[Vision2020] announcement, w/Top Five

keely emerinemix kjajmix1 at msn.com
Mon Apr 3 12:24:32 PDT 2006


After a month or so of reflection, prayer, and talking with my family and a 
very few good friends, I have decided not to run for re-election to the MSD 
board of trustees next month.

While it pains me to feel as though I have to immediately defend my 
decision, I'm afraid that certain blogmeisters are going to have a field day 
calling me a liar, a coward, or worse by gleefully reminding you all and 
anyone else who'll listen that I had said earlier I would definitely run for 
reelection.  They're right.  I did.

In a May 2005 post that I wrote shortly after the defeat of the bond, I 
affirmed that if Moscow remained full of goodhearted people who cared about 
public schools, I would run again because of the privilege of serving such a 
community; likewise, I said, if Moscow began to allow flamethrowers and 
voices of less-than-sterling honesty and integrity to frame the argument, I 
would run because of the need to speak out against such a faction.  Two 
points can be gleaned from that post -- one, I will always speak out in 
defense of public education and against its detractors, and, two, that I 
would do so by running for reelection and, presumably, getting elected.

Unfortunately, a couple of weeks after I wrote that, I was involved in a 
serious automobile wreck, the cause of my present shoulder and other 
injuries.  And while I'm grateful to be in as good a shape as I am, I know 
that I am not physically 100 percent.  Beyond that, I've come to see that my 
perspective on a lot of things has changed, as often happens after a 
lifechanging event.  Now, almost a year later, I can confidently affirm that 
while I will always speak and write in defense of public education, I can no 
longer be effective doing it as a trustee.

The role of an elected official ought to be, as I explained numerous times 
during last year's bond campaign, one of advocacy and activism coupled with 
a dedication to hearing and learning from the people we represent.  There 
are limitations inherent to public office that make speaking out somewhat 
difficult, and that appears to be the case in Moscow generally and with MSD 
in particular.  Try as I might, I can find no reason why an elected trustee 
should not espouse certain positions relating, for example, to school 
facilities planning -- and yet my execution of what I think is a primary and 
obvious expectation of an elected official is the very thing that has made 
me a target of intense criticism.  I have no fear of criticism and I have 
learned much from it.  Further, I have changed my views on school facilities 
substantially in the last three years; in fact, I think it's my willingness 
to dive into the issue even when it results in my changing my position to be 
one of the things that not only entitles me but obligates me to speak 
forcefully about it.  On that -- on the content of my beliefs and in my 
conduct in expressing them -- my conscience is clear.

Unfortunately, though, it appears that I can do a better job advocating for 
MSD from the outside.     I am absolutely committed to continuing to speak 
out on the facilities issue and on other issues that affect not only public 
education but the entire community.  I don't like what's happening in 
Moscow, and it has become increasingly difficult for me to spend what little 
physical energy I have trying to operate against the flow within the 
restrictions, genuine or otherwise, of my trusteeship.  The choice, then, is 
to be a quiet trustee or a vocal non-trustee, and I have chosen the latter.

I love Vision 2020.  I have been ripped to shreds on this forum, and yet I 
have been blessed to the point of tears by it as well.  There's not a one of 
you I wouldn't want to have a beer with, and your support and your criticism 
have both meant a lot to me.  I'm not in any sense going away or retreating. 
  On the contrary, I intend to not only stick around but to work as hard as 
I have worked.  The stakes are high and it's time to refocus my energies, 
redefine my role, and redouble my efforts to help every child in this 
district receive the very best education possible.

I am saddened, in a sense, and also discouraged.  But I'm not defeated.  
It's a privilege to fight for our schools, and I'm a fighter.  It's time for 
someone else to fill the trustee position while I continue doing what I do 
best.  By the way, the filing period began Friday and continues until the 
14th; I have no idea if or when anyone will file or would have filed for my 
seat.  That was not in any way a factor in my decision, and had I run, I'd 
have run to win and feel confident that I would.

This has been a tough time for me (pass me a tissue, will you?), and I'd 
like to end this on an up note.  So -- I welcome your comments and, until 
then, invite you to experience my TOP FIVE TRUSTEE HIGHLIGHTS: The Most 
Surreal, Strange, and Just-Plain-Silly Moments in My Trusteeship:

1.  The gentleman who went on at some length about the trouble he thinks 
athletes and cheerleaders apparently cause our community, and then added, 
"Now, I can tell by looking at you that you were never a cheerleader . . . " 
  (Ouch.  On the other hand, speech team captain was pretty cool).

2.  The woman who confided in me that one of her son's teachers was, she 
thought, probably a Republican.  "What specific things should I be looking 
for?" she whispered. (Well, I suppose it'd be bad if he started the day with 
a small-animal sacrifice . . . ).

3.  The man who warned me that he knew I was a "religious person" and so 
he'd better not ever catch me trying to halt the progress of science, 
technology, and reason.  (Note to self:  Be more discreet when trying to 
halt the progress of science, technology, and reason.  People are talking).

4.  A friend related the following conversation wherein my name came up:  
"Well, Keely has a BA."
"No, no," the other woman insisted.  "It's not her hygiene -- she just talks 
too much."  (Even someone with a BA in journalism can tell the difference 
between BO and a legitimate degree . . . )

5.  The dear lady who said how wonderful it must be to work with Dr. 
Donicht, who she thought "has been the best mayor Moscow's ever seen!"  (And 
believe me, Candis has been a helluva football coach over at the UI as 

And, as a bonus, my all-time favorite:  The neighbor who was concerned that 
her fifth-grade son's health and human sexuality presentation used "the 'P' 
word" to describe male genitalia.  I confess that I was unsuccessful in 
forwarding the "let's just call it a 'winkydoodle' " motion on the board.

Yeah, it's been a great three years -- not easy, not always pleasant, but 
valuable and enriching.  Now there's a new phase in my life that, I'm sure, 
will be just as valuable and enriching.  Hopefully with some humor, too . . 


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