Letters to the Editor

When the matter is simple: distract

At a recent school board meeting, I made a straightforward case that myself and fellow board members should do our duty the right way by not taking shortcuts in selecting a new superintendent. We have plenty of time; a reasonably broad search can be done at very little cost (without a search firm); and it would be a disservice to whoever is ultimately chosen to make it appear that his hiring was the result of an inside deal done behind the scenes.

Some other board members tried to obfuscate this basic common sense by kicking up a cloud of dust that would have made Billy Martin proud. Dan Mooney and David Harrison joined their efforts in the Appeal to support the insider perspective. In an attempt to distract opinion from the real issue, Mooney and Harrison resort to attacks against the various folks making the sensible proposals and to dragging in irrelevant matters.

Dave's letter to the editor on Feb. 29 attempted to cast aspersions on my motives, citing my previous dealings with Richard Stokes, the insider candidate the board majority favors. To make his claim, Dave had to studiously ignore my clear statement regarding my experiences with Mr. Stokes that I've found him to be always thoughtful, honest, and professional. The issue is the selection process, not the candidate.

Dave's misrepresentation of this key point is magnified by failure to mention he is a civics and history teacher with the district. Such an important omission is misleading as readers are not aware he may represent a special-interest insider perspective on this matter.

To be fair, Dave did offer brief and indirect insight on the selection process. He said the elected board is responsible and capable of making the decision. No one argued the Board cannot or should not make the decision. The point was that public input should be sought as exemplified by practices of other districts. The logical extension of his "no public input" position is that citizens should be heard only during elections and that listening to them is a waste of time between election cycles. It is a rather peculiar position for a civics teacher to take unless other priorities are in play.

Dan Mooney's column provides a "teaching moment" as a bad example of labeling one's opponent in an argument, instead of focusing on the substance of the issues, to reach the conclusion one wants, "Those calling for wider superintendent search don't represent most patrons," he claims. A Vulcan would break down in tears trying to unravel all the logical fallacies presented there. First, person A is an ideologue (because Dan says so), so the people supporting person A's position are all ideologues (because Dan says so), and hence they are all to be dismissed and don't represent most people on this matter (because Dan says so).

Dan went on another tangent, writing, "Unfortunately, it appears that Enge does not belong to the internal board trust network or the board power loop." In trying to paint me as marginalized above and beyond his previous bashing, he now claims I am rather naive and idealistic to think the board should actually adhere to Nevada's Open Meeting Law by doing its deliberations in public. No board member should be in such a network or loop (Dan's "power loop"), because it would be a direct violation of the OML.

Dan gave token advice on the selection and offered up a simple either/or proposition. We either like the direction or we don't. Don't bother with assessing or discussing the direction, developing criteria, or hearing from others. Ultimately, no one knows for sure whether most people feel as Dan boldly asserted in his column's title Ð although there are a number of indications to the contrary. The Board's decision made sure we will not find out until November, when three of the seven Board seats are up for reelection.

Joe Enge

Carson City School Board


City needs to tighten its belt

I must have missed something along the way. I remember reading where the mayor wants to give another $10 million to the "Tooterville Trolley," then the paper of 3/15/08 reads "Proposal: Raise Property Taxes For Public Safety."

Per that article, the sheriff's department wants approximately $2 million and the fire department wants $6 million. Sounds to me like the $10 million the mayor "HAS" can go to these two worthy objectives and be really appreciated and needed. I, for one, am tired of our elected officials (mayor and supervisors) requiring us to live on a budget and tighten our belts but they don't have to? Come on voters, get rid of these parasites!


Carson City


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