Monday, May 29, 2006

The Votes For Brooks from Wallace and Whitmore Still Do Not Add Up

The Tennessean has already pointed out that both Council members Ludye Wallace (District 19) and Ed Whitmore (District 21), who both represent heavily Democratic districts, were not dragged kicking and screaming to vote for Republican-backed conservative Kay Brooks as stand-in school board member for the summer (she won by one vote). It occurred to me that maybe the results of the sales tax referendum in September--which the Mayor would have used for increased school funding and which eventually got pitched as a referendum on Pedro Garcia and the School Board--could have made a difference in their assist of the conservatives and the Republicans who are seeking a clamp down on MNPS.

For instance, if the attitude in their districts matched the %70-%30 rejection of the sales tax by Davidson County voters (to be fair, only %6.5 of registered voters had shown up by 4:00 p.m. on election day, so it wasn't exactly a clear reflection of popular Metro-wide support or rejection), then I suppose that they might have a case for supporting a school board candidate who has been as vociferous in her attacks of the school budget and any tax increases as Kay Brooks has been on her blog.

So, I called the County Election Commission for the numbers last week. The results from Districts 19 and 21 came no where close to matching the lop-sided defeat in the County. In Ludye's district, only 16 votes separated the yeas from the nays (4% more voted against the sales tax than for it). In Whitmore's district only 14 votes separated the yeas from the nays (less than 3% more voted against the sales tax than for it). Both of those numbers are consistent with the fact that the districts are largely Democratic and with the general perception that Democrats (and progressives in general) were firmly ambivalent about this tax and that they split on the vote, if they showed up to vote at all.

So, both Wallace and Whitmore should have chosen more deliberate discretion, instead of the obviously cavalier and shortsighted approach with which they supported filling the school board vacancy. As far as I can tell, neither one of them bothered to do any research or fact-finding about the candidates before they voted. Neither of them notified their constituents about Michael Craddock's ante, and neither of them appealed to their constituents for feedback for a decision.

What's worse: Wallace seems to have based his support for Kay Brooks on a trade for a back alley. What's the worth of a school board seat in a city where it can be traded for a back alley?

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