Thursday, November 5, 2009

Politics from the viewpoint of an activist.

I am an activist, NOT a politician. I can tell you that things will not change until we change our leadership in Abilene.
Six City Councilors represent each of six "places" in the city (three north of S. 1st Street and three south of S. 1st) but are elected and serve "at-large", representing all the citizens of Abilene. Councilors serve staggered three year terms with two members up for reelection each year. The Mayor is also elected at large and also serves a three-year term. There are no term limits for either the Council or the Mayor. There are 2 city council people coming up in May 2010 are Stormy Higgins for the north side, and the Mayor's employee at Hendricks, Laura Moore on the south side. You have to have residency in the same side of town(north or south) as the person you are running against. If you have multiple residences like the recently defeated former councilman, Sam Chase, you can claim a residence you own, even if you do not currently reside in it.
The School board consists of seven Trustees serving terms of four years, with elections held biennially. The terms of one-half of the Trustees, or as near to one-half as possible, expire every two years. School Board meetings are normally held at 5:30 p.m., the second Monday of each month at the One AISD Center, 214 Pine Street, Abilene. Meetings are open to the public and agendas are posted at least 72 hours in advance in accordance with the Texas Open Meeting Act. Current members are:
Stan Lambert Place 6 - President, Dr. Danny Wheat Place 5 - Vice President, Laura Dyer Place 4 - Secretary, Robert T. Laird Place 1 - Asst, Secretary, Samuel Garcia Place 2, Dr. Barry Lynn Hoefer Place 3, Charlie Wolfe Place 7
If I am not mistaken, the places that will be up also in May 2010 are for Lambert, Wheat, & Dyer.
I used to be one of the kids that this bond was all about. I care about the kids, not the political end. I graduated with a technical degree: Industrial Management Technology from TSTC, and worked in the Tech field for many years. I know what I am talking about.
This was a great grass roots collaboration. The arrogance of the supporters of the bond had as much to do with the failure of the bond as just about anything else. I did not start the site. I did write several articles and did several interviews, but I only appeared briefly. I was disappointed that all the significant supporters of the bond was asked for their input, but only one from our side got any real camera time. Also, I was the only person from the opposition in the election center. They did an on camera interview of Dr. Polnick, but not me. I don't care if it was me personally or not, but I don't think the coverage was equal, as usual from Abilene media services. There were almost 200 members of the facebook group. Why weren't more of them invited to weigh in?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bullet Points Vote NO Abilene Career Tech

VOTE NO! Abilene Career Tech High School!
Web address:

3 talking points
Three main reasons for not supporting:
No plan: No precise business plan had been provided and no location has been chosen.
No hope: It is believed that actual vocational students and existing vocatrional workers will suffer lower pay and positions to flooding the job market.
No Trust: 1 A 9 million dollar plan was suggested and rejected
2 bond money from 2004 is not being used for repairing existing middle schools
3 Supporters refuse to debate us. If they had a good plan they would come debate. They have already refused to come to one forum.

Media talkin points:
• “The Midland ISD School Board decides it's just too soon to present the public with a $62.3 million bond. …Timing is everything because our local economy today is not in the best of shape," said Board President Jay Isaacs.” (, August 25, 2009)

• “If the bond issue passes, property tax rates will rise…” (Abilene Reporter News, August 24, 2009)

• “The budget gives all staff raises of at least 3 percent and leaves a deficit of nearly $1 million.” (AISD Superintendent David Polnick, Abilene Reporter News, August 24, 2009)

• “AISD taxpayers are still paying off debt from the 2004 bond election for $76.5 million worth of renovations extended to every campus in the district, which are still under way. Those bonds will be paid off in 2025”. (Abilene Reporter News, September 12, 2009)

• “The school board has said it may come back with another bond election as early as next year to build two new schools to replace Fannin, College Heights and Bowie elementary schools. That would require a bond issue of about $11 million. However, school board president Stan Lambert said the next bond issue could also consider more issues, like renovating the old Jefferson campus, new classrooms at Bassetti and Dyess and a permanent location for the recently opened engineering magnet school called New Tech High School.” (Abilene Reporter News, September 12, 2009)

