Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Very Strange Thought

Rick Alexander is the John McCain of the LCSD School Board: He's got a short temper, no idea what's going on, and his supporters view all questions as personal attacks.

Inspired by Monday's board meeting (especially the part about the bond measure and the Construction Excise Tax) and this.


IE said...

Talk about a HUGE leap! That IS a very strange thought. And a number of Rick's supporters are Obama people. What do you make of that?

You jump to conclusions with little or no evidence, just as you accuse others of doing. Not everyone who is intelligent is as verbally articulate as you would like them to be, yet that isn't a valid measure of intelligence or caring, or of understanding issues. Some of the most articulate people say absolutely nothing though they sound impressive.

In some ways, Rick is a maverick just like you;>)).

Dennis said...

The comparison just occurred to me, and it was funny; I did not really hesitate before posting it. Take that how you will.

However, if it is apt, I don't see it as being a huge leap. I'm talking about personality or character traits that both have exhibited in public, and there is plenty of evidence for all three of the things I listed for both McCain and Alexander. I'd be curious to know why you think it matters that some people support both Alexander and Obama. That doesn't surprise me.

In some ways, Rick is a maverick, just like me, sure.

So what? There's more than a bit of a difference: I'm advocating for a process that's respectful, open and democratic. Alexander has spent years pushing things through in a rather un-democratic fashion, as evidenced by the amount of times he has added things to the agenda after the meeting started, clearly had the support of Wineteer and often Shimmin beforehand, and wanted to vote immediately without discussion. Also: It's not OK when Robinson does it either. And furthermore, accusing Robinson of being authoritarian in no ways justifies Alexander's actions.

Additionally, I advocate for school board members to take it upon themselves to become informed in regards to the area they are presiding over. Alexander has not done that, by both his own admission and his actions - I have seen him admit two or three times to not reading the background or briefing materials given to him, never mind how often someone else has to correct him on basic district policy or history, or the correct use of Robert's Rules of Order.

Finally, Alexander seems to be unable to remain calm in board meetings (and he's clearly not the only one). On Monday, he brought up the Bar complaint against Jackson and was immediately visibly upset.

So yes, there are similarities. There are also differences. I happen to think the differences are rather important here. YMMV.

In terms of one's ability to articulate what one is thinking, I think there are certain minimum standards that need to be met for the school board - or any local governing body - to be functional. Alexander failed to meet that standard Monday with his incoherent questions about the bond measure. It was not a complex question: "Is the LCSD making interest-only payments on the bond measure, or are we paying down the actual debt?"

Similarly: "I thought there was a $49 million cap on the bond, but I understand that our actual debt is over $50 million. Can someone explain that to me?"

Was that so hard? Would it have killed Alexander to think about how to word the question for thirty seconds?

My guess: He doesn't like actually asking questions. Most of his questions in board meetings are phrased as accusations. He's also usually clearly made up his mind regarding the answer before he even gets it.

Oh, and IE? If you're going to claim I have no evidence, you might want to come to a board meeting every once in a while.

Lebanon Truth said...

We think that IE and Rick have something in common. Both are choosing to be uninformed.

IE said...

Dennis -- What does YMMV mean? Sorry to need to ask. (My daughter says it means, "Your mama makes venison," and my spouse says it means "You make me vexed." Why do I think this family brainstorming around the computer may not have hit the mark?

So how may meetings have you been to in the last six months, Dennis? I have only heard about one, and you DID say you left early. (And I don't blame you at all.)

I don't agree with everything Rick does or says, but in general, I sincerely respect him as an intelligent man (in very different ways than you are intelligent, though of course there is likely overlap). He is not "evil," as someone on my blog just suggested. He is one of the most compassionate people there is. But guess you would have to get to know him to discover that.

Dennis said...

YMMV = Your mileage may vary.

Last six months? Two or three - and I have not see any variation in Mr. Alexander's behavior. I also attended almost every board meeting in the last half of 2007.

Also, I can base my opinion only on how Mr. Alexander acts in board meetings - which, frankly, since I am speaking about Mr. Alexander's history and role as a board member, is what counts - not anything that he may say or do outside his capacity as a board member.

I will say the same thing about Rick Alexander as has been said about Hillary Clinton (and many other politicians, I am sure): To a certain extent, what matters is what policies and practices they support publicly and politically, now how good of a person they are. Harsh, but I think it's true - and Mr. Alexander does not show compassion or a desire for an open & respectful democratic process while sitting on the school board, which is when it counts, at least for me.

Anonymous said...


Someone can be a great person on a personal level and completely incompetent in their public role. Just because Rick Alexander is a compassionate person to you, doesn't mean that his behavior on the Board should go uncriticized. You've admitted to not going to Board meetings,so maybe you aren't the best person to attack observations of that behavior.

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