we are making decisions in secret and getting less performance for more money.

    The Democrats want to make this election about my personal beliefs. (I am a bit of a ramble rouser.) But that is only because they cannot run on their performance.

    I am running on openness and transparency. My phone number is 610-969-8320. Feel free to call me. If I cannot answer right away, I will be sure to return the call.

    [Reply]

  10. Dr. Anderson,

    As I have stated many times on C.M., the Board makes it very clear that Board Meetings are orchestrated. The Finance Chair told me not to come to Board Meetings because votes are taken on decisions that have already been made in Committee meetings. Have you ever known a Board Member to be influenced by or change a vote at a Board Meeting based on comments from citizens?

    The Board Member said that I should attend committee meetings and when I did, I quickly discovered that they are no different. Directors consistently choose not to engage the community in any significant way.

    There is no opportunity in the School Board Public meeting or committee meeting format for dialogue between elected School Board Directors and the tax paying citizens they represent.

    It seems as if Directors get their marching orders from Administrators on making sure the budget goes through as presented by the Administrators. Has a budget ever been modified, based on citizen input? I got the impression at the January 2015 Finance Committee meeting that most of the Directors had not looked at the Budget.

    I hope in the coming year, with 5 new available seats, citizens of this community elect Directors who invite the public to converse with them about what could happen when both sides come together in true collaboration to converse about what could happen.

    [Reply]

    Ed Sweeney Reply:

    Dear Shining Light:

    My name is Ed Sweeney, and I am a candidate for Region 2. I agree with your post and observations. On my campaign web site page, I have already posted my view on June 1st that the TESB should go to a Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors’ model with immediate response to questions and interactive discussion. I think this process is more dignified to the person who wishes to speak, makes a better process for hearing out suggestions, and fits Tredyffrin’s mores better. It would be a progressive reform.

    We need to listen to ideas that come from a variety of sources and adopt ones which are good and will work. Our citizens are among the most educated and professionally experienced in Pennsylvania. It is my firm belief that they are a resource to be used. I think there needs to be a change in corporate culture in the public interaction area.

    I hope current SB members and other candidates join me in recognizing this need and will support a new approach to public interaction. A campaign like this is exactly the time to discuss issues publicly and create a consensus for change.

    Please see my post in full: https://www.facebook.com/edsweeney4TE

    Ed Sweeney

    [Reply]

  11. Dear Mr. Sweeney,

    Thank-you for your comment. I would like to read your post in full, however I am not on FB, Twitter, Instagram or any other social exchange. Perhaps you could get my address from Pattye and send it the old fashioned way over e-mail.

    I’ve been watching this a long time………..in Board and Committee Meetings and in the schools. This is how it works. Let’s say you get elected Mr. Sweeney. Rich Gusick is the new Supt. He’s been in the district 20+ years. One of his new Admin. hires has been in the district 18+ years with experience in different schools and different positions throughout that time. Rich will hold “training classes” for the new Board Members who “don’t understand” how things work. You and all the new Directors will be “taught” by the Administrators how things work. All the while, citizens who want open access with you for true collaboration will slowly get shut out as your term progresses.

    If you don’t “learn” as quickly as they would like, you will be given a position, or appointed to a Board, or you will head a group……….it will be something important to you, which sets you apart and makes you feel important.

    Here’s something that happened to me, and you can take it for what it’s worth………

    I attended a policy meeting. Virginia Lastner was the chair. She was late to the meeting, I was early. Retired Administrator Robin McConnell would position citizen chairs as far away from the Board Member table as the room would allow. I told him I couldn’t hear well, so I moved my chair up a bit. He then came over to me, whispered in my ear to sit at the Board Table with all the Directors who had not come in yet, giving me the impression he was trying to accommodate my hearing issue. When I objected he quickly said no, that it would be fine. I complied. As each Board Member strolled in, you can imagine the looks I received. I then began to tell each one that Robin had instructed me to sit at the Board table. Robin quickly and nervously scurried over to where I was sitting and whispered in my ear to stop telling the Board members that he instructed me to sit at the Board table. His voice was shaking. Virginia came in, I told her Robin instructed me to sit at the Board table and she quickly and appropriately instructed Robin to move the chairs up to accommodate my hearing issue.

