Tuesday, April 03, 2007

When Life Takes A Turn

When Life Takes A Turn

So as I was preparing to return from Detroit last Wednesday night, I got a call from my wife Kelly that her mom had fallen down our basement stairs and gotten injured pretty badly.

Fortunately, Kelly got to her almost immediately and called 911, although it was quite terrifying for her.

Her mom should be ok in the long run, but it's going to be a long road to recovery. She just got out of Barnes-Jewish yesterday, moving a few blocks to the affiliated rehab center.

Ultimately, I think everything will work out fine.... but you just never know what might happen when you least expect it.


By the way, did anybody notice there's an election today?

I was voter #6 in my precinct, at 7:10 AM.

There were no touch-screen voting machines, and the optical-scan machine was not working, so I had to drop my ballot in the side of the big black ballot box on which the OS machine sits.

It wouldn't surprise me if it was just a loose power cord or loose memory card -- the two most common problems with the Diebold OS machines that prevent start-up -- but there was obviously no tech spec this time, and the regular poll workers just said that's how it is. Later, when the machine is working, the ballots will be scanned.

Anyway I voted for Katherine Wessling and David Lee Jackson for school board -- mainly because they were endorsed by Local 420, AFT. While teachers' union support is not always the best reason to support a candidate, I think it's a good idea in this case both for reasons of policy and of self-interest.

Even though the elected school board most likely will be stripped of authority in June, it's good to have this board in place to provide some representation for the parents and teachers who have largely been excluded from the MO DESE decision-making process to date. In this context, I'd rather have a parent-and-teacher-dominated board than a corporate-dominated board. It's important to have the support of business interests for improving the district, but they have plenty of say in the appointment of the transitional board. So the elected board, for better or worse, will be more of an advisory board for the time being.

And I'm certainly really glad, right now, for the provisions of the SLPS-Local 420 "policy statement" (non-binding union contract) that include short-term disability insurance coverage! I think my job has that too, even though it's not union... nevertheless, it's the kind of benefit that unions have been crucial in maintaining and expanding for this country's working people.

I just hope the transitional board/overlay district doesn't mess with that benefit package too much.

I also voted to re-elect Joann Ordinachev for JCD Board of Trustees Subdistrict 3. I don't really know much about either candidate, unfortunately.

Although Daryl Hemenway made some compelling points in the postcard I received, it confused me because he excluded my ZIP code (63118) from his listing of the Subdistrict 3 service area. I guess my precinct is in Subdistrict 3, but for some reason I thought it was in Subdistrict 1.

I agree with Mr. Hemenway that the campaign for Proposition EJ, which I supported, was very badly run. However, much of the blame for that seems to lie with Subdistrict 4 member Michael Rohrbacker. Admittedly, the rest of the BOT probably should have taken a more active role, if they expected the proposition to succeed -- which of course, it did not.

However, I'm not convinced that five months' experience as an NEA rep is sufficient for a slot like this. For that matter, neither the incumbent Dr. Ordinachev nor the challenger Mr. Hemenway seem to have much higher education expertise, per se. That's not necessarily a requisite for this position, but it does seem odd their experience is more on the K-12 side rather than adult education or traditional college education.

But maybe that's a good thing, balancing the college-level expertise of board president Robert Nelson, a retired Forest Park faculty member; Denise Chachere, a consultant who teaches a few classes at SLU; and Dr. Dolores Gunn, the County health director who is on the SLU medical faculty.

Anyway, this is most definitely a very low key election day. I saw nobody handing out literature outside at either polling place I passed this morning.


Anonymous said...

Did you vote for Proposition P?

Doug Duckworth said...

You need to get back at UMSL. Alas you have a better job. Congratulations again!

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