Friday, June 05, 2015
It's time for Mike Landis and Randy Steele to stop whining
Board members Mike Landis and Randy Steele complain that their rights are being violated because the board has not accepted their resignations.
Why, it is almost as if someone has put a scarlet B on their foreheads signifying that they remain board members, as if you could add another level of shame to what the two men have brought on themselves.
Neither has mentioned that they were elected to three-year positions and quit on their supporters and the patrons of the Joplin R-8 School District well before their terms were completed. Steele still had nearly two years to go on his term, while Landis had another 10 months to go.
Steele quit complaining of being harassed by Jim Kimbrough supporters, yet he never provided one bit of evidence to prove that they had done anything except strongly encourage him to support Kimbrough for Lane Roberts' vacant board seat.
Landis quit because he was not getting his way.
And now they are both whining about their resignations not being accepted.
When the taxpayers began questioning the decisions the board has been making for the past few years and sent board presidents Jeff Flowers and Anne Sharp packing the past two years, electing four board members they hoped could bring change- Debbie Fort, Jeff Koch, Jennifer Martucci, and Lynda Banwart- and electing a man who said he would not be able to serve just to get Sharp off the board, it sent the message that the times were changing.
Neither Steele nor Landis heard the message. Both expressed sentiments that what the voters wanted did not matter. Landis made his locally famous "Elections don't matter" quote and then made a show of pushing aside the notarized petitions delivered by Kimbrough in his effort to be appointed as the replacement for Lane Roberts.
Steele made a point of saying that taxpayers coming to the Board of Education meeting and saying they wanted Fort as board president did not make any difference to him.
And Landis has made a point of saying that he wants the Jasper County Commission, not the voters he claims to have been representing for the past 14 years, to have the final say in who replaces him and Steele. He would rather have two people who are not even from Joplin making the decision on who sits on the board instead of the people who were elected. From Landis' viewpoint, if the people chose candidates he did not want, then the people lose their right to have any say in what goes on in the school district.
And the Joplin Globe has pushed this agenda, as well. Just as two years ago, the newspaper tried to sell the idea that there was a voting bloc on the City Council that was damaging the city, it is now pushing the notion that three board members who were elected to bring about change, Fort, Koch, and Martucci, are standing in the way of progress- progress as defined by the only other remaining participating board member, Lynda Banwart, and of course, the Joplin Progress Committee.
The situations are remarkably similar. The so-called voting bloc was five members of the City Council, the majority, just as the voting bloc the Globe is trying to rally its readers against now is three of the four board members.
In both cases, the Globe is carrying the water for the unelected leading citizens of Joplin (many of whom do not live in the city), those who think they are the only ones who know what is right for the city and the school district.
In today's page one article, the Globe devoted more space to trying to get the selection shifted to the County Commission than it has given to all of the problems surrounding C. J. Huff. Thankfully, as I have noted before, Joplin R-8 taxpayers do not have to rely on the Joplin Globe to know what is going on.
The most telling quote in the article came from Landis:
I knew exactly what I was doing when I resigned, knowing it would go to the County Commission.
It was a last obscene gesture aimed at a voting public which decided to make up its own mind instead of being swayed by money and power and the idea that a few privileged people know what is best for the rest of us.