Over the last few days, there has been a number of requests for a printed version of the Commentary for August 20, 2007. I realize that in this site, we discuss answers to your various questions. But to get this going, I must change what we have been doing, just this once.
"On this program, we continue to preach the need for transparency in government. This concept is not a wish, or some nebulous thought, that was pulled out of a hat, but a process that defines what government should be under the laws that have been put in place, for the protection of the citizenry.
A reasonable person, must conclude when there is no transparency, and instead, are given presentations of worthless numbers, or orchestrations of rah, rah, rah, from those who will benefit, there is something wrong.
During the "Truth in Taxation" meeting at the Wasatch School District, there was a golden opportunity, to show citizens some truth, and remove fears of mismanagement of our taxes. But, on both accounts, those in charge failed and failed most miserably.
Not only was there little truth, but they failed to make the case, that would justify the need for the increases they sought.
There were those who asked legitimate questions, and then of course there were others who went through the rah, rah, rah, the only items lacking were pom poms and a band.
For those who have made it a habit to attend these meetings, there was major disappointment. The public again was expecting some supportive and significant facts, for justification of the tax increase, but truth did not prevail. There was a healthy portion of smoke and mirrors and no shortage of moronic responses from employees' and so called friends of the district, seeking brownie points, or promotions by getting their names in the minutes, so nothing really changed.
BUT DID NOTHING CHANGE? In the audience at the time, were people from the Utah Taxpayers Association and two elected individuals from the State Legislature as well as Elected County Officials.
The meeting went forward based on the District's agenda, and then it came time for a motion to accept this mess. One of the board members, (or is it one of the bored members), looking ill at ease, took a few minutes to justify the motion he was going to make, even though this motion should not have been made, but deferred to another time, so the district could get their act together. It was a sickening display of pandering, but the motion was made. It was voted on unanimously, so the citizens once again, had damn little truth and lot of taxation.
The most important meeting perhaps, took place in the hallway. Here those, who had observed the process, made some very significant comments. And one in particular, expressed concern for the process he had just seen. He voiced his concern for the lack of facts and expressed his feelings, that perhaps the School District was once again trying to hide something, (was his concern based on his knowledge of the North School Deal?) or so it appeared.
The kind of missteps from the Wasatch School Board on last Thursday, are part of the reasons, why state legislatures get into the business of educating our children and want to step into what should be a local process. Perhaps, from the fiasco on Thursday, the legislature may yet pass some significant legislation the will effect how school districts do things and of course, take away more of the local power. If this happens, we may give credit where credit is due, and call the new laws, the Wasatch District Law or Laws.
But in the end, there were some concerned members of the School Board who felt the presentation lacked facts, lacked information, and could have and should have, been better. To these board members, we tip our hat and say, when the opportunity affords itself, elect a new chairperson and take control and bring back some sanity to the process, with a little truth and a lot of respect for those who are paying the bills.