The candidate night on the stage of the high school can be summarized as “four knowledgeable people with years of experience, and one person stretching for answers”.
The question is, what do you use for a basis for a vote – experience, or something more intangible, like the perceived competence and morality of the candidate, which doesn’t have a number?
The stage program asked questions for general discussion by any candidate. I tried to talk to each school board candidate before and after the stage program and asked them questions that were important for each individual candidate.
Kipp just retired after 35 years working on the school non-teaching staff. My question to her was, “You will be a good representative of the staff at the school, what will make you a representative of the parents of the students?”
She answered with the standard “open and listening” spiel, I guess what stuck with me was when she said she thought the job was more about doing the right things for the students.
I asked her for a good story about embarrassing things that happened at the school, she was enough of a politician to say that would have to wait for some other time.
Leutz had one embarrassing incident in 1995 in which he used swear words in front of some students in a civics class and had to send a letter of apology to the school. I asked about it, he said that he has not gotten in trouble like that again.
A very interesting story about the incident, he said that at the time it happened he instantly apologized and though that was the end of it. Two months later, as he was nearing the end of his campaign for re-election as Mayor, he walked out of his office and found a news camera pushed in his face as the reporter asked questions about the swearing. The story made the TV and newspapers. He heard later that the reason for all the press attention was because some people “wanted to get him”. He was elected mayor a few days later.
Evans and her husband recently opened the Ohio Tap Room, a growler shop that offers Ohio beer on tap. I asked her what kind of example she would be to the students at the school who might get in trouble with the rules for alcohol usage at the school. Kids can be highly tuned into the hypocrisy of the adults that set the rules, and a board member who makes money from beer while telling students that it is bad for them will set those detectors ringing.
She said that her tap room was not a standard bar, there were no drunks hanging around it. True, but it doesn’t change the “profiting from alcohol” part. She said they don’t serve intoxicated people, are very strict about checking I.D.s, and want responsible drinking. All standard bar owner mantras. None of them change the part about “the more people drink, the more money I make”.
She said that alcohol use was a deeply ingrained part of the community, and that the best we can do for students is to show them how to be responsible. That is the most true thing she said. But it doesn’t change the fact that she is a bar owner, and maybe we should be setting a higher standard for the board members.
Speaking of someone who doesn’t meet high standards.
I have been wondering about people who are supporting Truett, and I spoke with one of them in the hall. Their take on Truett’s leaving the school and turning in his teaching license – “That’s water under the bridge”. There is forgiveness for minor things gone by, and there is closing your eyes as a flood of water passes under the bridge. We don’t know how close Truett came to being charged with sexual battery. He’s not talking.
I asked Truett why he gave us two different stories about his departure from the school. He said no comment. I asked him just what exact kind of relationship he had with an 18 year old student while he was a teacher. He said no comment.
I have a suggestion for Mr. Truett, after you have just told someone twice “no comment”, don’t pull out that “I have been transparent with the community” line that your lawyer told you to say. Because it makes you sound like a big liar.
I pointed out that his statement of “I have been transparent with the community” was not at all consistent with his refusal to answer my questions, he said “You are not part of the community!” Warning to anyone who asks the wrong questions of Jesse Truett – you might become an un-person and then he doesn’t have to answer to you any more. He’s wishing people into the cornfield! (See the “Questions for Truett” post for more on him.)
He got away this time. If I had talked to him, I would have asked him if his construction company, which built the artificial turf football field, was going to be bidding on the $200K+ resurfacing job that will be needed on the field soon.
After the jump – a review of the answers the candidates gave on stage. Read the rest of this entry →