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Thread: Why abstain on the HS Project vote?

  1. #1
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    Default Why abstain on the HS Project vote?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    I was sort of HS ambivalent, to be honest. I saw the benefits of having it, and I saw the arguments against it (most importantly by those who simply couldn't afford it). It the end (drumroll), I abstained on that question while voting on the rest of the ballot. This after voting yes to fund the study back in April. I determined I did not have such an ardent position that I wanted to vote pro/con. A cop out, some will say. However, I was not disappointed with the outcome of the vote.
    Jeff, you were really so ambivalent about the HS that you took a ballot, thought about it long and hard, and deliberately left that question blank? I'm just a little surprised, since it would seem like it was one of the most important questions ever to come before the town. And as someone who had run for School Committee, one would expect you'd have had pretty strong feelings about it one way or another, and that you wouldn't want to leave a vote like that up to everyone else to decide for you. This truly surprises me. You really decided to abstain on that one?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    Jeff, you were really so ambivalent about the HS that you took a ballot, thought about it long and hard, and deliberately left that question blank? I'm just a little surprised, since it would seem like it was one of the most important questions ever to come before the town. And as someone who had run for School Committee, one would expect you'd have had pretty strong feelings about it one way or another, and that you wouldn't want to leave a vote like that up to everyone else to decide for you. This truly surprises me. You really decided to abstain on that one?
    I saw both sides of the issue, Kim. A new high school sounds great on paper. Who wouldn't want that! Thankfully, in my case, I can afford the taxes. However, there were/are many in Wayland that cannot. I heard those people and tried to put myself in their position. That's what tore me. In the end, I couldn't decide what meant more -- the money or the school. Thus, the abstention. Like I said, if it had failed, I believed it is really the teachers that make the education and not the building. If it passed, then the building would be there, I'd pay the taxes, and live with the reality that the majority favored the school more than the financial hardship it might create for their neighbors. Like I said, the outcome wouldn't have left me shaken either way.

    Looking now at the budget, I do feel strongly about the waste (i.e. - three secretaries for the Superintendant) that exists within it. I intend to vote for a full audit of the school budget as proposed by petitioners in the upcoming Town Meeting. Hopefully, once and for all, the residents of Wayland will finally be privy to what we really spend $31Mn on annually. Maybe there is enough savings opportunity there to mitigate the HS tax increase.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    I was sort of HS ambivalent, to be honest. I saw the benefits of having it, and I saw the arguments against it (most importantly by those who simply couldn't afford it). It the end (drumroll), I abstained on that question while voting on the rest of the ballot. This after voting yes to fund the study back in April. I determined I did not have such an ardent position that I wanted to vote pro/con. A cop out, some will say. However, I was not disappointed with the outcome of the vote.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    I saw both sides of the issue, Kim. A new high school sounds great on paper. Who wouldn't want that! Thankfully, in my case, I can afford the taxes. However, there were/are many in Wayland that cannot. I heard those people and tried to put myself in their position. That's what tore me. In the end, I couldn't decide what meant more -- the money or the school. Thus, the abstention. Like I said, if it had failed, I believed it is really the teachers that make the education and not the building. If it passed, then the building would be there, I'd pay the taxes, and live with the reality that the majority favored the school more than the financial hardship it might create for their neighbors. Like I said, the outcome wouldn't have left me shaken either way.

    Looking now at the budget, I do feel strongly about the waste (i.e. - three secretaries for the Superintendant) that exists within it. I intend to vote for a full audit of the school budget as proposed by petitioners in the upcoming Town Meeting. Hopefully, once and for all, the residents of Wayland will finally be privy to what we really spend $31Mn on annually. Maybe there is enough savings opportunity there to mitigate the HS tax increase.
    Jeff, I'm a little confused by the idea of abstaining on that one question, because I went back and looked, and the High School question was the only one on the ballot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    Jeff, I'm a little confused by the idea of abstaining on that one question, because I went back and looked, and the High School question was the only one on the ballot.
    Ok, consider me confused. With so many elections over the past year (at least three in the past three months), and given that I did not check ballots/election timing before answering the question later last night, I thought it had been on a ballot with the US senate primaries (they were actually a couple of weeks apart now that I look back).

    One additional point I would add about the HS vote. Besides the financial ramifications of the vote, it certainly gave me great consternation to give the same School Committee (since the HSBC reports to them) that I think makes relatively bad decisions today the authorization to spend/control a huge sum of money.

    By the way, I also did not attend the Town Meeting where it was debated (although I watched it on TV). Same rationale as described previously.

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    Oh, ok, so you just didn't vote then? That would have been tough to sit out. We all had the pros and cons to weigh and nearly half the town did turn out. I remain surprised that you would want to be on SC and cast this fate to the wind.
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 02-01-2010 at 04:17 PM. Reason: to fix typos.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    Ok, consider me confused. With so many elections over the past year (at least three in the past three months), and given that I did not check ballots/election timing before answering the question later last night, I thought it had been on a ballot with the US senate primaries (they were actually a couple of weeks apart now that I look back).

