WISD Board Candidates Offer Stellar Choices

After watching this video replay of the Wylie ISD school board candidate forum, it's really difficult not to like all four candidates:

This blog post is partially about me deeply liking and respecting all four of them. Kudos to them for turning my head, because that is not an easy task.

Forgetting about the behind-the-scenes campaigning and supporters, in this video I saw four people who were humble, honest, caring and credible, and who endeared themselves to the community. Certainly, the students will not be for want with any of them. Though I would like to see a lot less group-think by all four candidates, I believe Wylie ISD will be in good hands with any one of them.

But will taxpayers?

This is where I begin to draw from that curmudgeony inner tax-muse for the other part of this blog post. That's because I am welcoming of more diverse views on these boards and councils when it comes to spending our money; one where deep investigations and discourse take place over budgeting and taxation, rather than shallow questions tossed lazily at staff and then rolling over because, "staff knows best".

I'm a roll your sleeves up and dig your hands in up to the armpits kind of gal when it comes to my tax dollars. I'm a researcher and intellectual thinker, but I recognize not everybody aspires to that. It's work.

I do believe we'll get that from Dr. Jacob Day. He knows a thing or two about research and overcoming budget obstacles. Not so sure about the others, though.

Certainly some are more well-spoken than others like Stacie Smith, but not everyone excels at public speaking. She was absolutely eloquent and mesmerizing.

Except we've seen the road where articulate, smooth-talking politicians have taken us. Look to Mayor Hogue for your inspiration. Taxpayers are just now getting him to toe the line on taxes. And it hasn't come without a brutal battle, pitting friend against friend at times. But who doesn't want someone who can easily roll everything off their tongue to represent us? They look good, right?

For me that smacks too much of Washington DC, where a candidate can tell you they support what you support, and then covertly work behind the scenes advocating for the opposite. In no way am I suggesting Smith is like a professional politician. She's not. But we have to look beyond public speaking performance in our candidates because it takes more than that to earn the right to represent us. It takes more than volunteer hours; more than being a former teacher; more than having sat on a board. It takes intestinal fortitude to remember, at all costs, who put them there. A painful lesson our council members are just now learning. A lesson our previous school board members learned from their folly under a foolish superintendent they had in Dr. Fuller.

Do our candidates have what it takes to represent taxpayers over the students should the chips ever be down? Old-timers around town remember fighting that battle with the district when we had bond after bond thrust at us by Fuller. Times were tough back then. Do these candidates have what it takes to pick up the torch for taxpayers? It's our money, after all.

In the forum, I was also highly charmed by Pastor Raymond Perry. This man showed us a wonderful soul. One that places God in everything he does and every word he speaks, which is something to think about in a world where so many are divided. Sure, we have God-fearing servants in WISD, but Perry gives us this on a much deeper intellectual level. Certainly something to ponder.

What I don't want to see pouring out of these candidates is rote memorization of facts and figures from the Texas Board of Education's propaganda, or affirmation that our current school board is functioning like one large brain. I don't want one convergent brain, I want everyone to use their own. I want to see more research and in-depth analysis of our school's budget and taxes. We need a level of co-cooperation between administrators, trustees and taxpayers, on a much deeper level than in the past, on how to fix our school financing. Group-think is dangerous and I saw quite a bit of that in this forum.

While we have one trustee actively advocating for transparency in Barbara Goss, and we see daily reminders of stellar cheerleaders in all of Wylie's trustees, I want to see the type of deep-thinking out of our school board candidates like we get from Councilman Porter at the city level. Roll up those sleeves and dig in. He's spoiled us, I guess.

For now, I must be happy with our lot to select from. That said, I really dig the financial background that Nick Klein offers and secretly hope he can be the voice of finance that we desperately need on that board - someone who will spend extra time researching school funding and taxes because taxpayers need a clear resident expert on the subject. We need someone who will advocate for us, not just the students and teachers. That's the part that scares me most about what I heard in that forum. Lots of feel-good discussion was had about the students, but who will truly advocate for the taxpayers? I just didn't feel it out of any of them. Just something to consider as you decide who to vote for.

The good news is that when Councilmen Porter and Wallis ran for city council, they set the candidate bar very high in Wylie. This new crop of candidates has done it again.

Though I've selected my school board candidates already, for reasons I still stand by, I believe it is a true testament to the high quality candidates we are finally cultivating in Wylie. These four candidates have shown voters that there exists highly educated, intelligent, ethical and talented people in Wylie, and it is critical we keep this momentum going for future elections. Wylie is too mature now for candidates that bring less than their all or less credentials than taxpayers deserve.

Thank you to the four people who stepped up to run. Your efforts are appreciated.

Combating the Nonsensical Argument

I've had a couple of people reach out to my blog complaining about my school board endorsements. As if, how dare I suggest that one candidate isn't Lily White. Their argument is that I never even met her, so how could I form a negative opinion.

It was even suggested that she is a conservative and therefore I should support her. The news is, I don't support people just because they claim to be conservative. I don't always support conservative dogma either. 

Sometimes conservatives get it wrong. They seem to be completely against things like bike lanes, but I find this particular complaint ridiculous. Forcing people into bike lanes, and to ride bikes hails from Agenda 21 and the UN's desire to protect Mother Earth from those nasty, emissions-spewing vehicles we all drive, among other ludicrously liberal ideology. I reject just about everything that Agenda 21 stands for, but when applying some logic to bike lanes, I would love to feel as though I could ride my bike somewhere and not get run over or worry about slowing people down. On the flip side, I would rather not have to deal with these people slowing me down on my way to work. It's why I stopped taking Renner in the mornings. There is routinely some bozo with two wheels between their legs, careening down the road during rush-hour traffic. Nothing screams, "Can I beat the odds of getting slaughtered?" more. 

