Went to a forum at Grace Episcopal Church to hear the various school board candidates for my district. Only there was a typo in the paper: They got the Canal Street address wrong by five blocks. So I had to walk a little further, but my tardiness didn’t really matter. The forum was getting a late start. There was a pretty good turnout, I thought, about thirty people or so.
In fact, as it developed, three of the four candidates didn’t make it to the forum. One had a death in the family. One was ill. I forget what the third story was. Only the incumbent, Jimmy Fahrenholtz, showed up. Well, you can’t have a forum with one candidate, so the League of Women’s Voters took their signs down and Jimmy was allowed to make a brief statement.
According to the Times-Picayune, none of the no-shows notified the organizers that they would be absent. I don’t wish to be uncharitable, but I was not impressed. I attended because I was truly interested to hear what these candidates had to say. I especially wanted to hear from Sandra “Eighteen Wheeler” Hester. She’s been such an outspoken critic of the school board lo these many years, her public access television show is perfectly outrageous, and now she’s a candidate. She once called the incumbent “Jimmy Fahren-honkie,” and it’s that kind of rhetoric that promised to make this an interesting event. The GNOGP has endorsed her independent candidacy, but the paper said she’s running as a Democrat.
I’m conflicted because part of me would like Hester in a position of authority, just to see what she does. But I am also inclined to vote for Fahrenholtz because he was one of only two board members who recently supported Superintendent Amato. The rest of the board tried to fire him in a scenario that just seemed very dirty. He strikes me as one of the good guys, but I’d like to hear from his opponents. Something is way wrong with the school board; maybe there aren’t any good guys.
I ran into Dave Cash so the evening was not a total loss. Looks like Poppy Z. Brite was also there at the forum that didn’t happen. She’s posted Hester’s Top 10 Reasons Why The Orleans Parish School Board Should Be Recalled and Indicted on her LiveJournal.
If she didn’t show up for the event, I’d be nervous about voting for Hester. (None of them notified the organizers that they wouldn’t attend??!!) Then again, I don’t live in Lousiana. 🙂
Indeed, it doesn’t boost one’s confidence. But having heard her speak a few days later, I was much impressed. I’m afraid she doesn’t have a chance against the incumbent, but I will be pulling for her.
[…] Many New Orleanians have wondered about Sandra’s whereabouts since Katrina. For those outside Orleans Parish, I should explain that Sandra has been one of our most public gadflies, an outspoken critic of the public school system and a star of her own over-the-top public access television show. She ran for School Board back in 2004, but she lost to the incumbent. Beloved by some, reviled by others, she’s been a controversial figure, but she’s always thought-provoking. Not to mention she has a killer sense of humor. […]
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