[Vision2020] [Bulk] Re: Weitz Lawsuit: A Challenge

keely emerinemix kjajmix1 at msn.com
Mon May 14 07:49:33 PDT 2007

Thank you, J!keely> From: privatejf32 at hotmail.com> To: vision2020 at moscow.com> Date: Sun, 13 May 2007 20:25:21 -0700> Subject: Re: [Vision2020] [Bulk] Re: Weitz Lawsuit: A Challenge> > 1.  Have YOU actually talked to Dr. Donicht and/or Dr. Weitz and asked them > if they are willing to talk to the public about this issue?  If not, then > how can you possibly say that they are unwilling to?  This is the most open > bunch of people this town has.> > 2.  The "law (being) involved" in this situation was brought around because > Dr. Weitz initiated this course.  It was NOT the lack of communication from > MSD or Dr. D. or the School Board, all of which are VERY, VERY open to > public comment, interest, involvement -- which is sorely lacking when it > comes to the MSD.  When is the last time ANY of you willing to bad-mouth the > MSD, et al, went to a school board meeting?  WHEN!?  Or called them or wrote > them a note, etc?  The only way they have heard from any of you is during > the elections.  PERIOD!!!> > 3.  NO party or public office can simply "just hold another election".  It > is complicated, time consuming and the county/city are involved.  Enough > said, eh?> > 4.  "It certainly is more productive than sitting around twirling our > thumbs, wasting time, and cursing at whoever ever finds problems and wants a > ballot election to be legal."  This is just trash talk!> > 5.  No one in the MSD is "bashing" Dr. Weitz.  IF he is being "bashed" it is > by people who are frustrated with his actions and lack of compassion for a > significant part of our population that really do not have much of a say in > what happens to them...certainly not when it comes to which one of their > favorite teachers and/or subjects is going to get the axe because someone > files a suite that is fruitless and ill-conceived.> > You all want this to stop, why not GET INVOLVED with the schools, the MSD, > the School Board Meetings, etc?  Why wait until a very real and very ugly > threat happens?  GET INVOLVED NOW!!! in a positive and productive manner.> > J  :]> > > > > > >From: Donovan Arnold <donovanjarnold2005 at yahoo.com>> >To: keely emerinemix <kjajmix1 at msn.com>, Sue Hovey <suehovey at moscow.com>,   > >      vision2020 at moscow.com, Jeff Harkins <jeffh at moscow.com>> >Subject: Re: [Vision2020] [Bulk] Re: Weitz Lawsuit: A Challenge> >Date: Sun, 13 May 2007 19:45:13 -0700 (PDT)> >> >I would like to thank Dr. Harkins, Bruce Livingston, Gary Crabtree, and BJ > >Swanson and others for their thoughtful, intelligent, and productive > >insight regarding this MSD funding issue.> >> >   Dr. Harkins I think explained the situation best. But I do think that > >the personalities of both Weitz and Donacht are also in play and what > >Swanson was trying to work on.> >> >   Unfortunately, I don't think Weitz or Donacht want to talk to the public > >or people they disagree with, which is unfortunate and what got the law > >involved in the problem to began with. I think public officials should > >always be open to hearing from the people they serve, especially people > >like BJ Swanson who always means well for her community.> >> >   If the MSD was serious about helping the kids, not winning a public > >political and legal battle, they would simple hold another election asking > >for a 4 year funding request at current levels and hold a separate ballot > >question asking for the $7 million increase request. The people would vote > >and the issue would be resolved quickly.> >> >   The answer really isn't complicated here. Just hold another election > >that is legal and resolves the legal issues addressed in the suit. I don't > >comprehend why that is so difficult to do. It certainly is more productive > >than sitting around twirling our thumbs, wasting time, and cursing at > >whoever ever finds problems and wants a ballot election to be legal.> >> >   Bashing Weitz isn't going to "help the kids", holding a legal election > >will. The question is, what is MSD going to do, hold an unquestionably > >legal election or keep bashing Weitz? I think their actions will > >demonstrate their priorities.> >> >   Best,> >> >   Donovan> >> >keely emerinemix <kjajmix1 at msn.com> wrote:> >       P  {  margin:0px;  padding:0px  }  body  {  FONT-SIZE: 10pt;  > >FONT-FAMILY:Tahoma  }    Brilliant, Sue -- and thank you for your > >passionate, clearheaded reasoning on this.> >> >keely> >> >> >---------------------------------> >   From: suehovey at moscow.com> >To: vision2020 at moscow.com; jeffh at moscow.com> >Date: Sun, 13 May 2007 13:32:50 -0700> >Subject: Re: [Vision2020] [Bulk] Re: Weitz Lawsuit: A Challenge> >> >   Jeff,  If what you are saying makes sense now, why did it not make sense > >a decade ago when to have gotten a court decision might not have been so > >harmful?  Gerry Weitz would have been a natural for that responsibility > >when he was on the board and his children were in school.> >> >   You say,> >   " No two non-elected citizens (albeit that they are both individually > >involved in the matter - Weitz and Donacht) are in a position to represent > >the vast interests of the array of stakeholders evident in this matter."> >> >   Really, that's exactly what Gerry Weitz did when he filed the lawsuit.  > >He assumed he was in a position to invalidate the votes of the taxpayers of > >this district.> >> >   Whether or not permanent levies are a "bad" way to fund public > >expenditures, is your opinion; however, it continues to be the law.  You > >wrote in several hundred words what you could simply have reduced to a > >single sentence.  