An Editorial Opinion on the Election

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This will be my first editorial posting on  My name is Dave Freneaux and I am one of the editors of this site.  I am writing this at 3:00 PM on October 4th, election day for the Central School Board.  I mention the date and time because I want to go on record as having these opinions regardless of who prevails in today’s election.  I have no allegiance to anyone in this election.  I do have opinions as to who I would like to see on the school board, and I have what I consider to be reasonable justification for my opinions, but I am not writing about who should win.  I am writing about the process, and I am writing about what should happen after the votes are counted tonight.


In my professional life I have a point in many memos that I call “If the shoe fits.”  This is that point.  If you ran for the School Board or were a supporter of a candidate, and everything you have done or said in this process has been honorable and solely for the purpose of better education for the children of Central, stop reading.  If you read on and find comments that you do not like, “If the shoe fits, wear it.”  If not, know that the comment was not directed at you.


I have had the distinct privelege of watching this electoral process as an interested third party and each candidate has respected my involvement with and has made it easy to present unbiased coverage on the site.  At the same time, I have heard many stories of dishonorable campaign tactics, mean-spirited rumors, and tolerance of reported bad behavior by supporters.  I have seen enough to believe that some candidates have polarized into “camps” and I even suspicion that this polarization has crept into the actual decision making process of the Board.


Central is not big enough.  Central is not big enough to have its seven school board members polarized into factions.  Central is not big enough to have hundreds of neighbors getting caught up in politics to the extent that we forget about the purpose of the school system: educating our children.  Central is not big enough to allow election antics to distract our most involved community leaders and elected officials from the primary task of improving life in the greatest place on earth to live and raise a family.  If Central becomes a community of 100,000 citizens, it will never be big enough to have room for divisiveness, distractions and dishonorable actions.  The question I now ask is: Is Central big enough to get past this election and get back to the business of Central?


I try never to raise a concern without also offering a solution.  I have two wonderful daughters, both educated in Central and at LSU.  They would come to me as children, complaining that the other had wronged them and asking that I punish the other for her bad behavior.  My usual response was an offer to hear both sides of the story, decide who had any fault, and I mean even the slightest participation in inappropriate actions, and I offered to punish all guilty parties equally.  Predictably, when challenged to examine their culpability in the argument, they always seemed to be able to find a way to get along.  More importantly, they began to learn to disagree without being so disagreeable.


My concern in the wake of this contentious election is that the acrimony will spill over into the future operation of the School Board as I believe it has already done prior to the election.  My solution is simple, and it is my solution for a surprisingly wide variety of problems I see in the world: Get Over It.  You or your favorite candidate won, but others were unfair and mean-spirited… Get over it.  Get over it and get to work improving our schools.  The people ignored your detractors and voted you in anyway.  The opportunity to serve should be enough.  You or your favorite candidate lost and you believe the bad behavior of others caused it…  Get over it.  Get over it and get to work improving our schools.  If you were running for the school board simply for the status, it is good that you lost.  If you were running because you want to work to help educate our children, guess what, there is more work out there to be done than a School Board of 50 could do, and the paycheck is the same for a volunteer as it is for a board member.  The opportunity to volunteer should be enough.


As a candidate or a supporter, examine your own actions throughout this election.  If you would not be proud to have everyone in Central know all you did during this campaign, hope we never find out and promise yourself that you will work diligently and honorably from this point forward and never make the same mistakes again.  If your actions were always honorable, don’t point fingers and tear down others who had less honor, just work diligently and honorably on into the future.


Let us also understand, as I tried to teach my daughters, that there are no degrees of wrong.  While it is wrong to spread a rumor, it is equally wrong to spread your own rumor of how evil the one is who supposedly started the rumor.  I said earlier that Central is not big enough.  In fact, I hope that Central is small enough.  Small enough that we can all go back to the timeless tradition of taking our grievances directly to those we feel have wronged us.  If we all did that, and if we were all honorable even when our judgment lapsed and we said something we regret, most of what was undesirable about this election would never have happened.


Finally, I challenge each candidate and each supporter of a candidate in this election to commit to a new beginning on October 5th.  As the business of educating our children resumes after this election, if you carry resentment and personal agendas, the people of Central will know.  If you have found your own way to “Get over it” and get to work improving our schools, the people of Central will see that as well.  I further challenge that we all commit our every personal discipline to ensuring that Central become known as a city where elections are about the job we all have to do and that these elections never again become personal.  We are a young city and we can choose what we will and will not accept from our electoral process.  Choose wisely.



If you wish to comment on this editorial please go to the Forum tab and go to the “Central Elections” thread under “General Discussion”.