Comments on Jack Bauer's Random Observations From Monday Night's Open Forum School Board

New Richmond's gadfly in the Yes Group ointment of optimism has posted a little ditty of 10 random observations from Monday night. Since #9 was addressed to me, I'll dwell on that point.

9. James Nelson must have not got the email about making sure he doesn’t tell everyone how much he speaks with Lester Jones, Chris Skogland, Craig Hitchens, Deb Heyerdahl, et al.

I believe JB forget to mention Bob Sievert in that list. Bob and I exchanged a few e-mails covering a range of points concerning the school district. The e-mails started before the April elections and ended sometime after the elections. I'm sure I will be in touch with Bob again in the near future.

JB for got to mention that I also e-mailed Bill Brennan with my concerns of the leaking of executive session information to the OTBL blog. I asked Bill to pledge to work to find out who is doing that and help put a stop to in. Bill never got back to me. I didn't mention this in the meeting, because I certainly wouldn't want to embarrass Mr. Brennan. He sold me a John Deere lawn mower in 1988.

I believe I also mentioned Brain Johnson as someone I've talked to. Brian has provided me with public information concerning the budgeting process and how it ties in with the mill rate.

Lester Jones called my house on a Friday night in December. The purpose of the call was to provide me with an answer to the question I raised at the previous Monday's board meeting. My question dealt with personal-related information that was leaked to the OTBL blog by one of the school board members. I had actually ask Superintendent Hitchens in the information was

executive session information via an e-mail the same day. He told me before the board meeting it was indeed. I believe that was Hitchens last school board meeting, before early retirement. Deb Heyerdahl and I met in her office for an hour on a Friday in December. I brought no pen or paper and took no notes. We discuss some of the recent history of the school district and various other school district related matters. I believe Heyerdahl also provided me with a time line of related to Hitchens early retirement. This also was in regards to contact information that was leaked to the OTBL blog -- after Hitchens was no longer an employee of the school district. The publishing of this information on my blog led to a discussion at a following school board meeting where Brennan and Judy

Remington had questions about information being provided to my blog. I didn't attend that meeting, but I can image thee was some tap dancing when the question of leaking information to the OTBL was posed to Brennan. I think even Brennan and Remington realised that it's legal for a citizen to publish public information provide by a public school official on a blog.

Chris Skoglund called me to get some background information about blogs in general and the OTBL blog specifically. Since I've known Chris for a couple of decades, know a number of her good friends and had a ranging discussion about blogs and the challenges of being a member of the school board.

I pretty much have confessed the extend of my conversations that the anonymous Jack Bauer has chosen to enclose in his OTBL post. Of course Bob Ziller is never going to let the public forget that I owe him a lunch and brought that up at the meeting.

As I explained during my five minutes of the forum Monday night, I have some experience covering various school board and I have been a reporter for weekly newspapers. I have no problem picking up the phone and arranging a meeting with career and elected public officials. That is how a taxpaying citizen participates in our democracy.

Of course, I did see Jack Bauer get up and address the forum. On the borderline blog, they are always the waiters and never sitting down at the table. In other words, the can dish it out, but they can't take it.

In addition to New Richmond school officials, I spent a significant amount of time in 2005 time to the business manager for the Hudson school district, Arnie Fett, about financial allegations raised by the OTBL blog. According to Mr. Fett, I have spent more time talking to him a school district issues that all the OTBL bloggers combined. I believe he added that that

would take more that a couple of minutes, because they never actually talk to the officials they attack and rundown in their twisted posts. Posts that they create in the dankness of the basements late at night as visions of being Tom Paine stumble drunkenly through the twisted logic that guys their anti-community antics.

Both Judy Remington and Bob Sievert talked about the stress and pressure of being involved on with the school board. Their comments and those of others hit me hard in the gut. This is a community and people need to work to gather to move forward. I
heard Judy Remington say at the meeting the other night that Tim O'Brien has called her a while back and told her that if she thought things were bad last year wait till this year. Driving home from town Tuesday night, I saw Judy and Jim Remington out walking their dog. They were about a block from Tim O'Brien's house. I was heading the opposite direction, but I was wondering if which road they took when they came to the corner.

What really confused me at the Monday night meeting was all the talk about Jack Bauer and his posts on the OTBL blog. He's a person who's entitled to his own opinions and observations -- no matter how stupid or unfounded. Hey this is America. Get over it. Despite all the publicity and talk about local blogs, there aren't that many active participants posting on the OTBL site. Many a few more than a year ago.

Old JB needs to keep on posting because he really downgrades any credibility the OTBL blog has. JB can bring his big shiny head to the forum, but he can't get up and address the people of New Richmond. That takes some intestinal fortitude. He has people on his side that will giving the old high-five to everyone of his post and on the other side they will be all hurt and offended. Live with it. Deal with it. It ain't going away. Whenever you think of anonymous bloggers, think KKK. They attack innocent members of the community in the darkness of night under their anonymous white sheets.

Remember that old nursery rhyme that goes "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me?" It's bullshit.

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