Why didn't you just say, "we in Latah County have a > >number of projects to fund: parks for children, playgrounds, an ice rink, > >so if we cut back on the funding for their education we might be able to > >consider those other options."> >> >    Well golly, now at least they'll have somewhere to go when we close the > >school doors.> >> >   Sue> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >     ----- Original Message -----> >   From: Jeff Harkins> >   To: vision2020 at moscow.com> >   Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2007 10:24 AM> >   Subject: Re: [Vision2020] [Bulk] Re: Weitz Lawsuit: A Challenge> >> >> >The Weitz/MSD lawsuit raises a plethora of issues about taxpayer funding of > >public interests.  At the core of the lawsuit appears to be the issue of > >whether or not the school levy process was in conformity with Idaho legal > >protocol.  Because "public education" is important to most of us in the > >MSD, it is critical that there be no ambiguity or uncertainties about the > >"legality and integrity" of the levy event.  Unfortunately, it appears that > >some individuals have concerns about just that.  Consequently a legal > >assessment (via a lawsuit) is underway.> >> >As this involves decisions of legally elected public officials (school > >board members), the use of non-elected citizens to arbitrate the issue is > >inexplicable (the Swanson proposal).  No two non-elected citizens (albeit > >that they are both individually involved in the matter - Weitz and Donacht) > >are in a position to represent the vast interests of the array of > >stakeholders evident in this matter.> >> >Properly so, this is a matter for our courts.> >> >As community members ponder this event, here are some things that might be > >useful to consider:> >> >Permanent levies (levies in perpetuity) are a "bad" way of funding public > >expenditures.  The most egregious decision a current generation can make > >regarding public programs is to deny future generations the choice of how > >their tax dollars are spent.  Referred to as a problem of > >"inter-generational equity"and stated in simple terms, current generations > >should not encumber the ability of future generations to invest their > >public resources in those programs deemed essential by those future > >generations.  Permanent levies have the potential to do just that.  The > >reason we use "balanced budget" systems in state and local government is to > >provide reasonable assurance that the current generation "pays its way".  > >Perhaps the Weitz/MSD lawsuit will give us reason to reflect on the > >"permanent levy" approach.  We can probably achieve greater public > >accountability for school district resources if there is some reasonable > >limit to the life of a levy - say three years or four years.> >  Returning to the taxpayers to reaffirm their tax investment is an > >effective means of accountability.> >> >One of the things that concerned me about the recent levy election was the > >lack of a detailed spending plan for the additional supplemental funding > >request.  Future levy requests should be required to have a complete > >line-item level of detail to support the additional funding request.> >> >This is a particularly volatile period for public education.  New > >technologies and new educational processes are working their way through > >educational systems.  We want to be sure that we leave adequate room for > >future generations to have flexibility in design and delivery of public > >education.> >> >In Latah County, as in most jurisdictions,  we have limited public > >resources to invest in what at times like seems like unlimited public > >projects - sort of like the diamond appetite on a zirconium budget.  The > >school district wants or needs a new high school, or junior high; the > >county wants or needs new facilities (law enforcement center, county hall, > >fair grounds); citizens want or need new parks and playgrounds; citizens > >want or need a permanent location of the ice rink; county residents want or > >need road improvements; Moscow wants or needs to address the issue of water > >distribution; some Moscow citizens would like to have their streets paved; > >and so on ............. It is time that we assess carefully our public > >needs and prioritize our preferences.  Allowing our public institutions to > >gain additional resources by simply being the first to the trough does not > >serve the public interest.> >> >As our property tax rates are once again at the highest levels of Idaho > >Counties, it is incumbent upon us to reflect on our priorities - and the > >proper expenditure of our limited public resources.  If some of our > >citizens are correct in their assessment that we have reached our > >sustainability limits (e.g. water, quality of life), then we must be > >extraordinarily judicious in our commitments of tax dollars to public > >projects.  For example, if we are at our sustainability limits, the public > >school census has probably peaked.  Fiscal austerity would suggest that we > >impose significant fiscal restraint in funding public programs.  If there > >is a prospect for future economic development, the sooner our community > >explores the possibilities and moves forward with them, the sooner we can > >begin to take advantage of a growing tax base and move forward the many > >public projects that we want to have.> >> >Weitz is to be commended, not vilified, for taking the first steps > >necessary for us to engage in serious dialogue about our public > >infrastructure investments - and to place the responsibility for those > >investments where it belongs - with the taxpayers.