    One additional point I would add about the HS vote. Besides the financial ramifications of the vote, it certainly gave me great consternation to give the same School Committee (since the HSBC reports to them) that I think makes relatively bad decisions today the authorization to spend/control a huge sum of money.

    By the way, I also did not attend the Town Meeting where it was debated (although I watched it on TV). Same rationale as described previously.
    Jeff, are you saying that you went to the polls, took the one-question ballot and left it blank, or did you just not vote?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nancy Funkhouser View Post
    Jeff, are you saying that you went to the polls, took the one-question ballot and left it blank, or did you just not vote?
    Nancy, there is no reasonable rationale. I'll give Jeff the courtesy of a little while to answer your question himrself. However, if by tomorrow he has decided not to do so, happy to log on again and fill everyone in. ; )

  8. #8
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    Actually, I completely understand Jeff's ambivilance.

    On the one hand, my family will personally benefit from the new HS (assuming it stays on schedule) and I'll be glad to have it.

    On the other hand, I have serious concerns about the oversight of the project.
    Our school committee will play a role in certain aspects of that oversight. This is the same school committee that just signed off again this year on the $31 million school budget.

    The breakdown they receive from the business manager and the few details they ask for leave some very large dollar amounts unexamined, leaving ample room for mistakes, mismanagement and waste.

    Add to that SC member Jeff Dieffenbach’s spending thousands of tax payer dollars on the legal fees to fight for the right to keep public documents private as in the case of the Superintendent’s scathing review, and I simply do not have confidence that the money for the new HS will be spent wisely and prudently.

    So I empathize with Jeff Baron's position.
    This was a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" decision for me. At the same time, it was a win/win, if that makes any sense. My feeling was, if it goes through, we've got a brand new high school and won't that be great!
    However, if it failed, it would mean that I wouldn't have to lose sleep over how it was being managed.


    A footnote:
    I have voted for every ovreride since moving to Wayland. I'll happily vote for more in the future if they will just open the books up wide and let us see how they're spending our money and demonstrate the need. My complaint isn't about taxes or overrides - its about a mysterious budget and budget process that no one seems to understand.
    Last edited by John Flaherty; 02-02-2010 at 12:33 AM.

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    Default Questions Questions so Many Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Nancy Funkhouser View Post
    Jeff, are you saying that you went to the polls, took the one-question ballot and left it blank, or did you just not vote?
    Jeff Baron, I just noticed that the lady of YES4WHS who signed the revised filing to the Clerk of the Town of Wayland at the behest of the Office of Campaign and Political Finance has jumped on this thread to ask you a question.
    I would say the name of course, but I risk having it redacted.

    Jeff, don't you think that its fair that she jump onto the SOS thread first and answer all of your questions in detail before you answer her question?

    And I can even think of a few more questions to ask.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    Jeff Baron, I just noticed that the lady of YES4WHS who signed the revised filing to the Clerk of the Town of Wayland at the behest of the Office of Campaign and Political Finance has jumped on this thread to ask you a question.
    I would say the name of course, but I risk having it redacted.
    Consider yourself reminded that our policy regarding privacy does not apply to individuals who participate in the forum. Ms. Funkhouser had not requested that her name be deleted initially in any event. When she posted, I contacted her and suggested that I reverse the deletion of her name, and she had no objection. You will see her name now does appear in the original post, and that there is an editing annotation to that effect.

    You can ask her questions, I'd suggest, on SOS thread. And I hope Jeff will answer hers here. Else I can't imagine what Ben might come up with. ;-)
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 02-02-2010 at 12:37 PM. Reason: addition of winky at end to indicate that I was following along the humor of Ben's prior post

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    Consider yourself reminded that our policy regarding privacy does not apply to individuals who participate in the forum. Ms. Funkhouser had not requested that her name be deleted initially in any event. When she posted, I contacted her and suggested that I reverse the deletion of her name, and she had no objection. You will see her name now does appear in the original post, and that there is an editing annotation to that effect.
    Reminded? Last I looked Nancy Funkhouser was redacted. Now she's back? Confusing.
    I think your policy is flawed. Here is how. Posters should be able to refer to people who have made themselves pubic by their own choice and/or through publicly available legal documents. Nancy's name is on file at the Clerk's office as the signee (or is that signateur) of the amended OCPF filing for YES4WHS. She is also the treasurer as posted in public on her website for a legally registered BQC.

