Although there is some correlation between the number of hits on a story on this blog and the importance to the future of the city, it isn’t always a good match. This year the hits and the importance paralleled. Here are the top stories, followed by some thoughts about “fake news” and how we can fight it here in Grandview.
It wasn’t just the two-faced way that the school board handled the end of the relationship with Harrison Planning Group, tearing him to pieces in a school board meeting, while praising him in later emails to the community. It was the attempt to sneak this scandal past the public with a special morning meeting, while the board had a regular meeting the same day. They knew that the special meetings are not recorded, and rarely attended by anyone, so the board acted like three year olds and tried to hide their mess.
No explanation or apology has been offered since the split with HPG. Although there were two community members who spoke up at the special meeting, critical of the board for attempting to hide the important news with the morning meeting, the only response from the chair of the meeting was a comment from Jessie Truett that he didn’t think criticism of the board is good decorum at the board meetings. The board has never apologized – the board has never made apologies for any mistake they make.
There is no question about what was said at the board meeting, I made a video recording. I had a good number of views of this YouTube video, but I think many of the views might be from HPG’s lawyers in preparation for a lawsuit against the school board. If you have any interest at all in the schools at Grandview Heights, please take the time to watch the video.
The followup post about the replacement for the facility consultant continues this story.
This post was in reaction to the way the school board has presented the need for building at the schools. In a special morning meeting, they recorded in their meeting notes that they have a MORAL IMPERATIVE (capitalization taken from the meeting notes) to build new schools. The school board will push the story that only the best is good enough for our kids, and anyone who opposes their expensive plans is a gloomy gus that frankly has no morals. Keeping the community believing that money will magically appear for new buildings is now the full time job of the school board.
This was a story about the city council approving the sale of alcohol at the ox roast. There were a number of comments on each side of the controversy that had to be deleted, it was a hot, emotional conflict, the same division over alcohol that confronts many in the country. As the saying goes, “To Alcohol! The cause of… and solution to… all of life’s problems.”
Because the Ox Roast is tightly linked with school activities, and run by a school booster organization, it would have been appropriate for the school board to make their opinion known, but they took the easy way out and stayed silent. Although the council did approve the sale of alcohol within a limited area, the closing of the fest because of a storm probably resulted in little money this year from the sales of beer.
The new school logo was chosen by the board last year, and although I received complaints about the design from the first publication, I gave it a few months to see if it would grow on the community. It didn’t get better after use and age. I still have never found a professionally designed logo that is similar to the “two letter squished together mashup” that the board copied from an old plaque on the school iron gates. That’s not because Grandview is ahead of the crowd, it is because the board went to a place nobody with design sense would go.
This post was prompted by a TVN story, it includes a lot of financial info on the Grandview Yard development, and explains why the school will not do as well as the city. Everyone needs to understand why the deal the board made with NRI will leave the school with little additional money. We also need to know that G.Y. is not going to increase the number of students by any large number as the new housing is finished.
Another post titled Understanding Grandview Yard tax revenue goes deeper into the tax implications for the future. Required reading.
Brandon Lynaugh gave a excellent recounting of his run for city council, it is required reading for anyone who is thinking of running for any office in this city.
Combating “Fake News” in Grandview
The biggest national story this year was the election, and an explanation for why the result was not predicted can be linked to the rise in Fake News. Voters were exposed to a torrent of false information, and although this is not new, the sheer volume was shown to have an effect that probably resulted in the election of Trump.
I have my own battle with the disinformation the school board is pushing, and I found a way to end the questions about who is telling the truth – I brought a camera to a board meeting, and recorded it, then put it up on YouTube so everyone in the community could see and hear the truth.
There is no reason the school board and the city council can’t video their own meetings, and post those vids on their websites. I’d like to make this a priority for 2017. If you feel the same way, I’d like to organize a group with the specific goal of pushing the board and council into recording and posting the videos. Use the contact form at the bottom of the “About Watching Grandview” page to contact me. I think this could be successful in changing the way the council records meetings. I know the school board will resist letting a camera in the room, their whole philosophy is based on keeping the public out of board decision making, but at least it can be an issue for the next board elections.
(May 2017 update)
I didn’t have to push the city council to post video of their meetings, they took the issue on by themselves and are now posting live video of council meetings.
The school board is not going to make videos, they refused a request I made for a simple audio recording of a special meetings. I hope that video recordings of meetings will be a top issue for the next board election, you will not see current members in favor of recordings.
Previously – Top Watching Grandview stories of 2015