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Pulling us out of the mainstream

AYE AYE CAP'N Opinion and commentary by Reggie Paulk

October 13, 2011 || Volume 1, Number 14 || Free

Many people, myself included, have grown weary of business as usual at all levels of government. As every election draws near, there's that little sliver of hope that, maybe this time, things just might be different. I must confess that not once in the 17 years I've been eligible to vote, have those hopes turned into reality. In fact, the opposite is usually true. Hope turns to bitter disappointment as the politician you voted for changes their colors and, like a chameleon, transforms into something utterly unrecognizable; the only positive outcome of their term being that it ends. Rarely are we given an opportunity to 'test drive' our candidates, so to speak. What would be the outcome if a potential presidential candidate had two or three months at the helm in order to show us their true colors? Would they live up to the promises made on the campaign trail, or would they be pushed resolutely out of office, to be replaced with a person willing to turn words into action? The citizens of the East Grand School District have been given an opportunity for a test drive. The untimely resignation of a board member over the summer left a vacancy that was filled by appointment at the September 7th board meeting. Since that time, we've had a total of three meetings (four by the time you read this) covering 17 action items to observe the decision­making process of one of our potential boards. The results are not encouraging. I believe one of the most powerful words in the English language is the word 'no.' No puts an immediate halt to action and allows time to think. Unfortunately, the word has garnered an especially negative connotation and those in positions of leadership generally try to avoid its use. Nowhere is this more evident than in the board rooms and town councils within Grand County. The level of groupthink and agreement is so pervasive across the various levels of leadership that I've envisioned a comic skit to illustrate the phenomenon. Whenever a board or council wants to move on an action item, one of the members makes a motion. This motion must be seconded by another member before the item is sent to discussion. After any discussion, the board chair or president calls for a vote. The next time you're at a meeting, wait for someone to make a motion and then watch the comedy begin. Usually, everyone is so eager to get onto the next item that the motion

1st Meeting

is made, seconded and approved within just a matter of seconds. Granted, there are some action items that are procedural and occur during every meeting. But it's the more important items rammed through the process that are more surprising. With a community representing the diversity of opinion we have within Grand County, you'd think its representatives would be a lot more disagreeable with each other than they are. That's not the case. Groupthink is the practice of thinking or making decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility. The core assumptions of groupthink are summarized very well in a study by the University of Twente: "Groupthink is most likely to occur when certain preconditions are met, such as when the group is highly cohesive, isolated from contrary opinions, and ruled by a directive leader who makes her wishes known. Negative outcomes may be: 1) the group limits its discussion to only a few alternatives. 2) the solution initially favored by most members is never restudied to seek out less obvious pitfalls 3) the group fails to reexamine those alternatives originally disfavored by the majority. 4) expert opinion is not sought 5) the group is highly selective in gathering and attending to available information 6) the group is so confident in its ideas that it does not consider contingency plans. ( Immediately after the board made their appointment, they started moving on action items. Do you see any groupthink in their voting decisions to the right?

Over the next two board meetings, there were a total of 11 action items voted upon. None of the board members present abstained from or voted 'nay' on any of the measures, even though there were a couple that should have been called into question. Here's an action item from the October 4th meeting that raised an eyebrow: "Mrs. Karas reviewed a number of district facility needs that have surfaced over the past two weeks, including shower replacement in the original MPHS locker rooms, stove replacement in the Food Services kitchen, installation of a drinking fountain in the MPHS commons to comply with new state legislation around student access to water during lunch, and FVE roof repair.To date, $98,500 has been approved from the district general fund reserve for additional district expenditures." Stoves and shower heads are durable goods, with relatively well defined economic lives. The need to replace this equipment is not something that 'surfaces' over a couple of weeks; rather it is something that is easily planned for and expected. CONTINUED...


