When it comes to getting things done, getting people on the boards and councils is the first step

August 2 – While it’s important for taxpayers and citizens to speak up and have their voices heard in reference to decisions made by borough councils and school boards, sometimes the best way to make real change is to get people ON the boards and councils that will uphold quality values and voices. 

On Political Vibe, the weekend show on News Talk 103.7FM, Michele Jansen and Clint Barkdoll talked with Moms for Liberty, a group that works to stand up for parental rights at all levels of government.

They spoke with Michelle Smyers, a member of the Adams County Chapter of Moms for Liberty, who had this to say: “We promote the teachings of the principles of liberty in our homes and community. We engage our communities and our elected leaders on key issues impacting our families. This is why it’s so easy for us to go after school boards and hold them accountable and activate other liberty-minded leaders to serve in elected positions.”

This morning, the Big Talk on First News with Barkdoll, Jansen and Pat Ryan discussed the interview.

Ryan said, “It’s the accountability. And the sheer arrogance and the wagging fingers at taxpayers. You must remember if you want to be on the school board, great. Good for you. Thank you very much for volunteering to do so. That doesn’t give you the right, that doesn’t’ give you the authority and that doesn’t give you the arrogance to wag your fingers at taxpayers. Shame on you. Here’s the other thing that bothers me a great deal. We really need people in the business world getting involved in the community here. When I hear a teacher is on the school board, that really frosts my cupcakes here. I don’t need an alcoholic running a bar much as I don’t need a teacher who is sympathetic and don’t tell me you’re not. I don’t need a teacher on a school board. You’re certainly going to see sympathy to the woes of teachers and educators out there. You can’t tell me that you’re not. There should be some sort of rule that says hey if you’re in that category, you shouldn’t be on the school board.”

Barkdoll agreed, “I thought for years this is a problem in Pennsylvania. You look at many school boards, you’ve got retired teachers, teachers who teach in other districts and you have board members whose spouses teach in the very district where that member is on the board. It just seems like conflicts of interest all over the place. Getting back to the comment that you played there from that mother, she hit on something that’s the key. They’re going to run for school board seats and if they can parlay this energy into electoral success, there’s where they’re going to get the traction because we know it’s great to show up at meetings and it’s great to make comments, but unless you’ve got the votes on the board to do something, there’s not a lot that can get done. So she’s talking about I think very appropriately, they’re organizing, they’re going to run candidates for these seats when they’re open. I think they’re going to have success and there’s where you’re going to see the real action.”

Jansen pointed out, “Sadly our school boards are not doing and being what they are meant to be. The animosity, the political walls that are put up now. You’re either right or left. You’re either Democrat or Republican. They’re kind as can be to anyone who has an opinion that they share and then the animosity that comes out in such unreasonable, irrational ways when you disagree.”

Ryan said, “You talk about children in diapers. That’s a child right there. Wagging a finger and announcing and throwing your hands up. That’s a child.”

Jansen added, “And refusing to speak to someone because they hold a different point of view.”

Ryan reminded, “I’m a taxpayer! And you work for me!”

Jansen said, “As our friend Simon Campbell says I don’t have to even be polite. I’m here addressing you. You’re the elected official. If you’re doing something wrong, I have every right to call you out in any way I want to. I didn’t even take advantage of that. I actually just called for, please, can we have transparency? Can we have a public dialogue and forum on this? Because there’s obviously a lot of confusion and could we please have some more transparency on that. I’ve been trying to get them to give me their plan on what they’re doing with diversity, equity and inclusion. They won’t give it to me.”

The answers are ask this person. And when you ask that person, the answer is, oh, well, ask this person.

Ryan said, “It’s something straight out of Family Circus where I didn’t do it, not me, not it. And again I go back to YOU. WORK. FOR. ME. Damn it.”

Barkdoll said, “And we know now even with small school districts there are a lot of levels of bureaucracy and as you’re pointing out there’s ways that they can run this through to make it ‘no it’s this person, no it’s that person.’ But ultimately, these are volunteers. Yes, they do run. They need to be prepared to serve. They need to be prepared to be accountable. But look we know it’s hard to get people to run for these positions. Like you’re saying, let’s get some people from the business world. I agree. We should have more people from the business world serving on these boards, but it’s hard. They’re volunteers. They meet a lot. It’s a lot of these committee meetings. It’s a lot of regular meetings. So that’s our system, for better or worse. Hopefully some of these groups that are organizing will be able to recruit people that I think should have a voice on these boards.”