With mail-in ballots in the hands of many voters already, this page will consider some of the races so that voters can have some info about the candidates, starting with this post on the School Board candidates for District 1.
First, some background. School Board races are considered non-partisan. This means that political party affiliations are not disclosed, as if they didn’t matter. Any person with mush for brains knows that they do matter, and that most folks know the political affiliation of those who are running whether there is a letter next to their name or not. It’s true that in these races, as in any race, a voter should be most concerned about qualities and qualifications of the candidates, not party affiliation.
Second, this page is self-consciously progressive, and the assumption is that readers are interested in that viewpoint whether they agree or not. If there is a clear preference for rational and capable candidates over combative and inexperienced ones, well, what did you expect?
For School Board, there is the meaningless district arrangement where a candidate must reside in the district for which the person is a candidate, but all voters county-wide cast ballots as if it were an at-large position. Then we pretend that the district member represents that district, but really, not at all. Some of the living arrangements to establish residence have been called into question, but generally if one pays rent for something bigger than a P.O. Box in the district, you can pretend that is your residence. In summary, it’s stupid, expensive, and dysfunctional. Welcome to Marion County. (The same applies to County Commission districts; that makes dumb x 2.)
Let’s start with the School Board District 1 race between Woody Clymer and Nancy Stacy, also known by the contrast “night” and “day.” (The District 2 race is similar.)
Woody Clymer is a recently retired career school board employee, having served as a classroom teacher, assistant and principal in several schools, and an administrator in HQ, all spanning 38 years. He has an easygoing manner and has never had any aspiration in politics, making this his first taste. It’s clear from listening to him that he knows what he is talking about, having been on the inside for so long, and doesn’t pretend to have answers for every issue. I don’t agree with everything I’ve heard him say, and I’ve heard him quite a bit, but apart from my minor quibbling, Woody would make an excellent School Board member.
Nancy Stacy makes no bones about her Republican bona-fides, touting her endorsement by former Gov. Jeb Bush, and her close ties to the Tea Party. She offers her experience as a businesswoman, helping run her husband’s construction company. She also repeats these words regularly, here in print from her web site:
I have spent countless hours and thousands of dollars of my own money battling the administrators and the school board in Marion County. In every case, I have met their emotional rhetoric with cold, hard facts, and I have prevailed every time.
We’ll have to take her at her word, but what brackets that remark is the explanation for why she is running:
I became actively involved in school politics and politics in general when, in 1991, a group of school administrators decided to try a new educational fad called year-round-school. … This was when I decided to get involved… Now I have learned that the very same school superintendent, who wisely did not seek reelection after we exposed his outrageous costly academically unsuccessful fad for what it was, is now financially supporting the campaign of a retired school principal to run against me for school board. Enough is enough ….
Nancy Stacy is fighting mad, apparently still seething over something that happened over 20 years ago! And that’s why she is running – a new fight to fight, or re-fight an old fight? If Stacy had not turned me off by being a Jeb Bush Republican, or a Tea Party stalwart, she makes it clear within minutes of speaking (or reading her web site) that she will take irresponsible, irrepressible combativeness to a new level if ever elected to the School Board.
Let’s be fair, she is also gifted in sweeping generalizations and grand seizures of accomplishment.
Finally, having heard some amazingly insensitive racial remarks from her at the NAACP Community Day (of all places), I can affirm her racism after hearing her say at Tuesday’s League of Women Voters forum that the problem with the schools lay with the parents, and she was ready to go to “the projects” to get them up to speed with their roles as parents. Huh? She repeated it several times, so there was no confusion and it was no errant slip.
“The projects?” What on earth is she talking about? Having worked here with troubled youth and families as a non-profit exec, I can assure you that “the projects” (wherever/whatever that is) is not where you find all troubled youth and families. Some are the families of scions of the community; dysfunctional families simply defy categorizing, and I think most folks know that. “The projects?” She is beyond clueless; try dangerous.
Woody Clymer isn’t claiming to be the messiah and won’t try to convince you that he’s the best thing since sliced bread. He knows his stuff, he certainly has the experience, and he will work through problems to seek the best answer. He’s a decent fellow and will do well on the School Board, playing nice in the sandbox with the other School Board members, not using meetings and issues to call attention to himself, or run for governor in 10 years.
Nancy Stacy is certainly candid and clear about her extreme conservative agenda, what she is like, how she thinks, and how sorely limited and biased is her understanding and experience … of life.
It’s a pretty clear choice.
Next post on the School Board District 2 race.