Saturday, August 3, 2013

Another Levy Looming on the Horizon

Signs - signs - everywhere a sign - (those who remember that song are as old as I am!!)
August 6th is a one-issue special election, as everybody knows.  There is passion on both sides of the aisle.
But, before we go on, let me say one thing:  Those of you who do not live in the district, and those who do not pay any Swanton school taxes are not invited to the discussion.  This is OUR issue to decide, and just because you might be someone who works in the school system doesn't give you the right or the privilege of weighing in on the question. 
So, sit down and SHUT UP.
Now then.  Can someone please explain to me why we keep hurling insults at those with whom we disagree?  Each side screeches that the other side is  LYING.  Really??  Is that really what's happening here?  Or is it more a matter of who has what information, and whether that information is complete or incomplete??
When I was a member of the school board, a resident of the district was so upset with me and another board member that she sought to have us removed.  Try as she might, she could find no statutory basis on which to make that happen, and the effort died.  This same person subsequently ran for and was elected to serve on that same school board - and, guess what??  She came to realize that she didn't have all of the facts during her earlier campaign.  She came to realize that, in spite of her conviction that we were doing WRONG, she was actually the one who was in error.  Discovering "the rest of the story" gave her an entirely new perspective. 
Did the situation itself become altered and thus change her mind?  No - it was that she finally got all of the FACTS and realized her mistake.  She had been quite passionate about her former position - and she discovered that she was wrong to have held that position, once she learned all of the facts.  She freely admits now that she should have/could have asked, but for whatever reason, she didn't at that time. 
Did her former position make her EVIL or a LIAR or anything else worthy of personal attack?  No.  She simply was not in possession of all of the facts, and the stories she got from others whom she trusted were simply incomplete. 
Now, I'm no Pollyanna who lives with the mistaken notion that nobody ever tells a lie for personal gain.  Of course people lie!  But to immediately hurl that accusation at another without knowing the whole story is just wrong.  Nine times out of ten, the opposition isn't deliberately lying - it simply doesn't have the same pieces of information that you have. 
I am a firm believer that a decision - ANY decision - should be made only after all the facts are known and considered.  Whether that is about the person you're about to marry, or the job you're considering, or whatever - you should never decide anything until you have looked at all sides of the equation and considered the ramifications of each option before you made your final choice.  Choosing to ignore any fact only makes your ultimate choice more about emotion instead of clear thinking.  Is there any doubt as to which method is the better of the two??
So then we run into the question of what items are demonstrable facts and what items are opinions?  The line has been blurred here.  How can you sort it all out before August 6th?
I suggest that you read carefully everything you can on the issue.  Do not rely on someone's memory - insist on source documentation wherever possible.  Memory is fallible - source documents are not.
And, above all, please realize that your neighbors might hold a different opinion than you, but that doesn't make them liars.  Keep the personal attacks OUT of things.  Stick to the facts at hand!  Recognize that EVERYBODY agrees that improvement is needed in our facilities - we only differ in how we personally believe it would be best to accomplish that goal.
The vote we take on August 6 will have far-reaching consequences.  Keep your emotions out of it.  Do your homework and evaluate the facts.  Only then will you be prepared to cast your ballot and only then will your choice truly be in the best interest of this district and our children.