Monday Briefing: School bond recap, campaign madness & live blogging

10/17/2011 10:00 AM |

I was as surprised as anyone that last week’s big school construction bond proposal passed, if only by a narrow margin.

We’ve since had a lot of voters voice concern about the way the vote was held after seeing the district depart from its long-held policy of having all voting take place in the high school. That, and parent-teacher nights were scheduled for all the elementary schools on the same night as voting. Some felt this was clever planning designed to boost the turnout for parents with young children. I can’t argue with that theory.

I’ve been contacted personally about launching a News-Review investigation of the matter, but really, what you see is what you get. The new way of voting was crafted in public, at the bond committee meetings. As for the scheduling of parent-teacher night, Long Island voters have seen this before, such as districts holding events like free concerts or on-campus fairs or carnivals on budget nights. There are no laws to prevent such behavior, at least none with any teeth.

All anyone can really do is vote in a new team to run the district.

This all comes back to voter participation. No matter how you voted last week, urge your neighbors to show up at the next budget and school board vote this spring. That’s the only way to ensure those running the district are really doing the will of the people.

• Nothing is more bizarre to me than the annual election season problem of damaged or stolen campaign signs. I understand people are wrapped up and get tunnel vision when they’re trying to help get their guy into office, but how many votes is someone going to sway by damaging or swiping a rival’s campaign sign? (See Linda Nemeth’s letter.) Usually the signs say nothing other than the politician’s name, and if you steal the thing, there are unfortunately dozens more that will appear in its place.

I just find it hard to believe that grown men and women really have it in them to behave in such a manner. These aren’t criminal or do-nothings, we’re talking about people who are civic minded and engaged in their community.

Until October that is, then some of them somehow revert to middle school behavior.  I guess that’s why they call it silly season.

• The News-Review editorial staff has been having a lot of fun live blogging local events. The blogs allow us to keep readers up to date with Town Board meetings, county Legislature meetings, football games and even last Wednesday night’s Town Board candidates’ debate in real-time.

And the live blogs are interactive; they allow readers to pose questions to the reporter and even comment on what’s going on. So far we’ve gotten a lot of positive responses. Any additional feedback would be appreciated.

Do you know of an event you’d like to see us live-blog? Email me at [email protected].