Friday, December 05, 2008

Whitney's Politics

This is purely for my journalling purposes. Warning: May bore you.
I have been bugged lately by the school board. They are having this big argument with the people about the naming of the new high school. After a nasty remark from the board member regarding rascism, I sent her this letter.

Dear Board,

I cannot even begin to explain the frustration I felt as I read the article printed in the Gilbert Republic today.

Whether or not the high school keeps the name Campo Verde or not is not was is frustrating me. I did not even vote on the name (not that it woud have mattered anyway, since the board totally disregarded what the public thought.) I was appalled that Elaine Morrison felt it necessary to claim that the parents who opposed the name "have yet to learn cultural tolerance." I personally know many of these parents, including Sabrina Langford, and would NEVER consider them bigots. Ever. I personally believe Ms. Morrison pulled the "race card" to make herself seem better than those who opposed her.

Apparently naming the school Campo Verde is some carefully crafted lesson by the board to teach the public about "tolerance" and "cultural bias." I guess as self proclaimed super-educators, that's your prerogative. But, please know when elections come you will find out just how intolerant the public can be of such an arrogant board, who shows such utter disregard to the public it supposedly serves.

I not only ask that Ms. Morrison publish a public apology, but that the Board reconsider their decision on naming the high school. If not, I will personally join the campaign against Campo Verde High School and against this Board, and will work hard to recruit others.

Whitney Sims
Gilbert, AZ

Here was her response:

Dear Ms. Sims:

Thank you for taking the time to write to the board about the naming of high school number five in the Gilbert school district. Opening a new school brings much excitement and activity, and it's good to know that, so far, all is going well with its construction.

It's clear you are displeased with the board's decision about the name. In my public remarks, I referred to our choice as having "exceeded the expectations of some" and usually, that's thought to be a good thing! As for consistency, the use of "green field" for a high school was leapfrogged when Highland JHS and then Desert Ridge JHS and then South Valley JHS were all built to accommodate the growth in the school district. But it was a dream of mine that Gilbert might someday have Campo Verde ("green field") High School, both to remain consistent with school naming the board had done prior and also to honor Gilbert's heritage. It was a surprise to me that the majority of the board (by unanimous vote) agreed with the choice! That part of my message focused at those who have demonstrated cultural intolerance was not directed at the community as a whole, and certainly was not directed at those whose disagreement over the name was based on considerations wholly unrelated to the concerns I expressed. I think a careful review of my remarks (available in the board secretary's office at the school district) should indicate that I was critical of those about whom my remarks were fitting.

It is unfortunate that so many have concluded the board was not interested in the public's comments. The statistical report of names favored was very helpful, but it should also be noted that the chosen name was apparently acceptable to the over 23,000 additional persons invited to register a preference for another name who did not respond to that invitation. In retrospect, I can see it would have been helpful for all of us on the board to offer statements acknowledging the many reasons why persons might have preferred another name and that would have addressed Dr. Allison's presentation. We continue to learn!


Elaine Morrison

And again, my response:

Dear Ms. Morrison,

Wow. I was a little taken back by your form letter of which my neighbor received the same.
I was also surprised that you honestly believe that because YOU have had visions and hopes of a high school name, the rest of the community should also. Are you the queen of Gilbert? You were voted BY THE PEOPLE to represent us. Not some dreams of a name you've had since you were five.
As for the 23,000 other people in the city. Let's be realistic. MOST are not in this high school district, so why would you use them in your example. I am still utterly shocked by your pompous attitude.
I will not forget this in the future elections. Unfortunately there are still 2 years to your term.

This is VERY disappointing.


Whitney Sims


Alexander Family said...

Awesome! I love a little fire in the belly when it comes to writing a good statement and then rebuttal. Well written. I enjoyed it.

brittanyc said...

Well, then. There's my blunt friend Whitney that I love. You made great points although I don't think you should expect a friendly reply :)