Apr 19, 2007

Superintendent does not want informed voters for school board election


Howell Public Schools Superintendent Chuck Breiner is taking a stand against educating the public by canceling a forum for school board candidates set for next week at one of the district's elementary schools, sponsored by the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus.

Breiner is not only ignoring the function of the schools to educate and inform all of the public, including the people who actually pay for it operation through their taxes, but he is ignoring years of precedent. Breiner is claiming the district policy that states, “District facilities and equipment shall not be used or made available for political campaigns” does not allow the forum.

However, since I have lived in Livingston County since 1998, I have attended at least five political debates at the Howell High School auditorium for U.S. Congress, state Senate, state House, County Commission and judicial candidates. The picture posted above was taken by a friend of mine at a debate I attended last August at HHS for state House candidates.

He is also ignoring the fact that school board elections are nonpartisan.

It makes you wonder why this change. The school board and Breiner have been sources of controversy the past year with the book banning attempt by the anti-gay hate group known as the “LOVE” PAC (Livingston Organization for Values in Education). The Howell school board election has taken on an even more importance with the “Love” group running candidates after getting “Love” member Wendy Day on the board last May. The Livingston County Republican Party is making a mockery of the nonpartisan label this year, and it has made a special effort to recruit, train and throw their resources behind candidates in the race.

What makes it even more mysterious is the district had already given the newspaper permission to use its facilities.

According to the article, Breiner claims he did not know permission had been granted for both this and past forums, even though the forums and debates have been publicized by all the media that covers the county. The article says Breiner said “he hadn't read the local daily newspaper in three years.” There is more than one local newspaper. With all the news generated by the school district and other things going on, it’s sad that we have a man in charge of our school district so misinformed about what’s going on around him.

Breiner also says, “They approved something that directly violated district policy," Breiner said. "When I found out about it, I said we can't allow this according to district protocol." "If I had known of them, they wouldn't have occurred," he said.

A forum and a debate are not political campaigns, because they dos not endorse any candidate; it only allows voters to learn about whom they are voting for.

In fact, the only possible violation of the policy was by a newspaper employee, and the newspaper admitted it in the story.

“Breiner said the only other political event at the school that he knew of occurred in 2002 when Buddy Moorehouse, on leave from his news job at the Daily Press & Argus, staged a fundraiser for his unsuccessful bid for the state House.”

A fundraiser clearly violates the policy, and you have to wonder why he did not put a stop to that. The newspaper also failed to mention that Moorehouse was not on leave from the newspaper. Rich Perlberg, then general manager of the Daily Press & Argus, said Moorehouse would never work for the paper again after he left to run for the Republican nomination for the 47th District seat in the state House, but after he lost in the primary he was back at the newspaper shortly after that.

This makes Breiner look extremely bad, especially in light of criticism that the current board is nothing but a rubber stamp for his wishes. Political debates have been held elsewhere, and I hope this is rescheduled for a place like the historic Livingston County Courthouse. But the fact remains that the people who actually pay the taxes to run the schools and pay for the buildings were told they can’t use the building for an important Democratic function.

I always thought Breiner did a good job under extreme pressure, but he is wrong in this case.

12 comments:

Vicki said...

I am proud to be a member of the LOVE organization. We only desire what's best for the children, and fiscal responsibility for the Howell school system.
We will continue our important work against the things we hold dear. Whenever a gay flag is raised, or sexually explicit books become required reading in schools, we will take a stand. That's what makes our majority strong.
Vote for Moore and Harvey for school board, and soon we will be able to control the rulings of the Howell school board against everything that is indecent. We shall see as our majority speaks on May 8th!

Communications guru said...

I am so proud that you are proud to be part of a hate group. You could care less about children, and it’s your small, warped agenda that you care about.

I noticed the only post you did not comment on was the one where the Howell kids at Choral Festival at Walled Lake Western High School were called racists. That can be laid at your doorstep, and it is you and your group that gives this great community a bad name outside the county.

There was never a “gay” flag raised in Howell, but there should be. We also don’t want small-mined people censoring Nobel Laureates. To their credit, the community spoke out loud and clear about that.

I have been waiting with baited breath for the “love” endorsements, so can I guess this is them? That’s just two less people I have to learn about. I can eliminate “love” candidates moore and harvey right off the bat. Thanks for the help, Vicky.

Vicki said...

Doug Moore and Bob Harvey don't need your vote, C.G.
Our majority has already been instructed as who to vote for. Come back here May 9th and face the music.

Communications guru said...

You’re half right. If those jokers win the entire district and county will have to face the music of more embarrassing attempts to turn the clock back and more embarrassing attempts to ban prize-winning literature. But you’re wrong if you think your small but vocal group has enough pull to swing the election. So exactly what does that mean, “Our majority has already been instructed as who to vote for?” Does than mean you’re not making endorsements? Does it means you realize you have such little support among the community that any endorsements from you is the kiss of death?

Communications guru said...

You’re half right. If those jokers win the entire district and county will have to face the music of more embarrassing attempts to turn the clock back and more embarrassing attempts to ban prize-winning literature. But you’re wrong if you think your small but vocal group has enough pull to swing the election. So exactly what does that mean, “Our majority has already been instructed as who to vote for?” Does than mean you’re not making endorsements? Does it means you realize you have such little support among the community that any endorsements from you is the kiss of death?

Fed Up! said...

