Sunday, April 27, 2014

CCR 04-27-14: Red/Blue School Board?

the   Controversial  Committee   Report
“We don’t raise sacred cows...we just butcher them.”

     A recent CCR report (04-11-14) endorsed Nell Anne Hunt for District 2 on the Irving ISD School Board for the May 10th election.  At that time, staff of the CCR reflected her opponent’s claim to local fame was he had been a political operative/opportunist in several high profile Democrat campaigns. 

     While the above should still hold true and the CCRs endorsement stands, staff of the CCR would now ponder the question: Should citizens be concerned about a political operative seeking a seat on the school board, who utilizes significant campaign contributions from possible out-of-city political party affiliates?  And if so, what might the individual’s agenda be if elected to the Irving school board?

     Up until this election, it seems most voters did not consider national party affiliation to be a consideration for a local school board candidate.  And really, it shouldn’t be.

     A review of Garrett Landry’s first campaign financial report (filed 4-10-14) reflects the following contributions from individuals outside the city of Irving (does not include those who could be relatives).  One has to question what these individuals are seeking with their contributions, unless it has more to do with national party affiliation than local governance.  After all, the Irving ISD is locally controlled and is not an extension of any national political party.  Nor should it be.

     Here are a few of the out-of-city contributions noted in Garrett’s first report: Texas Democrat Party: Austin, TX - $300; John Michel: Belleair Beach, FL - $500; George Glover: Largo, FL - $100; Nancy Hoines: Reading, PA - $100;  Phil Tamminga: Denver, CO -$100;  Robert Pruitt: Laurel, MD - $100; Lee Thornbury: Canonsburg, PA - $100; Gena Keebler: St. Petersburg, FL -$100; John Warren: Grand Prairie, TX - $150; David McKamie: Duncanville, TX - $100; Kathy Huber: Duncanville, TX - $100; Jennie Traylor: Garland, TX - $100.  Other individuals, contributing more than $200 to the Garrett campaign, would include the following locals: Liliana Gears, Chris Allen, Vicki Tate, Steve and Sherrie Boone and Charles Hoedebeck.

     By comparison, Nell Anne Hunt’s campaign reflects only eight donors who have contributed more than $200.  The primary difference...her donors are local.

     While many do perceive that campaign contributions could influence a candidate or their personal perspectives, what should Irving school board voters consider with all of the out-of-city contributions to the Garrett campaign?  Could this be an undertaking to install a local board member who has strong ties to a particular national political party?  

     CCR Staff Ponderings: Are the local school board elections evolving into battle grounds between factions similar to national political parties?  Could Irving students be shortchanged if board elections become this politicized?  Is the national political debate backdrop, with all its fractured and dissimilar issues, capable of resolving or addressing local Irving school district problems?

     To some, all of this may sound like a weak argument for justifying the CCRs endorsement of Nell Anne Hunt.  To others, the Irving school board’s history of members has demonstrated that the values the individual brings to the board outweighs any national party affiliation.  And this has served students of the district best.

     Considering the havoc that single member districts have caused the Irving ISD, moving to an extremely divisive Red/Blue State national political mentality on the board would only exasperate the problem for resolving local issues.
……………………...Mark Holbrook

Note:  Garrett Landry’s school board campaign financial report filing can be reviewed at the following link: