The video is up for the School Board meeting appointment and boy, it’s a doozy. I mean, I sort of knew that it was going to be weird and awkward, but I didn’t think it was going to be strange, and at times, downright ugly. Let’s just say that it will surprise no one to learn that there some folks are not happy with some of the statement made during this meeting.
I find it absolutely mind boggling that, when the process was designed, given the messiness that happened the last time around with a deadlock that there would have been a way to break a deadlock this time around. Either by random lots, vote by the superintendent, feat of strength, or a battle to the death. I’m not picky.
Here’s the recap of how the voting went down: Gary Lym threw his support for Anne McKereghan. Barbara Kahn supported Gray Harris. Solana Henneberry also supported Gray Harris. Phil Hu supported Anne McKereghan. After a deadlock vote, a brief discussion about ranked choice voting and reopening public comment; Phil Hu relented and switched his support to Gray Harris.
So, the positive of the night: (1) The two unknown candidates were actually refreshing and adorable. Maybe not ready for prime time, but it was really nice to have a different perspective.
(2) Gary Lym reading aloud from this blog post. Woot!
(3) The articulate statements from all the candidates.
Unfortunately the negatives kind of outweighed the positives.
For example Anne McKereghan, despite being well spoken and well informed, some how got lumped as just being “the parcel tax” person by the two School Board members that were squarely in the Gray Harris camp.
The entrenched digging in which resulted in language like, “I’m not changing my vote.” and “We can just sit here and see who blinks.”
Members of the School Board addressing members of the audience that are not part of the discussion of candidates.
Minimizing the contributions of community members to the parcel tax/bond tax efforts and declaring that future parcel taxes will be easy to pass.
Claims of needing to move forward from the toxicity of the last superintendent, but then tying someone who wasn’t involved at all (Anne McKereghan) to that negativity.
If there was one person who came out looking the best out of this debacle of an appointment process it was the newest School Board member: Phil Hu. After public comment was re-opened at the request of Trish Spencer, Marie Gilmore was the one public speaker who reminded the School Board of their duties (more on that in a different post). After the other School Board members spoke, Phil Hu said this:
I’m a little disappointed, and that includes in myself. Cause sitting on that side the last time, I think that’s what a lot of people saw: a board that seemed divided and wouldn’t move. Ms. Gilmore came up and said something that’s very interesting. This board was saved last time. Jane Grimaldi made a massively magnanimous action by withdrawing her candidacy and she saved the board from making that tough decision. Ms. Gilmore is right, we’re put here to make tough decisions.
He then announced that he was going to make a tough decision, since there was no Jane Grimaldi to save this board from having to make a tough decision that evening. And because of his decision there was no deadlock and there was no need for a special election. So while political tacticians out there could cynically view Philip Hu’s support of Anne McKereghan and then switch the Gray Harris as the ultimate in political maneuvering, the bottom line is he was the only one that made a tough decision on that board, politics aside, and given his newbie status on that Board the consensus should have been more widely discussed than simply giving up and saying that no one’s mind is going to be changed with more discussion.