During my campaign last year, the Daily Pilot referred to me as a “school board critic.” The term is OK because critics sometimes praise. Movie critics, for example, often report on movies they like.

I’d like to report favorably on the many school board issues I’ve raised over the years, and try hard to do so, more than just a broken clock being right twice a day. But an entrenched bureaucracy has a set way of doing things and it’s very hard for them to deviate from what they did before.

Last Tuesday night, board pres Martha Fluor did something I’ve never seen her do. it was the right thing at the right time and she deserves credit for doing it.

In my meeting recap, I reported on a public speaker who was reading a factual account of the life of a part-time N-MUSD classified employee. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I was riveted and strained to make sure I did not miss a single word.

Around the 3-minute limit, the speaker said she was halfway through. She was asking for more time without asking for more time. Without missing a beat, and to her great credit, Fluor allowed her to continue to the end. My recollection is that Fluor did not even give verbal permission, she just took it for granted that everyone in the room wanted to hear the rest of the story. The speaker continued for at least another couple of minutes.

Fluor had a very rough start to the evening over something on which I will report later. But in that situation, she exercised very good judgment.

Steve Smith

P.S. Fluor’s action does not open the door for anyone to speak for 5 or 6 minutes. Extensions are situational and everyone should come to the podium to speak for no more than three minutes.