I agree with the letter written by Bob Muchlinski stating that our School Board doesn't care to listen to their constituents and holds "special" meetings in order to shut out citizen input at those meetings. What puzzles me though, is Mr. Muchlinski's sudden change of heart with regards to these matters.
In June of 2005 Marion Shaw and I were denied the ability to address the School Board, even though we had filled out the appropriate speech permits and had followed the rules set forth by then president Annette Cook.
Ms. Cook and her fellow board members repeatedly interrupted both Mr. Shaw and myself during our allotted time to speak. Current board president Dan Tjornehoj even called for a recess in the middle of my speech in order to deny my First Amendment rights.
To make matters even worse, board member Cindy Crimmins called her husband Mark to come and remove Mr. Shaw and myself from the meeting. No crimes were committed and yet we were forcefully removed from an open government meeting simply because we disagreed with the School Board. For the record, Mr. Muchlinski was in the audience that night.
When we later complained to the Star-Observer, the editor agreed that the School Board acted inappropriately. The very next week in these same editorial pages here is what Bob Muchlinski had to say about our situation: "When the School Board has the guts to stand up to them, they quickly transform into the victims!" He called our complaints about the board's behavior "a culture of victimhood" and went on to say that our removal was "dead-on appropriate." In addition to this public berating, Mr. Muchlinski attended the next City Council meeting and applauded the efforts of the Hudson Police Department and School Board to squash our guaranteed rights of free political speech.
Yes, I agree with Mr. Muchlinski that our School Board really doesn't care what their constituents think and rigs the meetings to restrict citizen input. Although I believe his change of heart has more to do with the wage freeze that his wife is being asked to take, rather than his true concern for open and honest government.
I have rarely agreed with Mr. Muchlinski when it comes to School Board politics, yet I will always defend his right to seek redress from his elected representatives. Unfortunately I don't believe the reverse to be true.