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July 23, 2012

Non-Partisan Isnít Always That

Cindy A. Rose

After having read – and briefly participated in – the heated discussion about Democrats not being allowed in Republican tents and Republican’s defacing free Congressman Chris VanHollen fans, all I can say is, really?


This is what makes for news that concerns us? Both sides need to realize this is, and has always been, the most partisan of all the elections. The unions have always used this to their advantage. This election cycle however, some are making an issue of it because the Republicans decided to finally speak up and take action.


How many school boards are you familiar with that are heavy on the Republican side? Not by accident, that’s for sure. Parents followed blindly the “Apple ballot,” thinking the teachers actually hand-picked these candidates. These are in actuality the teachers’ union- endorsed candidates, not teacher endorsed. Not always a bad thing, they did approve of fiscally responsible Democrat Brad Young.


Sadly, if the teachers would actually have a hand in endorsement, I think we would likely end up with more Board of Education candidates who support teachers and children and less administration.


I’ve invited all the candidates via radio and Internet to support the transparent operation of our Frederick County Board of Education. However, the only ones publicly stating they will come to the August 6, 2012, mini-protest in front of the Board of Education central office at 10:30 A.M. are Colleen Cusimano and Anthony Chmelik.


Is it possible these are the only two candidates who are for transparency? Is it a coincidence these two candidates are the only Republican’s in the Board of Education race?


As is often overlooked in the media both local and national, Republicans – for the most part – are for opening the process, whereas Democrats – for the most part – are for closing it. Democrats seem to harbor that “we know better” attitude.


Now, I don’t want to be accused of being rash, because our current Board of Education does have four Republicans sitting on it, April Miller, Donna Crook, Jimmy Reeder and Katie Groth. Although I am fond of Ms. Groth, I would hardly call her a Republican in deeds; but by the size of her heart, yes.


That leaves us with three. However, Ms. Crook, as of late hasn’t been voting in the present like she did in the past. I’m also very fond of her, but at the same time quite puzzled by her current actions.


So, we’ll remove Ms. Groth and Ms. Crook from the “conservative” column, leaving us only two conservative votes to count on: Mr. Reeder and Dr. Miller.


Happily, we can add old style Democrat Brad Young into the conservative column, and – more times than not – get three dependable conservative votes. So, you see it isn’t always clear how a person will vote based on their political affiliation.


If we want to turn Frederick County Public Schools around, and become more fiscally responsible with an eye on what is actually happening in the classrooms, we need to make sure the upcoming Board of Education election on November 6 moves into, and stays, partisan where the candidates are concerned.


This is called “transparency.” If a candidate tries to hide their political affiliation, I would be concerned. Political affiliation is one way to learn about a person’s beliefs and ideologies.


When it is proclaimed the Board of Education race is non-partisan that does not refer to the candidates. Non-partisan refers to the voters’ ability to cross party lines and vote for the candidate they feel is best – in primary elections. Nothing more. It isn’t meant to keep you from discovering who they are.


Republicans and Democrats are free to endorse and proclaim their candidates as well as their political ideology.


But be cautions. Use Mr. Young and Ms. Groth as examples. You cannot know the ideology of a candidate based solely on their political affiliation. Listen to their words and determine where their loyalties are. How have they voted? How might they vote?


Are they saying things to protect the status quo? Speaking rhetoric because they are clueless? Is their substance in their talking points? Are they bringing new ideas and responsible actions to the table?


Are they coming “from” the system you are uncomfortable with; or a system with which you are pleased?


You be the judge, but be clear, it’s partisan. Always has been, always will be.


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