    A game?, a tactic used by Administrators to drive a wedge between a tax paying citizen and them? You be the judge.

    I have many more examples.

    [Reply]

  12. As an update to this post, the Democrat candidates for the TE School Board posted the following Letter to the Editor in Main Line Suburban, dated July 16, 2015.

    Last week was the Community Matters article, this week is the Letter to the Editor; is the TTDEMS plan to continue to wage war again George Anderson until Election Day or until he either drops out or is forced out of the school board race? There are 4 other Republican school board candidates – Kris Graham, Ed Sweeney and Neal Colligan from Tredyffrin and Kate Murphy from Easttown. Who will the Democrats focus on next?

    Letter: Too Extreme for Tredyffrin/Easttown

    To the Editor

    As candidates for Tredyffrin/Easttown School Director, we appreciate that voters in our community will be faced with some important choices in November with respect to the school board election, and we hope that these decisions will reflect informed views about each candidate. For this reason, we want to ensure that the community is aware of the publicly expressed opinions of Dr. George E. Anderson, a candidate for one of the school board director seats open in Tredyffrin Region 1 in this year’s election. We believe Tredyffrin voters will be as surprised and outraged by his statements on a public Facebook page as we are. Just a few examples:

    – He has said people who overdose on drugs should not be treated but allowed to die. In his words: “I personally believe it should be against the law to revive someone who has a drug overdose. Letting them kill themselves will thin the herd.”

    – He’s characterized Darwinian evolution as a “statistical impossibility” and a tool used by “statists” to kill God and establish a new socialist state.

    Most recently, just as the South Carolina legislature was voting to take down the Confederate flag, recognizing its historical use as a symbol of hate and intimidation, last week George Anderson was suggesting that the White House should be lit up with an image of that same flag.

    Shortly after, George Anderson’s posts were the subject of an article on the local blog, Community Matters. After that post, he apparently removed or restricted access to the posts. Some of the posts, however, remain on the Community Matters blog and can be viewed at pattyebenson.org

    Of course all people are entitled to their own opinions and we encourage voters to examine all of George Anderson’s views and decide for themselves before November whether he is fit to represent this community as a school board director. But we would like to be clear that we completely reject his extreme views, which we believe do not reflect the values of our community, and that we are disturbed by his lack of judgment in making such derisive and thoughtless comments as a candidate for school board. If the voters of Tredyffrin/Easttown agree with us, it is imperative that they express that opinion through their vote in the upcoming November election.

    Michele Burger
    Roberta Hotinski
    Todd Kantorczy
    Alan Yockey

    [Reply]

    John Reply:

    Are you suggesting that they are not allowed or somehow should be forbidden from making certain that a candidate’s views are known? So a candidate posts his opinions publicly but if his opponent highlights those views to make sure that people who do not have facebook and may not see these publicly posted views have an opportunity to see them that is seen as “war”? I don’t understand that. Are you suggesting that they only thing we should know about any candidate is what they are willing to tell you in an official capacity? As a voter do I then have to ask all school board candidates whether they have a disdain for science? Well only that science that does not exactly correlate with their religious beliefs. Should I ask candidates whether they might feel that providing funding for mental health counselors in the schools because those counselors may make an effort to save a student who chooses poorly and uses drugs? How is using quotes – and pretty clear and complete quotes not sliced and diced to make the candidate look bad – an attack? Especially when that candidate comes out and re-states his beliefs. You do realize that it is permissible for opponents to bring up facts that they feel may provide a clearer picture of a candidate.

    Personally, I want to know that a candidate running for a school board dismisses science and the scientific process in lieu of his religious beliefs. Not sure how someone who does not understand scientific process or understand that a scientific theory is not equal to a guess and is actually subjected to rigorous peer review, repeated testing and confirmed through experimentation and observation will not allow that view to impact work as a school board member. Instead we should test that candidates value by having beer or coffee with him?

