November 13, 2009

Blurring The Lines

After Steve Reiter's thrashing of Fred Newlin in the Lewiston Supervisor race, one issue seems to continue to be the talk of the town, and it centers around a member of the Lewiston-Porter school board. Keep in mind, Lew-Port has had the most dysfunctional board of education in the county over the past few years, and it appears that the shenanigans haven't subsided one bit.

This time it’s board newcomer April Fideli who crossed the line. You’ll remember that April and her running mate, Wendy Swearingen ran a campaign that focused on bringing “an end to the dysfunction and infighting” amongst board members. They were strictly going to focus on the “needs of the children.”

Well all that ended on the eve of the Lewiston Supervisor election , when Mrs. Fideli’s voice was heard in homes all over Lewiston on a political phone call endorsing Fred Newlin as her choice for supervisor.

There were two problems with this phone call – 1. She addressed herself on the call as a member of the Lew-Port Board of Education and 2. – she doesn’t live in Lewiston.

A member of the town GOP committee questioned Fideli via email and received the following response from her:

“I have done a great job looking out for our children's best interest. When I ran to be a school board member no where did it say I had to give up my civic right to be involved with my community. I was in no way using the school board to promote Town Politics . I was simply identifying myself. I never said that I was representing the School District s beliefs, that was your interpretation.(And if this call had been for your candidate, I'm sure you would not have minded at all).

I have done nothing wrong, I stand by MY decision to make the call and you will receive no apology from me.”

April Fideli

Well, you should apologize, April. School board members that I have worked with continuously boast of their belief that school boards and their elections are apolitical. In fact, I've never heard of a school board candidate running on a political party line. There's a reason for that.

If you want to delve into local politics, knock yourself out. But to utilize your position as a member of the school board to attempt to influence the outcome of a race is wrong - and that is exactly what you did when you identified yourself as a member of the school board. Like it or not, when you say that you're a member of the school board in your call, you ARE representing the entire board. If you had simply stated your name without the school board reference, you'd have been fine - but you didn't.

Our sources have informed us that this issue is likely headed to the New York State Department of Education for review - good, it should.

So much for "focusing on the needs of the children", eh April?


The Avenger said...

Hobbes, as someone who usually agrees with you, I think you must be smoking some whacky weed with this post.

The bottom line is that this woman IS a school board member AND has a right to make a phone call in support of her candidate. And there is nothing wrong with indentifying her elected position in the message.

You've criticized others for not being gracious in winning...your candidate won on Lewistion, yet you are still attacking those on the other side.

It's absurd to even think this will get 10 cents worth of review by the State Education Department. It's a red herring on your part and I thought you were better than that.

How is this call really any different that the hundreds of others made by people in elected positions on behalf of others.

And don't give me the b.s. about her saying school boards should be apolitical...everyone at every level of government says that.

I'm just going to chalk this up to you couldn't find anything else to write about today.

Dark Knight said...

Right on Avenger. I wonder if Hobbes is on vacation and has a ghost writer filling in. This isn't well reasoned and his position is absurd. We'll give you a pass on slow Friday, Hobbes.

Poopchute said...

come on fellow chutes, this is typical hobbes. Is Reiter going to keep 40 percent increase in his salary? He talked the talk, now lets see him walk the walk.

James T. Kirk said...

Ah, Poopchute! We knew you'd be around to push the Democrat Party's talking points, even after that ass-whooping y'all took last week.

It's really cute that Fred is going to pout about Steve Reiter getting to keep Fred's raise, but here's the deal: It's the salary for the position that Steve actually ran for. It was laid out as the salary at the start of the campaign season. There was no effort by Mr. Reiter to deceive Lewiston by pushing a big raise for himself, unlike Fast Freddie.

Your constant whining and harping doesn't change the fact that the voters rejected your side decisively. This is a Red County now.

Oh--and April, please stick to holding bake sales or whatever it is you school board members do. Your foray into real politics did nothing but add to Lew-Port's perpetual embarrassment.

Lewport said...

I'm really tired of having to defend the Lew-Port Board of Education.

Why can't we have a board that truly focuses on the needs of the kids?

Why must we have people that use the BOE as a sounding board for their own personal agendas?

I did take offense that April made that political call and identified herself as a member of the Board. I'm curious as to why she didn't identify herself as the President of RRG. (then again, she kept that pretty much hidden when she ran)

It would have been inappropriate for any of the school board members to have made that call. I think that when you are elected to a position you are held to a certain ethical standard and I agree with Hobbes I think she crossed the line.

Paladin said...

Lewport, I agree and disagree. Frankly, I agree with April that she has a right to continue to engage in politics. But she DOESN'T have a right to use her position on the board of education--which she did, by identifying herself as a board of ed member, the only reason she was the voice on the phone to begin with--to further Fred Newlin's political career.

And if there's any doubt that's what she did, when she started talking about caring about the children (Bill Clinton and Joycelyn Elders would be so proud), it was clear she was cashing in on her school board seat.

The parents and students in Lewport shouldn't have to wonder if their kids' educations are coming in second for the Board of Ed. Now, though, they are.

Shame on you, April.

Jerry Moss said...

I find myself going HMMMMMM...a lot when it comes to Lewiston matters.

It was wrong for a Board of Ed member to send emails to his friends (or people he thought were his friends!) on his own computer, on his own time, never identifying himself as a member of the board of education...and they (April and Wendy) called for his resignation.

But using your board title to endorse a candidate to promote an agenda for the radical group you represent...oh that's OK!

Frankly I think April should resign from either RRG or the School Board - serving two masters is not in the best interest of our kids...

The Avenger said...

Lewport, you have brought important information to the table that changes a few things. It's not that April identified herself as a BOE member...I stand by the fact that she should have done that and had every right to do so in the phone call. However, the fact that she did not disclose her role in the RRG is troublesome and probably not right. Clearly, her agenda in calling for Newlin was more based on her RRG role than her BOE position. In that regard, she was completely disingenious and hence wrong.