is how they consistently find a way to lose. I seriously fear another 1-15 season.
I regret to say that Greater Greensboro Observer is going to a bi-monthly publishing cycle for the time being.
Since I don't know the fate of this article on Kris Cooke and Dot Kearns, which was to be in this week's issue, here it is:
The Guilford County Board of Education will indeed have some new faces later this year: Walter Childs and Amos Quick, who were elected to serve their respective districts in last Tuesday’s election.
But, to the chagrin of more than a few voters, two familiar faces will be sitting on the board for four more years: Kris Cooke and Dot Kearns.
Cooke, who represents District 7, defeated challenger Bill Davidson, while Kearns defeated challenger Jim Kirkpatrick in a race that went down to the wire. Both races were hotly contested as opposition groups sought to oust both incumbents, mostly due to their votes supporting the High Point school choice plan.
The election is now behind them, and they’re ready to move on. But Cooke and Kearns do not have pleasant memories of their respective campaigns.
While Cooke has served on the school board for seven years, she has never had to run a campaign. She was appointed to the board in 1997 and ran unopposed in 2000.
“I’ve never seen like that,” Cooke said in a phone interview. “It was mean-spirited, it was personal, and it was full of lies. It was for many a one-issue campaign. I simply stood on my record, what I’ve done and what I’ve believed in, and what I continue to believe in. I think the voters understood that. To me, the negative campaign backfired.”
Cooke said another thing that bothered her about the campaign was that she was portrayed as being out of touch with school issues, an image magnified in campaign ads that depicted her and Kearns as robotic followers of superintendent Terry Grier.
“The biggest misconception, which just floored me, was that I didn’t do my homework, that I didn’t listen to my constituents, and I don’t return e-mails and phone calls. That was just a bold-face untruth,” Cooke said.
Kearns, on the other hand, is a political veteran, having served not only on the school board for several years but also on the Board of County Commissioners.
She said her unsuccessful 1990 reelection campaign for the county commission was almost as nasty as this year’s. Schools were a dominant issue then, too, as officials were considering merging the Greensboro and High Point school systems. As a county commissioner, Kearns supported the merger.
“That was a real tough election,” Kearns said. “It was, I would say, as intense. There were so many in the county who were so harshly opposed to merger. They accused me of practically everything.”
Like Cooke, the part of this campaign that bothered her the most was the political ads.
“I wasn’t any closer to (Grier) than anybody else on the board,” Kearns said.
During their campaigns, both Cooke and Kearns defended their decisions to vote for the High Point plan.
But they differ somewhat about what to do about the lottery, the part of the plan that raised the most ire among parents in north High Point. Cooke is open to taking a closer look at the lottery in the near future, while Kearns favors letting the plan evolve as it is, at least for the time being.
“Speaking for myself, I would look at what can be done about the lottery,” Cooke said
“Hopefully, we’ll have a better sense of what the programs are all about and how successful they are. I think in time, as the programs gain in stature and longevity, students will self-select without a lottery,” Kearns said. “ But I think it’s too early to tell right now.”
The problem, both recognize, is without a lottery, the board would have little choice but to look at redistricting students in the north High Point and Jamestown areas to Andrews High School. The board tried to formulate a redistricting plan a couple of years ago, but was unable to come up with one that satisfied everyone.
“Redistricting is never pleasant. Trust me,” Cooke said. “I don’t think you can make everybody happy. That’s not the nature of the beast.”
“When you simply redistrict a school, you have no choice,” Kearns said.
At any rate, the board will have to look at redistricting when new schools in the northern part of the county come on line in the next few years.
“We’ve got new schools being built, so the first thing we’re going to have to do is redistrict and set up those attendance lines,” Cooke said.
Both Cooke and Kearns are concerned with funding issues, considering the fact that unfunded mandates at both federal and state levels strained the schools’ budget. In addition, the architects of those unfunded mandates, President Bush and Gov. Mike Easley, were both reelected.
However, there’s fresh blood on the county commission, which not only elected new members Kirk Perkins and Paul Gibson (who served as a county commissioner in the 1980s) but will also have a new member filling Jeff Thigpen’s seat when he officially becomes Register of Deeds.
But the relationship between the school board and county commissioners is never cozy.
“The state cut almost $3 million from our budget. Do they not think that impacts us?” Cooke said. “Then we have to rely on the county commissioners to make up the shortfall, and that strains our relationship.”
“There’s just a natural antipathy toward those who need the funds and those who provide the funds,” said Kearns, who added that she supports giving the school board taxing authority.
Bob Herbert's anger
over the election overwhelms him and he says what's really been on his mind: Those who voted for Bush are just too dumb to know any better.
I'll let John Wiley Jr. of Midlothian, Va. respond for me in a letter to the N.Y. Times:
"I quickly related to the sense of bewilderment and alienation many New Yorkers feel in the wake of President Bush's victoty.
