Monday, April 12, 2010

SBOE District 10 Republicans in a Free-For-All Brawl

Oh my, how did the contested Republican primary for the State Board of Education District 10 seat escape my notice?

We Democrats had it easy selecting our nominee. Judy Jennings. She was after all, unopposed. But the Republicans had a 3-way.

Marsha Farney, Rebecca Osborne and Brian Russell nearly split the vote three ways last March. However the two top vote getters were Farney and Russell with Farney edging Russell by a mere 193 votes.

And ever since then, it seems, it has been a knock down drag out between these two characters over who is the most conservative.

Because God knows, being the most conservative person is the de facto gauge of who should be the Republican nominee, and by extension, who should sit on the state board of education.

Now I don’t have any personal stake in this race, nor do I know either of these two. I did happen to encounter Marsha Farney’s traveling caravan the other day as they made their rounds at the Teabagger fundraiser that the TEC still needs to hear about. Later on, a friend of mine reported that Farney’s traveling circus caravan was parked in the parking lot at her apartment complex – blocking in her car and the cars of seven (count ‘em, seven) other residents.

But that’s beside the point.

Farney has on her website a red medallion that proclaims her to have had 100% pro-life answers on the “Texas Right to Life Questionnaire.” And then the question begs: and that has to do with education in Texas . . . how?

Ah, I get it. It’s a litmus test.

Voting records are better.

The next thing you notice are the web pages that each combatant has constructed to answer the “lies” of the other.


I like it that Republicans lie about each other. I don’t like it that Republicans get to decide between two liars, that is, which of these two liars are to make decisions about the education of Texas children.

Russell says that Farney is a closet liberal. Well I have news for Russell: closet liberals don’t have voting records that earn them the Triple-R rating. Farney early voted in the last three Republican primaries. This pales, however, in comparison to Russell’s voting record, which has him voting in every Republican primary since 2000.

I like it though, that Russell has, on his “Lies” web page a screen capture of Farney’s husband’s $2300 donation to Barack Obama, claiming that the maximum possible donation had been made.

But that would be wrong. The maximum possible donation from a husband and a wife would be $4600. Marsha’s husband made the donation, but Marsha did not.

But the best “Lie” is to be found on Brian Russell’s website. In it he takes to task Marsha Farney’s claim that Brian Russell’s children are home-schooled and won’t put them in the public school system.

Now where have I heard of a school board member home-schooling their children. Oh, that’s right, that would be our present SBOE member, Cynthia Dunbar.

Russell takes Farney’s “Lies” to task like this:

“Lie: Brian has no experience in Education or Public Schools, refuses to send his children to public school and will never send his children to public school."

"Truth: Brian attended public primary and secondary school for 12 years and attended public university for an additional 7 years. Brian has additionally taught many different ages of children in different settings. Brian told the Austin American Statesman that “we evaluate each year what is best for each of our children and have decided up to this point to educate our children at home.”

Actual Truth: No one ever said Russell himself didn’t attend public school. And then there is the other actual truth that each year that they evaluate “what is best for each of our children” the evaluation comes down to home-schooling them.

But best of all, you scroll on down to the bottom and you read a letter from one of Russell’s supporters, a Tony McDonald, and you see confirmed in black and white that Russell wants to home-school his children because sending them to public school in Texas is tantamount to child abuse:
“To criticize him because he does not send his kids to public schools is an illegitimate attack. Government run schools have gotten so bad that it is nearly tantamount to child abuse to put one's kids in one of these institutions nowadays. It is exactly the sort of person who is afraid to leave their kids in the hands of the government 5 days a week, 9 months a year who I think adequately understands the problems facing Texas education.”

What I don’t get is that Russell must think that this absolves him. It actually seals the deal on Russell’s anti-public education stance.

Yes, it is a fight to the finish in SBOE District 10 and tomorrow we should get the lay of the land.

So who would I want my candidate, Judy Jennings, to run against in November? Really it’s a toss-up between a pro-life education board member and an anti public school education board member. Both bring something to the table (that Judy Jennings can sweep off with one broad stroke).

But truth to tell? I’m asking Jesus to intervene for His servant, Brian Russell. The anti-Dunbar crowd is ready, willing and able to send another anti-education school board candidate packing.

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