Friday, October 17, 2008

Looking close at the BOE races

The headline may have focused on the sheriff's race in Athens-Clarke County, but the real interesting discussions involve the candidates for the Clarke County Board of Education. And it's interesting because we're starting to sort through the views and rationales of the candidates vying for office.

A pair of challengers - Jim Geiser and David Huff - broke ranks with the other four candidates on stage during last night's debate and said the local schools have more than enough funding, which is a perfectly legitimate position to hold.

Geiser fumbled the particulars, claiming that Clarke County pays $1,000 more per pupil than they actually do and failing to recognize that such a sum is built from an average that includes higher-than-average costs for a large special-needs population and gifted population.

Such details, however, while important, aren't terribly crucial to this discussion. What is crucial is sorting out the worldviews, and it seems more and more as if Geiser and Huff adhere to more conservative philosophy seeing how 'ample funding' is an argument put forward by many Republicans in Athens-Clarke County.

I discussed Huff's race here, and I noted that he appeared to lean Republican based on his voting history. It should also be pointed out that Geiser spoke at the Clarke County Republican Party earlier this week, though Flagpole notes that he's received funding from prominent Democratic backers in town.

Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not arguing that a Republican can't do a fine job for a community at the local level, and, in fact, I count several Republican local officials as my friends. While we've got a few differences of opinion, I do believe they do fine jobs in their respective positions and serve their communities well, which is the most important thing.

My point in all of this is that Athens-Clarke County is, by in large, an overwhelmingly Democratic community. It's an island of blue in a sea of red here in Georgia, and the voters ought to know how ideology shapes one's worldview.

I'm all for non-partisan elections, but I'm also all for honesty in your campaigning. If choosing Huff or Geiser is the direction it wants to go, then that's something the community should make with as much information at their fingertips possible.


Post a Comment

<< Home