Bike lanes aren't the only thing conservatives get wrong, either. When everyone was banning Target for their bathroom policy, I pooh poohed it. My theory has been that conservatives should expect, nay, celebrate businesses that run in whatever manner they feel is appropriate for them. The power is really in the purse and as with all things, just don't shop there. Instead, the banning goal was to put someone out of business or create serious financial implications for them. But, what about the people who work there, then? Is it okay to hurt them financially as they are let go? Was it okay that Christian bakers had to close their doors because liberals set out to destroy them?

Conservatives support business autonomy and freedom from big government regulations that sap profits. Yet with the Target ballyhoo, the same conservatives who demanded Target keep their bathrooms separate for men and women or else, were also complaining that liberals should demand Christians to bake wedding cakes for gays, or else. Conservatives cannot have it both ways, but that doesn't stop them from trying. 

The fact is, I am not a huge fan of the PTA, teacher unions and entities like Texas Municipal League and TMRS for that matter. They are supposed to serve the people, but there are times when they serve as relatively little more than PACs, like AARP, who attempt to effect their liberal policies in any way they can legally get away with. That's my opinion. 

Being a conservative doesn't mean blindly following along.
Still, it always cracks me up when I endorse local candidates. After much careful consideration I elected to officially endorse Nick Klein and Jacob Day for Wylie school board trustees, and I laid out my reasons for this. Yet, there has to be some clown that thinks they can twist my arm into changing my endorsement. Sometimes they try shame or belittling as tactics, claiming I'm "supposed to be a conservative", which I interpret as meaning I should be devoid of logic and go along with the sheeple, just because. I especially love when they use the, "you have never met them" complaint. O ye, of little faith who cannot believe without seeing.

I never met Ronald Reagan, the Bushes, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Donald Trump or dozens more, and that didn't stop me from voting for them.

Wylie ISD School Board Official Endorsements

When it comes to vetting campaigns, sometimes one of the best tactics to take is a wait and see pause. During this time, a candidate's true colors usually come out, particularly when they think nobody is looking. But, look I did.

As I assessed the candidates du jour for the two open Wylie ISD board of education seats, I was stymied. First, because I had expected Steve Wright to run, considering most of his campaign for council was about school taxes. To be honest, he would have had my support because I think we need someone on that board who questions everything. We need a tax and spend co-bulldog with the council's Matthew Porter. As good a match as Councilman Porter is for council, Wright would have made as trustee. But alas, he did not run.

Then there were four.

PLACE 1: Stacie Smith and Nick Klein 

At one point Pastor Raymond Perry signed up for this seat, then he changed his mind at the last minute, leaving it a two-way race.

Where do I begin? First, I'll openly express some irritation at the nonsense that I've seen taking place between the Mormon and PTA sisterhood backing Stacie Smith, and the bull in a china shop that is the First Baptist Church. I mean seriously, why schedule a class on talking to your Mormon friends about Jesus?

The name of the class alone, sounds hurtful to my Mormon friends (and I have quite a few), but the PTA sisterhood became downright obnoxious in their attacks on the FBC church. The online attacks were a bit immature. I get it, Christian's are tasked with proselytizing as are the Mormons who knock at my door once a year, but when you're punting for your friend, at least keep the religious rhetoric out of it.

As an innocent voter sitting on the sidelines, it just looks like a bunch of people using their church to beat up the other candidate. Can't anyone just run as themselves? You know, by their own merit, without bringing their congregation along for the ride? Not cool in the book of Befuddled.

So, despite this particular race lining up to be a battle between the FBC and the Mormons for some people, I am tasked with looking at two completely different candidates and assessing their merits and whether I believe they will be a good fit for Wylie's conservative grassroots voters.

On one hand, we have Smith, who is the ultimate PTA maven, if it has to do with the school kids, she's probably on it. On the other hand, we have Klein who is relatively unknown. And both are completely unknown to grassroots conservatives, making this endorsement a bit of a crap shoot.

Smith is running her campaign a bit like a popularity contest compared to Klein's campaign. But it's not really about who is prettier, has more friends or has been all up in the school board meetings.


Yet, I have to come to a conclusion on this race, and what does Smith in, is her gorilla PTA ties. I sat on a PTA board many moons ago so I understand the makings of a PTA superwoman. Hands down, the PTA is about spending on the kids, which in my estimation means that Smith will be a proponent of tax and spend, something we definitely don't need on that board.

The last thing we need is for our trustees to turn into bobble-heads. Though we have a good superintendent and administration now, those of us that have been around a long time remember the previous super and bobble-head board that nodded through every bad plan possible. Not that Klein is going to be a thoughtful and questioning twin of Porter, I feel as though he will be a bit more reasonable, especially when words used to describe Smith to me often include "bossy".

Because of this I'm going to #picknick. My official endorsement is for Nick Klein for Wylie ISD Place 1.

PLACE 6: Jacob Day and Pastor Perry

I cannot express how much the "he's here", no, wait, "he's there" situation irritates me to no end. I mean, how hard is it for a pastor to have some conviction about the seat he wants to run for?

Though that was enough to seal his fate with me, it was the announcement of Mayor Eric Hogue as the campaign honorary co-chairman on Perry's website that nailed that coffin shut. Honestly, did he think that aligning himself with the most hated man in Wylie would be a safe campaign tactic? Apparently he doesn't know the voters very well then. Enough said.

Jacob Day, Ph. D. runs circles around Pastor Perry when it comes to applicable experience for the board of education.

Day has a deep insight, as a former teacher in Wylie ISD. He understands how important having robust programs are, and he understands how to live within a budget, the ISDs budget. Finally, I like that he has an analytical mind. That is something we are lacking on the board. Because of this, I officially endorse Jacob Day for WISD Place 6.