    When I vote I am not voting for a friend. I am voting for a school board member who I believe will perform a function to the best of their ability and one that supports some very basic tenents of education – such as scientific theory and not one who believes his interpretation of the Bible should overrule science.

    But I guess you see the TTDems efforts to make sure that his stated beliefs are known to as many people who may be voting in the election is conducting war. You know, we through that word around a bit too loosely. What the TT Dems have done and are doing falls within the scope of good political campaigning. They aren’t making anything up. They aren’t editing his words to make it appear that he statements and his beliefs are not compatible – he confirms that here. And, frankly, if the other cnadidates hold similar views and make those views public in other forums which may have smaller audiences then they are free and should work to make them public. This is not even close to scandalous behavior. They highlighted what he agrees are his beliefs. And they are within their right to do so.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    It is very important that the public knows the candidates … voters will select five school board directions in November. To assist voters in the decision-making process, an email was sent to the 10 school board candidates in Tredyffrin and Easttown.

    My email dated July 8, stated in part, “people bring different backgrounds and qualifications to the job of school board director and as voters, we need help in making the right choices on Election Day” and asked each candidate to respond to the following statement,

    Although there are many important issues facing the TE School District, what one issue will you focus on should you be elected? As a school board director, what in your background, experience or education prepares you to help with this specific issue?

    All TE School Board candidates were invited to send a response (500 words or less) by August 1. It was asked that the candidate’s response not be a political campaign plug or a laundry list of ‘school district issues’. The personal response was to (1) focus on ‘one’ issue that is important and (2) an explanation of how the candidate’s background/experience qualified him/her to tackle this issue.

    All candidate responses received will appear on Community Matters.Responses have been received from some of the school board candidates and I look forward to sharing them after August 1.

    [Reply]

  13. To say that his viewpoint on these matters is irrelevant is ignorant, this election is about much more than then the “transparency, fiscal priorities, etc.” talking points above. They directly illustrate character and values. For a scary reality, there is policy in place for steps to take if a student does overdose’s that the SB did help create, would you want that policy be to let a student die so we can “thin the herd”? I also assume you’d be in favor of arming the security guards, teachers, etc since bullets are faster than 911? What happens if there is a vote on new science text books? Google “Texas school board whitewashes history” and think about that. These opinions have a direct correlation to *students* every day lives and to me they are much more important than fences, tennis courts, or making sure every one of you has an equal say in every decision.

    Hopefully Mr. Anderson can give us more insight if and when there is a live debate.

    [Reply]

  14. No one is asking to have an equal say in every decision. That is an overstatement by you to make it seem like citizens who actually attend meetings and therefore actually know what is going on are somehow inappropriate for wanting their elected school board representatives to give the impression that they have at the very least looked at the school district budget. I don’t think that is unreasonable.

    To me, $6M maintenance buildings, hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on fencing, rising taxes year in and year out, administrator bloat, secret board meetings, Republican Directors barred from meetings and multi million dollar deficits are much more important than what Dr. Anderson or anyone else thinks about Global Warming.

    ignorant? You are entitled to your opinion, but it doesn’t make you right.

    [Reply]

  15. Wow.. where to start. OK.. Hi John! You certainly did a lot of work picking through my Facebook page. Must have taken you hours. Shows great dedication on your part.

    And you are certainly right that personal attacks and attempting to focus attention away from the real issues is a legitimate political tactic, if you are a student of Saul Alinski’s (Point #12 in Rules for Radicals but you knew that.)

    I don’t mind you quoting me as much as I mind you deliberately misscharacterizing my comments. “Personally, I want to know that a candidate running for a school board dismisses science and the scientific process in lieu of his religious beliefs.” a totally baseless fabrication. (My objections to Darwin are scientific but that doesn’t fit you narrative does it?) And unlike posting my quotes your deliberate misscharacterization may well constitute legal libel. (I shall have to check with a legal expert)

    I have now stated repeatedly, I am more than willing to dialog with anyone from the Democratic side. I have provided my address and my phone number (which interestingly is still not being provided by anyone on your side) I am willing, even glad to publicly talk about the issues which concern our children but it seems that no one from the Democratic committee, including your candidates, wants to do such a thing.