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The quotations invariably are wrenched out of context. or if.” The anti­TABOR lawsuit has been filed in federal court.O. and sometimes selectively edited. Joan Evans stated during a report to the Winter Park Town Council that Superintendent Karas will be retiring from the school district by the summer of 2013. I'm on the lookout for a hero in the county. wants to 'enhance' the entrance of the Fraser Valley Elementary school with $60. Until then. But you can see what our board decided to do about their recommendation on Proposition 103. Constitution. the fact that anyone who represents or works within the educational system in Colorado could support such an outcome is unacceptable and absurd. How. But the merits are equally straightforward: Under our Constitution. the people of each state may allocate the state legislative power between themselves and their legislative representatives as they please. All ayes. It will probably go to the Supreme Court. What Madison actually was saying was that a type of mob rule identified by Aristotle (and called. Madison would have contradicted all other Founders addressing the issue. The significance of the case. but that doesn't mean they've given up.000 per year for the privilege. that works out to about $84. we will replace her. and we can get the money we so desperately need and deserve.000 they would like to collect on top of all of the other funds they already receive. WEST GRAND INSANITY Please send donations to: Uncensored Media. The board you elect this year will be making the very important determination of who. Colorado's public education system has grown dangerously unbalanced. Colorado could adopt much more direct democracy than it has in TABOR. “pure democracy”) was not republican. as that points to substandard construction by the original contractor. The last time I checked. and they moved on to other business: "Dr. An endorsement of Proposition 103 clearly shows these people are not focused on the problem of poor fiscal management. would Proposition 103 or a favorable outcome of the Labato case help West Grand? I'll assume you don't know the answer to that question and hope the next superintendant of West Grand Schools has more than a dubious court case on which to hang their hat.paulk@gmail. not the federal judiciary. the East Grand School District has bounced from one crisis to the next. CO 80442 NOTE: Donations are NON tax­deductible Contact the editor: reggie. and why is this kind of behavior the norm in our community?" Proposition 103 is a measure on the ballot asking taxpayers for an increase in sales and income taxes to divert over half a billion more dollars to schools.S. And now one of the towns wants to 'enhance' an entrance at a school having roofing issues? If you're as confused as I am. should be taken with a grain of salt. but would rather focus on the bandaids used to cover it up." Translation: "It's finally coming to trial. This show pairs 'key financial decision makers' with commercial affiliates who pay upwards of $ (303)552­7963 Grand County Uncensored lives on the generosity of its readers. The measure was brought up at the October 4th board meeting. Any recommendation from this organization. school boards and administrations brazenly continue to ask for more and more money from taxpayers already strapped by a languishing economy. Right now. you might ask yourself. The board is an elected body that represents the community to the school district. Colorado's school districts are pinning their hopes on a court case that threatens to force the state to spend 100 percent of its general fund on education." Traditionally. state police. Everything that comes up is always unexpected or unanticipated. you can already see what you're going to get with the board that's in place now—business as usual. 63 he referred to ancient Athens. Supreme Court repeatedly has re­affirmed that whether a state is “republican” is for Congress. FIND GRAND COUNTY UNCENSORED Kremmling Mercantile; Hot Sulphur Post Office Grand Lake: Post Office. Crisis creates a sense of urgency totally unacceptable when making the kinds of decisions that impact our communites the way school boards do. Safeway Winter Park: Post Office. and the minutes of that discussion speak for themselves: Proposition 103 CASB is the Colorado Association of School Boards.000 burning a hole in its pocket. Our children will no longer suffer and we'll be able to coat all of the district's property in gold cladding. Yet it is not true. Chamberlin added that Winter Park Town Manager Drew Nelson had approached him with the request for the Town to use some of its approximate $60. in my opinion. because the U. to decide. Box 1738 Fraser. It should be dismissed summarily. Grumpy's Saloon. Some districts realize their citizens have no more to give. because he seems to be completely ignorant of a couple of facts someone in his position should be well aware. Tabor and Gallagher amendments will become unconstitutional. The Town of Winter Park. The wait is almost over. I'll continue to point out what can only be described as the utter stupidity of government. since it clearly states on its website that it.. in English translation. Sparta. With 1200 students. and Carthage as “republics.A roof is also a durable good with a well established economic life. 7­11 .. since in Federalist No. But don't take my word for it. Not the other way around. The remaining $4 billion goes to pay for things such as prisons. Saying the taxpayer bill of rights (TABOR) will become unconstitutional is as ignorant as saying the Bill of Rights is an optional addendum to the U. I have one more question for Mr. and still qualify fully as “republican." I'd like to know how much they're paying that guy. Grand Lake Lanes. Except for the addition of one new member from Hot Sulphur. In a June 2nd guest commentary in the Summit Daily News. Why don't we see what a professor of constitutional law has to say about it? Rob Natelson is a former professor of constitutional law at the University of Montana. Not one criticism was leveled by any of the board members regarding the above items. as it's known.S. If I find one. Indeed. ". An uninsured repair should raise an alarm. Seriously? The East Grand School District is charging a $70 per­ student fee to 'shore up' their finances. the key financial decision makers for school districts.” Now that the outcome of the Labato case seems much less a great way to expand [a company's] influence with school board members and superintendents. CASB has held a trade show and convention at the Broadmoor hotel in Colorado Springs every year. That didn't keep West Grand Superintendant Kevin Chalfant from speaking adoringly of the case. No dissent. LLC P. to suggest Madison believed republics had to be purely representative. If true. "What's going on here.000 in collected money­in­lieu of land funds to enhance the FVE entrance to look comparable to the MPHS entrance. your district received 100 percent of its funding from local property taxes." Let me see if I can wrap my head around this. it will force a change in the Constitution of how we fund schools. Whether it's the need to close a school; the need for a new stove or roof; a bus that's fallen out of repair; or even the discovery of extra funds—it's always unanticipated. exactly. Daven Haven Granby Post Office; Fraser: Post Office. Mr. seeks to take that $4 billion and divert it to education. I'll let you know. Colorado spends a little over $3 billion on education; over 40 percent of its $7 billion general fund. is if the judge rules that the state is not adequately funding our schools. Chalfant. The Labato Case. Faced with the same shrinking budgets we're all experiencing. I've written about this organization before. For longer than is acceptable. This is what the minutes of an August 9th board meeting in Kremmling reflect: "Superintendent Chalfant updated the board on the Lobato case which is finally coming to trial with opening statements last week. Madison clearly thought a republic could feature direct citizen lawmaking. driver's license offices—just about every service the state provides. Even though the chances of this case prevailing are about as good as a snowball in hell. Let that sink in for a second. Natelson destroys any argument about whether TABOR is unconstitutional while addressing a separate federal case against the law: "Those propounding the myth [that TABOR is unconstitutional] usually rely on two Madison quotations from the Federalist Papers. with the highest sales tax in the county.