Dayton Daily News Owes Democrats An Apology

After reading the big editorial in today’s Dayton Daily News“Democrats gutted Dayton’s School Board” — I decided to write a letter to the editor as a response. I came to the end and found myself writing what seemed a logical conclusion: “The newspaper owes the Montgomery County Democratic Party and its chairman, Mark Owens, an apology.”

I e-mailed it in — I’m wondering if DDN will publish it.

To the Editor of The Dayton Daily News:

The Dayton Daily News is convinced that the “best candidates” for Dayton School Board lost the election. The reality that Dayton voters rejected the newspaper’s Board recommendations seems to have put the newspaper in a very sour mood.

Because the Montgomery County Democratic Party endorsed Board candidates that won, resulting in the defeat of incumbents that the newspaper preferred, the newspaper roundly denounced and condemned the Democrats. The editorial, “Democrats gutted Dayton’s School Board,” said that the Democrats’ recommendation of Board candidates “had nothing to do with competence, intelligence or qualifications” of the individuals. Really? The editorial also said, “Sadly, voters think the party actually vets people on their abilities. At least in this instance, that suggestion was a lie.” A lie? The editorial gives no facts to back up its accusations.

The Dayton Daily News evidently feels that its two or three editorial writers, who make these astounding proclamations, should have more influence in the Dayton community than the influence that active members of a major political party should have. The newspaper’s sense of entitlement and righteousness is almost amusing.

In its rush to lash out at the Democrats, the editorial rejects the most reasonable explanation of why incumbents were defeated. The editorial depicts as “nonsense” the very logical notion that voters, by rejecting the incumbents, simply were indicating they wanted a change in Dayton Public Schools.

It appears that the Dayton Daily News became so vested in advocating for certain Dayton Board incumbents that, in its frustration at the defeat of these candidates, the newspaper lost its manners and its sense of fairness. The newspaper owes the Montgomery County Democratic Party and its chairman, Mark Owens, an apology.

Sincerely, Michael Bock

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11 Responses to Dayton Daily News Owes Democrats An Apology

  1. Gary Staiger says:

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for the DDN to publish [your comments in their entirety. A response by me on their education writers blog prior to the election making some of same points was never published.

    DDN=Damn Dumb News

    Get used to it.

  2. D. Greene says:

    While they’re apologizing, maybe DDN could include a mea culpa for their abuses of logic and especially, of the English language. Have they fired all of their copy editors? I’ve seen more errors and mistakes in the last two years than I have in my entire history of reading the paper.

  3. Mr. Bock, I disagree. Once a political party gets a monopoly over the school board, then people who are interested in education, but not party politics (exactly the type of people we should have on the board) will not particpate, run for the board, get involved.

  4. T. Ruddick says:

    My read of the situation is that the Democratic Party under Mark Owens is descending into cronyism.

    The incumbents were members of the Democratic Party, as were all candidates. The incumbents could point to solid achievements; greatly increased graduation and attendance rates, a balanced budget over the past seven years (contrasted to a $19 million deficit the previous year), percentage of budget devoted to instruction (faculty, resources, library, etc.) up from 47% to over 60%.

    Joe Lacey (has he ever been hired for anything by anyone other than a Democratic Party leader?) decided he wanted to put together a team of candidates that would be sympathetic to his personal agenda. I call it the “Joe First” team, but other names might be relevant. His team consisted of a grandmother whose main motivation was to preserve the Walnut Hills school (and who lost badly), a retired schoolteacher who offered no concrete proposals, and a Dem co-worker who claimed to want to promote all of the Kids First programs–smaller class size, more money for education/less for administration, neighborhood schools, etc–but who voted against the last tax levy, effectively destroying the very things she claims to want to promote.

    Those are the facts. Would you care to make a case for why the Joe First team was superior, based on counter-evidence rather than your affection for Mr. Lacey?

    In the meantime, the Dems refused to endorse two incumbents members who had unblemished records of public service on the board. Note that Lacey campaigned for and contributed to the opponent of the Dem’s endorsed candidate for the two-year term.

    Any incumbent democrat should be careful in considering whether to continue to support Owens in his post, unless they are assured of favored status in the eyes of Mr. Owens.

    And DaytonOS may aspire to a reputation as a fair broker of news and opinion. If so, in future elections, please give all candidates and their supporters equal access to video interviews. As it stands, you’re presenting one side of the story, and it’s not one that the facts on the ground support unequivocally.

