Mt. Vernon School Board Election (with results!)

| 13 Comments

With all precincts reporting, the two new Board of Education members are Paula Barone and Steve Thompson, who finished in what was nearly a dead heat, 3,476 votes for Barone and 3,477 votes for Thompson, or 25% each. The two incumbents, Watson (19.6%) and Hughes (7.4%) , came in 4th and 5th, respectively, with Robert Kirk in third place with 23%.

It’s a little hard to interpret this outcome. On the one hand, the two incumbents (Watson and Hughes) were defeated, but on the other hand the ‘ticket’ of Thompson and Kirk, who closely associated themselves in the campaign, was split. From the point of view of the handling of the Freshwater affair the results are inconclusive. Barone was perceived as supporting the Board’s handling, and in fact her son Joe testified for the Board in the administrative hearing and Paula addressed a Board of Education meeting about it last year. So I can’t clearly interpret it in either direction if it’s taken as a referendum on the issue of Freshwater’s situation. If one adds what might be crudely interpreted as the pro- vs. anti-Freshwater vote (Thompson+Kirk vs Barone+Watson+Hughes), the split is 48% pro to 52% anti. That’s torturing the data a fair amount–“pro” and “anti” are crude designations and there were other issues in the campaign. But it’s suggestive of the kind of split there is in the community.

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Mt. Vernon voters elect two members of the five-member Board of Education tomorrow, and I’ll be very interested to see the results. Two incumbents, current Board President Ian Watson and Steve Hughes, are running, as are Paula Barone, a former teacher and Mt. Vernon City Council member; Steve Thompson, a vice president in a major local company; and Robert Kirk, an administrator at the Knox County Career Center (formerly Joint Vocational School). To the extent that the election is interpreted as a referendum on the handling of the Freshwater situation, Watson, Hughes, and Barone are generally perceived as supporting the current Board’s actions and Thompson and Kirk are seen as opposing the current Board’s handling of the affair.

The main publicly debated issue in the election is finances, with Thompson and Kirk charging fiscal mismanagement on the part of the current Board and Watson in particular defending the record of the current Board.

Thompson and Kirk are out-spending the others by a large margin, as much as an 8-1 margin according to mid-October filings, and there are indications that the disparity has grown since then. Kirk has had to return some illegal corporate donations to his campaign, and questions have been raised about his having possibly commingled personal and campaign funds. So far no official body is acting on the allegations to my knowledge.

I won’t venture to predict the outcome, though I know what I’m hoping for. I’ll post an addendum to this post tomorrow night when the outcome is clear.

13 Comments

Financial shenanigans on the part of the Christers? Noooo. Say it isn’t so.

Julie H said:

Financial shenanigans on the part of the Christers? Noooo. Say it isn’t so.

Who would have thought that political candidates would resort to shifty money in an attempt to get elected?

This decision says that regardless of which side of the Freshwater issue the voters stand on, they are unhappy with the way the current board has handled many issues … not excluding the Freshwater case.

I have read this blog for many months and appreciate the time Mr. Hoppe has taken to inform the ‘public’. However, I have been appalled at the one-sided, derogatory remarks that have been left by bloggers. You’ve all been wondering how the public feels behind the scenes … well, now you know. Any intelligent person (and yes, many ‘Christers’ are intelligent regardless of what you say) can see that this current school board has made poor decisions in many areas. We need balance on the school board … and I think the voters spoke loudly and clearly on that. Maybe you bloggers could begin exercising some of that ‘balance’ of thought yourselves.

We need balance on the school board … and I think the voters spoke loudly and clearly on that. Maybe you bloggers could begin exercising some of that ‘balance’ of thought yourselves.

It is illegal to push fundie cult xian religion in public schools. This has been ruled on by the courts many times over many decades.

What part of “separation of church and state” do you not understand?

I’d be appalled and angry if the schools decided they had to provide my kids with a fundie cult xian education. Fortunately, our school district has never thought that was a good idea.

One new teacher nearby started teaching creationist nonsense about how Darwin killed the Jews in a class. He lasted 2 weeks, was fired, and will never teach in public school again.

Lee said:

We need balance on the school board … and I think the voters spoke loudly and clearly on that. Maybe you bloggers could begin exercising some of that ‘balance’ of thought yourselves.

What sort of balance between sound science and ignorant anti-science canards do you recommend?

Lee said: We need balance on the school board … and I think the voters spoke loudly and clearly on that. Maybe you bloggers could begin exercising some of that ‘balance’ of thought yourselves.

Ah, yes, balance is SO very important, Lee. We have to make sure that there’s proper balance between well-documented science supported by evidence that has passed every test in a century and a half and a load of ridiculous religious bullshit that even most christians don’t really believe.

Yes, Lee, balance is so wonderful, and I’m sure you support it in all situations. I would never DREAM of suggesting that all your babbling about “balance” is just a convenient excuse to promote your cult, and that if there was any chance promoting “balance” might inconvenience you in any way you’d flee in ablect terror.

So, Lee, to emonstrate your committment to “balance”, let’s try an example. I’m sharing this ridiculous post of yours with a friend in a really shitty mood, trying to give him some idiocy to laugh at to cheer him up. He thinks you’re an anti-science nutcase and you deserve to have all your arms and legs hacked off at the midpoint and then be denied the modern medical care that could allow you to have a relatively normal life. On the other hand I think that while you’re nuts, dismemberment is a severe overreaction, and denying you any medical care at all would be cruel.

Therefore, in the interest of “balance”, which we know you value so highly, I’m sure you’ll have no problem with the loss of one arm and one leg, followed by reconstruction using the best equipment available in the 19th century. As an added bonus, a hook and a peg leg will look AWESOME at Halloween next year! Or maybe you can pull off a good Edward Elric costume, if you’re short enough.

Sound good to you, Lee? And for the amputation, as a balance between “rusty axe without anesthetic” and “general anasthesia and a competent surgical team”, what say we get you drunk and take out a Skil saw from Sears?

What, Lee? What do you mean you don’t want to have your limbs cut off in the name of “balance”? Why, surely you must be joking! Surely you can’t deny your own argument that every suggestion deserves equal respect, no matter how batshit insane?

(and yes, many ‘Christers’ are intelligent regardless of what you say)

Yes, we all know there’s lots of intelligent Christians out there. How do we know this? Because they’re all on our side. They all support evolution, and honest science in general, and oppose religious indoctrination in public schools. Remember the Kitzmiller case? The plaintiffs were all Christians.

Lee:

(and yes, many ‘Christers’ are intelligent regardless of what you say)

The majority of xians worldwide don’t have a problem with evolution or science.

Roughly half of all scientists including some prominent evolutionary biologists are…xians.

Lee is pretending that all xians are fundie cultists and that he speaks for all xians. No way.

BTW Lee, fundies score higher than the general population in social problems such as divorce, abortion, teen age pregnancy and so on. They score lower in socioeconomic status and education. They may not be stupid but they tend to be uneducated, poor, and struggling with life.

We don’t want to be dragged down to their level.

Raging Bee:

The eponymous Kitzmiller herself is a kind of wishy-washy kind of deist, kind of Buddhist, and not at all Christian. FWIW.

Raging Bee:

Asking a journalist who covered K v D got the response that a better phrasing would be “many of the plaintiffs were Christians.”

I think it’s a sad, sad day for the Mt. Vernon schools when Ian Watson is not re-elected. He’s not only a person of great integrity (who’s been badly maligned by the religious right wing-nuts), but his financial acumen is unparalleled in this community. I don’t get the election results, either. Watson and Barone ran as much of a co-ticket as Thompson and Kirk did. It’s a mixed result that really doesn’t make a lot of sense. One thing I think is kind of obvious, though: Most people in this community are sick of the Freshwater thing and just wish they would finish with it, already.

John said:

I think it’s a sad, sad day for the Mt. Vernon schools when Ian Watson is not re-elected.

I sure can’t disagree.

He’s not only a person of great integrity (who’s been badly maligned by the religious right wing-nuts), but his financial acumen is unparalleled in this community.

In contrast to the Thompson/Kirk ‘ticket,’ it appeared.

I don’t get the election results, either. Watson and Barone ran as much of a co-ticket as Thompson and Kirk did. It’s a mixed result that really doesn’t make a lot of sense. One thing I think is kind of obvious, though: Most people in this community are sick of the Freshwater thing and just wish they would finish with it, already.

Yup. But be aware that if the referee’s recommendation goes against Freshwater and the Board accepts it, Freshwater then has the option to take the matter to the Court of Common Pleas. And there are still two federal suits pending. So it’s not over by a long shot.

Results are both disgusting and frightening. Religious fanaticism and gutter politics have now come to school board elections, thanks to Thompson/Kirk. Thompson’s claim that Watson was “unqualified” would, in another day, get his (Thompson’s) jaw jacked. Ian has BA/MA in economics and finance and 35 years in the largest locally-owned bank in the area, most of that time managing bank assets! He was the money expert on the board and the reason the district has a $6 million surplus, not a 3 million deficit as Thompson claimed. Hughes, by the way, is an attorney, which is no small accomplishment (regardless of what some think of lawyers.) Thompson, who has just a high-school diploma, tried to portray the two as over-educated fools. His “business experience” consists of being appointed to his cradle-to-grave “VP” job in a small factory by the woman who inherited the business from her dad. But this wasn’t about qualifications, anyway. It is about Thompson and the other Fundamentalists getting back at the BOE for prudently getting rid of an (at the very least) insubordinate teacher. God help us.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on November 2, 2009 6:43 PM.

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