March 14, 2008

Abington Changes

Michele Obama came to Abington High School yesterday to (uh hem) congratulate the township for being recognized as one of America's Best 100 Communities for Young People, by Colin Powell's America's Promise. This is the third consecutive year Abington has received the award, the only community in Pennsylvania to receive such an honor.

Problem. During her 50-minute speech, only 30 seconds of pre-written text were devoted to the honor. The rest was nothing short of a blatant politicking.

So what? Free speech is free speech right?

Normally, I would agree. However, until 48 hours prior to the event, politicking on Abington School District property was against it's own policy.

So what changed? Several events.

First, was the re-election of 4 school board members in 2005. Ray McGarry, Jeffery Bates, Barry Stupine, and Jo Blumenthal were all running as republicans. Their victory gave republicans a 6-3 majority. Then during the 2007 election year, 3 of those republicans changed their party affiliation; with Blumenthal remaining loyal to the party that supported her.

The change gave democrats a majority and as payback, McGarry was elevated to chairman. Two additional vacancies on the board were filled by, you guessed it, more democrats.

The changes did not come as a result of the ballot box. No, a power grab was the only reason for the switch. After a sweep in 2007, for re-election of 5 democrat board members, left the balance of power at 7 Democrats, 1 Republican, and Bates as an Independent.

Finally, less than 2 months after being sworn in, the board voted 6-1 to "temporarily suspend" (or change) the politicking regulations, to allow for Ms. Obama's rally. Two members were absent.

Voter registration tables were set up, campaign buttons and volunteer sign-up sheets were distributed, while a large Obama banner was nestled comfortably between 2 Abington School District banners. This obviously begs the question, is Abington's school district officially endorsing Obama?

During the school board meeting, township liason duo Barry Stupine and Michele Tinsman spoke about their desire to promote, via agressive marketing, Abington Township's 100 Best achievement. The honor which they want everyone to believe they earned. Unfortunately, when given the opportunity, the district was sold out to political agendas.

Thanks to the new Abington School Board, school grounds are open for propaganda. McCain's campaign would be wise to consider the newly-built football stadium as a backdrop in late October.

Is this the kind of change democrats have in mind?

Photo courtesy of Montgomery News. Video of the rally and the school board vote will follow shortly.

Interesting side note from this ludicrous event was Fast-Eddie Rendell's wing-man Josh Shapiro (State Representative 153rd district) appearing on stage to help rile up the crowd.

Ed's a known Clinton supporter and may not appreciate Josh's role here. The rising star of Pennsylvania politics Shapiro, better be careful not to upset the establishment.


Anonymous said...

thank you for the info! What won't the Dems do next? Of course, rules don't mean anything to them. Did Michelle Obama remind everyone that she is not proud of her country? Does she agree with their pastor and say" God damn America?"

Anonymous said...

Hey Ed - why don't you tell the "REAL" story like your page promises? Or at least get your facts straight....

This is no different then when Bush visited Abington High School when he was campaigning in 2000. Oh wait, it was different, republicans controlled the school board and the governor's office. You conveniently left out the part of the article where "McGarry said the school district set the precedent for candidates visiting in 2000 when then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush stumped in the school district upon the advice of then-Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge."

Why did you leave that out and why are you so outraged now? Anyway, aside from pointing out the obvious hypocrisy of your post and the comments, sincerely isn't it a good thing when students can be front row center in the presidential race? Doesn't that go directly to the youthful apathy we as a society lament about on election day? That would be true if it is a visit from McCain, Obama, Clinton, heck even Nader....

Try to tell the whole story next time if you want to tell the REAL story.

Anonymous said...

If the Abington Republicans are so disappointed by the Democratic majority on the School Board now, why did they only put up 2 candidates for 5 open positions??? Seems to me that they just laid-down and let themselves get trampled in the election.

page13 said...

A legitimate question. School Board is a tough enough position to find enthusiastic candidates. Those who serve, to their credit, do so because they care deeply.

But the vacancies and party switching seemed to catch Republicans by suprise.

I'm not sure exactly how many folks expressed interest. There were 3 candidates who eventaully seeked the endorsement; only two were endorsed.

I don't think leadership planned it that way.