    Interesting. Still wondering why my candidacy is such a threat. Wondering what the light of day would ruin for you. Wondering if I should check my tires tomorrow morning.

    [Reply]

  16. Dear Citizen;

    Thank you for your comments. I believe you when you say, for you issues such as organizational order, transparency and fiscal priorities are irrelevant. (It is clearly true they are irrelevant for some current members of the school board and members of my Democratic competitors.)

    And I want to thank you in your belief that my personal opinions would be able to override school board policy, state and federal law. Unfortunately, your belief is misplaced. I believe I must comply with the law as every other American should be obliged to do.

    As far as “(your personal distaste for my positions) are much more important …than making sure every one of you has an equal say in every decision.” You really should have more faith in your fellow citizens. If you bother to listen to them, you will be amazed at how smart they really are.

    I renew my call for dialog and debate. I have offered repeatedly, provided name address, email, phone number etc. but strangely no one from the Democratic party seems interested in talking.

    [Reply]

  17. Since it happened, I have been curious about why and how Republican Board Director Liz Mercagliano was barred from Board Meetings. I have been wondering what that means.

    Does anyone know the story? Liz? Can you explain what happened. Did they send you a letter through the mail, an email? Did someone let you know in person? Did all Directors conspire together to barr you from the meetings? Was a vote taken on the matter? Did you have any support from other Directors? What did Scott Dorsey say or do?

    Are you still barred from attending some meetings? Why were you barred? Does any one know if barring a sitting elected School Board Director is legal? It doesn’t seem like it would be legal to me.

    Any comment on this would be greatly appreciated. I’ve never heard of such a thing.

    [Reply]

  18. Citizen,

    Could you please shed light on what decisions you believe residents have a right to be a part of, or at least know about. Do you believe citizens should have any say in decisions that are made? Please share your view on what information you believe tax paying citizens should have access to. Because as of now, the information we get is about decisions that have already been made in meetings we were not invited to.

    So, I’m very curious, do you believe citizens should come to meetings to get information on decisions that have already been made? Do you believe it is the duty of Board Members to simply support and defend and justify actions and budgets created by administrators?

    What exactly are the duties of Board Directors? Do they have say in the creation of the budget? Do they give input? How much? When does this take place? How does a $4.5M maintenance building that will cost $6M to repay make it’s way into a tax payer funded public school budget with no citizen input?

    For all citizens running for the school board, what do you believe your duties will be? Do you believe you will have input into the creation of the budget? Will you invite public input? Do you think your view will change after you get elected? What will you do to make sure it doesn’t change? If it does change, will you enlighten the tax paying public?

    [Reply]

  19. Certainly find the above interesting and have been considering responding for weeks. Now, we have some “Breaking News” that may take the conversation in a different direction but I’d still like to post an opinion. My hesitancy to post is based on the fact that I am a candidate for the T/ESB….let’s get that out right away. This site has been a wonderful outlet for community discussion on issues we face together. Often these topics touch on our elected officials and some comments can be construed as “political” but mostly (my opinion as a contributor) we’ve all tried to stick to the issues. As a frequent writer on the site and only recently a candidate; I’ve been pretty hesitant to contribute my opinions lest they be seen as a campaign-ing tactic. That said, I’d like to comment both as a long-time contributor and someone newly involved in the political process as a candidate.

    There are excellent points above (let’s leave base-line politics out for now). Pattye and I have become friendly over the years and I know she’s an Idealist…we should all have some of this inside us. She believes that educated voters familiar with the candidates and the issues will make good decisions in electing their leaders and that government will operate more efficiently and responsively to the needs of their communities with engaged voters. That’s the Ideal but, of course, it doesn’t always work that way. In reading the above, it’s pretty clear to me that her objection relates to the “telling voters how to think” objection….the “too extreme quote” angle. John also has some valid and well-written arguments.