    The other ladies that were redacted are all posted officers on a public website of either a (current grassroots organization or previously PAC / BQC) and all have relevance to this discussion. They made themselves public and they made the contribution in kind to themselves. IMHO, the redaction was done as a favor in regard to a flawed policy which needs to be modified. All redactions in this matter should to be reversed.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    You can ask her questions, I'd suggest, on SOS thread.
    Yes, I certainly can. That is if she first goes there and answers Jeff Baron's questions in full and in detail.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    And I hope Jeff will answer hers here.
    Yes, that seems like step 2 in this process.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    Else I can't imagine what Ben might come up with.
    I don't know but it must be very important. ; )
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 02-02-2010 at 12:39 PM. Reason: Clean up

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    Reminded? Last I looked Nancy Funkhouser was redacted. Now she's back? Confusing.
    I think your policy is flawed. Here is how. Posters should be able to refer to people who have made themselves pubic by their own choice and/or through publicly available legal documents. Nancy's name is on file at the Clerk's office as the signee (or is that signateur) of the amended OCPF filing for YES4WHS. She is also the treasurer as posted in public on her website for a legally registered BQC.
    We have our policy. We make every effort to apply it uniformly, and believe we have done so in this case.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    Yes, that seems like step 2 in this process.
    I think we ought to leave it to Jeff to decide when he would like to answer.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    I don't know but it must be very important. ; )
    Agreed.

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    Default The Discussion forum Laboratory

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    We have our policy. We make every effort to apply it uniformly, and believe we have done so in this case.
    I didn't say you didn't have a policy. I just said it was flawed.
    I can't think of another case of redaction that you did to substantiate this uniformity claim. Enlighten me.
    But even if you do, that doesn't mean its not a flawed policy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    I think we ought to leave it to Jeff to decide when he would like to answer.
    This is a discussion forum and we are discussing it... no restrictions on that as far as I can tell?

    But...
    If you don't see Jeff posting an answer to Nancy's question here prior to Nancy's answering Jeff's questions on the other thread, then you probably have his answer to my suggestion.

    And...
    If you don't see Nancy posting answer's to Jeff's questions over there then (I would assume) that Nancy doesn't have good answers to those questions.

    Further...
    If I don't get a chance to ask the treasurer of YES4WHS more pointed questions (over there) then it's stalesmate isn't it?

    Its kind of like a discussion forum laboratory.. isn't it?

  14. #14
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    Default Red Herring - a device intended to divert the audience from an item of significance

    To quote Kim exactly from the 'sos' thread, "The purpose of this Discussion Forum is not to enable people to attack or embarrass others. It is to enable discussion of issues to further people's understanding and for neighbors to be able to help one another."

    As your own rules don't seem to apply, and if you and the rest of the SOS-friendly crew who felt emboldened to post here (vs. the thread highlighting the misdeeds of their pals), are trying to put the final nail in the coffin on any future school committee runs by Jeff Baron, as seems to be the case, you might want to save that nail for something more useful like crucifying the next candidate to come along that should have the audacity to run against the SOS-approved candidate. I can't see why Jeff would waste his time on this again.

    So, now that this less than stimulating discussion about who one person in town voted for has run its course, how about if we return to something more substantive, like why Jeff Dieffenbach spent thousand of dollars of our money in order to hide a public document from us, or why after Heather's scathing review of Gary Burton did he go on to receive rave reviews and raises, while Heather quietly took her place at the table and voted in concert with her colleagues for those reviews and raises, and what is the future of SOS and why are so few people here willing to weigh in on it, or what exactly did Louis mean in his email about "the next override" and “more to come”, clearly implying further OML violations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    To quote Kim exactly from the 'sos' thread, "The purpose of this Discussion Forum is not to enable people to attack or embarrass others. It is to enable discussion of issues to further people's understanding and for neighbors to be able to help one another."

    As your own rules don't seem to apply, and if you and the rest of the SOS-friendly crew who felt emboldened to post here (vs. the thread highlighting the misdeeds of their pals), are trying to put the final nail in the coffin on any future school committee runs by Jeff Baron, as seems to be the case, you might want to save that nail for something more useful like crucifying the next candidate to come along that should have the audacity to run against the SOS-approved candidate. I can't see why Jeff would waste his time on this again.
    John, this is not about embarrassing anyone. I just wanted to understand Jeff's rationale for his HS project position, and that seemed relevant because I assume there is a real chance that Jeff will run for School Committee again. I am still a bit incredulous that he would have abstained, given the magnitude of the issues, but I appreciate his explanation. I was, I think understandably, confused because the very deliberate process of NOT checking a box is the kind of thing that sticks in your head.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    So, now that this less than stimulating discussion about who one person in town voted for has run its course, how about if we return to something more substantive, like why Jeff Dieffenbach spent thousand of dollars of our money in order to hide a public document from us, or why after Heather's scathing review of Gary Burton did he go on to receive rave reviews and raises, while Heather quietly took her place at the table and voted in concert with her colleagues for those reviews and raises, and what is the future of SOS and why are so few people here willing to weigh in on it, or what exactly did Louis mean in his email about "the next override" and “more to come”, clearly implying further OML violations.
    These are separate topics, so feel free to post your opinions about them in a new thread.

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