Sunday, June 14, 2015
With today's editorial, Joplin Globe shows its contempt for its readers
With today's editorial, the area's newspaper of record showed its complete contempt for voters in the Joplin R-8 School District.
It is the latest condescending effort by the Globe Editorial Board and its well-to-do friends in the Joplin Progress Committee, CART, and the other incestuous organizations that persist in pushing their own views of what Joplin should be on community members who can think for themselves.
Over the last two years, the voters have elected four Joplin R-8 Board of Education members in a clear message that they wanted change- Debbie Fort, Jeff Koch, Jennifer Martucci, and Lane Roberts.
The Globe and the people who seem to be pulling the Editorial Board's strings are trying to make people forget about the election of Lane Roberts.
The people of the Joplin R-8 School District did not vote for the former Joplin Police chief because they thought he was going to be on the board. The voters were informed and knew full well that Gov. Nixon had appointed Roberts to be held of the Missouri Department of Public Safety and that he was not going to be able to serve.
Roberts won the election because voters wanted nothing more to do with Board President Anne Sharp. The last thing they wanted was a continuation of policies that have put this district in a precarious financial situation, caused the departure of hundreds of good teachers, and filled the ranks of upper administration with people who are unqualified to hold those positions.
When the new board was seated, despite efforts that the Globe never covered to try to keep Jeff Koch from being sworn in, business was derailed time after time by three board members- Mike Landis, Randy Steele, and Lynda Banwart.
They were so contemptuous of the voters' clear message and upset that they were not getting their way that two of them, Landis and Steele, quit, and the third one, one lone board member, Lynda Banwart, prevented the board from seating a replacement for Roberts.
One of the quitters, Landis, gleefully explained that he quit so the Jasper County Commission, rather than Koch, Fort, and Martucci, and let's face it, the voters who elected them and Roberts to enact change, would have to select three new board members.
The Joplin Globe never saw the voters' side of the issue and never tried to see their side. The voters had to be wrong because they did not choose the candidates the Joplin Globe and the Joplin Progress Committee wanted to see elected. Two days before the election, the Globe told its readers that Anne Sharp had been re-elected because Roberts had said he was not going to serve, a mistake the newspaper has yet to acknowledge. The Globe was either so disconnected with its readers that it did not know that there was a movement to elect Roberts to keep Sharp off the board, which is quite possible, or it was making a not-so-subtle attempt to tell the readers what it thought was good for them.
The Globe ran one article after another over several days, making it clear where its allegiance lied. No mention was ever made of the fact that Landis and Steele had been elected to three-year board terms, then quit when things did not go their way. Steele left when people threatened to attend the meetings and has yet to produce any evidence that he received any threatening letters or notes. Apparently, the Globe never bothered to ask for such documentation.
Instead, the Globe became a crusader for civil rights- Landis and Steele had the right to resign and that right was being stripped from them by the evil board members who would not accept their resignations.
That was not an attempt by Landis, Steele, and Banwart to hijack the board from the people who had clearly demanded change. At least not in the Joplin Globe's book.
When Banwart refused to vote for the board candidate she had supported three days earlier, Marsi Archer, the Globe never acknowledged that Koch, Fort, and Martucci had made a clear attempt at compromise. Nor did it mention that one board member, Banwart, was taking a hypocritical step to take the say in who was named to the Board of Education out of the hands of the same voters who had elected her in 2014, and putting it in the hands of a Jasper County Commission, whose members included Darieus Adams, with whom Banwart had a clear conflict of interest.
That conflict of interest was never mentioned in the Globe until after the decision had already been sent to the Commission, and even then, as the newspaper has a habit of doing, it was relegated to the inside jump page and treated like an unimportant issue, the same way the Globe earlier treated allegations of conflict of interest against City Councilman Mike Woolston.
The Globe starts off today's editorial with a snide remark aimed at Koch, Fort, and Martucci:
Perhaps now, problems that have sidetracked the Joplin Board of Education- personal agendas and the inability to follow rules and procedures- will be set aside.
The reference, the editorial notes, is to the attempt to have Jim Kimbrough sworn in to replace Roberts. The Globe takes a swipe at a possibility that the three members were violating the Sunshine Law, then praises the County Commission's appointing three new members- without a mention of the obvious Sunshine Law violation that took place when commissioners discussed who they might appoint to the board without ever posting that such a discussion would take place and also before Prosecuting Attorney Dean Dankelson had rendered his opinion that the Commission should become involved.
As you would expect, the editorial praises the three new board members, Gary Nodler, Sallie Beard, and Ron Gatz, referring to them as "experienced, strong, independent- just what the board needs to right itself and proceed."
Presiding Commissioner John Bartosh talked about the selection procedure. The Commission purposely avoided choosing anyone who had expressed an interest in serving on the board. The commissioners did not ask any questions about school issues, which is probably just as well, since they were probably not informed enough to ask such questions. Nodler indicated that if he had been asked any questions about Common Core or any other educational issues, he would have turned the position down.
In one of his first statements after it became apparent that the Commission might have to select the board members, Bartosh said he would be consulting the business community. Later, he and the other commissioners, made it clear that they had a list of people they could appoint to various commissions or boards.
In other words, the usual suspects.
And in the ivory tower world of the Joplin Globe's editorial board, a world where the voice of the people is important- as long as those people are connected to the Joplin Progress Committee, CART, or the upper tier of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, sanity has been restored.
This uprising by the voters, those whose names are not included on the Jasper County Commission's master list and those who aren't on Joplin Globe Editor Carol Stark's speed dial, is a mere annoyance.
Things will be straightened out by next April when the Joplin Progress Committee can throw more money into the campaign, the Joplin Globe can do a better job of educating the people about what is good for them, and candidates who understand that listening to the people is important- but you have to keep them in their place- will be elected.