    Many/most of the local candidates come to the political process for the first time (like me). They don’t have a record widely known to the community as a whole, they only recently started going to the pertinent meetings and they are doing their best to come-up-to-speed on the issues. This is not to say they are, in any way, less qualified candidates…it’s just the way it is. So, how do we learn about these people? Well, one way is the subject of this entire post…the persona that individuals put out in the public. In my mind, that’s got to be valid for voters to use…it’s a public persona and individual voters can decide how much weight to put on this information. Can folks on the other side use it? Can a political machine spin it the way they want? Can they tell you their conclusions? That’s up to each voter…individuals are free to use any and all information when deciding on local/regional/national candidates….it’s the voter themselves who will decide. The voter can also decide that they reject the messenger who elects to sound off on opposing candidates The Idealist hopes all voters have the pertinent information on all candidates but the Realist knows that’s not the way it works. The voter, each of us on our own, will decide what information to use.

    Now we should touch on politics…that process I’m learning. Is this strategy fair? That’s up to you….its the “lay of the land”. I walk my dogs at least once a day and in the course of our travels, nature calls and I’m bagging the results. I’m pretty sure I’m 100% in cleaning up after the boys (whether I remembered poop bags or not…let’s not go there). Now I’m a candidate for a local office. What if someone came up with 2-year old fecal matter from my American Bulldog that I missed? Could they make that a campaign issue? Sure. Would it have weight with voters? Maybe. OK; stupid analogy but the point is there. All kinds of “stuff” can be used for political gain. That’s the system and it’s the greatest detraction from getting more qualified candidates (my opinion) involved. It stinks but it must be effective because parties (both) use it all the time. Someone told me recently about some negative aspect of a fellow candidate that likely could have been “used”. I don’t want to hear about it….I have a little Idealist in me too. But, remember….and you’re all smart enough to know this….by putting out controversial/negative conclusion/attack pieces…the writer can also be judged by individual voters. Folks are pretty smart around here.

    I volunteered as a Committee Person for a couple of years…had friends who needed some help. The “job” was OK but I didn’t like the process….felt too much like (to me anyway) of telling folks HOW to vote. Both parties do it…get out those Super-Voters who pull the Party lever…its part of the process….I didn’t enjoy it so I don’t do it any longer. But those machines are cranking up again for this cycle. In many cases, these are Super-Partisans….my Party-good…. Other Party-bad. Takes us away from the Idealist view of an election. Its politics in 2015…I don’t like it but there’s not much we can do about it.

    Now that you’re likely asleep from the long comment, I’d like to mention one other thing as a frequent writer (and sometimes subject) of Community Matters. While we often “touch” on politics; I never saw it as a Political site. I’m an R, Pattye is an I and plenty of D’s come here to sound off (many who I’ve worked with on issues in the past). We’ve agreed and disagreed over the years and NOT along the lines of our affiliations but on our views of the issues. As a long-term user, I do not appreciate political campaigning here. I think it detracts from the good work of the site. I feel very competent to talk at length on any topic facing our local educational franchise without campaign promises or catch-phrases BUT I won’t here because I am a candidate right now. After meeting almost all of the candidates in this race and participating as an active citizen in School Board meetings for years; I can tell you that there are some very good candidates running for these positions…on Both Sides!

    Alright…enough from me…probably got most politico’s ticked at me by now. Doesn’t matter what I think….it matters what you think and how you’ll weigh the information when voting.

    [Reply]

    Ray Clarke Reply:

    TIL (today I learned) a new internet acronym: TL;DR – “too long; didn’t read”. Sorry Neal – more my fault than yours, and a lesson I should take to heart with my own posts!

    But I’m going to weigh in – I do believe that Pattye provides a wonderful forum to discuss “community matters”, and a large component of those matters is who represents us. At election times, voters need all the help they can get to assess the true worth of those asking for our support. So I hope that CM will continue to post relevant information.

    And what’s relevant goes beyond the position statements from the candidates, although there’s nothing wrong with those and I’d like to hear them. If there is factual information that speaks to a School Board candidate’s values and beliefs that would inform their decisions on science text books and drug prevention/treatment programs, that’s really important to know. As is anyone’s ability to at the same time hold contradictory beliefs about evolution and “thinning the herd”.

