Spring, 2007 Madison School Board Election Update

Some updates regarding the April 3, 2007 (and a Seat 3 primary February 20th, 2007) Spring school board elections:

Much more on the 2007 elections here.

10 thoughts on “Spring, 2007 Madison School Board Election Update”

  1. While I’m not a big supporter (nor a member of) Progressive Dane, can anyone recall any instance where this “loyalty oath” has influenced any decision or vote by a School Board member?

  2. Has the loyalty oath influenced any decision or vote?
    How would we know?
    I never expect to hear any benefactor of a political machine saying, “I voted for this proposal because I was told to”, though that is precisely what happens. The language politicians use are “arm twisting”, “smoke-filled rooms”, “lobbying”, “phone calls from the [boss]”.
    It’s naive to believe that there is no quid pro quo. Of course, there is.
    This is quite different from those who are independents, whether in the context of neighborhood associations, or community gardeners, or just friends.
    I’m also thinking in terms of those of us who are frequent contributors to this forum (SIS), and who meet somewhat regularly. Nothing like a machine, though those in the established political machines like to say so, because they can’t imagine how thinking independently is done.
    My own view of the SIS group is that we seem to have in common strong support for public schools, a strong belief in data-driven decisions, no aversion to digging into data and ideas to understand, an insistence on open government acting openly, and a genuine enjoyment of diverse thoughful opinions.
    Apart from these commonalities, the mix is pretty much a crap shoot. No loyalty oaths here. I can’t image how good decisions can be made in any other context.
    By contrast, good decisions cannot be made by those involved in the political machinery, because the whole focus of the machine is the health and well-being of the machine, not the rightness of the decisions and policies. Political machines are all about winning, and nothing more.

  3. I’m looking at the PD City of Madison Platform at http://www.prodane.org/about_us/city_platform/
    and I don’t see an education-specific platform…so, how could there be any quid pro quo? The PD loyalty oath doesn’t say you must vote this or that way. Obviously PD members support their party’s platform, but I dont see how this applies to BoE races where PD doesn’t have a platform. Heck, PD has less of an education platform than the SIS one you just spelled out, Larry. In fact, if you read their city platform, it jibes with exactly the issue stances that many of us here have embraced, particularly open government and racial/socio-economic justice.
    I can only see one reason for Jim posting about this “Loyalty Oath” in this forum, and that’s a political reason…because the controversy over the loyalty oath has had NOTHING to do with BoE matters. I don’t even think that PD is much of a player in BoE elections. However, this is an interesting discussion, because obviously, all MMSD issues are political and SIS is certainly political.

  4. First, let me say I’m glad SIS exists. I don’t have to spend too much of the little time I spend here digging for good info and debate.
    Second, the thing that keeps me from spending more time here is this kind of junk out of Jim and echoed by Larry.
    Anyone looked at this so-called loyalty oath? It’s here, http://www.prodane.org/elections/PDCandidateAgreement2003.html, accurately titled Progressive Dane Candidate/Elected Official Expectations. It spells out the things PD members, in return for their support during and after election, expect and offer. I’d be interested in hearing which among these items are either a) objectionable to SIS subscribers and/or b) anywhere approaching a loyalty oath.
    Third, if Larry is correct, and I believe he is, that a common thread among SIS subscribers is “no aversion to digging into data and ideas to understand” then prove it so by sticking to facts and documents when you DO wade into the political end of things. The hyperbole, misinformation and gamesmanship in these kinds of attacks on PD and the candidates it supports do everyone a huge disservice.