The original post stated:
"“Breiner said the only other political event at the school that he knew of occurred in 2002 when Buddy Moorehouse, on leave from his news job at the Daily Press & Argus, staged a fundraiser for his unsuccessful bid for the state House.”

A fundraiser clearly violates the policy, and you have to wonder why he did not put a stop to that. "

I think you missed something in that article.
The very next line after that first quote in the paper clearly states:
"When he heard about that event, Breiner said he personally went to the school and forced the event to stop."

A debate or forum in which voters get to know the candidates could be construed as a political campaign, or not. I personally don't see the harm in it, but maybe Breiner wants to keep the hateful LOVE group as far away from the schools as he can. I've seen Vicki Fykes face and I can relate to that. Just reading some of her self important comments makes me want to hurl... something at her.
As to anyone reading the Argus... it takes all of 5 minutes, is blatantly slanted to the right.
It refuses to publish letters to the editor from residents who make a good point for the left side.
My husband had many letters published until one day his emails for editorials came back refused, since that time over a year ago the Press/Argus has not published any of his letters to the editor, yet day after day we read religious right drivel.
Why would Breiner waste his time reading this rag? In fact, most residents of Livingston county do not read the local paper, They want something a bit more substantial for their 50 cents. The Ann Arbor paper and Detroit News and Free Press rarely have any local news for this area in the paper. Unless of course it's about Nazi auctions, banning so called gay flags, silent abortion protests, banning books...
Just the stuff that's guaranteed to make us look like backwards yokels. Thank goodness I don't have any children to put through school or else I'd have to deprogram them every day from their exposure to the LOVE types offspring. I pity these children growing up uneducated in real life lessons and devoid of basic compassion for fellow human beings. To call a diversity flag a "gay flag" shows their ignorance and their steadfast refusal to acknowledge that anything different from their views can be a good thing too. To see how often the Argus prints Wendy Day's or Vickie Fyke's name in the paper also shows just where their leanings are.
I have begun to absolutely hate Republicans for their greed, selfishness and closemindedness. I have begun to hate anyone who publicly espouses their religion. I thank the idiots who belong to groups like LOVE and the ones who put hot button issues on the ballots in order to get their candidates elected to the detriment of our greater society for those feelings. I feel very uncivil almost all the time because of their intrusive ways. Who cares if someone is gay and wants to get "married" it affects me not one IOTA.
All I know is I am voting for Ed and Jeanine because LOVE does not want them elected and that can only be a GOOD thing!

G.O.P(roud) said...

Dear Fed Up, You shouldn't hate Republicans. We don't hate you. We feel sorry for you! You have chosen the wrong side.
Republicans are faith based and walk hand in hand with Christ toward a brighter future.

Communications guru said...

Thank you for your post, Fed up. You are correct; a fundraiser is the only thing I have seen that violates their policy. You have to wonder why permission was granted at all, but to his credit Chuck Breiner did put a stop to it.

I agree with you that forums and debates are educational and fulfill the school’s educational mission. As for Breiner wanting to keep “Love” away from the school as his reason for initially opposing the forum I really have no idea if that’s true, and as such I can’t speculate. However, I agree with your comments about Vicki Fyke.

I disagree with you about the Press & Argus bias. I think the news items are very balanced, but it’s the editorial pages where the conservative bias comes in. If you look at who is responsible for that page it is not hard to figure out why.

As for your husband not getting his letters published, I might suggest it could be a personal matter. I have personal experience that the managing editor will refuse to publish items from people who personally directed criticism at her or perhaps offended her. She tends to hold grudges. I would suggest you ask why your letters are not published starting with her and work your way up the chain of command until you get a straight answer.

I don’t think Breiner would be wasting his time reading the P & A. It seems inconceivable to me that a person in charge of the largest school district in the county and who touches so many others things in the county has no idea what’s going on around him. You may not like the P & A, but the fact remains it’s the best source for local news. However, I also think the Ann Arbor News weekly and Detroit News also does a good job covering local news. Before it changed its format the Livingston County page of the Detroit News did an excellent job, and they covered stories the P & A was trying to sit on and did not want to cover. The best example is the foreclosure of Chris Ward’s home. The P & A had that for a week because the required legal ad ran in their paper, but they only ran it after the News did. A newspaper’s job is to be a watchdog, but they were apparently asleep or did not want to embarrass someone they have been very lenient on.

I agree with your comments on Day and Fyke, but I don’t see how the paper can ignore something everyone is talking about. However, I think a few times they went out of their way to crate a story on the subject.

I think hate is far too strong a word. There are some very moral, outstanding Republican leaders in this county that I have a lot of respect for that are open-minded, fair and care about more than themselves. But they are the minority in the party, and they get this ridiculous label: "RINO” with the hard right turn of the GOP.

Communications guru said...

I don’t think she or I “have chosen the wrong side.” Saying “Republicans are faith based and walk hand in hand with Christ” is ridiculous in light of the recent events and acts of Republicans. They don’t embrace many of the values I learned in Sunday school and in church.

Vicki said...

It's been nice chatting with you, this is my last post on this blog. There are lots of things to do before May 8th.
I'll stop by on May 9th and reveal the winning strategy.

Communications guru said...

You don’t have to bother; after the so-called “love” candidates are soundly beaten I’ll post it. By the way, is your anti-gay hate group ever going to revel its endorsements?

Arwen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.