How Do You Spell Che Sera Sera?

Election tomorrow. The best guess is that about 15,000 of Kettering’s 40,000 voters will actually vote. It may be that even if I come in dead last, I still be able to say, in the middle of an argument, things like — “Look, 4000 Kettering voters think I’m right.”

I’ve had a number of people tell me that they are studying the League of Women Voters Voters Guide. In this campaign, I’ve ended up articulating a five point platform. But it’s not how I started. (Play the video below as you continue reading)

In my League of Women Voters statement I say,

Public education needs a big leap in quality — including a big leap in cost effectiveness. We need a ten year process of transformation that will result in a 21st century system of education. Community consensus is needed. Leadership is needed. The biggest challenge for the Kettering School Board is to lead the community in creating a shared vision of the future, and, in creating a well-thought out, long-term plan to bring that vision to reality.

What was I saying? Leo at the South of Dayton Democratic Club told me that he wanted specifics. And I can imagine a lot of people reading those words are thinking, “This man isn’t saying anything.”

In my last flyer I’m much more to the point. I start out explaining what motivated me to run, and then I outline five points.

Dear Voter,

Greetings. Three current school board members are seeking reelection. I am the challenger. I feel Kettering must do better.

I’m offering to serve my community. I’m running because I believe we must have a school board dedicated to local control rather than a school board dedicated to school system control.

We need leadership, not marketing. Last May, incumbent school board members approved misleading property tax advertisements that promised “ZERO Increase In Tax,” and “Not a Penny More.” I complained to the Ohio Election Commission (OEC) that this was false advertisement.

The board through its attorney noted that just because an advertisement is “misleading and fails to disclose all the relevant facts,” it does not necessarily come under OEC regulation.

Kettering needs leadership. We are moving to an era of increased public resistance to new taxes. Leadership must respond with a viable plan for change — not marketing that misleads.

Kettering voters need to assert local control. We need to define “excellence,” and create a long term plan that will make Kettering a leader. We need a long term plan to achieve much greater educational quality with less money.

Kettering Should Be The Leader
As a board member, I would:
1) Insist on transparency.
2) Create a public group to study in detail Kettering Schools and to make recommendations for the future:

• Redefine school purpose,
• Create a new design for 21st Century Education,
• Spend money more effectively,
• Make a long term plan.

I wonder if I would have taken a more antagonistic attitude in the League of Women Voters statement — “We need leadership, not marketing” — if I would have gained more support. Rather than head in the clouds sounding phrases about “creating a shared vision of the future” maybe I should have reported what made me so aggravated that I wrote out a complaint to the OEC.

But a lot of people don’t want to hear about a politics of conflict — so my comments and new flyer may have put some people off who otherwise might have supported me. The other challenger, Jim Brown, in the community meeting ended up defending the incumbents. I wonder if I may have lost his vote because I offended him by overstepping some boundary of politeness.

Twice, in public meetings, my mind has gone completely blank for a second and in that second I had no idea what I would say next. The first occasion was at the League of Women Voters video taping and the question was about marketing. How to market the schools? I was the candidate who got the question first — so I had no time to form an answer while the others were speaking. If you watch the video, you see it in my body movement that I’m in trouble. I reached deep into myself and found this: “Well, the best marketing is to tell the truth.” This “always tell the truth” philosophy is the only possible philosophy that can pay off in the long term — because, the basis for strong public education is strong public support, strong local control.

I have no idea what to expect from this election. I’ve been glad for the experience of being a candidate for the Kettering Board. I think some good will come out of it. It would be interesting to have better understanding of why elections turn out as they do — I am going to try to do some questionnaire type polling tomorrow at the precincts.

Why things happen as they do is sometimes impossible to fathom.

I can see how it might be feasible that in my school board election contest I might win. But it seems more likely that I will not win. There are a zillion unknowns so it’s almost impossible to calculate. I’m sort of resolved either way. Either way, it’s been a good experience and, either way, I think some good will come from it.

I could have tried a lot harder — but then, if I win with the scant campaign I’ve run, the voice of the people will have spoken even louder

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2 Responses to How Do You Spell Che Sera Sera?

  1. Dayton Politix says:

    It is que sera sera. What will be will be. We are guessing that Kettering will turnout about 14,000 tops. We are projecting you will place 4th of 5. Not dead last, you have caused a buzz among the establishment. Look for Bayless to join you on the not winning side.

    No matter who wins county wide, the status quo will be maintained. Even if Esrati and Gary L wins, there are in the minority. Same holds true in all the interesting township races, Butler, Harrison, Washington and Miami, not enough change in any of those jurisdictions to change how things are done.

  2. Mike Bock says:

    You’ve inspired me to make predictions — I see myself as squeaking in at 3rd.

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