Monday, February 09, 2015
Anson Burlingame: David Wallace and C. J. Huff are honest men
I have made them; we have all made them, except apparently for those who are in government or who are connected in some way to the Joplin Globe.
Won't somebody say the city should not have hired Wallace-Bajjali or that the master developer idea was not well thought out?
Isn't there some school board member (who voted for it) who will acknowledge that it wasn't a smart idea to spend nearly $100,000 to replace bleacher seats, or to fritter away $8 million in "might-as-well" spending.
No, the mantra is "we must move forward." We cannot look back. As someone who received a degree to teach history (though I spent 14 years teaching English), I recognize the flaws in such thinking. If you don't look back, you are doomed to repeat the same mistakes.
With everything that has happened in the past few weeks, I have anxiously anticipated the opportunity to benefit from the wisdom of frequent Joplin Globe guest columnist Anson Burlingame. Surely, I thought, the Wallace-Bajjali debacle, the state audits, the stunning revelations about overspending in the school district, would cause him to give second thought to his observation from his June 28, 2014, blog, which praised great leaders and heroes like Mark Rohr, C. J. Huff, and David Wallace.
Burlingame did, in fact, write a column for the Globe about the city's current situation, he said last week on his blog, but he withdrew it, and does not seem to have any inclination to re-enter the battles of local politics.
So, to refresh your memory this is what Anson Burlingame thought last June and offers a clear example of why his guest columns are so highly prized on the Joplin Globe editorial page. He wrote this in response to a comment:
Politics, not money or good ideas, is killing us in our redevelopment efforts. We are not dead yet, but headed that way, in my view and it is the politics in Joplin driving us in that direction. Go ahead, fire WB as the MD. Then see what happens. With the loss of Rohr and WB, the ability of David Wallace to redevelop things proven without a doubt in Sugarland, TX we will have lost all leadership to really change things in Joplin. Good ole boys wanting business as usual will prevail and back we will go, to the “ugliest city” seen by me and my wife. I don’t want that to happen.
Well we have more than enough government money promised to us, some three years later and look at the mess we are in now. We are studying everything to death and blaming the MD for that demand, from government. That in turn is driving private investment away, like another tornado almost. If I had a ton of money today I would not give a dime to Joplin today, simply because of local politics. Turner, the Bloc of Five on council, you and a lots of other naysayers are driving private investment away and government will continue to study the issue forever if we are not careful.
Thus, today in Joplin, political stalemate is all around us. The only way out of it is good, great leadership. And we fired the best city leader I have ever seen in living around the country for decades, Mark Rohr, simply because he was a “bully” for Christ’s sake!!!
As well Turner and his supporters want to do the same thing to another great leader, C J Huff who literally brought about five different schools out of the ashes in three years, got public approval to raise taxes, etc. Absolutely crazy thinking in my view to rid our city of good leaders, honest men and hard workers. And yes, I put David Wallace in that camp as well. I have met the man, talked at length with him, challenged him strongly and always gotten solid answers, answers that make sense to me, right back from him. I have also done the same things with Dr. Huff, thanks to his willingness to even speak with me, an old rabble rouser of sorts with strong views on education.
At the national and international level there is no way I can go one-on-one with leaders or want-a-be leaders. I have to rely on the internet, the media and other sources to form my views. But locally, well sit down with the likes of Bill Scearce, listen to him for over three hours and then decided, him or David Wallace or Mark Rohr. The choice to me was very simple after doing exactly that, look men in the eye and deciding for myself just what kind of men they might be.
As well I have been doing exactly that with Carol Stark, C J Huff, etc. for several years. They come out so far ahead of Randy Turner, in my view, that there simply is no contest.