"I, along with tens of millions of other voters, felt the same way when our fellow Americans chose Bill Clinton as president not once, but twice."
It's OK, anyway: Bush's henchmen will soon pick Herbert up in the middle of the night and we'll never have to read his columns again.
Saturday, November 06, 2004
Beautiful day. Been out this morning, going to go back out again before heading to a wedding at Hodgin Family Farm. I've got MASH on in the background while I eat lunch and do some blogging. Klinger's dressed like Goldilocks.
Interesting article from the Reason Public Policy Institute: George W. Bush, Man of Science
. It takes alook at science policy under the next four years of the Bush administration.
The part that caught my eye, of course, was the analysis of environmental issues. It's my goal to disprove the liberal contention that Bush is destroying the environment. I had a liberal friend of mine shouting that in my ear over and over during the campaign season. His implication, of course, is I don't care about the environment because I voted for Bush. Au contraire, I care greatly for the environment.
"Environmental issues," writes Ronald Bailey, "played almost no role in the campaign this past year....And why not? Air pollution is way down; water pollution levels have improved and forests are expanding."
During the next Bush administration, Bailey writes, "We're going to be stuck with the clunky and expensive regulatory system we currently endure. We will not soon see the environmental improvements that private property and markets could bring about."
Molly Ivins' island of optimism amid the liberal sea of sour grapes:
"The Bush administration is going to be wired around the neck of the American people for four more years, long enough for the stench to sicken everybody."
I'm glad she's taking the election so well.
Then this from that other ray of sunshine, Leonard Pitts:
"Maybe this is where America ends."
Pitts writes on: "Social conservatism is another thing entirely, a mutant strain unhindered by critical thought. These are the nominal Christians whose Bibles are so long on judgment yet so short on compassion, the soldiers of the new American theocracy who want to force creation 'science' on the schools and deportation on the Muslims....And their chosen leader is about to embark on his second term as president of the United States."
Gee, I hadn't thought about it like that. I'm moving to Canada.
Friday, November 05, 2004
The misery continues for the Diamondbacks, who hire, then fire,
, new manager Wally Backman amid revelations about his somewhat drunken, abusive past.
It's hard to believe exactly how bad the Diamondbacks sucked last year. Their 51-111 record is the 11th-worst record
in modern baseball history. Several teams lost 111 games with a 154-game schedule, while only the 1962 Mets, the 2003 Tigers, the 1965 Mets and the 1963 Mets have lost more games in a 162-game season.
All I can say is Randy Johnson must like Arizona pretty good to stick it out with the D-backs. The question is, will he pull the trigger on a trade to a contender in December, or will he stick it out until next season's stretch run?
You know who needs pitching? The Braves.
A further sampling of opinion:
: "President Bush isn't a conservative. He's a radical — the leader of a deep coalition that deeply dislikes America as it is." The pot calling the kettle black.
: "(President Bush) said, essentially, be very afraid. Be frightened of terrorism, and of those dangerous gay marriages, and of those in this pluralistic society who may have thoughts and beliefs and values that differ from your own.
"Tuesday's election was a dismaying sprint toward intolerance, sparked by a smiling president who is a master at appealing to the baser aspects of our natures." No, it was Americans exercising their right to vote. The outcome just wasn't to Herbert's liking.
Cal Thomas (unposted):"For conservatives, part of the thrill of this election is that filmmaker Michael Moore, rockers like Bruce Springsteen billionaire George Soros, MoveOn.org and the rest of the left-wing rabble must be wearing long faces."
I think that was on a lot of people's minds as they walked into the voting booth.
Rosemary Roberts, last week
: "So now we're bogged down in an Iraqi quagmire that resembles the Vietnam War."
Rosemary Roberts, this week
:"The war in Iraq is rapidly becoming a Vietnam-like quagmire."
Thursday, November 04, 2004
Here's an interesting analysis of the Dell incentives package
from the News & Observer.
I'm not sure what to make of the situation. I will say this much: while the salaries listed in the article won't get you much in Raleigh or Charlotte, the cost of living here in the Triad is considerably lower. So $27,000 would go a lot further.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
cuts me no slack:
"I'm going to assume by 'chick' you meant a woman.
How PC of you, Sam, to, in 2004, refer to a woman as a chick.
I'm losing patience with you, my dear."
I noticed where my old UNCG sociology professor Paul Luebke
was re-elected to the state house. Luebke's a hard-core liberal who is responsible for my conservative conversion about twelve years ago.
He introduced me to Thmoas Edsall's The New Politcs of Inequality
. A major theme of the book is the Democratic party in the mid-1980s was being taken over by rich guys.