  5. This is very frustrating. I don’t know if Michael Jacob or David Cohen can walk and chew gum at the same time, but what is clear is they cannot read!
    Let’s try a little remedial reading course. I’ll take it rrrrreeeeaaaallllyyyy sloooooow.
    I’ll quote from the PD statement (you’ll know its quote because I’m going to use this little symbol called a quote here –> “).
    “We expect endorsed candidates to actively serve … Progressive Dane’s membership…
    To be considered for an endorsement, candidates must be members of Progressive Dane…
    We expect the candidates we endorse to… support [our shared goals] by … [h]elping elect other candidates endorsed by Progressive Dane; remaining publicly neutral in races where they do not agree with the endorsement of the organization.”
    Now I’m going to address more complex issues requiring some analytical capabilites, and the ability to make rational inference. Cohen and Jacob, you can skip this part.
    What is a loyalty oath? Though the canonical case is declaration of allegiance to government and its institutions and disclaimer of any support for foreign associations [See Black’s Legal Dictionary], it is clear that PD is requiring a declaration of allegiance to the PD institution, and requiring that a member disclaims [not claim/remain neutral] any support for the unendorsed.
    This is a loyalty oath!!!!!!!!!!!
    PD perhaps does not have a particular public stance on BOE positions (probably because actual positions are not important to them), but they do not endorse or speak with anyone who does not commit to signing their loyalty oath (or pledging allegiance to PD), and by definition and implication, PD will fight to defeat any candidate, regardless of merit of their positions who is not a member of PD.
    Thus, contrary to their assertion that they support progressive (notice a small “p”) positions, it is clear they support only those positions which their members (by a majority) take; otherwise dissenting members must not speak, they must refrain from voicing their opinions on matters, regardless of how deeply held, which is contrary to the positions endorsed by a majority of their membership. That is, those who are endorsed by PD (they must be members) have expressly agreed to not exercise of their First Amendment rights to disagree with the official position of PD.
    The language of the “PD Agreement” does not say what the punishment for disobediance is. Perhaps, it is unneccesary to even consider such an event, because those who succumb to PD, by definition would never have the temerity to disobey — like the child who will never cut the apron strings — forever, they will be mama’s little boys or girls.
    So, if you hear that they have endorsed someone, you know absolutely that the endorsee made such a commitment, and that they have no backbone.
    Perhaps you should speak to current BoE candidates about their experiences this year with PD.
    Here are the facts for which I have direct experience — not the bullsh*t that Cohen and Jacob throw around.
    When I ran for school board a couple of years ago, I was contacted by PD because they said they were interested in the BoE race. They asked no questions about my positions, why I was running, etc. They invited me to a PD meeting, but first asked whether I would join, telling me I would have to join PD, I would have to agree to all their positions and support all the candidates that PD endorses. I said “No”. He hung up, immediately. So much for their interest in issues.
    Clearly, PD would not support Jesus Christ himself unless he joined their little crap organization.
    I can not think of more damning organization than PD for those of us who are progressive in the Lafollette sense. The right-wing neo-cons made the word “liberal” a swear word. Now Progressive Dane is making the word “progressive” as deservedly repugnant.
    Progressive Dane is to LaFollette progressives as a bulldozer is to a forest.
    Progressive Dane’s model is not Robert LaFollette, but Joseph McCarthy.

  6. Wow. Make that two reasons I don’t spend much time here. Larry, you ever want to try and give this a rational go, give me a call. Clearly this forum is not the best way to show your best side.

  7. You know, Larry, we have the right to have this discussion in an adult manner here at SIS. No name calling, no denigration, no appalling trolling. It’s called free speech, and it used to be that the folks who posted here respected that. I guess those days have come and gone, my oh my. I’m not sure which I’m most disappointed at: your freak out or the hypocrisy of the usual posters here that aren’t calling you out of line. Either way, I’m not shocked….

  8. Surely you’ve heard this before, Don’t feed the troll….. There is a candidate forum at Falk Elementary School Gym on February 13th from 6:30 to 8:00. Hope you’ll bring your questions.

  9. Larry,
    Be polite.
    Ironically, PD generates heated discussions among political junkies, but I’d guess that not one-tenth of one percent of the voters ever heard of PD.
    I especially find it disturbing that PD endorsed candidates have to remain neutral on other races, meaning a PD endorsed candidate would have to remain neutral in a race between a religious conservative and a solid progessive candidate who didn’t get PDs endorsement for some reason.
    In Maya Cole’s race for school board last year, PD endorsed her opponent when Maya clearly holds political positions and values much closer to PD, making me wonder about “good-old-boy” manipulation of the endorsement process.
    PD will probably be a flash in the pan. When the current highly engaged leadership decides to do other things with their lives, PD will most likely wither away.

  10. Be polite..I love it, Ed. Welcome back! I think more folks know about PD than you give them credit for. My only real objection to PD as they relate to BoE races is that BoE races are non-partisan, so why try to MAKE them partisan? In practice, however, the only advantage PD gives anyone are the foot soldiers for lit drops. We all know that many great candidates have no desire to get the PD endorsement, and those folks have done pretty well by and large. I do hear your sentiments about neutrality and endorsements- that’s part of the political game in this town right now.
    This whole loyalty oath thing, IMHO, is just a slur tactic, and I’d prefer no one stoops to that level just to make political hay. ISSUES, folks, ISSUES! That’s what the voters need to hear about, and hopefully they will, soon.

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