It’s one thing to not decide to endorse a particular candidate for an eventually appointed or elected position. However, it’s another thing entirely when, in not advocating for such a person, a group of individuals (let’s say the Democrat & Chronicle Editorial Board) condescendingly dismisses the candidacy of certain individuals to the Rochester City School District school board.
I am not here to attest to the credentials of the RCSD school board nominees. Furthermore, who the D&C wishes to endorse for this and other offices is their prerogative. All the same, it was an apparent cheap shot by the D&C to label specific individuals as ‘perennial’ candidates for the school board and who are not worthy of their nomination for, among other reasons, being ‘combative.’
Okay, So You’re Not Endorsing Powell…
Additionally, a sitting commissioner was essentially deemed incompetent for future service as they are to bear a disproportionately large share of the blame for the district annually achieving low graduation rates and, per a recent state audit, experiencing ‘serious financial lapses.’ Are we to deduce from such assertions that Willa Powell is primarily to blame for the failings of not only the sitting school board but also the entire district? Personally, I’m all for term limits for all of our elected officials. But implying that Powell has been around far too long and that she hasn’t developed any pet projects shouldn’t exclude her from continuing to sit on the board.
To my surprise, though, the D&C did endorse one non-incumbent to the board, that being Mary Adams, who has been, along with the ‘combative’ Howard Eagle, an outspoken critic of current education reform efforts, specifically that which have occurred here in Rochester over the past several years. Regrettably, a few other candidates vying for a slot were either very casually mentioned or simply omitted from the conversation. If any of the contenders are appraised as not matching up to other persons, the least the D&C could do is briefly explain their justification for such a viewpoint.
Arguably the most contentious entrant (with Eagle being the other) is sitting board member Allen Williams. For reasons similarly illuminated by the D&C, Williams’ fitness for another term was denounced by City Newspaper. Williams, among other things, was a vocal critic of former district superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard. He has also routinely questioned the veracity of various accounting principles and figures pertaining to the district, purportedly much to the chagrin of fellow board members.
D&C And City On Opposite Pages
Unlike City Newspaper, the D&C finds Williams to be a viable applicant and worthy of their highly coveted endorsement. It just goes to show that one man’s perceived weaknesses can be simultaneously lauded, and which makes this country so great, right? You betcha. Anyway, I accept and act upon any public endorsements about as much as I listen to criticism from people on how I tend to dress myself, which is to take them both with a grain of salt. Unfortunately, I’ve come to the realization that any and all such editorial and other public affirmations are nuanced in any number of ways, and to generally dismiss them.
That’s not to say one or two candidates for the RCSD school board are not deserving of our overt approval. On the contrary, I firmly believe there are at least a few different commendable nominees whose platforms warrant further scrutiny and, ultimately, a nod on September 13. My biggest issue is why some of the contenders have either been summarily disregarded and/or minimized, without our receiving the benefit of a cogent clarification.
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