• “In 2004, voters approved $76.5 million in bonds to renovate campuses across the district, and Bowie, Fannin and College Heights elementary schools were last on the list. …Their bond money still sits in the bank, including $3.6 million for Fannin, $1.3 million for College Heights and $3.8 million at Bowie… …However, plans are on hold. (Abilene Reporter News, September 5, 2009)

• “But AISD hasn’t always depended on bond elections to build schools. Craig Middle School was built in 2007 with reserve funds. AISD has about $20 million in reserves right now…” (Abilene Reporter News, September 12, 2009)

• “There has been lots of talk about sites,” Lancaster said. “To my knowledge, no contracts have been signed and a site has not been selected.” (Tim Lancaster, CEO Hendrix Health System. Abilene Reporter News, September 28, 2009)

• “Basic economic theory says it’s bad to raise taxes during tough economic times,” said John Hill, a former Abilene city councilman and economy professor and Hardin-Simmons University. Traditionally, we find ways to cut taxes during an economic downturn,” he said. “It’s up to the voters to determine if now is appropriate.” (Abilene Reporter News, September 12, 2009)

My blog has more detailed arguments:

Give me a call if I may assist you further. (325)660-1786

Please Pass this on!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Responce to blogger in the local paper

.November 1, 2009
6:16 a.m.
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skipper writes:

The kids attending the proposed Career High School WILL be taking the required Engish, math, science, and history classes required to graduate and earn a degree. The only difference will be that these "core" courses will be taught with a relevance toward the career skill or career pathway that the student chooses to take.

Your statement about these students attending a Career High School and not taking the "required" courses and not having to pass the state required level TAKS exams is totally inaccurate....

I guess your "technical advisor" missed that one!
...November 1, 2009
6:34 a.m.
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lthomas999#209079 writes:
Stan, read Mr. Dillingham's article


then comment. He IS a technical trainer, where the rubber meets the road, not a bureaucrat from the hill!

...November 1, 2009
7:45 a.m.
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MrObviousUSA writes:
I have been praying that somebody would bring that up. Make no mistake, this bond issue only covers building a building, not the kind of classes. Your argument for the vocational related core classes is the cornerstone, the crown jewel as it were, of why I oppose this whole idea.
Not to toot my own horn, but since lthomas999#209079 brought it up, I know much about this issue as well. In high school I was in a vocational program, I went on to get an associates degree in Industrial Management Technology from TSTC, and later I moved on to get my bachelor's degree. I offered my services to the newspaper and other media, and I was never contacted like many others that oppose this bond issue.
This idea to offer alternative core classes to vocational/tech is the mother of bad ideas for several reasons:
1. America is far behind the majority of the rest of the world in the quality of education we provide to our children. Dumbing down our kids will only hurt our country in the long run.
2. I can speak from personal experience that it is a bad idea to avoid taking college bound level courses. Advanced classes should be taken if it is at all possible. It took me an extra year of college to catch up with entering freshmen, when I decided to better myself by getting my degree.
3. The psychological effect of being removed from the "preppy kids" can be very damaging to self esteem, because it not only discourages a student to strive for excellence in their life, but I say it makes it much more likely for that person to be one of those who choose to terminate their high school endeavors early. The last thing these kids need is to be locked into vocational training if they change their mind. Did YOU know what you were going to do when you were in 10th grade?
4. I don't think any person who loves their child wants them to strive for anything less than their best potential. I suspect that the majority of those who support this would not have their own children attend this program, no matter what it's merits are. Think about it, and tell me I am wrong...
5. After almost 20 years of working in this area I can tell you this will only bring down the current average wage. The reason there are no vocational employees for those who support the bond, is that many of them pay far less than the state average wages for these types of jobs. It is simple supply and demand. The more workers in the job market the lower the wages they can demand will become.
Keep in mind, I know what I am talking about. I was that kid you are talking about 20 years ago. In 15 years, I never made over $2 above minimum wage, until I started my own business where I employed and trained vocational employees. Frankly, I know exactly what I am talking about. Just ask anybody currently working a vocational occupation in Abilene instead of business owners, politicians, & bankers. You are likely to hear the same thing from them too.