    The key test for me here is “relevance”. The personal attacks that we know each party will come up with at election time can be confined to their mailers. People visit this site knowing that it is Pattye’s forum, and I think that we depend on her to present a fairly independent view of things, and to be sure we know when she expresses an opinion. We also depend on her to keep the trolls at bay!

    [Reply]

  20. Neal,

    Thanks for your comment. I disagree that because you are a candidate right now, you can’t talk about issues that you feel very competent to talk at length on. This is the perfect place to let tax paying, voting citizens know where you stand on issues that they pay for.

    Citizen,

    One last question. When the Board/Administration says something and it turns out to not true, are tax payers allowed to have a say then?

    How many citizens running for the school board attended the January 2015 finance committee meeting? The only one I saw was Neal. Neal attends most committee meetings I attend (which aren’t that many) I was overwhelmed looking at the 50+ page budget when new Supt. Rich Gusick, sitting in front of the Finance committee, pounding his fist on the table with each word stating that he wanted “one sixty thousand” for each of the two new Administrators he was asking to hire. I looked up from the budget, kind of in shock, thinking “what?”, I remember addressing the committee, saying something, when Rich then said he needed that “to attract top talent and that is what the going rate was in the private sector.” It’s not the going rate in the private sector, I spoke to the finance chair after the meeting about it for 3 minutes before she told me she had to go, that she had another meeting to attend, so I e-mailed her the next day and received no reply. I thought it was interesting that in the 3 minutes (I say 3, it was really more like 1 to 2 minutes) she told me that she thought the same thing I thought when Rich asked for the top of the pay scale salaries.

    As we all know, the salaries were granted, people were not hired from the outside and two insiders receive the positions.

    So, citizen, I feel duped. I think Rich knew who he was going to hire all along. I think the Board and Administration knew they were going to hire Rich as the new Supt. all along. And didn’t they hire a consultant?, (how much did that cost?) and create “focus groups to make it seem like there was a real attempt to truly find the right person for the job?

    I am tired of this. I am tired of being lied to. I am tired of feeling duped. I am a tax paying citizen, with children in the schools and I feel I have a right to voice my opinion on decisions that are made that effect me and my children.

    Citizen, I’m going to say something, and I’m sorry if that bothers you. Thank God this is America and we both are fortunate enough to have been born here so we can both have opposing opinions and express them in public without the fear of retribution. (Well, that’s a topic for another day)

    I would like for all candidates running for the school board to post your views about anything on this site, right down to your favorite color. Most folks have no idea who you are or what you believe. I tell my friends to go to this site all the time. It’s the perfect place for campaigning.

    [Reply]

  21. Citizens vote the way they do for all different reasons. Citizens define what issues are important to them and candidates must formulate their opinion around that. (IMO)

    I live in a planned community. The HOA which consists of 3 residents (in a neighborhood of 179 homes) created a very expensive glitzy presentation selling the community on changing things around.

    It was too drastic a change for my sensibilities so I talked to friends and neighbors about the vote. My next door neighbor who has since moved, a great guy, we got along fabulously, would have been the most effected in a negative way, were this change to happen. I thought for sure he was a shoe in for the way I wanted the vote to go and I counted him in my group without asking him.

    He didn’t vote when it came time to cast ballots. I asked him why. He said he couldn’t vote because since he is a native of Europe and one of the creators of the change was from Europe, he could not go against his fellow countryman. In frustration, I explained, again, how this action, were it go through, would negatively affect not only his plans but his life style and he said he was well aware of what I was saying and that he agreed with everything I was saying but that he was not going to vote.

    It’s important that citizens know where candidates stand on issues that are important to citizens. Another quick story. I can’t tell you how many parents approach me to ask if one particular board member is up for reelection. When I say no that they are not, they bow their heads and walk away in disappointment. When I try to talk about the issues and those running for seats that are available, they have no interest. Over a year ago, this director offended many over a decision that was made which has nothing to do with $6M maintenance Buildings, hundreds of thousands of dollars in fencing, administrator bloat, science text books or drug prevention/treatment programs etc., but the action taken by this director was important to many who haven’t forgotten it and they want to show their disapproval by casting their vote.

    [Reply]

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