Last night’s school board club meeting was notable not for what was said, but what wasn’t. In all fairness, though, I admit that I had little patience last night and left shortly after the public comments. But I had a good reason: The Cubs were about to win their series against the Giants.

There was one significant difference last night, though I doubt that anyone in the audience noticed it except me.

When she stumbled through her introduction of the public comments portion of the show, club member Vicki Snell read a few words that have not appeared in prior intros. Here’s the first line of the old introduction:

“This is an opportunity for the public to address the Board.”

And here’s the first line of the new introduction:

“This is an opportunity for the public to address the Board on matters within the subject matter jurisdiction of the governing board (Ed Code 35145.5; Government Code 54954.3).”

What this says is that they don’t want you get up and talk about whatever you want, such as, oh, that you support challengers over the incumbents in the current election. The addition of the Ed codes to the introduction is what small-minded, petty bureaucrats do when they don’t want to communicate in an honest and direct manner with taxpayers and choose instead to hide behind rules and regulations.

But wait, there’s more!

The public comments section included a short speech on the merits of Prop. 55 by N-MFT president Britt Dowdy, who also handed out pro-Prop. 55 buttons to the club members and bureaucrats.

Make no mistake about it, Prop. 55 is a political issue. The support and opposition is greatly drawn on party lines and the usual political machines are at work trying to pass or defeat it.

Mentioning support for Prop. 55 is OK, but mentioning support for opposition candidates is not. (See headline) So why is it OK? Answer: It’s not.

(Note: This is not an indication of support or opposition to Prop. 55, it is a discussion of the double-standard of the school board club and the administration.)

On the fence

The other notable public comment was from a highly involved parent who went past his time (with club president Black doing the right thing and allowing him to do so) to discuss the extensive school involvement credentials of both he and his wife.

All that was great – lots of smiles and head nods from the dais. An involved parent at TeWinkle and Victoria! Gosh – isn’t this great?!

Then things went south. The man told the board that the gate for the new fence around Victoria El that was supposed to be open on weekends was not open in the early afternoon on a Saturday. So, the guy’s 11-year-old son tried to climb it and got a serious injury to his arm – one that required paramedics to attend to him.

But before he could complete his tale of woe, one that was starting to make the admin and the board look bad, he was cut off by Black who referred him to a sitting bureaucrat, who shuffled the speaker out of the room.

Whew! That was close! That guy was close to exposing a(nother) broken promise.

And did any of the six club members in attendance think to ask one of the bureaucrats why the gate was closed or ask him to find out what went wrong and report back immediately?

Nope. All they cared about was averting another public crisis. But I was there and now you’re reading it so it didn’t work.

In a span of a few minutes we learned that it’s OK to discuss a proposition in the upcoming election, despite the Ed codes, but you can’t expose why the system set up to let kids play on playgrounds on weekends failed to keep its promise to taxpayers.

Just another typical school board meeting.

Oh, and speaking of broken promises… That Mariners Gold Ribbon report that was promised in “early October?” Um, not here yet.

Steve Smith
Taxpayer, N-MUSD