The Wichita Eagle’s Rhonda Holman, writing for the editorial board in today’s lead editorial (Where do city, county stand on bond?) makes a few points that illustrate the highly partisan nature of this board.
Here’s the first example. She complains about lack of transparency in knowing who is contributing to the campaigns for the Wichita school bond issue, writing “It’s frustrating that USD 259 voters must make a decision on the bond issue without knowing who funded the pro- and anti-campaigns. The three groups behind the campaigns could release their donor lists and amounts on their own prior to Election Day …”
As reported recently by this writer in the post Wichita Eagle Political Contributions: This Year? the Eagle contributed to the pro-bond campaign in the year 2000, and never disclosed that fact to its readers.
If Rhoda Holman is really interested in promoting transparency of campaign funding, her newspaper could start by stating whether it has made a contribution this year. She could reveal her own personal contribution too, or state that she hasn’t contributed.
Then, Ms. Holman complains that a candidate for local office benefits from a campaign mailer mailed on the candidate’s behalf by a third party. She doesn’t like the fact that the organization that sent the mailing won’t have to disclose who paid for it, because it’s an educational effort, not an endorsement.
The reason why it’s an educational effort is because it stops short of saying “vote for ____.” But if the voters get that message anyway, Ms. Holman says “mission accomplished.”
Now if this situation sounds familiar, it should. This is very much the situation with the campaign surrounding the proposed Wichita school bond. In this case, USD 259 (the Wichita school district) undertakes an educational effort that has precisely the same characteristics of the effort that Ms. Holman complains about. But she conveniently overlooks this.
There’s one difference, however. We know exactly who is funding the poorly-disguised campaign on behalf of the Wichita school district: taxpayers.
Great post! This is a travesty! Way to be on top of this!
I was appalled this morning when reading the Eagle’s latest installment on the school bond. It is one thing to take a position as an editorial board but it is quite another to take it over and over and over ad nauseum.
I have decided to vote no after leaning yes all fall, but if the school bond proponents need all this help, I’ve decided the bond can’t stand on its own merits and deserves further scrunity.
I’m sorry that you feel that way. When I vote, I want to look at the factual information from both supporters and opponants of the bond. The fact is that USD 259 has many critical needs and that while supporting the bond issue is not the only part of the solution, it is a good place to start. The schools need the support of both people that are willing to spend every dime and those that will hold on to all their pennies. We need to ensure that schools have both parties, willing to go into the schools and see what is actually happening to make decisions to benefit our future. We need to make sure that all of work together to support our students – whether in private or public schools. Please consider this when you are voting.
[…] target is quite selective. As shown in my post On the Wichita Eagle Editorial Board, Partisanship Reigns from right before last election day, she’s willing to overlook the Eagle’s own […]