Friday, October 18, 2013

School Board Elections are no Big Deal, right?

Yesterday two candidates for the South Washington County School District 833 were informed by the district file clerk that a complaint had been made about the candidates' sign placement.  The email read as follows:
Good afternoon, I had a CG resident contact me to say that your signs near the corner of ---th Street and County Road -- are illegally placed.  He says they are on church property OR too close to the roadway...He says that if you do not move them by 8am tomorrow morning, he is contacting the city to have them removed.
This morning, the husband of one of the candidates went to check on the signs, at which time he reported being watched by a man in an older black truck near the church property.  The husband recorded the license plate number of the truck, then determined that the signs were not illegally placed on city property, but were on church property.  He talked with the church secretary about the issue, and was informed that on Thursday, allegedly a man had entered the church, threatened the secretary with the IRS - loss of tax-exempt status - if the church did not remove the signs.  He also allegedly left a note stating, "Remove the signs, or else."

The incident, along with the license plate number, have been reported to the Cottage Grove police and is being investigated.

This incident demonstrates that even though our school district has its elections on odd years, and only around 7% of voters - approximately 4,000 out of 50,000 eligible voters - will vote on school board candidates, that these "small, local elections" hold much value to the people involved with determining the future of our children and control over taxpayer money. They know that most people are not paying attention to the election, and when there are candidates who are willing question and hold accountable the administration and education unions, that they must shut those candidates down in any way possible - even if it means threatening a church's First Amendment Right of Freedom of Speech.  

School board members make decisions that affect all the students in the district - those kids are our future. Their decisions affect how much we will be paying each year in taxes and how much our district employees - teachers and staff - will be paid.  I would argue that there is no more important election than that of the school board and city councils because what they do affects the citizens the most.

Obviously, there are those in our district who feel that this election is important and are willing to stoop to the lowest of lows to shut down opposition voices.

Pay attention.  Research the candidates.  Ask questions about the levy renewal/increase and bond.  Do your homework. AND VOTE ON NOVEMBER 5.

UPDATE: The police went to the church and spoke with the pastor and the candidates.  The police have stated that the person in the truck was actively harassing the candidates and church.  The police have also said that if the person in the truck is seen at either at the church or the candidates' homes that would constitute "stalking."  
~Updated 12:33pm, October 18, 2013 

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