  5. Mike Bock says:

    Thanks for the comments.

    My gut feeling, personally, is that it is a bad practice for political parties to endorse school board candidates. However, I feel that the Democrats who sought to make school board endorsements did so in good faith that their endorsements would benefit the Dayton community.

    My aggravation with the Dayton Daily News centered on what seemed to me the unfairness of the newspaper’s accusations concerning the Montgomery County Democrats endorsement process. DDN implied that the Montgomery County Democrats’ endorsement process was completely irresponsible and inspired by inappropriate motivation. I feel the DDN accusation was unfair.

    DaytonOS hopefully will continue to grow into a positive force for in-depth discussion about news and ideas that impacts the Dayton community. I hope that in future elections citizens will use DaytonOS to more and more effectively communicate.

  6. Greg Hunter says:

    The only thing I recall about Kid’s First, was that they passed a levy, and bought Standard Register buildings in Dayton, so Standard Register could move to Kettering. Gail in cahoots with Dayton Chamber throwing the anchor to Dayton Public with cheer leading provided by the DDN.

  7. Gary Staiger says:

    The problem with a “non partisan” school board is the same we have with judges…a lot of hokum about non partisanship that BOTH parties participate in.

    That the idea that politics should not be involved in either schools boards or city government is a dead end legacy from John H Patterson circa the early 1900’s.The basic premise of Patterson’s position was the business community should run things. Is it then any wonder that the MSN outlet here, the Damn Dumb News, would trumpet the cause of the “powers that be” vis a vis the School board?

    Pretending that politics is not a part of and should not be part of school board decisions is more than laughable, it is pitiable. Politics is the very imprecise method by which, among other things, a society allocates it resources and offers a vision of the future. And, we sure as hell need to have those qualities at work with our school system.

    Thats politics

    Pretending that the wall is not there will not keep your car from stopping dead when it hits it. Same thing with politics and the school board.

    I think it is long past time when the rules of the elite, the John Patterson’s of the world and this city, give way to those of the citizenry, the working and middle classes that actually produce the wealth of the world.

  8. Jeffrey says:

    I’m curious as to Joe Laceys “personal agena”. There is are a number of references to this at the DDN education blog, too.

    People refer to it but never state what this may be.

  9. Gary, I only disapprove comments on my blog that contain profanity, racial slurs or libel. Either the comment you refer to crossed into these areas or perhaps there was a techincal problem with your post. Otherwise, I certainly would have approved it. I have very, very rarely disapproved comments. Probably less than 10 in the two and a half years I have blogged.

  10. T. Ruddick says:

    Joe Lacey’s personal agenda is to build a career in politics any way he can. Whether he delivers solid public service in the process seems irrelevant to his ambitions. I’ll note that he’s not unlike quite a few other career politicians in this respect.

    Thus far, the strategy that’s worked for him–the one he came to after three failed candidacies–is to rely on his connections earned through years of soldiering for the Dems, to file unsuccessful lawsuits against his perceived opponents at the beginning of campaign season that compromise their ability to campaign, and to level unsupported allegations of mismanagement. When anyone attempts to quote any of his attack statements, Lacey disowns them.

    Again I note: Lacey insisted that the board was wasting money. In his 2005 campaign, he stated that he was eager to get into the districts’ books and see what he could find (and denying the statement would be unwise, since it was recorded during the CEC candidates’ debate broadcast over Dayton Access TV). Thus far, I have not heard any of Lacey’s “findings”–his complaints all have been that the board doesn’t parse the administrations’ budget proposals enough (unprovable, and probably false) and that the central administration building was a waste of money (arguable; Lacey continues to insist that re-designing Roosevelt would have been cheaper and better, but construction experts from the local to the state level disagree).

    I’m still waiting for any of his allegations to be backed with firm evidence. I’ll note that the one lawsuit he filed (against the Kids First team) that went to judgment was found invalid. Unfortunately, his other accusations aren’t up for trial, so he’s under no compulsion to provide his evidence and have it proven specious.

    Until he provides definitive facts and figures on school system waste–something that as an accountant he ought to be capable of doing himself– or an honest bid by a legitimate construction firm for the renovation of Roosevelt Center into a central administration building (one that preserves all the “historical” features of the building, like the swimming pools), then I’m going to continue to suspect that he’s just a suit with friends in his party’s power hierarchy–and that those friends also have no plans for the public good, just plans to keep occupying elected offices.

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