Apr 21, 2007
The good news is Howell Public Schools Superintendent Chuck Breiner has relented on his idiotic decision to not allow HPS facilities to be used for a candidate forum for Board of Education candidates sponsored by the Livingston Daily Press & Argus, but the bad news is the newspaper is childishly saying they don’t want to play in the district’s yard anymore.
In a lengthy story in the Thursday edition of the paper that quoted Breiner, the newspaper's executive editor and almost all of the school board members and some candidates, the paper took Breiner to task for rescinding previous permission to hold the forum at Hutching Elementary on Monday, claiming the forum violated a policy that prohibits political campaigns in schools. Clearly, he was wrong because political debates and forums have been held at the high school auditorium for many years, and debates and forums do not meet the criteria of partisan campaigning the policy prohibits.
Obviously, the purpose of the article is to illustrate the absurdity of Breiner’s actions and get him to change his mind. Well it worked, and on Friday an article appeared that both announced Breiner had indeed done the right thing but at the same time it announced the venue for the forum would now be the Howell Recreation Center.
Despite getting the proper outcome it desired, the newspaper’s leadership are acting like spoiled children and saying they are taking their ball and playing elsewhere.
“Daily Press & Argus editors explained they couldn’t risk having the school district withdraw its approval to use the facility again.”
I don’t think I have ever heard a more self-serving and petulant statement from a supposedly professional organization.
"The capacity of the recreation center is 150 people, so anyone interested in attending is urged to get there early. Once capacity is reached, people will be turned away."
I was under the impression the primary purposes of this forum, sponsored by the newspaper, was to help give voters the information to cast an informed ballot with the secondary purpose to promote the newspaper, but it seems here those purposes have been reversed. I have never seen anyone turned away from a local debate or forum, and the way to avoid it is for the newspaper to stop acting like a spoiled child. It makes you wonder if the editors are ticked at Breiner because he said he hasn’t read the P & A in three years.
When you read this exchange a letter writer had with the executive editor you begin to get a hint why the newspaper is not acting responsibly in this matter.
Near the end of Friday’s article the paper makes it a point to claim Breiner was wrong when he said he stopped a 2002 fundraising event for editor Buddy Moorehouse when he unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination for the state House in the 47th District, but it doesn’t bother to correct the false statement the paper made that Moorehouse was on leave from the paper to make the run.
It’s also a little funny that four of the five school districts in the county have contested races this year, but Howell is the only forum they are sponsoring. I’m sure it’s because the anti-gay hate group known as the “LOVE” PAC (Livingston Organization for Values in Education) only has candidates in this race- as far as we know, and the paper has given this group far too much copy. I’m not saying they should ignore them, but there is such a thing as overkill.
A forum for those candidates running for the Brighton Area Schools Board of Education is also being held, but it does not appear the P & A is sponsoring it. It’s being held at 7:30 p.m.Thursday, April 26, at the Green Oak Township Hall, 10001 Silver Lake Road. Questions from the community may be submitted via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information call 810-229-0550.
The Howell forum is being held from 7-9 p.m. Monday at the Paul Bennett Recreation Center, 925 W. Grand River Ave. in Howell.
The election is being held May 8, and it is especially important fair-minded people turnout because the Livingston County Republican Party is making a joke out of the nonpartisan tag by recruiting, training and supporting candidates.