Thursday, May 24, 2007

Dear Ann,

With questions such as, "What is now going to be required of the citizens, now the budget for the New High School is out of control?" And "Should someone pay the price for poor planning or presenting flawed or un-substantiated documents for consideration of the voters?"
You place a serious burden on me, to give you the answers with the proper reasoning, without creating some heartburn for some people. But, here we go.
Your questions are well timed, the issue of the High School is now coming to light. Based on experts, not working for the district, one must draw the obvious conclusion, the High School could not be built for the amount the District was proposing and of course finally received. The problem with the money and the desires of the district, was no secret, except to those who really did not want to look for the right answers or ask the proper questions. There were so many mis-informed people pushing this bond, and because of the mis-information, they played well into the hands of the District. They failed to look at the big picture. This process was such a mess! We had people using school time, equipment, plus all the while, pulling their salary, sending out emotionally laden tripe, so in effect, the citizens paid to be mis-informed. We had a citizens group, which, by now, you know the leader of this group, was rewarded by the District for pushing the bond through. But the real problem with this group, was they failed to look at all the facts and run the math. They continued to use the doctored math that was published by the School Board. And then to make matters worse, when they thought too many questions were being asked, they turned the whole thing into an emotional issue. When citizens started to ask questions, they were branded by the District, and the Citizens group as "traitors to education, being anti-teacher, anti-school and so forth.

Your question, as to whether someone should pay for the slip up, is an unequivocal yes. But I must say, do not be disappointed if that does not happen, since as I write this to you, the spin masters are already at work. I quote you a line from an article in the Ogden Standard Examiner. "We are talking about economic forces at work here--not bad data". The quote is from our own Superintendent. And of course the discussion goes on, as to how high fuel costs, are also part of the blame, for the over budget school. In speaking with a contractor, who does large commercial buildings, He was saying the fuel increases on a project of this size would be about $100,000.00. That is a far cry from the Millions that have been suggested, the School budget is over.
In the same vain, we also had an article in our local paper here in Heber, which was written by a school representative, that dealt with the need to find a new facade for the High School. Of course, many people, found this article some what curious, but they have later learned, this is the beginning of a series of spinning's, that were needed to change the discussion and the direction this whole ugly mess is about to take.

Experts from many fields, a year ago, said, that based on what they saw, in the pretty proposals, the school could not be built for $60 million, but closer to $80 million. They also made the statement, that to proceed, was a serious mistake. And of course, we know the District should have been paying attention, or at the very least, been eager to allow discussion involving all the parties. But that was not allowed to take place. A few misguided members of the School Board bent so low, as to call these experts, malcontents, and dismissed what they had to say, with very flippant and ignorant comments and statements.

Ann, there are a lot of disappointed people, that supported this bond. They believed the School Board, the Superintendent, Principles, Teachers and many others. As a couple of people said the other day, "it is a nightmare!" And are we "seeing the same missteps that we saw with the North School Fiasco?"
I would hope, that is not true, but then again, will the truth really come out?

Ann, at this point, I am not sure what the answers are, but I believe it is safe to say, the confidence the people had, in their school leaders, has been eroded. There are many who are coming to the conclusion, the school District is not much different, than any other political entity. They will say and do what is required to get their agenda going and if there is failure, they have no problem, dipping their hands into the pockets of those they are supposed to serve, to satisfy their craving for power, position and bragging rights.
This is a sad day for those that supported the bond. But, Ann, I can tell you, it will not happen again. Our School District, has placed themselves in the position, where their honesty and credibility is measured with question marks.
It will be very interesting to see, if they can clean their own house, or will the Citizens, or the Attorney General have to do it for them.

Until Next Time.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Dear Ann,

Once again, you have asked a very intelligent question. The problem is, I am at a loss, in figuring out how to answer, without offending many people. It would seem people now days, would rather spend brain cells watching TV rather than reading. Sleeping rather than observing, and going places, either alone or with others, rather than staying home with family.
Your question in how we can get more people involved in the process of citizenship, is becoming a subject that many would prefer to let fall by the wayside.
Elected officials struggle with how to include citizens in governing. Oh, I know what you are thinking, Many officials are not interested in citizen involvement. But you must remember, for the most part, that particular group, who would govern without the governed, are a minority, and in reality, do not last long in their position.
Perhaps, we see evidence of your complaint more in the small counties and cities, than in larger areas. And you may be right, when you suggest, the reason for inactivity on the part of citizens, stems from inactivity on the part of leaders. Remember, what goes around, comes around.
You need to join the fray, in trying to find people, who are honest in heart, who, tell it the way it is, who desire truth, and believe in service, and in serving for a short term.
Ann, we are facing some serious times. Somewhere, somehow, there must be a few people, who believe in the system, who value the freedoms we have. And above all, knowing all these things, desire to keep them.
It is hard to keep in prospective, that local politics and National politics are different. They shouldn't be, but sadly, they are and the rules that govern are also different.
Your concern should be on the local level. The actions on this level, have a much quicker affect on your life and those around you.
The local level, at the present time, is where you need to channel your energy. We have at the present time, many who love to do business in the dark. And evidenced of the results of their actions, would prefer not to discuss or make you aware of when and how.
Ann, you must remain vigilant, prepared to point out the evil, and reward the wise. Even though many officials do not spend the time necessary to make an intelligent decision, you need to take the time to inform yourself on every issue. A uninformed citizen is a dangerous person. And like the uninformed official, will make mistakes, costly mistakes. Mistakes of the past have led to riots, murder, and theft. Keep informed. Do not be deterred, in your quest to be a smart, intelligent, caring citizen. We need so many like you. There is so much to do, with so little time.

Until next time bye.