Luebke's answer, of course, was the party needed to be radically pulled back to the left. My point of view was, if rich guys dominate both parties, then I'll vote for the rich guys who embrace wealth and believe that I, too can be wealthy if I work hard enough. He understood my point of view and respected it.
Would I vote for Luebke today if I could? Probably not. But I'm I'm a better person for spending three hours a week in his classroom a few years ago.
One name floated through the rumor mill to replace Jeff Thigpen's
county commissioner's seat: J.P McIntyre, now a member of the Greensboro planning board.
Other election news....
Voters in Arlington approved
tax increases worth $325 million to build a new retractable roof stadium for the Dallas Cowboys.
I didn't realize Texas Stadium was as old as it was.
Dan Rather: "We reminded you when the evening started we wanted to be 'Accuracy Central.'"
I swear Bob Schieffer's voice cracked a couple a couple of times when it became apparent Bush would win Ohio. Mark Shields of PBS looked like he was about to cry as he frantically searched for counties that might pull it out for Kerry.
Fox is the first to call Ohio for Bush, then NBC follows suit. ABC and CBS are holding out.
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Took about two hours to vote. The chick sitting outside the polling place wearing the "Bush is an Idiot" T-shirt got under my skin a bit, but I took a deep breath and stood patiently in line.
Right behind me was Joya Wesley, the experienced journalist who is now handling PR for the Truth and Reconciliation Project. She and I had talked on the phone previously, at which time we agreed to disagree on what purpose the project serves. I got to know her a bit and we mostly discussed the ups and downs of the newspaper business.
I saw several other neighbors and chatted with them about various subjects. It was a pleasant experience. I've done my part. The sun will rise tomorrow.
So far, it seems like any other day in Greensboro. I'm coming off the route now to go vote.
Paper route day. Election day. It should be a very interesting day. I bummed some Skoal from my buddy Glenn to help me get through it.
Monday, November 01, 2004
Interesting article on the vote against gay marriage in Ohio
The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, "who marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr. for the right to vote, has appeared in campiagn literature and told his congregation to support the gay marriage ban."
But, as the article points out, support for the gay marriage ban does not necessarily mean votes for Bush.
Kerry spokesman David Wade
: "When legions of Red Sox fans go to the polls on Tuesday, they'll remember that if George Bush had his way the Red Sox wouldn't have ever won the World Series."
While we're on the subject of baseball, the N.Y.Times mailbag
had some comments from fans regarding the World Series.
One came from Patrick Henry of Walla Walla Wash. who called for a stop "to the insane notion of giving home field advantage in the World Series to the team that comes from the league that wins the All-Star game.
The Cardinals labored long and hard to win the most games this season, and they certainly deserved the home-field advantage in the world Series."
Agreed. Especially considering the fact that the idea was conceived by Bud Selig to cover his ass after the debacle two years ago when the All-Star game ended in a tie.
Would home-field advantage have helped the Cardinals? Probably not, the way they were hitting. They were playing under the "Curse of LaRussa," as Dalton J. Brown of Oakland points out.
"This World Series painfully reminded me of the Series between the A's and the Reds in 1990. As you recall, the Reds swept the A's, four games to none," Brown writes.
Yes, the sweep recalled memories of the 1990 Series for me as well. Sweet memories.
I have a strange sense of calm on the eve before the election. Everyone suffers disappointment from time to time, I keep telling myself.
Yesterday, I did exactly what I said I was going to do- pause and reflect. Beautiful day. Went to church and prayed for our country- no matter who wins tomorrow. Then went mountain biking at Owl's Roost with my buddy Dave. Politics came up, but we're on the same side of the aisle, so we reassured ourselves throughout the ride.
The only bummer was the phone call from my dad. He called to talk about the Carolina-Miami game. As I've complained before, I don't have expanded cable, so I totally missed it. I picked up the Sunday N&R sports page and there it was-Heels Boot Miami. Even though I'm a State fan-I listened to the Pack lose to Clemson- I'm glad there's still life in the Carolina football program.
My dad and I are Archie and Meathead in reverse. I think back to 1972 when I stood in the voting booth with him and watched him pull the McGovern lever. In my kid's mind, though, I wanted Nixon to win just because, well, I liked him better. Though I was a liberal for a while, I now know it was probably meant to be that dad and I would be on opposite ends of the politcal spectrum.
I wasn't going to bring up politics.
You vote yet, he asked.
Never got around to it, I'm going to have to gut it out on election day, I replied.
How long you been unemployed now, he asked.
Not unemployed, self-employed, I reminded him.
Then I guess you want four more years of 'self-employment' he said.
Maybe, maybe not, I said.
Then he launched into a long monologue about some conference he went to, they said this, that and the other. Finally, he wrapped it up with, You better think about this.
I have thought about it, and I know which way I'm going. I hung up the phone, took several deep breaths, and went on with my day.