It’s an old truism that our strengths are our weaknesses. When a citizen runs for local office, he or she is likely to learn that in the glare and scrutiny of the campaign, the very qualities that make them an appealing candidate may cause some anguish in the tussle and turmoil of the race.
Madison School Board candidates Maya Cole and Arlene Silveira have both taken some flak: Cole for a hurtful comment that infuriated supporters of the Leopold Elementary School addition and Silveira for her business background and thoughtful style that has been occasionally characterized as too corporate.
For both, issues of personality have become a part of a race that offers significant differences in perspective on the school district as well as distinct choices of style and personality.
It’s interesting that the Cap Times raised this issue, given that Maya’s drawn quite a bit of partisan attention at recent (mostly thinly attended) candidate forums (Ideally, these things should be cordial, but that has not always been the case). A reader emailed this link to the first post failed May, 2005 Referenda Long Range Planning Committee meeting. This is the meeting where a number of people spoke, including Seat 1 candidate and very active referenda supporter (Madison Cares, a group Arlene spearheaded, spent over $40K promoting passage of the questions – fwiw, I told Carol I thought that all 3 questions would pass while she was leafletting the Farmer’s Market, up until the ballot error/reprinting problem) Arlene Silveira.
The Cap Times’ article discussed Board members behaving poorly toward one another:
She said she was surprised by the number of people who follow the School Board meetings on television, and said that some of the occasionally fractious behavior on the part of board members diminishes the group’s credibility. “That must stop,” she [Arlene] said firmly.
Certainly, this video fuels the discussion, with Arlene first up.
From my perspective, the Fitchburg school saga must include the mid-1990’s MMSD turn-down of Bill Linton’s offer of free land near Promega (Current President Carol Carstensen and incumbent Juan Jose Lopez were on the board at the time). That land became the private Eagle School. A Promega partnership may well have spawned more by today. Interestingly, I learned about this years ago, while waiting for luggage at the Dane County Airport next to then Superintendent Cheryl Wilhoyte. She seemed excited about the possibilities.