When I was running for CA Board someone on my campaign team made some suggestions that I wasn't comfortable with. (I can't remember for certain who it was.) When I said that we weren't going to do those things because that's not what I stood for, someone said to me, "Do you want to win?" I did want to win, but not like that. In the end I lost. I don't regret sticking to what I believed was right.
When partisan unpleasantness sprang up at Savage Fest I reached out to the three Challenger BOE candidates who had been unaffected. I asked them to speak out publicly against this kind of unproductive nastiness.
Last week I started receiving reports of rumor-mongering against three of the challenger candidates at the Democratic Unity Dinner and elsewhere. By Saturday these reports were confirmed by multiple, unrelated sources. These attacks were not only political but personal.
Why should you care about this?
Well, who do you think should wield influence in the Board of Education race? Should it be the local Democratic organization? Or that of the Republicans? Should it be the school system itself? We know from past experience that HCPSS leadership is not above finding ways to "endorse" candidates that they feel won't rock the boat.
If you hear people spreading negative information about any of the challenger candidates, ask yourself this question: who stands to benefit if this person is eliminated from serious contention? Then reach out to the actual candidate and find out whatever you need to know to make an educated decision. You don't need to let other people pull your strings.
The post I wrote last Saturday received a lot of pushback from the community. As a blogger I have to be willing to take that. Some of the criticism was fair, some was not. (And let's not forget that one memorable sock puppet.) Many people felt I was not being fair to the subject of the post. While I have taken this past weekend's experience to heart, and learned quite a bit, I am still left with the nagging question, "who was being fair to the candidates being smeared?"
Who will stand up for them?
I took down Saturday's post largely because of an amazing update later in the day by current BOE member Cindy Vaillancourt, which spoke to the heart of the matter and truly rendered my post superfluous. We are all indebted to her for her wisdom, diplomacy, and compassion. We can only hope to make the best choices in November that will give her colleagues of similar character and abilities.
I am not as sure as I once was as to my top three choices in the BOE race. I'm interested in qualifications and achievements. I'm interested in talking with them about what their goals are and what they believe in. But I'm also interested in how they handle rumours and infighting and situations where others are under attack.
I hear there may be some of that on the Board of Ed. I want whoever wins to be ready.