> >> >> >At 07:40 AM 5/13/2007, you wrote:> >> >   JFord asks:> >> >> >    > What about asking for a "judicial opinion" or judicial review" of the > >facts> >> >    > as presented by the interested parties? Does Idaho have such an > >option or> >> >    > would a judge(s) be willing to do this? How about the AG looking at > >the> >> >    > "facts" and issuing an opinion? If those come back negatively > >opinoned,> >> >    > wouldn't that at least be a "warning" to other potential filers?> >> >The Weitz lawsuit is styled as one seeking a "declaratory judgment and > >injunctive relief."  The declaratory judgment portion of the lawsuit asks > >the judge to do precisely what you suggest.  That is what is happening.Â> >> >One may seek an opinion on the merits of an issue of Idaho law from the > >Attorney General, but this is only "authority" in support of whatever > >position the A.G. decides is the correct outcome under! the law, and not > >"precedent."  A judge, and the ultimate arbiters of state law questions, > >the Idaho Supreme Court, would be free to decide this case differently from > >the opinon issued by the Attorney General, and the court system's answer > >would be the final say.> >> >As authority but not precedent, an Attorney General opinion will suggest an > >answer but it could be "wrong" in the eyes of a later reviewing judge.  I > >suppose an A.G. Opinion could "warn" of a probable outcome, but it will > >not carry any weight in terms of forcing those, who might bring a lawsuit > >that suggests an answer different from the A.G. Opinion, to face any > >additional consequences for doing so than already exists under existing > >law.Â> >> >I suppose the upshot of this is that the declaratory judgment action is > >designed to get to an official statement of what the law is.  An A.G. > >Opinion or Idaho Tax Commission ruling will merely suggest what the law > >possibly/probably i! s.Â> >> >BJ Swanson has suggested that the parties mediate and agree to abide by the > >answers suggested by the Attorney General and the Idaho Tax Commission.  > >As I think about this, a potential problem arises, one raised by Gary > >Crabtree and Sue Hovey already, i.e., the lack of binding effect on > >non-parties.  Entering into such an agreement would bind the MSD and Dr. > >Weitz from contesting the decisions of the government agencies, but other > >concerned citizens could still contest the validity or invalidity of the > >outcome reached in the proposed mediation decision.> >> >Until thinking the process through in writing this answer, I had been > >initially receptive to BJ Swanson's mediation suggestion, but the lack of > >a decisive answer that could come from mediation gives me pause.  On the > >other hand, a year (or three or five) of operating the Moscow Schools > >without the significant portion of the money (a fifth, a quarter, a third?) > >that is provided by the indefinite, per! manent supplemental levy, will be > >so harmful to our children, schools, and this town as a whole  that I > >hate to contemplate it. What alternatives do others see?> >> >Moscow's attractiveness to business and prospects for growth with people > >that value and support public schools would seem to be damaged > >significantly in the near term by this lawsuit.  I think that Dr. Weitz > >is hoping, somehow, to help the schools in the long run with his lawsuit > >by forcing a re-vote ultimately of money for the schools and hoping to see > >money allocated for his pet projects.  However, it seems unlikely to me > >that there is much hope for that prospect to amount to much for a very > >long time, no matter how favorable the outcome from Dr. Weitz's > >perspective, given the short term damage.Â> >> >That is why I think his approach was misguided and unhelpful, no matter how > >much I support Dr. Weitz's desire to increase professional technical > >education ("PTE") offerings for our ! children in the Moscow public > >schools.  I fear the backlash against his approach will damage the > >long-term prospects for needed PTE offerings in which the Moscow schools > >indisputably are lacking.  (Assuming that Dr.Weitz's lawsuit had not been > >filed, I note that some new PTE programs that came out of November's MCA > >forum were being put into place at the alternative school.  I hope that > >still happens.  Those courses need to be made available to the kids at > >the high school, too, and not be stigmatized as "just" alternative school > >offerings, but I am willing to get there with smaller steps that will > >allow some experimentation and time to establish a track record of > >success.)> >> >I fear that the only folks unharmed by this lawsuit are those to whom the > >public schools are unimportant, because the the lawsuit will not damage > >their thoughts about whether Moscow is a good place to live or establish a > >business.  For the rest of us, the day this lawsuit w! as filed remains > >a dark day.Â> >> >Bruce Livingston> >=======================================================> >  List services made available by First Step Internet,> >  serving the communities of the Palouse since 1994.> >                http://www.fsr.net> >           mailto:Vision2020 at moscow.com> >=======================================================> >> >---------------------------------> >> >=======================================================> >  List services made available by First Step Internet,> >  serving the communities of the Palouse since 1994.> >                http://www.fsr.net> >           mailto:Vision2020 at moscow.com> >=======================================================> >> >---------------------------------> >> >No virus found in this incoming message.> >Checked by AVG Free Edition.> >Version: 7.5.467 / Virus Database: 269.7.0/803 - Release Date: 5/13/2007 > >12:17 PM> >> >> >---------------------------------> >   Download Messenger. 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